955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901  Phone: 1-877-564-6697  Fax: 1-800-738-6314 Email: [email protected]  Web Site: GROWING AMERICAN GINSENG (Panax quinquefolius)

American ginseng is a slow-growing plant native to the woods of eastern North America. This plant has an
upright stem supporting 3-5 fronds, each with 3-5 oblong, coarsely toothed leaflets. Tiny greenish-white flowers
appear starting in spring or summer of the second year, with bright red berries that ripen in late July to
October. The root is used medicinally as a general tonic to benefit vital energy and reduce heat in the
respiratory and digestive systems.
LIFE CYCLE: Perennial, Zones 4-8.
seed arrives. If your seed arrives before you are ready to plant, keep it cool (40F - 50F/5C - 10C) HEIGHT: 8" - 16"
and moist (but not wet). Never allow ginseng seed to dry out before planting or germination may be LIGHT/SOIL REQUIREMENTS: American ginseng
affected. Sow seeds ½-¾" deep (never more than grows best in its natural habitat under a hardwood 1" deep) and about 3" apart (15-20 seeds per canopy with at least 70% shade, comprised square foot). Mulch with 3-4 inches of leaves or preferably of oak, maple, sycamore, or basswood straw, and moisten the mulch to ensure that it trees. Avoid pine, spruce, hemlock, red cedar, and remains in place. Stratified seeds planted in the fall other conifers due to their shallow root systems will germinate the next spring, usually in late May. If (which compete with ginseng for nutrients). You your seedlings are slow to emerge in the spring, can also use artificial shade if you prefer to grow you may need to gently remove some of the mulch. the plant as a row crop. A system that works well is Replace the mulch after the plants emerge. New wood lath or slat shade frames erected over the shoots will be small when they first appear, and will beds and supported by a framework of strong poles look like bean sprouts with three small leaves. tall enough to walk under. The laths or slats are Keep well-weeded, but take care in weeding nailed so that about ⅔-¾ of the direct sunlight is around young plants to avoid disturbing the roots. prevented from reaching the plants. In certain home Once ginseng is well established, mulch will help to garden situations, you can also plant ginseng close HARVEST: Roots may be harvested as early as
American ginseng prefers a light loam soil that has the end of the third growing season but the high humus content and a pH of 5.0-6.0. Work the ginsenoside content increases dramatically beds six inches deep, raising the center of the beds between the fourth and fifth years - many growers to prevent water from collecting around the plants. wait until then to harvest. Roots should be dug in Amend heavy or clay soils with leaf mold (rotting early fall (late August or early September) as the hardwood tree leaves) or well-decomposed ginsenoside content is highest right after the tops compost to lighten the soil and improve the have died down and the roots have entered drainage. Good drainage is critical to ensure dormancy. Clean thoroughly by washing, being careful not to remove any rootlets. Place roots in a single layer and dry on screens in a warm, but not CULTURE: We provide stratified seed, which has
hot (maximum of 100F/38C), ventilated place that been kept in moist sand for one year and is ready is out of direct sunlight. Expect a drying time of to plant. We ship our seed in the fall and recommend planting it as soon as possible after the SEED BREEDERS, GROWERS, AND MERCHANTS SINCE 1973


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