Ashwagandha
Withania somnifera

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Withania
Species: somnifera (som-NEE-fer-uh) (Info)

Category:

Annuals

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

White/Near White

Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Smooth-Textured

Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Grenoble,

Birmingham, Alabama

Novato, California

Redding, California

Temecula, California

Winchester, California

Pepeekeo, Hawaii

Staten Island, New York

Austin, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

1
positive
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Sep 21, 2008, marwood0 from Golden, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

Interesting medicinal plant, reputed to be a vegetable version of rennet (for cheese making). The flowers are tiny and hard to notice, but the foliage is nice looking. The tiny berries grow covered in a calyx and have a pungent somewhat unpleasant and bitter flavor, as you would expect for an aruvedic medicine. They might make an interesting spice if used in moderation. Easy to germinate and grow, though they stayed small for me (~0.5 m) at my altitude (~1670 m). They enjoy full sun but will also grow in 1/2 day sun. No problems with pests in my experience, and bees do check out the flowers. Mine have done best in a moist mix of soil, manure, and compost like many Solanaceae do.

Neutral

On Jun 12, 2006, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

There are several translations for the common name of this plant. All of them involve "horse", since the Sanskrit word for horse is ashwa or something similar. Gandha, from the information I have read, is translated into English in several ways: "vitality", "scent or odor", and "sweat or perspiration". It is also possible that the name is a pun on a combination of these meanings.

The name was given in reference to the strengthening powers attributed to this plant in Ayurvedic medicine. It is fairly common to see Ashwagandha supplements sold in health food shops, as well as main-stream nutritional supplement outlets.