Ginseng Planting Requirements

Ginseng is a Chinese herb whose roots are commonly used for medicinal purposes. Gardeners often raise ginseng as a valuable cash crop, though it can take up to 12 years for a harvest to be ready, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Once started, ginseng has very low maintenance needs, but the plant does have specific planting requirements that gardeners must follow to ensure proper seedling development and plant growth.

Site Selection

In the wild, the ginseng plant grows in rich woodland loam in partial shade. Mimicking these growing conditions can ensure proper ginseng growth and development. Gardeners should choose an area that's moist, cool and partially shaded. Aim to provide the ginseng plants with 75 percent shade, according to the USDA.

Soil Preparation

Remove all surface debris and amend the soil with several inches of aged compost to boost the organic composition of the dirt. This also helps the soil retain moisture, giving the ginseng roots the moist environment that they need. Though the roots enjoy moist soil, the plant itself needs fresh air to remove humidity. Insufficient air movement is one of the chief causes of ginseng plant diseases, according to the Ohio State University. Thin out surrounding shrubs and vegetation to ensure adequate air flow among the ginseng plants.

Planting Depth

Ginseng is typically started from seeds, available from specialty nurseries and garden stores. Seeds should be sown in the spring to a depth of 1/2 inch to 1 inch, according to the USDA. If more than one plant is being sown, the plants should be spaced apart by 6 to 8 inches.


Fertilization should generally be avoided, according to the USDA. If a gardener chooses to fertilize, the USDA recommends using rotted leaves or rotted wood chips stirred into the soil around the ginseng plants.

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About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.