Ginseng is the root of herbaceous plants belonging to the genus Panax. There are a few different types of ginseng, such as Korean ginseng and American ginseng. It’s believed that ginseng grows best in the mountains of Asia, but ginseng is grown worldwide. However, due to ginseng plants requiring cold winters, you’ll need to learn how to grow ginseng indoors.
Like medicinal plants like black cohosh, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and goldenseal, ginseng was a popular herb for Native Americans to use as a medicinal plant grown for nutritional value. Clinical research on the medicinal properties of ginseng finds inconclusive results about the effectiveness of ginseng as a medicine.
As a dietary supplement, there is no evidence to support that ginseng effectively treats any medical condition and that possible contaminants in ginseng products may cause adverse effects.
Can You Grow Ginseng Indoors?
Outside of their medicinal uses, Asian ginseng and Panax ginseng roots find use in Asian side dishes, tea and alcoholic beverages. Growing ginseng indoors is a great way to create your supply of this bitter yet sweet root if you’re looking to cultivate your own ginseng.
There are many ginseng benefits for your health, including reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system. Growing your own is pretty straightforward.
Growing ginseng indoors isn’t difficult, though it does require patience as germination takes up to 18 months. Stratified seeds – stored in sand or peat in refrigerated conditions for at least six months – are available for purchase and make germination faster.
Because it takes a minimum of five years for ginseng to be ready for harvest, you may want to purchase a seedling instead. Depending on your area, buying a seedling may be the pricier option.
Why Grow Your Own Ginseng?
Wild ginseng grows in deciduous forests across North America and Canada in areas with dense shade-facing slopes. In America, Panax quinquefolius grows in the mountain woodlands of the Appalachian mountains and, due to its popularity, has fallen under strict regulations regarding harvesting.
Restrictions vary by state, and permits are available to harvest, although knowing how to grow ginseng indoors on your property eliminates the need to purchase permits.
Growing Ginseng Indoors
If you’re starting with a seedling, plant roots under three inches of soil. They do best if planted in early spring. If you plan on growing ginseng to mimic outdoor conditions, use raised beds and netting to avoid disturbing your plant with foot traffic so you can grow wild-simulated ginseng.
How to Grow Ginseng Indoors
Ginseng plants are not high-maintenance growers and require little attention. To grow ginseng at home or when growing ginger in a pot, find a location out of direct sunlight with 75-80 percent shade and a pot about 15 inches in diameter with good drainage.
The best and easiest way to grow ginseng from seed is to sow regular or stratified seeds about 1 ½ inches into the soil and water well in the fall. Before planting, measure your soil pH, as ginseng thrives in slightly acidic soil.
Ginseng seeds germinate after the first year. After planting, growing plants flower and produce harvestable red berries, but the rootlets of ginseng plants are what you want to harvest.
Grow-ginseng roots reach maturity once they have grown at least three or more prongs, taking five to ten years. These prongs are not indicators of the plant’s age, only its maturity.
Can You Grow Ginseng Indoors from Bulbs?
When growing ginseng from seedlings, look for ones with dormant bulbs. To create your own potting mix, combine one part perlite, one part vermiculite, and four parts sphagnum moss. Moisten the mixture and add it to your pot(s) to fill ¾ of the way to the top.
Create an indentation in the middle of the soil for your ginseng bulb, then cover it with your mix. Flatten the potting soil and pack down the mixture. Move your pot into an area that receives indirect sunlight and partial shade. Water if the top layer of soil becomes dry to the touch.
Harvesting and Using Home Grown Ginseng
Once maturity is reached, harvest ginseng during its growing season in the fall, similar to harvesting ginger root. Ginseng roots are eaten raw or used in tea, soups, or stir-fries. Similar to harvesting ginger root. Roots are dried and then sliced or grated for use in the future.
After harvesting your ginseng root, peel it and slice off ten thin slices. Add your ginseng to five cups of water and bring it to a boil. Pour the water through a sieve to catch the ginseng and allow the water to fill a cup. Add honey to taste.
Note: Contact a doctor before using ginseng as a medication because ginseng dietary supplements have come under scrutiny for possibly containing filler materials like wheat or toxic metals.
Caring for Your Ginseng Plant
While growing ginseng indoors, weeds won’t be much of a problem, but adding mulch made of organic matter helps maintain the moisture level of your plant. To avoid buying mulch, create your own leaf litter by gathering items from outside.
Leaves, twigs, and bits of bark that have fallen from trees come together to make leaf litter and are essential parts of why soil remains healthy. The decomposition of these natural ingredients releases nutrients into the soil and keeps it moist. Poplar trees are deciduous flowering plants that make excellent leaf litter for your ginseng.
Rodents and Diseases
Diseases are more common when ginseng is grown under artificial shade or in intense ginseng production systems; your ginseng becoming infected is not likely if grown indoors. Unlike other plants, insects are not the main concern for damaging your ginseng plant, instead, worry about rodents.
Dealing with Root Rot
Root rot is less common for ginseng; however, it is serious. Fungal organisms cause root rot, and it is visible on your plant as discolorations of leaves. Infected roots also appear discolored.
Infected roots contain black spongy sections or will feel mushy to the touch. If necessary, dig up all infected roots before the problem spreads through the pot or root bed.
Because ginseng has such a long maturity time, ensure your plant has the best chance of growing without disease. Growing in pots with good drainage and good air circulation are easy ways to prevent diseases from taking over your plants.
Keeping Pests Away from Ginseng
Pests for your ginseng plant are those that interfere with its growth, including deer, rodents, as well as common insects. Homemade pesticides are a simple and effective way to kill pests targeting your plant.
Combine neem oil and the liquid soap in water and shake thoroughly in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto affected foliage to get rid of pests. This mixture also works as a natural fungicide to combat powdery mildew and other fungal infections.
Whether you choose to grow ginseng at home as medicinal herbs or are interested in growing your supply for cooking, growing ginseng is a rewarding project due to its protected status.
We hope that you found our guide on how to grow ginseng indoors helpful and consider sharing it with your loved ones on Facebook and Pinterest who may be interested in answering the question, “Can you grow ginseng indoors?”