Indigofera Species, Hairy Indigo, Roughhairy Indigo

Indigofera hirsuta

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Indigofera (in-dee-GO-fer-uh) (Info)
Species: hirsuta (her-SOO-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Anila hirsuta



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Brooksville, Florida

Ellenton, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Valrico, Florida

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 7, 2013, gtbabic from The Villages, FL wrote:

Invasive and persistent in central FL. Seems to like poor sandy soils. Will spread readily. Maybe not an issue in an agricultural setting but a nightmare for a garden. Roundup does kill it, but it has reappeared in areas where I have hit it with Roundup so seeds must last from one season to the next.If you want to eliminate it, it is imperative to get it before the red flowers show.


On Feb 24, 2009, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It is tough. It fixes nitrogen. It may suppress root-knot and other destructive soil nematodes. Otherwise it is a nightmare in northern peninsular Florida, unless you REALLY want to make your own indigo dye the old-fashioned way (harvest leaves of the blooming plants, mix them with water, and allow bacteria to eat away the sugar group naturally attached to the dye molecule as someone or something keeps agitating the mix to keep it aerated; it's not as good a dye plant as the true indigo in the same genus, but it comes close). Sometimes frost hits early enough here that the seeds are not mature when the plants die, but usually it does not. Seeds can persist in the soil for decades, and disturbing any soil containing seeds increases the risk that they will sprout. (Maybe pre-emergence... read more


On Apr 26, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is invasive in Florida and it first came up near my shampoo ginger patch. The seeds are barbed so they attach to clothing easily and that's probably how they spred so fast. It is a legume and is a good cover crop. I've heard that its leaves can be used to dye fabric blue like the common indigo. Like the name suggests, its leaves are very soft, hairy, and somewhat velvet textured. Its an attractive weed but again invasive. It has pretty red flowers that appear year round.


On Nov 20, 2004, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Erect-prostrate climbing annual, producing heavy foliage on fine stems that become rather coarse in later stages of development. Grows well on poor sandy land. Yields good quality forage that can be used for hay and pasture.

Farmers and ranchers found the plant useful; green cropping (cultivated for plowing under) with the legume improved soil for crops like melons and strawberries and cattle gained more weight when it was part of their forage.

Dougall and Bogdan (1966) analysed I. hirsuta forage as containing 23.8 percent crude protein, 2.0 percent ether extract, 15.2 percent crude fibre, 46.8 percent nitrogen-free extract, 1.88 percent calcium and 0.37 percent phosphorus, but Kalmbacher et al. (1980) showed that crude protein and in vitro organic matter dig... read more