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How to Grow Rhodiola Rosea

The Rhodioloa rosea, or rose root, is a hardy perennial that is not frost tender. It is hardy to Zone 1. This plant is not self-fertile, so it needs a male and female plant to propagate via seed. Bees and flies pollinate the plants. The planting spot must be chosen carefully—the Rhodiola rosea does not like the shade but will grow in most types of soil, to the point of tolerating drought in some areas. It also tolerates salty climates.

Choose a sunny spot that is raised. If the spot is not raised, you can use a raised bed to grow Rhodiola rosea. Dig a planting hole as deep as the root ball and twice the width of the root ball.

Center the Rhodiola rosea in the planting hole. Backfill the planting hole with soil. Water with 1 inch of water. This plant prefers drier soil and is drought tolerant after it becomes established. Water the Rhodiola rosea every week and a half with 1 inch of water. If you notice wilting, water every eight or nine days instead of every week and a half.

Pull the suckers if you do not want the rose root plant to spread. The Rhodiola rosea can become a nuisance if left alone.

Prune the Rhodiola rosea in the spring for dead and decaying plant matter. Prune the plant throughout the growing season for excessive foliage as needed.

Cultivate Rhodiola Rosea

Store the Russian rhodiola seed in the refrigerator for up to six weeks to help speed germination. Tamp seeds down and cover lightly with soil. Mist the soil with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging the seeds. Seeds germinate in approximately two to four weeks at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Separate the seedlings into individual containers when true leaves, the second set of leaves, form. Suitable sites have loamy, clay or sandy soil that drains well. The site must also receive full sun, as rhodiola will not grow in the shade. Transplants thrive as long as soil is not frozen.


To sow seeds, sow rose root in the greenhouse during the spring. Keep the soil moist.

The Rhodiola rosea can also be propagated with cuttings. Use the basal shoots in the early summer for best results. They should have at least 3 inches of above-ground stem before being transplanted. Keep the shoots in a greenhouse until mid-summer, when they can then be transplanted outside.

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