How To Grow Ashwagandha: Complete Guide

How To Grow Ashwagandha: Complete Guide

Native to India, Nepal, and Northern Africa, ashwagandha is a herbaceous shrub from the nightshade family. One of the most significant plants in Ayurvedic medicine is Ashwagandha, also referred to as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. It has been used for thousands of years as a dietary supplement to treat a variety of illnesses, strengthen the immune system, and lower stress and anxiety.

Traditionally, ashwagandha plants were grown for their roots. In USDA zones 7 and higher, these slowly growing plants are perennials and grow up to 3 feet tall. This article will go over how to cultivate Ashwagandha both outdoors and indoors, as well as how to harvest and use this highly effective medicinal plant.

What Is Ashwagandha?

One of the most valuable plants in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia is ashwagandha. Because of its exceptional capacity to hydrate the entire body, it is referred to as the top Ayurvedic tonic. It increases the body's capacity to deal with stress, allowing it to store and maintain important energy all day while encouraging sound, peaceful sleep at night. As an adaptogen, it not only ranks well among Ayurveda's top medicines for energy but also promotes mental calmness. 

Optimal Growing Conditions For Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an easy-to-grow indoor plant that requires little upkeep. It doesn't mind using soil and fertilizers, although it does appreciate a dry, sunny environment. What you need to know about addressing its optimal growing demands is provided here.

Light & Temperature

Ashwagandha thrives in full sun, so put it where there is at least six hours of direct sunlight each day in your garden. It can handle some partial shade, but it will grow more slowly and mature more slowly. Between 68°F and 95°F is the best temperature range for ashwagandha cultivation. 

Frost is not tolerated by this plant. In USDA zones 7 to 12, you can grow it as a perennial, while in zones 4 to 8, you can grow it as a summer annual. If you reside in a lower climate, start Ashwagandha seeds indoors, then when the temperature reliably rises over 59°F, transplant the plant to your garden.


Plant ashwagandha on soil that is 7.5 to 8 pH, sandy, and well-draining. Making sure that the soil does not hold too much moisture is one of the crucial components of successfully producing Ashwagandha. In its natural environment, ashwagandha thrives in arid, dry areas with typically deficient, rocky soils. You can amend your garden soil before planting with a little sand or horticulture grit to simulate its natural growing conditions and enhance drainage.


Ashwagandha only requires occasional watering. Use your finger to probe the soil to determine whether your Ashwagandha needs watering. It's time to water your plant if the top 2" feel dry to the touch. Above all, make sure the soil is properly draining. Ashwagandha is sensitive to root rot because it dislikes being saturated.

Nutrition & Fertilizer

Ashwagandha doesn't require fertilizers, like the majority of therapeutic plants. It is thought in India that fertilizers can change the flavor of the roots. Considering its medical applications, you should also refrain from using synthetic fertilizers, which can be harmful to human health.

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The simplest way to make sure Ashwagandha gets adequate nutrients is to use a soil mixture that has been enhanced with organic materials. Before you begin planting, you can add compost or manure to the soil to increase its fertility; this will be sufficient to maintain your plant's health.

How To Grow Ashwagandha From Seeds

Early in the spring, sow ashwagandha seeds indoors. The plants might take up to 180 days to reach maturity, and the soil temperature must be at least 70°F for the seeds to germinate. The easiest approach to ensure a lengthy growing season is to start them inside.

  • Fill many plastic pots or a seed propagation tray with organic, nutrient-rich soil that drains well.
  • After planting the seeds in the pots, give them plenty of water and a thin layer of dirt to cover them with.
  • Place the seed pots ideally on a windowsill in a warm, sunny area.
  • It can take 10 to 14 days for ashwagandha seeds to sprout. Up until the seedlings emerge, make sure the soil is kept consistently moist.
  • When you see seedlings, you can gradually cut down on watering, but never allow the soil to totally dry out.
  • When the baby ashwagandha plants are at least 4 inches tall, you can transplant them into the garden soil.

How To Grow Ashwagandha From Cuttings

  • If you have an established Ashwagandha plant that is at least 12 inches tall, you can utilize this propagation technique.
  • Cut a portion of the stem that is 4 inches long using a pair of sharp gardening shears. Remove the bottom leaves by making a cut 1/4 inch below the growing node.
  • The Ashwagandha slice should be placed in a glass or jar that has been filled with water. The growth node should be submerged, but the leaves shouldn't be. To hasten the propagation process, you can also use a rooting hormone.
  • Place the glass in a warm, sunny area and cover it with a clear plastic sheet to help maintain humidity.
  • Every five to seven days, replace the water in the glass.
  • Be patient; it may take the cutting several weeks to develop roots. You can put your new Ashwagandha plant in the ground once the roots are at least 2 inches long.

Common Ashwagandha Pests & Diseases

Aphids and spider mites are two common pests that may affect ashwagandha plants. When the plant is young, check it frequently, and pay great attention to the newest shoots because they are more susceptible to be attacked by pests. To get rid of aphids, use an insecticidal soap solution, and to get rid of spider mites, combine water and isopropyl alcohol.

The Ashwagandha plant is most frequently afflicted by Alternaria leaf spot. Yellowing of the leaves is one sign, followed by brown patches on the foliage, is another. The best fungicides to use to treat this kind of leaf spot are those that include copper or sulphur. Bordeaux combination is the best option if you're seeking an organic fungicide.

Harvesting Ashwagandha

It can take up to 6 months for ashwagandha to mature because to its slow development rate. It is time to harvest when the papery husk that protects the berries starts to dry up. You can easily harvest this plant by hand in your backyard. Give the dirt a good soak before grabbing the plant from the base of the stem and pulling it out to make harvesting simpler. To loosen the soil, you can also use a trowel, but take care not to harm the roots.

Use a sharp blade to cut through the Ashwagandha's roots and stem, then wash the plant to remove the soil. Cut each root into smaller, 2 to 3 inch long parts after trimming the roots from the root ball. Set up a drying rack and equally distribute the roots throughout the surface. Until the roots are totally dry, keep the rack in a dry, shaded, and well-ventilated area.


Ashwagandha seeds or root cuttings are the best places to start if you want to grow the herb. Online shops and health food stores both sell ashwagandha seeds. When you have ashwagandha seeds or cuttings, plant them in a sunny area with well-drained soil. Ashwagandha plants should be given frequent irrigation and a monthly application of all-purpose fertilizer. When ashwagandha plants have been growing for at least six months, they are ready for harvest. 

Carefully dig up the plant and wash the roots to obtain ashwagandha. The roots can then be dried and powdered, or you can brew ashwagandha tea by steeping them in hot water. Additionally, ashwagandha leaves can be collected and used either fresh or dried. Ashwagandha leaves can be cooked like spinach or used to salads. Ashwagandha leaves that have been dried can be used to produce tea or capsules.

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