Canadian wild ginger is an evergreen ground cover throughout most of the Eastern United States.
The flower of Canadian wild ginger is hidden under the plant’s heart-shaped leaves.
Asarum canadense or Canadian wild ginger is an unknown plant to most Minnesota gardens. A different species of ginger than the culinary one most people think of, Canadian wild ginger was eaten fresh or dried by the early settlers as a ginger substitute. It has a pleasant ginger-like smell when brushed up against and makes a beautiful ground cover.
Asarum canadense is a slow to moderate grower and will not be aggressive or invasive. Heart-shaped evergreen leaves form a pleasant mound in any shade garden. This low-maintenance plant needs moist, well-drained soil in part to full shade. Canadian wild ginger has interesting flowers hidden at the base of the plant that are for the most part overlooked. Because they are so close to the ground, the flowers depend on crawling, rather than flying, insects for pollination.
Common Name: Canadian wild ginger
Botanical Name: Asarum canadense
Color: Evergreen Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-8
Blooming Period: Spring
Type: Perennial groundcover
Size: 6 to 10 inches tall, spreading 12 to 24 inches wide
Exposure: Part to full shade; full shade is best.
When to plant: Divide in spring; container-grown plants anytime.
How to Plant: Divisions or transplants
Soil: Moist, well drained
Watering: Water regularly until established, then during dry periods.
When to Prune: Tidy up any winter-damaged leaves in spring and you can check out the close-to-the-ground flowers.
When to Fertilize: None needed
In your landscape: A beautiful ground cover, but it is a slow grower, so have patience with new plantings.
From Minnesota Gardener Volume I Issue V. Photos courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture/NRCS/Plants Database