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Where NOT to Plant Ginseng

If you want to grow your own, it pays to know where to plant it. Conversely, it pays also to know where NOT to plant ginseng.

Don’t plant ginseng where:

  • it’s too dry
  • the ground gets too much sunlight
  • the trees are all oak or hickory or other hardwood

There is a place on our property where the trees are tall and the ground is almost clear of underbrush. At first glance it seems like this would be the perfect place to plant some ginseng seeds or rootlets.

The first step in learning how to grow virtually wild ginseng is learning where to plant it – and where NOT to plant. However, you may still want to experiment. I did try in that location, because in spite of knowing what I know, the spot looked very nice and would have been a great spot for harvesting later because it was easy to walk through.

It didn’t work.

The reason why it won’t work is because oak and hickory leaves form a dense mat on the ground each fall. They don’t decompose as quickly as do maples, dogwoods, pawpaw, beech or other tree leaves. The seedlings can’t push up from beneath the mat in spring, and therefore it just won’t work for a suitable ginseng habitat.

oak leaves on a rock
If the woods consist of mainly oak and very little else  it won’t work for ginseng.

It’s also been said or written in many sources that underneath cedar trees won’t work either. In this case, I also tried planting and found it to be very worthwhile. The plot underneath the cedars are doing great.

So it does pay to experiment, but if you only have a handful of seeds, don’t waste them under the oaks and hickories (if oak and hickory are the only trees in the forest). If there’s also maple, dogwood, beech, pawpaw, and other deciduous shrubs then give it a try if there’s enough shade and moisture.

You can find my books and articles on ginseng at our online shop or at Amazon.

Here’s the ginseng information page where you can find an index of my posts and the headlines about ginseng from the news. Feel free to submit any interesting links you know of by leaving a comment.

For helpful color photos of ginseng and companion plants, see our Into the Ginseng Wood collection:

header image for into the ginseng wood collection


1 thought on “Where NOT to Plant Ginseng”

  1. Pingback: Ginseng in mid- to late May

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