Ginseng is a perennial plant that grows in the wild under the forest canopy. The roots of the plant are highly sought after, especially in China. For centuries the Chinese have used the ginseng root as an aphrodisiac and for medicinal purposes. Most growers sell pre-stratified seed that should be planted in the fall for spring growth. It can be planted in the spring; plant no later than the beginning of April.
Choose a planting area that receives at least 70 percent to 80 percent shade.
Amend the soil, if needed, so that it is well drained. The ideal growing situation for ginseng seeds is the forest floor where the soil is full of rotted leaves. If you live near a wooded area, grabbing a few bushels of some soil from beneath the trees is one idea. Otherwise, add 5 or 6 inches of peat moss to the soil and work it in gently. To simulate growing in the wild, the soil should not be overly tilled.
Plant the seeds 4 to 6 inches apart, in rows 8 to 10 inches apart. Push them 1/2 inch into the soil.
Cover the seed bed with a 1-inch layer of leaf mulch. Some municipalities make leaf mulch from leaves they collect while cleaning streets, parks and government property, then either sell the mulch or, in some cases, give it away. If you cannot find leaf mulch, cover the bed with rotted leaves.
Maintain the planting bed by pulling any weeds.