Ginseng or Other Crops to Grow in Hawaii?
Answered by: Kim Hector and Conrad Richter
Question from: Leilea Satori
Posted on: October 04, 2007

Aloha. I own a 2 acres piece of property in Hawaii. I would like to grow ginseng. I live at about 2,500 feet and in a forest with native Hawaiian hard woods. I picture ginseng all thru the forest. Do you think it will grow and make its medicine here? In the winter the nights get down to about 45 degrees at the lowest. But usually stay in the 60s on average at nights. Does it need a freezing?

Ginseng does need to freeze in order to germinate so I am afraid you would not have much luck in Hawaii. Ginseng survives in zones 3-8 and you are in a zone 10.

Aloha Kim. Thank you for the fast reply. That is a bummer. I was so stoked on the idea of ginseng in my forest. That brings me to another question. We would like to grow an agricultural crop. We are thinking highly of different herbs to then cut and bag and sell in the stores, markets and restaurants on the island and beyond. Do you have any thoughts on this or could you recommend a good smaller crop that we could grow on our property? It’s 2 acres of sloping land. Most of the land is forested with guava, ohia lehua, koa and some eucalyptus. We have cleared a lot of the trees and tarests (sp?) and planted gardens. We are 2500 feet and annually about 80 inches of rainfall. I can later show pictures but could you recommend an herb or a few that might do well and is in demand? We would be organic.

Have you considered spices such as ginger and cardamom and others? When certified organic and fresh they may well find a ready market in your area and beyond. Because the size of the land is only two acres you are limited to what we call "craft growing" projects. "Craft growing" means growing with a high level of care to produce high quality products in small quantities (relative to large scale commercial conventional production). Getting your product mix and markets lined up right is tricky, so you need to go slow, trying only a few products at a time until your products develop traction in your markets.

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