-->

Growing Ashwagandha From Seed and Cutting | How to Grow Ashwagandha at Home

Can you grow ashwagandha at home? Know how to grow ashwagandha plant from seeds and cuttings, as I am growing it in Sydney, Australia. The article gives a detailed guide on growing ashwagandha plant in a pot easily, even indoors.

Ashwagandha, (English name - Withania somnifera), is a powerful herb of Ayurveda.

It is commonly referred to as "Indian ginseng" or "Indian winter cherry" and has been used for centuries to promote vitality and immunity. It reduce stress, improves brain function and boost overall well-being.

Grow Ashwagandha Plant
Ashwagandha Plant

The ashwagandha herb has a long history of traditional use for its rejuvenating properties, and it can be a valuable addition to your garden when grown at home.

Ashwagandha is native to India. It grows best in warm and dry environments, but can be grown in other locations including Australia with correct care. In USA, you can grow it as a perennial in USDA zones 7 to 12, while in zones 4 to 8, grow it as an annual in summer.

Growing Ashwagandha at Home

Growing ashwagandha plant at home is easy if you get the right seeds. Ashwagandha  is a perennial plant in tropical climate, but can be grown as an annual as it is extremely frost sensitive.

Follow the steps given below to successfully propagate and cultivate ashwagandha root at home.

Growing Ashwagandha Plant from Seeds

Propagating ashwagandha from seed will allow you to harvest its roots and leaves in just 6 months. The ashwagandha plants grown from seeds take up to 180 days to reach maturity, when they are ready for harvesting.

Selecting the Right Ashwagandha Seeds

Start with high-quality ashwagandha seeds to germinate them and grow. Look for fresh seeds from a reliable source to ensure better germination rates. I got ashwagandha seeds online from Australian suppliers, and some of them germinated well.

Soil

  1. The soil should be fertile and loamy, having pH in the range of 7.5 to 8.0 and good drainage to prevent waterlogged roots.
  2. Mix compost or well-rotten cow manure in the soil. This provides essential nutrients to the soil and improves its texture.

Germinating and Planting Ashwagandha Seeds

Ashwagandha Seeds for Planting
Ashwagandha Seeds

To germinate ashwagandha seeds, follow these steps:

  1. In Spring, soak the seeds in warm water for 12-24 hour to soften the hard coating on seeds.
  2. Plant the seeds approximately 2 cm (1/4 inch) deep in seed raising mix in small pots or seed trays.
  3. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the germination period.
  4. Place the pot at a temperature between 20-29°C (70-85°F). If outside temperature is too low or too high, then you can start seeds indoors. Place the pot in a warm and sunny location indoors.
  5. Seeds will germinate in 10 to 30 days, depending on the temperature and the age of seeds.

The leaves are mostly oval in shape, from 5-15 cm (2-6 inches) long on a mature plant.

Ashwagandha seeds germinated in soil
Ashwagandha Seeds Germinated

Transplanting Seedlings

Once the seedlings have grown large enough and have a couple of sets of true leaves, transplant them into your garden.

Ashwagandha Propagation From Cuttings

You can also grow ashwagandha from cutting. The procedure is same as for rooting cuttings of other plants like blueberries, rubber plant, croton, etc.

  1. Rooting Ashwagandha cutting in water: Take a 4 to 6 inch long cutting from a mature ashwagandha plant. The bottom of the cutting should have a node. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cutting in a glass containing water, just enough to cover only the node. keep leaves pout of water.
  2. Cover the glass with a plastic sheet to create a mini-greenhouse.
  3. Place the glass in a warm place, out of direct sun.
  4. Change the water in the glass once every week.
  5. The cutting may root in a few weeks time.
  6. Transplant the rooted ashwagandha cutting into the soil when the roots are about 3-4 inch long.
  7. Rooting Ashwagandha cutting in soil: You can root the cuttings by planting directly in soil. To do that, apply some rooting hormone at the cut end of the cutting and insert in free-draining soil, about 1 inch deep. keep the soil damp. Cover in a bag to maintain high humidity.

Care For Ashwagandha Plant

Once you have grown your ashwagandha plant from seed or cuttings or bought a seedling, you have to take its proper care so that it grows well and you can have a good harvest in six months. Following are the important tips for caring ashwagandha plant:

Choosing the Ideal Location

Ashwagandha are tropical plants, so thrives in warm, sunny climates. Select a spot in your garden that gets direct sunlight. It grows well through most of Australia.

Watering

Ashwagandha is drought tolerant, but prefers moderate watering. Water the seedlings thoroughly when they are establishing.

Water deeply when the soil surface begins to dry out, but avoid over-watering to prevent root rot. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.

Fertilization

The plant does not need fertilizers, but you can apply a low dose of balanced, organic fertilizer or some manure during the growing season. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Staking

Put some stakes in the soil as the ashwagandha plants can quickly grow up to about 1 m (3 feet) tall as they mature.

Pruning

Prune the plant to encourage bushier growth and remove any dead or diseased branches.

Pest and Disease Management

Ashwagandha is relatively pest-resistant, but it can occasionally fall prey to aphids, spider mites, or root-knot nematodes. Spray Neem oil regularly to help control common pests.

The plant may suffer from Alternaria, causing yellowing of the leaves, followed by brown foliage spots. it can be treated by a s[ray of copper fungicide.

Ashwagandha Flowers

Ashwagandha flowers are self pollinating due to close proximity of stigma and anthers, so only one plant is sufficient to produce fruit.

Ashwagandha is often mistaken for potato because, its seedlings and flowers look similar to those of potatoes. But Ashwagandha flowers grow into physalis like lanterns with red, papery coverings that wrap around soft berries.

Harvesting Ashwagandha

The ashwagandha plants reach maturity in about around 4-6 months. The plant grows about 1.5 m tall on maturity.

You can harvest roots in autumn (fall) when the papery coverings of berries begin to dry out. Dig out the roots, wash them with water and dry them in the shade to preserve their medicinal properties. Leaves and seeds can also be harvested for various uses.

Growing Ashwagandha in Pots

You can grow Ashwagandha in pots quite easily in a 12 inch pot. You can grow in plastic or a  terracotta pot, but terracotta is ideal to grow it, as it does not create excessive moisture.

Ashwagandha Plant In a Pot
Ashwagandha Plant Grown from Seed In a Pot

Ashwagandha is very sensitive to over-watering, that can result in root rot. So correct watering is very important if growing in a pot. You should water only when the top 2 inches of soil gets dry to touch.

Ashwagandha Benefits

Every part of ashwagandha including leaves, berries and roots have medicinal properties and are edible, but normally its dried roots are consumed.

The ashwagandha roots contain phytochemical compounds, which help lower blood sugar levels, strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and improve memory.

Ashwagandha is a non-toxic, safe herb, if consumed in reasonable dose. However, its stems and leaves are toxic due to the presence of  poisonous chemical compounds called solenoids.  Ashwagandha berries and roots are edible, the roots can be eaten raw or dried and powdered.

Large doses can cause vomiting, drowsiness, upset stomach and diarrhea. It can increase the risk of miscarriage, so unsafe for pregnant women and also while breastfeeding.

You should consult with your doctor before consuming this herb.

With the right care and attention, you can cultivate a thriving ashwagandha plant in your garden.