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How to Plant & Grow Pennywort Seeds

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pennywort is the name given to several different plants, but the most common one is also called gotu kola, or Centella asiatica and Hydrocotyl asiatica. It’s a small, creeping perennial plant with light green, scalloped leaves that spread vine-like over the ground in moist areas. Pennywort is considered a weed in many places, but it has the reputation of being able to help your memory if you take it on a regular basis in tea or as tincture. Seeds can be difficult to start, but you can do it with a little determination and patience.

Mix a good potting soil with about 25 percent Perlite or vermiculite and then fill a nursery flat with your mixture. Sprinkle with water. Fall is the best time to start pennywort seeds.

Scatter seeds on top of the soil mixture and then gently press them into the soil with your palm.

Keep your seeded flat in an unheated greenhouse or other location that stays cool throughout the winter. Keep the soil surface moist and expect your seeds to germinate in 30 to 90 days, but they could wait six months before you see any green sprouts above the soil surface.

Transplant your young pennywort plants to a shady, moist area of your garden when they have fully formed leaves, about 1-inch across.

Fertilize your newly transplanted pennywort with a high nitrogen plant food within one month of transplanting to the garden. Keep your plants damp by giving them supplemental water if rains are not sufficient, especially during summer.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Well draining potting soil
  • Perlite or vermiculite
  • Pennywort (gotu kola) seeds
  • Shady, moist location

Tip

  • Pennywort will often die back during winter in colder climates, but often comes back from the roots in spring. To help this happen, mulch the area where your pennywort is growing with compost, wood chips or other organic material suitable as mulch.

Warning

  • If you take this plant medicinally, it can cause headaches, vertigo and photosensitivity. Always check with your doctor before you embark on a course of herbal medicine.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.