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Asarum canadense March 2017 Know What You Grow

Asarum canadense

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.

Asarum canadenseAsarum canadense

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.

FAMILY Aristolochiaceae

HEIGHT  6-12 inches

WIDTH   12-18 inches

HABIT Spreading

ZONES  4 to 6

EXPOSURE Full shade to partial shade

FLOWER COLOR  Brownish-purple


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.