Plants in the genus asarum (sometimes mistakenly called hexastylis) are small but exquisite, deer-resistant woodland perennials that thrive in moist but well-drained conditions with light shade. Most asarum species are evergreen although some, such as Asarum canadense, lose their foliage in the winter.
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We have estimated the hardiness of our asarum offerings based on past performance, although gardeners in areas with consistent winter snow cover have been known to eke out a few extra hardiness zones. Wild ginger plants are prized for their spectacular cyclamen-like foliage, unusual flowers, and in some species, a wonderful fragrance (when crushed). Because of their rarity and slow growth rate, expect 2-3 years for the wild ginger plant to establish and form a spectacular clump.
While asarum plants are usually grown for their heart-shaped foliage, they also offer a delightful treat to those gardeners who are willing to get down on their hands and knees and poke around under the leaves...flowers! Asarum produce fascinating, 3-lobed, flowers in shades of brown, purple, black, yellow and white. In a few species (Asarum asaroides, Asarum maximum, Asarum splendens) the flowers are fairly large relative to the plant and are a real treat to see. Try pairing your wild ginger with other low growing woodland plants like Sanguinaria, Achimenes, Syneilesis and Rohdea. Asarum also looks great in containers.
When you are ready to buy wild ginger plants for your garden, check out our list of asarum for sale below. It is worth noting that a few Asarum species are North Carolina native plants.
Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery has been the choice of serious gardeners and plant collectors looking for the best and rarest perennial plants. We are pleased to have received the Perennial Plant Association Retail Award in 2011, the American Horticulture Society Commercial Award in 2002, and to have been selected as one of the Best Mail Order Plant Sources - Garden Design Magazine 2010. Welcome to our family of plant lovers!
The name is a bit bizarre, since the specific epithet "asaroides" means asarum-like...well, duh! And who says mothball-sniffing herbarium taxonomists don't have a sense of humor. Asarum asaroides is a vigorous, evergreen clump-former with long heart-shaped leaves to 6" with cloudy, silvery-white markings...different on each clone because of the wide species variability. The 15" wide clumps are adorned with 2", rounded, dark purple-brown flowers near the base in spring. This hard-to-find species is one of the easiest to grow in most gardens! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This evergreen clump-forming wild ginger from central Japan has been quite durable in our garden. Each plant will offer different leaf patterns, but the most common is a green leaf with a wide central stripe of silver. The unusual tri-lobed glossy brown flowers occur beneath the leaves in March (NC). We have found this to be a good grower in our trials, forming a 1' wide clump. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Asarum campaniforme) Asarum campaniflorum is a recently discovered wild ginger from bamboo-filled slopes below 1,000' elevation in China's Hubei province. We've grown Asarum campaniflorum in our shade garden since 2000...long before it was recognized as a new species. In our opinion, Asarum campaniflorum has possibly the most elegant flowers in the genus. In late winter (spring in colder climates), the glossy evergreen-foliaged 6" tall x 18" wide clumps of triangular leaves are adorned under the foliage with 1" long x 3/4" wide creamy yellow flowers, surrounded by a purple velvet band at the tip and base of the petals... each flower is a masterpiece that resembles a cut kiwi fruit! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This is our first offering of the Chinese Asarum caudigerum from a Darrell Probst Chinese collection. In the wild, Asarum caudigerum can be found on forested mountain slopes from 1,000-5,000' elevation in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, and Yunnan...as well as adjacent Taiwan and Vietnam. Asarum caudigerum is one of the very hairy species, especially on the stem and leaf undersides. Beneath the evergreen cordate leaves in April and May, you will find the cinnamon-red flowers, each shaped like small thimbles with tiny mustaches...very cute. Our 8-year-old clumps are only 18" wide. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Asarum ichangense is a virtually uncultivated Chinese wild ginger that hails from stream side forests and grasslands up to 4500' elevation in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang. In the garden, Asarum ichangense makes a lovely semi-evergreen, slowly-spreading patch. The clusters of small brown flowers perch attractively at the base of the green heart-shaped foliage, peaking in mid-February (NC). Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Asarum megacalyx makes a superb evergreen groundcover patch that reaches 2' wide in 5 years. The glossy dark green foliage of Asarum 'Green Sheen' hides the huge thumb-sized dark purple flowers that appear in late February to early March in NC. When we grew this in deep shade, we only saw a few scattered flowers, but when planted in a site that received a couple of hours of afternoon sun, it produced hundreds of flowers...amazing. This is a form of the northern Honshu, Japan native that we originally received from Eco Gardens. Asarum megacalyx 'Green Sheen' has very dark, shiny green leaves, which emerge nicely patterned, but only in spring. Slightly moist, organic soils make the best habitat. