Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

In preparation for next month’s talk at the Fayetteville Public Library’s Try FPL Series, I’ll be transplanting ginseng seedlings to pots. Each member of the audience will get to take one home. That event is on Wed, June 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library in downtown Fayetteville, AR. This event is free and open to the public.

nature journal workshop flierComing up before the ginseng event is a Nature Journaling workshop at The Place on the Square in Kingston, AR. Each participant of that event will be guided through a journal entry with a nature sketch and they’ll get one of my Nature Journals to take home with them. I’ll also bring several copies of the ginseng color page outline to send home with them. I’ll have the full package (outline and printed step-by-step guide) available to purchase and will leave plenty of sets of those behind to sell alongside my books and artwork at the shop. Seating for this event is limited, so be sure to call if you want to attend.

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.

[bctt tweet=”Just as mature ginseng has lookalike plants, there are lookalikes for ginseng seedlings.” username=”wildozark”]

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.



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

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Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

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