American Ginseng - Key Growing Information
DAYS TO GERMINATION: 180+ days.
SOWING: Direct seed: Sow seeds ½-¾" deep (never more than 1" deep) and about 3" apart (15-20 seeds per square foot). Mulch with 3-4" of leaves or straw, and moisten the mulch to ensure that it remains in place. New shoots will be small when they first appear, and will look like bean sprouts with three small leaves. Keep well-weeded, but take care in weeding around young plants to avoid disturbing the roots. Once ginseng is well established, mulch will help to prevent weed growth.
LIGHT PREFERENCE: Shade. American ginseng grows best in its natural habitat under a hardwood canopy with at least 70% shade, comprised preferably of oak, maple, sycamore, or basswood trees.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: American ginseng prefers a light loam soil that has high humus content and a pH of 5.0-6.0. Good drainage is critical to ensure healthy ginseng plants.
PLANT HEIGHT: 8-16".
PLANT SPACING: 3-6".
HARDINESS ZONES: Zones 4-8.
HARVEST: Harvest may begin at the end of the third growing season, but the ginsenoside content increases dramatically between the fourth and fifth years — many growers wait until then to harvest. Roots should be dug in early fall (late August or early September), as the ginsenoside content is highest right after the tops have died down and the roots have entered dormancy.
For full cultural information, see tech sheet on American Ginseng Production from Seeds.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panax quinquefolius