Indigo's history is laced with mystery and superstition, and it's use has been dated back nearly 4000 years. From Egyptian Pharaohs taking it to the grave, to mentions in the Bible, from ancient Mayans and Aztecs dyeing fibers with it to European explorers establishing trade routes to the Far East just to get to it, indigo has been a powerful plant that people have fought hard to own.

When the exploration of the New World was established, indigo was one of the first things planted by the Europeans to see if it would grow in the colonies. It was planted in Jamestown, Virginia, and also the Dutch tried to grow it at New Amsterdam, New York (now called New York City).

The environment in those places was too cold to have a successful growing season so the Spanish established plantations in Central and South America using the New World indigos, and the French tried their hand at planting it on the Caribbean Islands and in Louisiana. In their quest for a good source of blue, the English tried it in the new colonies, but didn’t have much success. That is until a girl named Eliza Lucas was successful...

Read more about the Sea Island indigo story on our blog.


About Donna Hardy

Donna Hardy is the founder of Sea Island Indigo located in Charleston, South Carolina. Donna’s earliest memories are of learning about plants and the natural world from her mother. Her love of plants evolved to a deep appreciation and curiosity of their various applications. This lead to Donna’s driven and thorough scholarship of natural dyes with world experts like Michele Whipplinger and Michel Garcia. Donna also directed her studies toward the history of natural dyes in her beloved home – the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia. Rooted in a profound history, with a deep relationship with indigo, Donna is working  to create a thriving, sustainable indigo culture in America.

Donna can be reached at indigogrower@gmail.com