How to Grow Siberian Ginseng

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Siberian ginseng is not technically real ginseng. It is closely related to other ginsengs, but not of the same genus. The plant grows wild in hardwood forests in most areas of North America. Growing is recommended for USDA Zones 2B to 8. Siberian ginseng grows in shrub form; male plants produce purple flowers, while females produce green blooms. This plant can be difficult to start from seed, but is easy to care for once growth has begun. Seeds should be started in the fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed flat
  • Soil
  • Siberian ginseng seeds
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Fill the seed flat with an organically rich soil. Add peat moss or other organic compost if the soil is not sufficiently rich.

  • Add enough water to make the soil moist. Allow the water sufficient time to drain before planting.

  • Plant the seeds deeply enough to be fully covered in soil. Plant the seeds 1 inch apart.

  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of mulch to protect them from the cold and to simulate the natural forest bed environment.

  • Place the seeds in a shady area. A woody area with 75 to 80 percent shade is ideal.

  • Begin checking for germination in early spring. Once germination has begun the mulch can be removed.

  • When seedlings are well established, move to a permanent location. Choose a location that receives full sun or partial shade and has good soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • The plant will spread on its own quite well, but not to the point that it would be considered invasive.
  • Harvest seeds from the plant when it is 3 years old. Red berries on the plant can be picked and placed in a cloth bag. Mash the seeds several times a day for five days. Place open bags in water. This will allow the seeds to sink to the bottom while everything else floats out of the open top. When you have the seeds separated from the rest of the berry, place them 4 inches deep in a box filled with sand. Leave the seeds in the box for 18 months. After this time they can be germinated as usual.
  • The roots will mature in five to seven years, and can be dug up and dried on screens. Wash the roots gently first. Place the screens in a shady location and check frequently for mold. If mold is found, the screens can be moved into the sun for several hours a day until the mold is gone.
  • Siberian ginseng seeds can take up to two years to germinate, although it is usually done in the first four months.

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