Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

First year ginseng seedlings are fragile and difficult to ship bare-root. They transplant well into pots, though, so this is how we usually sell our plants.

This year we had bad luck with the seeds going dormant again, but we found that all the seeds we planted year before last, that had also gone dormant before we planted them, were sprouting this year. So at least I can get busy transplanting ginseng seedlings from seeds sown two years back.

American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.
American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.

I just dig them up with a ball of their own native soil surrounding them and transplant to small pots with commercial soil-less potting mix. To ship them this way, because of regulations, I’d have to knock all the native soil off of them and I’m not sure how well they’d do without a little of the native soil.

I'm transplanting ginseng seedlings. Here's a pic of not ginseng and ginseng.
Not ginseng and ginseng

Ginseng Seedling Lookalikes

Usually it’s the same culprits, like Virginia Creeper and wild strawberry, but one lookalike in particular gets pretty tricky. Elm seedlings look more like ginseng seedlings to me than any other look-alike. Sometimes the elm seedlings only have three leaves showing, making it even more similar to the ginseng. In the photo above, the ginseng seedling is at the top, nearly out of the photo. The elm seedling is the one with four leaves in the center. There is a poison ivy plant at the top left, nearly out of the frame.

I’ll be trying to get at least 50 seedlings potted today.

Update 5/22

I did manage to get more than 50 seedlings transplanted.

Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.
Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.

One of the seedlings had grown up through a skeletal leaf. I liked the way that looked and left it there, potting it leaf skeleton and all:

Lacy skeleton leaf of ginseng seedling.
Lacy skeleton leaf on ginseng seedling.

While I was at it, I made a very short video clip (terrible quality, sorry) to show the ginseng seedlings versus the elm seedling lookalikes:

Most positive ID possible

If the seedling still has a seed attached to the stem and root, it’s the most positive way I know to be certain of the identity:

Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.
Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.

 

 

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