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Japan's Asarum minamitanianum is a virtually impossible-to-find, rare, evergreen, wild ginger from Kyushu, Japan that is reportedly now extinct in the wild. The pointed heart-shaped leaves are patterned with distinctive silver markings...but wait until you see the indescribably cool flowers in April/May...dark purple, edged in white with three very long moustache-like petals to 4"...a true collector's item! We have found the tightly clumping Asarum minamitanianum very easy to grow in our woodland garden. Once established, dry shade suits Asarum minamitanianum just fine. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This vigorous selection of the Chinese Asarum pulchellum (from 2,200-5,500' elevation in Anhui, Guizhou, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, and NE Yunnan) is dramatically better than any other clone of Asarum pulchellum that we have tried. Our 9-year-old clumps of Asarum 'The Fuzz' are now 4" tall x 3' wide. The extraordinarily hairy (more so than some of the '80s rock bands) green leaves make an elegant evergreen clump, adorned with fleshy-colored flowers that tuck beneath the foliage in late winter. We really like the little-known Asarum pulchellum. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Asarum 'Setsu Getsu Ka' has been one of the best performing of what are known as the classical (long time-propagated) cultivars of Japanese wild ginger. Asarum 'Setsu Getsu Ka' (which means "snow moon flower") makes a tight 3" tall x 8" wide, deer-resistant evergreen clump of medium green leaves with broad chartreuse patterns and the entire leaf is sprinkled with white flecks. In January, the clumps are adorned with small jade green flowers clustered underneath the foliage. Although painfully slow, we have found this to be very easy to grow in well-prepared woodland soils. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Splendid indeed! Asarum splendens is a vigorous and superbly easy-to-grow Chinese wild ginger that makes a great evergreen groundcover for the woodland garden. The large, dark green, deer-resistant leaves (evergreen to 10 degrees F) are heavily adorned with silvery mottling throughout. Asarum splendens is a vigorously rhizomatous species. In early spring, you will also love this one for the large 2" flowers of dark purple...one of the finest members of the ginger family. Our original stock came from China, via both Jim Waddick and Barry Yinger. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
We are pleased to offer this vegetatively propagated selection of the durable Asian ginger, Asarum takaoi. Asarum takaoi 'Roundabout' is a slow spreader that forms a 2' wide evergreen patch in 5 years. The medium green, 2" rounded leaves are adorned with small dollops of silver. Each patch is highlighted in late winter with small, three-petaled, flesh-colored flowers that are hidden at the leaf axils. This is truly a superb selection for the woodland garden...both as a specimen and in a mass planting. In 2011, we mistakenly offered this as Asarum takaoi 'Galaxy', which is a more clumping clone. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Asarum trigynum albino flower form) We are thrilled to offer a few of this stunning and easy-to-grow selection of the Japanese Asarum trigynum that we purchased simply as albino, but have assigned the cultivar name, Asarum 'Lime Zinger'. The triangular-shaped evergreen leaves are highlighted by a central silver blotch as well as large silver paint splashes throughout the leaf. From February though April, the evergreen clumps of Asarum trigynum 'Lime Zinger' are adorned with very attractive clusters of creamy yellow flowers peeking out from under the foliage...extraordinary in flower. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
We are thrilled to finally be able to offer a special selection of Panda wild ginger that we made nearly 8 years ago. Asarum maximum 'Shell Shocked' has lovely glossy pewter leaves with an embossed tortoise shell vein pattern. For us, Asarum 'Shell Shocked' has formed an 18" wide evergreen clump, adorned in April (NC) with large black and white panda patterned flowers just below the foliage. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Hexastylis speciosa) We are pleased to once again offer the rare, but easy-to-grow, evergreen, native Asarum speciosum from our neighbors to the south in Alabama, where it occurs in only two counties. This selection, Asarum speciosum 'Woodlanders Select', was made by Bob McCartney of Woodlanders Nursery as being particularly nice in foliage and flower. The large, arrowhead-shaped, 6" leaves of green are marbled with muted silver patterns. In late spring, the base of the deer-resistant wild ginger clump is adorned with giant silver dollar-sized flowers that look like Lindsay Lohan's bloodshot eyes awakening after a three day drunk. This clonal selection has been propagated by tissue culture to assure uniformity. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)