Ginseng is a perennial herbaceous root belonging to the Panax family. The name ginseng derives from the Chinese word rénshēn, which means “man root” because the shape of the fleshy root resembles the legs of a man. It is often used in traditional Native American and traditional Chinese medicine. Ginseng trees yield red berries when fully mature. The plant, however, is cultivated for its roots. It grows as wild ginseng organically in its natural habitat or cultivated ginseng in a controlled environment. It is quite simple to grow ginseng indoors but it takes a lot of care and maintenance.
Three common types of ginseng are true ginseng cultivars, which are American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Oriental ginseng (Panax Ginseng), and Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicus).
Grow Ginseng indoors
Growing ginseng is a slow and long process. They do reach maturity at the end of 4 to 6 years. Ginseng is cultivated in temperate regions because it is not too fragile and adapts to both frost and mild drought conditions. Losing all its leaves in autumn, it becomes dormant in the winter until spring. It is an outdoor plant that likes to grow close to trees or walls. It is usually grown on the ground but you can also grow it in the pots.
The easiest method for growing ginseng is to simulate wild conditions in the yard. Before growing the ginseng at home, confirmed that you can legally grow ginseng in your area.
We can grow ginseng from the seed or the root. Growing from seed is more expensive than growing from the roots produces a faster plant with an early harvest. Seedlings are priced differently depending on their age.
Healthy soil is important for any plant, and it’s certainly important for ginseng. Sandy loam is the best soil for growing ginseng, with plenty of organic matter and good drainage. Test the pH – it should be 6.0 to 6.5 for a healthy ginseng crop. This pH range allows the growing plants to use the nutrients in the soil effectively and discourages bacterial diseases.
Is it possible to grow Ginseng at Home?
It is not difficult to grow ginseng at home. Let’s take a look at the sequence of steps involved in developing ginseng from seed to harvest.
Ginseng can also be grown successfully indoors using containers with drainage reservoirs placed out of direct sunlight. Roots should be planted under 3 inches of soil and do best when planted in early spring while Seeds are to be sown in the fall at a depth of about 1 ½ inch.
How Ginseng is propagated?
Ginseng is grown from seed. At three years of age, the ginseng plant produces an abundant crop of berries each fall, which can be harvested, cleaned and planted, or sold. Because the seed is free, many growers prefer to use their seed for new plantings, rather than buying rootlets from other growers.
Place Ginseng in the Ground
To increase air circulation and limit the risk of disease, sow your ginseng seed approximately one-half to one inch below the soil surface, spreading them between three to twelve inches apart. Ginseng seeds can take up to 18 months to germinate while it takes 3 to 5 for ginseng plants to mature. Give it enough time. if we harvest sooner, the potency of the ginseng root will be affected and it will be less beneficial.
It needs to be watered regularly and in small quantities. Take care not to overwater the plant.
It does not necessarily require fertilizer. If you’re growing ginseng, it is better to cover the area with a layer of rotting leaves, which is ideal as ginseng fertilizer. They will also work as mulch.
Ginseng can withstand temperatures down to -40 F (-40 C), it becomes dormant in winter but during the dormancy period, it does not tolerate excessive moisture or rain. Therefore, to overwinter it, it is best to cover the plant with thick mulch. In warm climates, 2 inches of mulch is required, while in cooler zones further north it requires 3 to 4 inches thick layer.
For growing ginseng, summer temperature must not exceed 77 F (25 C) and humidity should be low, summer temperature around 62 – 70 F (17 to 21 C) is optimum for growing Panax ginseng, once established.
Disease and Pests Management
Ginseng is seldom bothered by pests. However, slugs often affect it. They devour the leaves, stems, and roots. To protect the plant from them, read our slug control tips.
It is commonly infected by diseases like Alternaria, gray mold, anthracnose, root-knot nematodes, and root rot. These diseases can be controlled by some preventive measures. Using disease-free soil, accurate watering, and treating or removing plant at the time when it is infected.
Ginseng plant takes 4 to 6 years to mature. Harvesting should be done when the plant has at least 4 leaves and they become yellow. Harvesting must be done carefully, use small gardening tools to dig and clear the roots. These roots are consumed fresh or stored and preserved either whole or sliced.