Learn how to grow ashwagandha in your garden. Growing ashwagandha is also possible in pots. It requires particular growing conditions which are given below.
What is Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, which is also called “Indian ginseng” is native to India. It is mighty useful plant according to Ayurveda, ashwagandha roots has medicinal properties and is used to cure debility, anemia, and impotency. Its regular use improves vigor and immune power.
Ashwagandha is a low growing perennial that grows up to 3 feet tall. Its leaves are long and elliptical, yellow-green. Its flowers are tiny bell-shaped followed by bright orange-red berries.
How to Grow Ashwagandha
Propagation and Planting
Ashwagandha is propagated from seeds. In India, it is cultivated in regions with low rainfall right after the pre-monsoon at the beginning of the rainy season in hot and humid conditions in temperature around 75 – 85 F (25 – 30 C). It is a drought-tolerant plant and grows in dry soil, once established.
For ashwagandha cultivation, plant seeds 2 cm deep and 10 cm apart when the temperature is around 70 F (20 C). Seeds will germinate in two weeks. Water the seedlings well while they are establishing. Thin out the weak plants after a month of growing, leaving the space around 50 – 60 cm between plants.
Requirements for Growing Ashwagandha
Plant ashwagandha in dry and sunny location of your garden. If the soil is poor add manure to enrich it and remove weed and debris from the planting site.
It needs sandy and well-draining soil in a way that water will drain out quickly, pH level should be around 7.5 – 8, neutral to slightly alkaline. Growing Ashwagandha is not possible in soil that retains moisture and remains waterlogged.
Watering should be economical and only when the plant seems thirsty. Indian ginseng is a drought-resistant herb and doesn’t like wet feet.
Ashwagandha grows best when the temperature ranges between 70 F – 95 F (20 – 35 C), below or above this it grows much slower.
Ashwagandha Plant Care
Similar to ginseng, the Ashwagandha plant is not fertilized usually due to medicinal uses of its roots. However, organic fertilizers are used. You can apply aged manure or compost near the base of the plant.
If you’re growing Ashwagandha in cooler climate overwinter it indoors. Keep it in temperature around 50 – 60 F (10 – 15 C) or cultivate it as an annual plant in spring and summer.
Pests and Disease
Pests like spider mites attack the plant. In diseases, the plant is affected by leaf spot, stem, and leaf rot. When the plant is overwatered root rot is possible.
Ashwagandha is ready to harvest in 150 – 180 days when flower and berries start to form and leaves begins to dry out.
Harvest ashwagandha roots by digging carefully using a small tool. Be careful not to damage the plant when digging up and make sure soil has some moisture while doing this.
After harvesting, roots, and barriers are separated from the plant. Roots are washed and cleaned and cut into small pieces of 7-10 cm and dried in sun or shade.
Berries are also separated from the plant, dried, and crushed to take out seeds.