Zone Nine Herbs
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Justin
Posted on: May 26, 1998

I just ordered Aloe vera, sacred bo-tree, fo-ti, neem, gotu kola and goldenseal from you. I already read your information regarding neem but I don’t have a conservatory and need to know how to grow it. Please tell me the right conditions for growing the rest of the plants. I am in southern California, not too far from Los Angeles where it is fairly warm but not humid (I think it is zone nine).

Aloe vera and neem are both tropical and won’t overwinter outside in zone nine. Bo-tree is only hardy to zone ten b and will also have to be overwintered indoors in your zone. Aloe vera needs very well-drained soil, while the other two need well-drained fertile soil. All three need a sunny window to do well. During the summer you can gradually expose them to more and more light and summer them outdoors.

Fo-ti is native to Japan and will have no trouble with your winters outdoors, but plant it in light shade in a moist to wet location, incorporating sand and peat moss in the medium to have it survive the summer heat. Gotu-kola will do well outdoors in a similar location that is constantly moist and semi-shaded.

Goldenseal may have problems with your hot dry summers. Plant it in the coolest spot you have, mulch heavily and be sure the planting medium is rich, moist and well-drained. If you do not have a cool spot, then summer the plant indoors in a cool bright but not too sunny windowsill.

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