One of the most sought-after roots in the world, Ginseng is an herb packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Whether you are looking to grow and sell or just want your own supply, growing Ginseng indoors is a multi-year long project.
To grow Ginseng indoors:
- Obtain seeds and stratify if necessary or use rootlets
- Gather a container, well-drained soil, and tools to plant
- Plant your Ginseng seed 1 ½ inches or 3 inches for rootlets
- Place the Ginseng in indirect sun
- Water once a week and keep an eye out for disease or pests
When summed down into a simple list, it might be a bit deceiving how long this project can take, but it’s certainly not impossible. Read on to learn more!
Step-By-Step Guide to Growing Ginseng Indoors
We’ll walk through the main steps for growing your own Ginseng at home.
Obtain a Ginseng Seed and Stratify It
If you plan to grow your own Ginseng, the first thing you have to do is to find seeds. Due to the value of these plants, you will want to buy from a reputable dealer. If you don’t, there is a chance you will be spending money on a bad batch of seeds or seeds that weren’t correctly stratified. While you do not have to purchase seeds that have already been stratified, doing so could save you time.
Stratifying a seed is the process of placing it under sand or peat and leaving it in a cool or refrigerated location for six months or more. If you want to stratify your own seeds, you will have to wait for the stratification to be finished, which can take between 18 to 22 months. If you want to find seeds that are already stratified, you can find them for sale online, or you may have a Ginseng merchant near you as well.
If you don’t want to have to deal with seeds at all, you can also purchase Ginseng rootlets that you can plant. The cost of these varies based on their age but be sure to buy from a reputable dealer.
Gather Gardening Materials
If you have grown plants inside before, you may have most of what you need already. Indoor gardening will allow you to grow Ginseng in any season.
Here is the basic equipment you need for planting Ginseng indoors:
- A container with a water reservoir
- Loamy, well-drained soil
- Watering cans
If you’re really strapped for cash, you can choose a cheaper container and not worry too much about the accessories. But don’t sacrifice on the quality of the soil—good, loamy soil is essential for healthy Ginseng growth.
Plant the Seed Properly
If you want to follow traditional growing seasons, you will want to plant your stratified Ginseng seed in the fall. This will replicate the natural environment of the Ginseng, which may help with the growth. It is best to plant seeds at depths between ¾ to 1 ½ inches (2 to 4 cms). Rootlets should be planted 3 inches (8 cms) under the soil.
If you are trying to grow multiple Ginseng plants at a time, place them at least 3 inches (8 cms) apart to ensure adequate room to grow.
Watch Your Plant Grow
Once your seed is planted, then it’s just time to wait and maintain it! Overall, though, you are there to make sure your Ginseng doesn’t fall ill or catch any diseases. Also keep an eye out for pests that may damage the plant, though slugs and deer are the most noted predators and hopefully won’t present any issues indoors!
If you would like to understand the stages of a Ginseng plant, here is a guide to each stage of a sprouted Ginseng plant:
- Ginseng Seedling: Characterized by three leaflets from the stem of the plant. This occurs during the Ginseng’s first or second bloom.
- One-Prong Ginseng:Typically, the next step of the plant cycle, but it can be skipped. Occurs after 2+ years of growth. Characterized by a prong of five leaflets.
- Two-Prong Ginseng: If your Ginseng is in an ideal environment, it could skip the one-prong stage overall and instead have two prongs of five leaflets each. It may also produce some berries during this stage.
- Three-Prong Ginseng: After 3+ years of growing. Characterized by three prongs of five leaflets each. May produce berries.
- Four-Prong Ginseng: After 5-10 years of growth. This is a fully matured plant that will provide berries.
You are probably beginning to understand why Ginseng is so expensive to buy—it has quite a long growth period before optimal harvesting.
Harvest Ginseng Root or Berries When It Matures
The most valuable part of your Ginseng plant is the root, which slowly grows over time. If you want to harvest your plant immediately at maturity, you can, or you can allow it to keep growing to produce a larger root.
If you are harvesting Ginseng root, you may want to loosen your soil with water beforehand. This simulates rainfall and may decrease the chances of ruining the roots’ quality upon extraction.
Fun fact: If you are curious how old your Ginseng is, the bud scars on the root neck indicate the number of times your plant has bloomed and therefore represents growing seasons and years.
How Much Sun Does a Ginseng Plant Need?
Ginseng plants prefer to be kept out of direct sunlight. They naturally grow in places that are well-shaded and can experience burns if placed into direct sunlight.
This is why it is best to put your Ginseng plant in a spot that has access to indirect sunlight. Ginseng plants can thrive in areas that are 70 to 90 percent shaded.
How Much Water Does Ginseng Need?
American Ginseng grows naturally in a region that receives about 50 inches of rain a year, or a little over 4 inches on a monthly average.
That being said, watering your Ginseng once a week is probably your best bet. Remember, not all of those 50 inches of annual rainfall goes directly to the plant, so don’t overwater your Ginseng.
What Soil is Best for Growing Ginseng?
This might be counter intuitive, but you will want to get a well-draining soil for your Ginseng plant to ensure no mold occurs with your seed and roots. The best soil for Ginseng would be a sandy, loam-based soil with a pH range between 6.0 to 7.0.
What Fertilizer Should I Use for Ginseng?
There are no fertilizers that are recommended for Ginseng. This plant will grow without much interference but putting leaves atop the soil may simulate their natural environment if you want to try something to encourage growth.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Ginseng?
It can take at least five years for your Ginseng plant to reach maturity, but most plants reach this stage only around the 10-year mark. While it is a profitable plant and an herb with extraordinary properties, if you feel you are not ready to commit to a long-term project, you may want to try growing something else.
Growing Ginseng Indoors
If you are still looking forward to your adventure growing Ginseng, then it’s time to get that journey started!
Remember the basics of growing Ginseng indoors:
- Find high quality seeds and ensure they are stratified before planting
- Use well-draining, sandy-loam soil and place it in indirect sunlight
- Water it once a week and keep an eye out for pests, illness, or mold in the soil
Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.
Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.
Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.
Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.
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