Overwintering Shade Plants Arriving in Fall
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Aaron Moon
Posted on: November 12, 1999

I live in Wichita, Kansas, and am trying to grow ginseng, bloodroot, stoneroot, goldenseal, and mayapple. I was wondering if it was possible if you could tell me the best ways to grow them here. I have them in pots right now I don’t know what to do to winter them. Also, my goldenseal I guess got too warm in shipping because it started growing as soon as I planted it and now it thinks it’s spring. How do I winter this growing goldenseal and not kill it or shock it?

Since you have planted everything into pots, I don’t think you should disturb the roots any further this year. Plant them pot and all in a semi-shaded spot in your garden and cover them on freezing nights with bushel baskets and a leafy mulch -avoid evergreen boughs or needles. After about two weeks of this they should be hardened off and hopefully go dormant with the ever increasing cold. Give them a good hay or leaf mulch - you might want to keep it in place with some chicken wire spread over top and remove most of the mulch as soon as you get warm spring weather.

All the plants you have ordered grow naturally on the edges or in clearings of deciduous forests and therefore require some sun in spring, but are shade tolerant for the summer and benefit from being mulched heavily with deciduous leaves for the winter.

If you are unable to harden them off sufficiently to have them go into dormancy before the really cold weather sets in for good, you could overwinter them in a bright window in a cool room. You would be simulating spring for them and it is then that they do require direct sun light. With the sprouting goldenseal you may be forced to use this option.

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