Cosmos

‘Cosmos sulphureus’, are an easy to grow flower for natural dyeing.  They prefer full sun and you can start the seeds directly in the ground after danger of frost has passed, but make sure to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, and make sure they get covered with a little soil so they don’t blow away! 

Cosmos are an annual flower, so they will be killed by frost in the fall. 

The flowers are the main dyestuff, and can be used fresh, or dried or frozen, if you need to collect a lot of them before use.  Picking the flowers encourages new blooms. 

This dye stuff is sensitive to pH, and will give a nice juicy orange color in a neutral dye bath, but if you shift the dye bath more alkaline with a bit of soda ash or ammonia, it will turn more reddish in color, and give you a really intense reddish orange color easily.

Cosmos give the best, most vibrant results on wool fiber, and multiple natural dye books say that it gives disappointing results on cotton, flax and other flax fibers.  You will get color on plant fibers, but it won’t be as vibrant an orange and may not have as good lightfastness.  The color will probably be a little more of an orange/brown color on cotton. 

If you are ever unhappy with seed or any other product you receive from me, please let me know.  Especially with seed, I feel that if the seed should not produce well, the waste of the growing season is the biggest shame and a refund unfortunately cannot make up for that loss of time.