Ginseng is a very unique plant to grow and requires certain
conditions to thrive and mature. Ginseng is always found growing in
the hardwoods in its native habitat and is also found on hillsides or areas
of very good drainage where standing water is not a problem. The reason
for this is that ginseng can not survive in soils that are saturated with
water for long periods of time. Planting on what is considered "good
ginseng ground" will help aid in the survival of the ginseng plants.
Ginseng requires some type of shade source. In
the woods the trees provide the shade to help protect the plants from the
direct sunlight. For those that have a woods containing harwood trees
planting among these trees may be an ideal location. Looking at the
underbrush growing in a woods is a good indication of the amount of sulight
reaching the forest floor. A small amount of underbrush growing will
usually indicate the correct amount of shade. If there is no underbrush
growing there is probably too much shade and the ginseng will not grow.
Thick underbrush usually indicates too much light and the ginseng will
die after sprouting. For those that are interested in trying to grow
ginseng in your garden or home finding the correct location may be a little
more difficult. The most important thing is that the ginseng plants
do not receive direct sunlight from mid morning until late afternoon
(approximately 70% shade is ideal). A large tree or an overhang on
the house may provide the proper shade.
Once a location has been selected the site can be prepared
for planting. When planting small amounts of seed it often works best
to rake back the leaves in an area suitable for ginseng (assuming you are
in the woods) and scatter the ginseng seed on the ground. The seeds
can then be raked gently into the ground or simply stepped on to press the
seeds slightly into the soil. Ginseng seed should never be planted
more than 1/4" deep. Once the seed has been planted the leaves should
be raked back over the seed to help protect the seed from drying out and
also hide the seed from rodents and other predators. In areas not in
the woods the same instructions can be followed but some other type of mulch
such as straw may be used if leaves are not available.
For larger areas being planted with ginseng the soil
can be tilled slightly and raised beds can be made to help promote proper
drainage. Artificial shade may also be an alternative if the proper
amount of shade is not available in the woods.
The first year the seedling plants will usually have
three leaves and be approximately 2"-3" tall. Weeding may be necessary
during the first several years. The mulch should be left on to help
control the weeds and also provide protection for the roots during subsequent
winters. Each Fall the leaves falling from the trees will once again
blanket the plants and add an extra layer of protection for the upcoming
Over the next several years the plants will "slowly"
grow and begin to mature. Ginseng planted in the woods often takes
7-10 years to reach mature size.
Feel free to email us with any questions that you may
have regarding planting. We are always happy to personally answer any
questions you may have.