Ginseng, known botanically as Panax, is a perennial woodland herb prized for its root, which is widely used in holistic medicinal and nutritional preparations and as a flavoring agent. According to Purdue University, ginseng seeds germinate and mature to become fruiting and seed-bearing plants in three to five years time. Each fruit produces two to three seeds; nearly 200 bearing plants are required to produce 1 lb. of seed. These facts, along with its highly specific cultural requirements, make ginseng a costly crop to grow in small quantities or over the short term. According to Virginia Tech University, as of 2009, there are approximately 20 commercial outlets for American ginseng seed.
Find and do business with experienced ginseng farmers in the Midwest, Southeast and Southern regions of the United States where ginseng grows naturally. Ginseng farmers are the primary sellers of viable ginseng seed in the country, according Virgina Tech University.
Order and purchase your ginseng seed in July or August and have it scheduled for delivery in mid-October, in time for planting. By purchasing early, you are ensured a volume of quality seed–not the dregs of the seed crop left over after other growers have made their purchases.
Know the appropriate market price range for the seed and be prepared to pay for quality viable seed. Discount ginseng seed is an oxymoron in the marketplace and is unlikely to be a bargain in the long run due to poor quality and germination failures. According to Virginia Tech University, as of 2009, 10 lbs. of ginseng seed would sell for an average of $800.