Walking through Minnesota woodlands in spring it is always a delight to come across a colony of Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger. Seeing a green mat of heart shape leaves surrounding a maple, aspen or birch amongst the leaf litter is one of the many signs of spring in Minnesota. Wild Ginger can be easily started from plugs to incorporate into your shade garden. Combines nicely with other natives such as Trillium, Adiantum pedatum, and Dicentra or within your existing Hosta garden. Give it a try, I know you will be pleased and if you look closely under the foliage a beautiful rose-purple flower awaits your discovery.
BOTANICAL NAME Asarum canadense
COMMON NAME Wild Ginger
DESCRIPTION Minnesota native ground cover for the shade garden. Occurs naturally in woodlands throughout the eastern side of the state. Two dark green, basal heart-shaped leaves hide cup-shaped, purplish-brown flowers that appear in spring. Plants spread slowly by rhizomes.
HEIGHT 6-12 inches
WIDTH 12-18 inches
ZONES 4 to 6
EXPOSURE Full shade to partial shade
FLOWER COLOR Brownish-purple
BLOOM SEASON Spring
COMPANION PLANTS Trillium, Dicentra, Athyrium
GROWING AND MAINTENANCE TIPS Grow in average to wet well-drained soil in part to full shade. Slugs and snails can be a problem.
NOTES Ground cover for shade gardens. Asarum is not related to culinary ginger but does produce a scent that is reminiscent to ginger.