Sarsaparilla is a wild, flowering herb in the ginseng family. It can successfully be grown by home gardeners from root cuttings. The herb can grow to be 24 inches tall. A single stem on the plant can have three prongs with five leaflets. The stalk itself is leafless. The plant is not overly picky of the soil that it’s grown in and it’s quiet tolerant of drought. However, it will truly thrive when planted in moist, well-draining soil.
Obtain your sarsaparilla root cuttings in the fall. You can purchase them from a home and garden center or plant nursery–or you can easily take root cuttings from an existing plant.
Remove any soil that remains around the roots by lightly shaking them.
Bury your cuttings upside down in a bucket of sand. Place the bucket in a cool place until the spring.
Choose a location for your sarsaparilla that has moist soil. Heavy clay areas should be avoided. Amend dry soil by adding compost and mulch to it. This herb prefers areas that are lightly shaded and cannot tolerate more than a few hours of direct, bright sunlight.
Dig holes 2 inches deep and 6 to 10 inches apart.
Lay a root cutting in each hole horizontally and cover with soil.
Water your newly planted cuttings lightly. Plan to water often to keep the soil moist.
Add a thin layer of mulch over your newly planted cuttings. No fertilizer is needed.
Cover your Sarsaparilla before the first frost of the cold season to protect them over the winter. You can cover them with heavy plastic or a cold frame.