Wild ginger is another one of our woodland plants that is under-used. Wild ginger is an excellent ground cover and an exceptional companion plant. The beautifully shaped leaves stay in wonderful condition all summer. Wild ginger produces unusual brown flowers that hide under the leaves. The flowers are round at the base and have three flared out points at the opening. They are like the surprise that makes the plant all the more special, unless you know where to look you would not see them.
The name wild ginger is misleading. It is not the herb used for cooking and should not be eaten. The leaves and stems when broken smell like ginger hence the name.
Wild ginger spreads by rhizomes and quickly makes a nice colony. Wild Ginger loses it leaves in the fall and you can see the spreading rhizomes against the soil. This is the best time to divide the plant if you want to propagate it. Wild ginger is easy to transplant moves quite nicely. Wild ginger is easily spread by seed also. You need to harvest the seed when ripe, usually when the seed pod mashes when gently pushed on. You need to get to the seed before the ants and other animals harvest it for themselves.
Wild ginger needs woodland conditions to thrive, shade, moist soil rich in organic matter. The soil should be moist but well drained. Wild ginger is a reliable ground cover, makes a nice companion plant to wild columbine, ferns, foam flower, Jack-in-the-pulpit and other spring flowering plants. Wild ginger also fills in nicely for other plants that go dormant early such as trout lily and Virginia bluebells.
Asarum canadense - Wild ginger
-An excellent ground cover
-Wild ginger is an alternate food source for Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies
-Very shade tolerant, interesting leaf shape
-Height: 6 to 10 inches
-Zone: 3 to 8