Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) plants — also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry — are part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, datura and tobacco. In Ayurveda, it is typically used as an adaptogen, helping the body handle stress, and as a general health tonic. Like neem, it contains high levels of antioxidants and immune-boosting compounds.
The ashwagandha plant itself is a fast-growing perennial with attractive leaves and berries. Some reports indicate that large amounts of ashwagandha plant leaves are toxic but Indian visitors in our greenhouse often disagree. In either case, ashwagandha root is most often used as a medicinal herb. It is a tropical plant but does come back from the ground unless temperatures drop below about 20 degrees.
These ashwaganda plants are about 12 to 15 inches tall and should be planted in larger pots as soon as you receive them. Fertilize with a high-phosphate formulation (high middle number) to boost both the rots and the berries. The roots can be harvested in the fall — save the berries to plant in the spring, or they may be self-seeding in good garden soil.
OVERSEAS CUSTOMERS: Please contact us before placing an order. Some customers, including Canadian customers, must pay for a $60.00 phytosanitary inspection before trees or living plants can be shipped. Canadian customers also must purchase an import permit from their government.