Withania somnifera
Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha
Type/Hardiness Herbaceous, shrub, perennial, annual, Tender
Flowering period
Height 36in/1m
Light preference
Soil preference
Sowing time/depth ,
Although native to India, the Middle East and North Africa, this tender, drought-tolerant perennial can be grown successfully in the UK as an annual, but needs to be started early, under glass, to ensure a long growing season. The roots and seeds have been used for centuries to remedy many ailments and conditions, but particularly for its claimed anti-inflammatory and stress-relieving properties. Much information can be found online. As with other herbal plants, it should be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. Other common names include poison gooseberry and winter cherry.

Externally sourced seeds.
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Sow under glass about 12 weeks before the last predicted frosts, thinly on the surface of good quality, moist, but not waterlogged, compost, covering with a sprinkling of sieved compost or fine vermiculite. Transplant seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on under glass, planting out in full sun when all risk of frost has passed. Some sources suggest that germination rates are low, but I have obtained very good results from sowings in a heated propagator.
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