Growing Bai Zhu and Ashwaganda
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Barbara Zieschang
Posted on: June 28, 1999

I have very nice Bai Zhu from Richters by way of a local professional grower. Scanning through the information available in your website files I find no listing for Bai Zhu, nor can I find an American/English folk name to cross-check. I always ask for the source especially for oriental medicinal plants. My plant is up-potted into 8" pot, growing well with about 6 hours of bright sun, morning and afternoon shade. I would like to put it out into the garden.

Bai zhu is hardy in zones 5 to 8. Needs well-drained soil in a full sun or partial shade location. In our greenhouses it grows very well without much care. We have not wintered it outdoors ourselves, but we would expect that it would do well in the indicated hardiness zones.

An ashwaganda from Richters several years ago is doing very well in the ground where a winter-hood-garden goes up each winter (I have several microclimates). Your description in your 1999 catalog does not include growing requirements and since I have only one plant, I do not want to experiment if I can get good advice on location and placement. Would it be perennial outside here in east central Oklahoma (near the Arkansas state line, at 1300’ elevation in a mountain-woodland on the western edge of the Boston Mountains). Growing advice will be appreciated.

Ashwagandha is an annual. It can be planted as a summer annual in the temperate zones, down to probably 3 or 4. Likes sun or half shade, and dry, stony (well-drained) soil.

Are you aware that many folk who receive your catalogs keep them for reference purpose? Your name is often mentioned as expert information from catalogs. My grateful respect to you. I write the newsletter, HERB*AGE, for Oklahoma Herb Growers & Marketers Association and I am an intense hobbyist-researcher. Also I write a weekly gardening column for Fort Smith, Arkansas, newspaper for 16 years. Thanks for BEING THERE!

Thank you for your feedback. It is much appreciated. It is a goal of ours to offer the support growers need to be successful in the herb business. That is why we started the Richters commercial herb growing conference, and now this year, the Research Day conference.

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