How to Grow Ginseng Hydroponically (Indoors and Commercially)

Growing ginseng hydroponically can reap many benefits, like:

  • reduced growing times,
  • higher quality stock, and
  • the ability to grow ginseng anywhere and in any conditions (including indoors).
how to grow ginseng hydroponically

Welcome to the Garden Bench Top where in today’s article we will be discussing all things ginseng and hydroponics. In this discussion, you can expect to learn easy tips for How to Grow Ginseng Hydroponically.

We’ll also look at the different varieties of ginseng, and why hydroponics is the perfect pairing to cultivate healthy ginseng plants and roots.

So if you are ready to begin your ginseng journey, let’s go make a (hydroponic) splash!

Instruction Guide on How to Grow Ginseng Hydroponically

In this section, we’ll be sharing some easy tips for growing ginseng hydroponically.

Growing Ginseng Root

Tips for Growing Ginseng Hydroponically

Ginseng is a notoriously slow grower – which explains why it yields such high prices. Did you know they are only ready to harvest after they reach the 6-year mark? In some regions, you are only allowed to touch ginseng when it has reached a minimum of 9 to 10 years.

Tip 1 – Get a Head Start

Growing ginseng from seed is achievable, but it adds more time on top of an already long growing process. So one of our top tips for growing ginseng via a hydroponic system is to start with seedlings. Avoid the hassle of stratifying your ginseng seeds and save yourself a few years.

We recommend you begin your hydroponic adventures with ginseng seedlings that are at least 1 – 3 years old. It will hasten the process dramatically, and increase your chances for success.

Tip 2 – Provide Adequate Shade

Whether you are growing ginseng hydroponically or in the soil, they require plenty of shade to grow. Ensure your crops are cultivated in spaces that receive at least 70-80% shade in order to grow high yielding ginseng plants.

Tip 3 – Feed Feed Feed

As with most production plants, the saying “You only get out, what you put in” rings true. And ginseng is no different. Ensure you’re feeding on a regulated schedule, with organic materials that would suit most other productive plants.

Make sure not to overfeed your ginseng crops, as an excess of nitrogen can actually have the opposite effect, and produce low-quality plants and roots.

Tip 4 – Inspect Regularly

If you are a diligent gardener, you will have a routine where you will do the rounds around your plant babies.

Following a regimented maintenance check and inspection of your ginseng plants is critical. It allows you to identify any problems early, giving you the best opportunity to implement a solution.

Plus, it takes so long to cultivate ginseng, it would be devastating to lose it to a simple pest issue or disease that could have been easily reversed.

Growing Ginseng Hydroponically – The Facts

Ginseng is a part of the Panax family, which is derived from the Greek word ‘panakeia’ which means all healing. It is a herbaceous root that is most famously used in traditional Chinese and Native American medicines.

It has a very distinct smell and taste, and is nowadays becoming very popular for its health benefits. Benefits like boosts to the immune system, ability to increase focus and concentration, and antioxidant properties.

Ginseng has many health benefits

Types of Ginseng

Overall, there are 13 species of ginseng in the panax family. The most well-known varieties are the American and Asian ginseng. Let’s take a closer look at these two varieties.

Asian Ginseng

There are actually two different varieties of ginseng that can be classified as ‘Asian ginseng’. There is Panax Ginseng C.A Meyer which is known as the Korean ginseng. As well as Panax Japonicus, which is known as the Japanese ginseng.

Irrespective of the origin of the ginseng, they both have a light tan color to the root, with an elongated rough, knobbly appearance.

American Ginseng

The American ginseng looks very similar to the Asian varieties, and is called Panax Quinquefolius. The main difference is where they are naturally found, which is in the forests of Canada and the US.

The ginseng plant has a distinct five leaf patterns, on each branch that comes off the main stem that shoots up from the ground. They grow flowers that are relatively short-lived, before forming the distinctive red berries that ginseng plants are known for.

Why grow ginseng hydroponically?

It makes a lot of sense to grow ginseng hydroponically.

Hydroponic systems allow you to increase the production yield per square foot, when compared to growing in soil. This means you can grow more ginseng at higher densities, at the same or higher quality.

Hydroponic systems also have the advantage of eliminating pests and diseases that originate in the soil. For example, fungus gnats require moist soil in order to reproduce. Since hydroponics is a soil-free system, the reproductive cycle of the gnats is broken, and no longer a threat.

Hydroponics is a great way to grow quickly

Another advantage hydroponics has over traditional soil growing techniques is growth speed. Generally speaking, plants grown in a hydroponic system grow much faster. A study by the ICMIE compared growing plants in hydroponic systems and soil based systems found that hydroponic plants did germinate and grew faster than soil.

This is great news for ginseng growers, considering the lengthy growth process to reach a viable harvest point.

How Fast Does Ginseng Grow in Aquaponics?

It is hard to say exactly how quickly ginseng grows in an aquaponic system, when compared to more traditional means of growing (such as soil). Especially when there are different laws around when ginseng can be harvested.

It does grow quicker than soil based plants, because you have much more control over the nutrient and water intake with a hydroponic system. Check out these 1to 2 year old ginseng seedlings growing over a 4 week period by HIPPO Farmtech

At the time of writing, there are 19 states that allow the harvesting of ginseng for export. These are (in alphabetical order):

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvannia
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia, and
  • Wisconsin

And each of these states have their own regulations in terms of harvesting times. We would recommend familiarizing yourself with the local laws before attempting to harvest any ginseng.

Final Thoughts

Growing ginseng with a hydroponic system makes sense.

Ginseng has a long cultivation process that can take up to 10 years before you see a return on your investment. Hydroponics will speed up the process and allow you to reap the rewards of growing your own ginseng at home.