Horti Indigo for denim : haalbaarheidsstudie en marktontwikkeling

C.J.M. van der Lans, F.R. van Noort, N. Garcia Victoria

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


The (sub) tropical plant Indigofera is grown for use as indigo dye. This feasibility study focused at the technical and economic potential of sustainable greenhouse cultivation of Indigofera. Outdoor cultivation (Asia) produces 30.87-76.72 kg dye/ha. Yield enhancing factors are cultivar, plant stage at harvest, light color during cultivation, day length, plant density, fertilization (N, P), CO2 gift, and hydroponic cultivation. Market price for natural indigo is around 35 euro/kg (6-10 times higher than synthetic indigo). Higher market prices seem possible. The worldwide growing interest for natural, sustainable textile fibres and dyes shows market opportunities. The textile industry is aware that current indigo cultivation in Asia is not very sustainable. Two greenhouse cultivation variants were calculated: ‘high-tech’ greenhouse cultivation (heated, intense cultivation) and ‘mid-tech’ greenhouse cultivation (container plants, non-heated cultivation). Estimated costs of ‘ high-tech ‘ greenhouse cultivation indigo are 63 €/m2 per year and for ‘mid-tech ‘ greenhouse cultivation 43 €/m2. With current market prices and content levels a leaf production of 10.217 kg/m2/year (hig-tech cultivation) or 7.016 kg/m2/year (mid-tech cultivation) is necessary. When indigo content can be increased through specific cultivation measures, or significant higher prices than the reported market prices can be realized, a business case ‘horti indigo’ will become feasible. Crucial is commitment from buyers for high market prices and buying amounts.
Original languageDutch
Place of PublicationBleiswijk
PublisherWageningen UR Glastuinbouw
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameRapport / Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw
PublisherWageningen UR Glastuinbouw / Kenniscentrum Plantenstoffen


  • greenhouse horticulture
  • dyes
  • dye plants
  • indigofera tinctoria
  • feasibility studies
  • netherlands

Cite this