Can you tell me anything about Motherwort?

quilt_mommy(5/6 Northeast Ohio)February 4, 2010

I received a packet of motherwort in a seed exchange and know nothing about it, other than after looking it up on Google I find that it is related to mint and is considered an invasive weed in some states. I live in NE Ohio - can anyone tell me anything about this plant? How do you like it in your garden? Has it been a problem or a joy for you? Any tips for handling it?

Thank you! :)

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I live in Western NY State and suspect that motherwort will behave relatively the same in your garden as it does in mine since geographically we live rather close and have roughly the same conditions.

I didn't have to plant motherwort. I live on what used to be a farm and a variety of different non-indigenous plants can be found about the property. Motherwort will self-sow but it is controllable. You can easily pull or relocate and plants you don't want. It doesn't spread uncontrollably via stolons like others in the mint clan.

I like it. It has small light purple flowers whorled around the stems which bumblebees love - bumblebees are a garden favorite of mine! The leaves are interesting. The dry seed heads are rather prickly so collecting seeds requires some pretty tough gloves. I haven't used motherwort myself but I've harvested plenty for others to use medicinally.

I think I recall the seed needing cold-stratification so check that out before starting your seeds. It does not need rich garden soil to thrive and lives quite happily in my heavy-clay. I have also found that it can be short-lived so I let it self-sow in the places where I want it to grow.

Here's some of the motherwort that grows "wild" at my place.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

It's a weed anywhere!

Best propagated by seed which it produces in abundance, or by cuttings taken in spring. Sow seeds at an ideal temperature of 20°C, and if no germination within 3-4 weeks, move to -4-+4°C for 2-4 weeks. It self-seeds readily and can become invasive. Grows in any soil but prefers a light, limey soil. It must be well-drained. Drought-tolerant but prefers a moist position. Will grow in sun but prefers a position where it gets sun only for part of the day. In very fertile soil, it can grow very quickly.

If you don't want it to self-seed, you must remove the flowers as they appear. A never-ending task.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 5:10PM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

I'm in the Southern Tier of NY and this plant does grow wild here, generally at the edges of woods or along paths in woods. It seems to like to have the shade at its back. I too like it for the delicate pink flowers. I would just cut to the chase and use cold stratification on the seeds.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 7:29AM
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wildforager(5b-WI)

Tincture the flowering tops. Its great for women who are going through menopause. Helps to level out hormones.

Good Luck,
Little John

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 12:30AM
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