Goldenseal and Other Herbs in Fir Forest
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Cheryl Shafer
Posted on: January 28, 2000

I have a fir forest and am certified organic. Is it possible to grow goldenseal in fir (zone 8)? Is there any medicinal herb that can grow in my douglas fir forest. I prefer native American herbs.

Goldenseal needs sun in the spring and dappled shade later in the year. This is not possible in an evergreen forest and therefore I do not recommend trying to grow it there. The fungi present in evergreen forest soils are different from those in deciduous forests and those of evergreen forests may not be compatible with goldenseal. See our web-site <www.richters.com> click on "Q&A" then on "Search Q&A", then type in "Goldenseal Cultivation" and check out the article for more on this.

Because the evergreen trees will eventually provide constant shade, they will eventually shade out anything you plant. This of course means that the forest will eventually be very clean and serene. A few Monotropas unifloras may seed themselves in it, and in any small clearing all sorts of orchids may appear. While the trees are still small and light gets to the soil, you should be successful with any of the herbs other than deciduous forest dwellers such as ginseng and wild ginger. Wild ginger would do well on the edges of even a mature forest. At first echinacea, catnip, blueberries, black-eyed susan, bilberry, bayberry, New England aster, anise-hyssop, yellow coneflower, coreopsis, purple foxglove, kenikir, wild leek, Lobelia inflata, milkweed, pleurosy root, California poppy, sweetgrass, wild tobacco would do well too. On the edges you could grow blue and black cohosh.

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