Wild Ginger looks lovely carpeting the understory of a Pacific Northwest forest. I’ve often admired it in its native landscape & longed to grow it in our garden.
Years ago, I bought a small pot at the Swan Lake Native Plant Sale & dug it into a nice spot in our woodland.
It didn’t survive.
Apparently, Asarum caudatum is only summer drought-tolerant “once established.” Mine died before its roots grew deep enough to survive between waterings.
My bad 😦
Later, I sourced another one from the Native Plant Study Group. I carefully planted it in a pot in our courtyard, where I knew it would get enough water. It thrived & eventually filled the pot.
By this spring, the Wild Ginger was established enough to divide.
Carefully, I slid the plant into a tub of water to tease the roots out of the soil. There’s so much to learn when I get a really good look at the roots of a plant. Asarum caudatum spreads through rhizomes, slowly travelling outward, just under the soil & starting new plants. This way, the established mother ginger can support the young ginger until its new root system develops & reaches deep enough into the ground to find moisture itself.
The original plant had crept around the pot several times. It created at least a dozen decent-sized root balls.
Score! 🙂 🙂
We’ll get several pots to tend through the summer diligently. With regular water & attention, these larger root balls will develop some of those delicate feeder roots & be ready to go into the garden in a few months.
Asarum caudatum is also known for shy spring flowers that hide under its evergreen leaves. Last month I found seed heads leftover from the blossoms. (Flies & beetles pollinate them – so those beasties had paid better attention than I had when the plant was flowering). I searched for some sign it self-seeded into the pot. (Ants typically carry the seed away.)
There were at least 6 Wild Ginger babies. Most were pretty tiny & I worry they might not survive the transplanting. Here are 3 with roots that are large enough to show up in a photo.
It took 4 new pots the same size the ginger had just come out of to give homes to all the divisions. That’s 5 in total.
By late September or October, the weather should still be warm & the rains will make the ground workable again. It’ll be an excellent time to transplant our treasures. They’ll settle in over winter & be ready to begin fresh in the spring. I reckon that with this many pots, we’ll be able to test them in a few different spots — to see which locations they like best.