Goldenseal and goldenseal root have been used by Native Americans as a dye and for their herbal medicinal properties since antiquity. Goldenseal is a perennial herb in the buttercup family. It is native to Canada and the eastern United States and generally grows best in those areas. It was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1905 as a medicinal herb with potential for cultivation.
Find an area with well-drained, humus-rich soil. Goldenseal plants require 60 to 70 percent shade. Prepare the soil with the equivalent of between 2.7 and 5.2 tons of lime per acre to create a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0.
Divide the goldenseal rootstock into 1/2 inch or larger pieces, and plant them 8 inches apart. Seeds are often not reliable for goldenseal propagation. Plant the rhizomes in the fall, about 2 to 3 inches deep, much like other bulbs and tubers.
Mulch the growing area to retain soil moisture and discourage weed growth. Rake the mulch to around 1 inch thick in the spring. Hardwood chips, bark or sawdust are the best mulches.
Be patient. Goldenseal is a difficult plant to grow and can take two years to bloom. If you are planning on harvesting the goldenseal roots, they should be ready for harvest and replanting three to four years after the initial planting.
Things You Will Need
- Well shaded area
- Hand shovel
- 1/2 or larger goldenseal root pieces
- Control slugs using beer traps or diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth, a mixture of lime and wood ashes, must be reapplied after rain.
- Irrigation is generally not necessary. However, in a drought the plant will drop its leaves and go dormant until the next season.
- Goldenseal has similar growth properties to ginseng.
- Straw, used as mulch, may retain too much moisture and result in plant rot.
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