The Q&A Archives: Growing Ginseng

Question: Interested in growing my own ginseng, but I can't find any<br>information on starting the plants...i.e., seeds, shade, sun, etc.<br><br>

Answer: Burpee doesn't carry American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), but Far North Gardens does - contact them at 16785 Harrison, Livonia, MI 48154; ph# 810/486-4203. According to Herbal Direct Ginseng Products, growing ginseng is not easy, but it can be done if you have the proper soil conditions. You need sandy loam soil, preferably on a good slope for drainage, with a pH of 5-7. (Only an accurate soil test can give you the range of pH you are currently in, contact your local County Extension Office for details). You should use raised beds to help get rid of excess moisture. Ginseng needs 3-4 inches of mulch on the ground. Most commonly used are wheat, oat or barley straw. You must shade ginseng, 70-85% shade is a must. Ginseng exposed to direct sunlight will be dead very quickly, although if it is healthy enough it may go dormant and come back the next year. You need a winter of at least 90 days. If you can provide all these conditions then you may be able to grow ginseng. In addition, it is a good idea to look into a book specifically about growing ginseng at your local library or bookstore.

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