How to Establish a Wild American Ginseng Colony?

greenthumbzdudeFebruary 22, 2013

So I have read alot about this plant and the value that it has. My plan is to establish a colony in the public park near me (this would considered guerrilla gardening). I would like to ultimately be able to sustainably harvest a portion of the plants when they mature in 10+ years. I am just not sure where to get seed or how to plant them. The park is mostly loaded with invasive species like amur honeysuckle, norway maple, autumn olive, and japanese honeysuckle. Deer are another problem.So I am not sure how I would deal with that. However the soil underneath is very dark and rich which I believe would be excellent for the ginseng. There is some American ginger and Solomans Seal growing in the area as well.

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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

There are some sellers on EBAY that have seed for Panax/Ginseng for sale. Some of the sellers sell the seed already stratified so that it takes less time for germination. If you do not buy stratified seed it can take a couple of years for germination of the seed. The sellers also have instructions on preparing the site and growing the Ginseng properly.

May I suggest you find out the laws in your state for harvesting/growing Ginseng-some laws require a license and if you plant on public lands harvesting might be illegal even if you are the one who planted them.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:55AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Public parks and land that I know of have rules against picking any plant material - regardless if whether you originally dropped the seed there or not. They may also not be too kind to you planting seeds, even desirable plants like ginseng, in the first place.

I would suggest finding a local private landowner you can work with. I think it would be a better situation all the way around.

Besides seeds, I have seen some places sell rootlets which can speed up the process but they are more expensive than seeds.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:14PM
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you must imitate natural conditions as nearly as possible to make it work and even then it is challening but can be done, i've established a lot of am ginseng on my property over the years. suggest reading 'growing at risk medicinal herbs' by richo cech for details.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:09PM
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I'd definitely search for live roots.....the from-seed route is going to frustrate you. My state has the most, or perhaps all of, the commercial ginseng growing that is done in the US. Perhaps a search of Wisconsin ginseng growers might yield useful info for you.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:45AM
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agree its easiest to start with live roots, many nurseries now sell them so they won't be a problem to find in the commercial market. cheers and best wishes for your success!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:33PM
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i started a patch with very fresh seed that was given to me in the fall by a friend who grows it to sell in his herb business. He told me to rake up the soil surface, scatter the seed, lightly cover it and water it in, letting the leaves fall over it as they may. I did this and it came up nicely in the spring. My little patch is thriving after 5 years. It does go dormant in late summer. I planted it in the woods where I had cleared out weeds and honeysuckle under a grove of oaks.

I planted another small patch a few weeks later, but the seed had already gone into dormancy and it didn't come up until the second spring. It too is thriving now.

The soil is general woodland soil, not wet or too dry, just average. I don't take any special pains to keep it watered, it is fine on its own. I don't rake the leaves out or tidy up the patch.

It seems to grow well in the same woods with trilliums, solomon's seal, mayapple and dogtooth violets. It is primarily a deciduous woods with oaks, dogwoods, hackberry, wild cherry, and some elm.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:39AM
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You know, you could well spend quite a bit of money buying roots, several years waiting for "your" colony to mature, then find all your plants dug up by a ginseng hunter. I volunteer manage a 40 acre woodland nature preserve, and only manage to keep a few isolated ginseng plants going; the rest get poached. Some mushroom hunters keep one eye out for ginseng. Instead of trying to make a personal gain on public park land, how about volunteering to clean out invasives to improve the habitat for native plants? I'm on a soapbox because with our land trust's preserves, we rarely have the public volunteer to help with our maintainance work, but they're all out there by the dozens to hunt mushrooms (and poach ginseng or deer).

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:12PM
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