Often referred to as Niu Xi, the Chinese herb oxknee, Achyranthes bidentata, has longed been used for liver and kidney health. A hardy perennial in USDA zones 8 and higher, growing oxknee in cooler zones means you should consider oxknee an annual, or grow it in your greenhouse. With the right growing conditions, your oxknee herb will grow to 2 or 3 feet tall, flower in late summer, with the seeds maturing by mid- to late fall.
Start From Seeds
Plant your oxknee herb seeds in well-draining, loamy potting soil. This should be done in late spring because the seeds will germinate rather quickly.
Place the sown seed container in a warm, partially sunny location, or in your greenhouse.
Moisten the soil during the germination period. Do not overwater, but maintain a consistently moist soil environment for your germinating seeds.
Transplant to Your Garden or Container
Separate and transplant your oxknee herb seedlings when they have grown to a size you can handle easily, usually 3 to 4 inches tall, to larger pots or directly into your garden.
Place the oxknee herb plants in an area that receives partial shade during the day. Oxknee plants--both in pots and planted directly in the garden--do not care for full sunlight, and will grow best if you put them in partial shade.
Add compost to the soil. The compost will help drainage and provide additional nutrition.
Move your potted oxknee herb plants indoors or to your greenhouse before the first frost in the fall. If you have planted them in the ground, dig them up and replant them into pots so you can keep them over the winter. In USDA zones 8 and above, keep your oxknee outdoors and in your garden or landscape year-round, trimming it back after the seeds have been harvested in the fall.
About this Author
At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.