Growing ginseng can be an exciting and lucrative gardening endeavor. With laws and regulations surrounding the harvest and cultivation of ginseng throughout the United States, the plants require very specific growing conditions in order to truly flourish. However, many people are able to produce adequate crops of ginseng root in a wide range of climatic conditions. With special consideration and the establishment of seasonal care routines, growers can maintain healthy ginseng plants for years to come.
Is Ginseng Frost Tolerant?
As a native to much of the eastern United States and Canada, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a cold tolerant perennial plant that is hardy to temperatures down to about -40 degrees F. (-40 C.). As temperatures begin to cool in the fall, ginseng plants prepare for winter dormancy. This period of dormancy serves as a type of ginseng winter protection against the cold.
Ginseng Winter Care
Ginseng plants in winter require little care from growers. Due to ginseng cold hardiness, there are only a few considerations which must be taken throughout the winter months. During the winter, the regulation of moisture will be of the greatest importance. Plants living in excessively wet soils will have the greatest issue with root rot and other types of fungal diseases.
Excess moisture can be prevented with the incorporation of mulches such as straw or leaves throughout winter. Simply spread a layer of mulch on the soil’s surface over dormant ginseng plants. Those growing in colder climate zones may need the mulch layer to be several inches (8 cm.) thick, while those in warmer growing regions may require less to achieve the desired result.
In addition to regulating moisture, mulching ginseng plants in winter will help to protect against damage from cold. When warm weather resumes in the spring, mulch may gently be removed as new ginseng plant growth resumes.