Dyes from St. John’s Wort

Use St. John’s Wort to create a whole spectrum of homegrown dyes, from greens and yellows to maroons and browns.


| January 2018


In A Garden to Dye For (St. Lynn’s, 2014), Chris McLaughlin teaches you how to make the most of your garden by harvesting different plants to create your own clothing dyes. She walks you through each type of plant, explaining where the color comes from and how best to get it for yourself. In the following excerpt, McLaughlin tells the secrets of extracting color from St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

As a kid living in Los Angeles during the ‘70s, hypericum cultivars were the fill-in landscaping plant of choice. It was everywhere. St. John’s Wort is undemanding and isn’t concerned about heat. So, it’s not a bad choice. You know what I remember most about them? The bees. Bees hovered and rolled into these bad boys all summer long. Much, much later in life I found out that hypericum has both nectar and pollen available for pollinators. And upon closer inspection, I now find the sunny yellow flowers quite charming.

The perennial H. perforatum, specifically, is considered a noxious weed in some areas, so do your due diligence here. But if you have the green light, do try them out (perhaps in a container) because there's a variety of colors to be had if you toss in some modifiers, too. You can start them indoors during the early spring, but it's just as easy to start them in the bed in late spring. St. John's Wort prefers full sun, but tolerates some shade and isn't picky about its soil.

Where the Color Is

The flower petals from H. perforatum will give you greens and maroons. Other hypericum species will work, too, but you'll probably get yellows and browns. Collect them in mid-summer while they're fresh and toss in more than you think you'll need. Really play with hypericum, folks, because it can surprise you. Try dyeing both mordanted and unmordanted fibers in the hypericum bath.

More from: A Garden to Dye For

DIY Japanese Indigo Dye
DIY Madder Dye
Pokeberry Dye Recipe
Homemade Calendula Dye
DIY Yarrow Yellow Dyes
DIY Mint Leaf Natural Dye
Natural DIY Bee Balm Dye

Reprinted with permission from A Garden to Dye For, by Chris McLaughlin and published by St. Lynn’s, 2015.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265