Carthamus tinctorious – False saffron
Safflower is an ancient prickly flowering plant that contains a water-soluble yellow dye and an alkaline soluble red dye. Safflower was used to dye the red cotton tapes of legal documents hence the expression “red tape”.
For more information on how to dye using safflower visit the dyeing-craft “how to” page.
Sow in small pots about 1/2 inch deep and cover with seed compost 6 – 8 weeks before the last frost. Water carefully from the base of the tray. Germination is about 14 – 21 days. Temperature 15 – 21 degrees C (60 – 70F).
Plant out into their final growing position when the risk of frost has passed.
Sow where they are to flower once temperatures reach 13 – 16 degrees C (55 – 65F).
Sow about 1/2 inch deep and 12 inches apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Lightly cover seeds. Water well and regularly. Germination will occur in about 21 days.
Very attractive flower heads of red and orange from mid-summer onwards.
Plant height: 24 – 36 inches.
Spacing: 12 – 15 inches
Light requirements: Sun – partial shade
1g – 50 seeds £3.25