Nili is a reputed drug for the promotion of hair growth. Due to antitoxic property
it is also a good remedy for poisons. This plant, which is the original source of
natural indigo, is an erect shrub with imparipinnate leaves. Leaves are important
in medicine and form a major ingredient of preparations like 'Nilibhringadi'.
Prepare the soil to fine tilth by ploughing two or three times.
Seeds and sowing
Seeds are very small and the seed rate is 3 kg/ha. Seeds require pretreatment for
good germination, as the seed coat is hard. Seeds are mixed with sand and ground
gently to break the seed coat. An alternate method for enhancing germination is
dipping the seeds in boiling water for a second. After pre-treatment seeds are broadcasted.
Broadcast the seeds preferably mixed with sand 2-3 times its volume to ensure uniform
coverage. Seeds germinate within a week.
The best time for sowing is September-October.
Apply cattle manure at the rate of 10 t/ha as basal dressing and incorporate into
soil along with last ploughing.
Weeding has to be done twice, three weeks and six weeks after sowing.
Plants start flowering 2-3 months after sowing. Harvesting is done by cutting the
plants at this time, at a height of about 20 cm from ground level. Irrigate plants
after harvest. Subsequent harvests can be made at 1.5-2 months interval. Four to
five cuttings can be taken in a year depending on the growth.
A few plants per plot are left without cutting to set seeds. Ripe pods are to be
harvested in the early morning to prevent loss of seeds by shattering during harvest.
The psyllid Arytaina puctipennis infest top shoot causing curling up and
drooping of leaves and shoots, and wilting of plants.