Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Madder
Rubia tinctorum

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Rubia (ROO-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: tinctorum

Synonym:Rubia tinctoria

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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By ricardo_calmet
Thumbnail #1 of Rubia tinctorum by ricardo_calmet

By ricardo_calmet
Thumbnail #2 of Rubia tinctorum by ricardo_calmet


1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Just_Grow_It On Oct 26, 2007, Just_Grow_It from Manassas, VA wrote:

It's not that pretty, but it is hardy and tough.
I bought it as a historical curiosity (the roots are an ancient source of red dye). It will do well even when neglected. I don't find it invasive, as it hasn't spread outside of it's designated area and it's been growing for there many years, but due to all the underground runners it would be hard to remove if you go tired of it. It has neat velcro like hooks on it's stem... feels weird on your fingers.

Neutral dmj1218 On May 2, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Also called dyer's madder, it yeilds a beautiful red dye from its colorful roots. This hardy, sprawling perennial is easily grown from cuttings or stolons. It can grow as high as 4' when studier plants are near for support. Because of its robost, invasive nature in the south; it is probably not the plant for the average gardener, but madder is a fine source for the weaver and dye specialist.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Manassas, Virginia

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