Ginseng Growing Instructions
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 winter.
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.