What Is Gotu Kola: Information About Gotu Kola Plants

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Gotu kola is often known as Asiatic pennywort or spadeleaf – an appropriate nickname for plants with attractive leaves that look like they were stolen from a deck of cards. Looking for more gotu kola plant information? Want to learn how to grow gotu kola in your own garden? Keep on reading!

What is Gotu Kola?

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a low-growing perennial plant native to the warm, tropical climates of Indonesia, China, Japan, South Africa and the South Pacific. It has been used for many centuries as a treatment for respiratory ailments and a variety of other condition, including fatigue, arthritis, memory, stomach problems, asthma and fever.

In the garden, gotu kola grows nearly anywhere as long as conditions are never dry, and works well near water or as a groundcover in dark, shady areas. If you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b or above, you should have no trouble growing gotu kola in your own garden.

Keep in mind that gotu kola plants can be aggressive, especially in warm, moist climates. If this is a concern, you can grow gotu kola plants in containers.

How to Grow Gotu Kola by Seed

Plant gotu kola seeds in a container filled with moist, lightweight potting soil. Be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom.

Water thoroughly after planting. Thereafter, water as needed to keep the soil evenly and consistently moist.

Transplant the tiny plants into individual containers when they have at least one set of true leaves – the leaves that appear after the tiny seedling leaves.

Allow gotu kola plants to mature for several months, then plant them in the garden when you’re sure all danger of frost has passed.

Planting Gotu Kola Starter Plants

If you’re fortunate enough to find gotu kola bedding plants, probably in a nursery specializing in herbs, just place the plants – in their nursery pots – in the garden for a few days. Once the plants have hardened off, plant them in their permanent location.

Gotu Kola Care

Ensure the soil never dries out. Otherwise, no gotu kola care is necessary; just stand back and watch them grow.

Note: Wear gloves when working with gotu kola plants, as some people experience skin irritation after touching the leaves.

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