If you want to learn how to grow astragalus, here’s everything you need to know. Growing astragalus is not difficult. It is a perennial medicinal herb that is native to China and Mongolia.
USDA Zones— 6 – 9
Soil pH— 6.6 – 8.5
Other Names— Astragale, Astragale à Feuilles de Réglisse, Astragale Queue-de-Renard, Astragale Réglissier, Astragali, Astragalo, Astragalus Membranaceus, Astragalus mongholicus, Astragli Membranceus, Beg Kei, Bei Qi, Buck Qi, Chinese Astragalus, Huang Qi, Huang Se, Hwanggi, Membranous Milk Vetch, Milk Vetch, Mongolian Milk, Ogi, Phaca membranacea, Radix Astragali, Radix Astragalus, Réglisse Bâtarde, Réglisse Sauvage.
The inflorescence is a dense brush of yellowish flowers in the appearance reminiscent of peas, which after maturing turn into the oval or egg-shaped beans.
It is easy to grow plant with many medicinal uses and its appearance harmoniously decorate the landscapes.
Propagation and Growing Astragalus
Astragalus can be propagated by seeds and division. It can be grown from seeds in spring or summer or when the temperature is warm. Although, seed germination rate is low.
How to Grow Astragalus from Seeds
Astragalus seeds require treatment. First, you have to scrape the hard seed coat. You can do it by rubbing the seeds lightly on sandpaper. Scraping the outer hard shell will accelerate the germination. However, ensure that the inside of seed must not get damaged in the process.
The next step is to soak seeds in warm water overnight. After that, remove the seeds from the water and plant them.
Growing Astragalus from Seeds
The seeds must be first planted inside. Therefore, plant seeds in a small pots or seed tray that are at least 2 inches deep. For growing medium, use good quality seed starting mix or make it yourself.
Plant seeds an inch deep and water the soil slowly. Keep the soil evenly moist but not damp until germination occurs. It would be better to keep the pot in a place that receives morning sunlight. Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings are a few inches tall, transfer them to larger pots.
Handle the plant carefully to avoid any damage to the roots. Make sure you place the plant in a spot that gets plenty of the sun. Plant them outdoors in the spring, only, when the danger of frost is passed.
Clean up the planting site and make a hole about twice the diameter of the rootball of plant and of the same depth. You can also put compost or aged manure before you reseal the hole.
If you are planting more than one plant, space them at least fifteen feet away.
How to Grow Astragalus in Pot
You can also cultivate potted astragalus, but it is important to place them in a light colored pot to avoid temperatures mounted black pots. If you transplant your astragals pot, you must make a hole diameter of about 20cm.
Requirements for Growing Astragalus
It grows best in a location that is sunny. However, you can also plant it on a spot that receives shade in the afternoon.
Astragalus grows well in a relatively rich soil that remains slightly moist with a pH level around or just over 7.
Normally, the astragalus should be planted on the ground that is well loosened and free of stones or debris. Sandy soil is ideal because it allows good root growth.
As sandy soils do not retain water well, it is important to water regularly. If you’re growing astragalus in pots, it is important to keep the root ball of your plant moist, especially during the summer.
Mulch around the plant with compost or well rotted manure in every few months or so, this will also work as a fertilizer.
Fertilizing with natural organic fertilizer is enough. Still, if the plant is not growing well use balanced slow-release fertilizer according to product instruction.
Astragals are perennials and quickly become invasive in favorable conditions. It is important to perform an annual pruning to keep them in desirable shape.
Harvest the roots after the plant is three years old. After harvesting, clean and wash the roots with warm water, slice and dry them for later use.
To keep the plant living, harvest no more than 30 percent of small peripheral roots, leaving intact the main root.
If you are planning to use the plant for medicinal use, avoid the use of inorganic fertilizer and pesticide near the plant. Fertilizers and pesticides if used near the plant may affect and change the chemical composition of the plant enough to affect anyone taking a medical dose.