Asarum canadense

Wild Ginger

$3.00 - $7.00



Best known for its use as an attractive, low-growing ground cover in a shaded, or dappled light setting, Wild Ginger is also deer-resistant. Simply having a shade site is not enough; consider this plant only if you have a moist, yet well-drained site, typical of a rich, humus woodland. Soils that do not drain well or have a heavy clay component are not ideal and the Ginger will likely not thrive.

It will max out at about  6" in height and the large heart-shaped leaves can be 6" in diameter. The leaves are shiny when fully opened and the stems are hairy.  Unlike many early spring woodland plants,  Wild Ginger will keep its foliage throughout the season; it will not go dormant so it is a good species to plant among the spring ephemerals that do go dormant.  An attractive dark red flower will appear under the plant early spring but will fade fairly quickly.

Although unpalatable to deer and other mammals, Many insects are attracted to Wild Ginger, including ants, believed to pollinate the plant. It's best to propagate this plant by divisions rather than try to get it going from seed. Divide plants in the early spring before they are actively growing or in the fall as they go dormant. Wild ginger serves as a host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor

Other common names include Woodland Ginger, Ginger Root, Heart Snakeroot, Indian Ginger, Asarabaca, and Catfoot.

*This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity.  Please note the germination code. Seed of this species is kept under refrigeration (33-38 F) in our warehouse. The days in transit to you in colder or warmer conditions won’t harm the seed, but it should be put back in refrigeration until you are ready to plant or apply pre-sowing treatment.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots
April/May October 1 year

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

6 Questions asked on Asarum canadense

If I want to sow this seed this fall outdoors, do I need to mix with sterile media now and keep at 80 degrees for 60 days then sow on ground outside? What kind of sterile media and does it need to be moist?
No need to do any of the aforementioned sterile media, 80 degree treatment, etc. if late-fall sowing. Mother Nature will take care of that. The Germination Code: E, and instructions that follow, we give Wild Ginger is only if you want to attempt that double-dormancy stratification method indoors. Sowing fresh seed this summer on a weed free site, marked well, kept mowed down all next year (if necessary), should yield seedlings the following year. That way it naturally goes through a warm, then a cold cycle.

Having said that, Wild Ginger is difficult to grow from seed, and slow growing even when germination happens. For these reasons, we suggest ordering plants. They will spread by underground rhizomes readily so you can have a larger batch in a short time.
I have wild ginger on the North side along the house, shaded area. Looking for a native to compliment wild ginger. Does wild ginger play well with others, if so, what? Thank you.
Thanks for writing, Sarah. Wild Ginger is naturally found in woodland understories, and it is not overly aggressive, so good companions would be other species that prefer rich soil and shaded conditions such as Bloodroot, Wild Geranium, Virginia Bluebells and Bellwort. Also, check out our Shady Woodland Seed Mix for more ideas of woodland companions.
I recently planted 3 bare roots. Two out of three had one small leaf. I was excited to see them grow, but just a few days after planting the leaves are gone! I'm assuming an animal had a small snack. On the description, it stated mammals do not like wild ginger so I did not cover them with protection. I'm guessing it was either a rabbit or a squirrel. Is this a common occurence or do I just have pesky critters? Thank you.
Hi Karen. It's not uncommon for herbivores to try something new; they may decide they don't like it but still the damage was done. True, rabbits and deer usually won't like Wild Ginger, but woodchucks will eat anything! There is likely enough stored energy in the root system of the ginger so I wouldn't give up on it. Keep the site marked and it may make a full recovery this year or next.
I received these seeds a couple of. weeks ago and put them straight in the fridge. Can I sow them now or is it better to wait until fall. Thanks
Hi Diana, For this species, it is best if you can plant when the seed is fresh, as soon as you can (Germination Code L). If sowed this spring, you can expect to see germination next spring (Germination Code E).
I planted bare roots a month ago in July. When should I expect to see them emerge?
Hi Lindsay, Are you sure you are thinking of the right plant? We ship this plant when it is dormant in the early spring and mid-fall (October). If you had dormant roots in July, that would not be a great sign. When planted in the spring, they should emerge within several weeks of planting. When planted in the fall, they should emerge the following spring.
Does this produce edible ginger?
Hi Amanda. The Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense, we have available is not the same type of plant as the commercially grown ginger you'd find at the store (Zingiber officinale). Although our native plant is considered edible in small amounts, it is toxic if consumed in greater quantities.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

US Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry
6 inches
Bloom Time
April, May, June
Bloom Color
Deer Resistant
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code