Withania somnifera

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


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


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


Birmingham, Alabama

Novato, California

Redding, California

Temecula, California

Winchester, California

Pepeekeo, Hawaii

Staten Island, New York

Austin, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 23, 2016, Tiffit65 from Newport, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have been reading about this plant, withania somnifera.
What I have found is that this plants root is used in Ayerveda medicine, it is an Adaptogen, primarily used for its ability to prevent Anxiety, and shows promise for relieving insomnia, as well as reducing Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It does not go well with MAO Inhibitors.
It's also called Indian ginseng, and winter cherry. Has anyone had any luck growing this outside in New England(zone 5), and does it grow wild, or is it a plant one has to purchase.
I first stumbled upon it on Amazon, as Ashwagandha. Sold as a supplement for women, to increase their libidos, called KSM-66.
I was curious as to what it REALLY does, so I started looking into it as a plant, and came upon an article ab... read more


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.


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.