First, choose a shady area to grow your horny goat weed plant. It's a natural ground cover, so a spot under existing plants or trees is usually best. Using peat moss and composted material if possible, amend your gardening soil to create about 10 inches of rich growing medium.
Horny goat weed (Epimedium sutchuenense, USDA zones 4-8) has long been used in Eastern medicine for its countless benefits in treating a number of conditions, including fatigue, nerve pain, osteoporosis and erectile dysfunction. In addition to its many medicinal uses, horny goat weed can also make a great addition to a home garden. As a natural ground cover that prefers shade, horny goat weed can help retain moisture in your soil, and it is easy to grow in nearly any climate. It's the striking flowers that give this plant another of its common names – bishop's hat.
This plant is perhaps most well-known for treating symptoms of erectile dysfunction and has also been taken for its aphrodisiac effects for several centuries. It's rich in anti-oxidants, and some animal trials have shown that it can increase testosterone levels and lower cortisol. However, side effects can include irregular heartbeat, and because there are very few human clinical trials, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor and a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner before adding it to your diet.
What Is Horny Goat Weed?
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Once your space is ready, move your starter plants into shallow holes you've dug into the ground that are spaced about 8 inches apart and press the roots into the hole before adding a light layer of soil into the hole. If you wish to directly sow seeds, be sure to do so after the last threat of frost in your area has passed.
Horny goat weed is a medicinal herb with many landscape benefits. As a perennial plant, it bears green heart-shaped leaves that can turn gold or reddish in color in the spring and fall seasons.
How to Grow Epimedium
These plants produce cup-shaped flowers in the spring and early summer, the colors of which are exquisite shades of lavender-mauve. Horny goat weed is a cold-hardy plant that appreciates soil that is well-drained and a growing habitat that is partially covered by shade.
Finally, water each of your starts or seeds about three times to allow for ample hydration in the area. Once the first watering is complete, water enough to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate or the starts become established.
Start seeds in small containers from 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost date. Plant seeds approximately 1/4-1/2″ deep in moist, well drained potting soil. Most standard soil mixes are suitable for pepper seeds. Soil temperature must be kept at 75-90F for proper germination. Cool soil, particularly at night can inhibit or significantly delay germination. To keep soil temperature warm, start seeds indoors, in a greenhouse and/or use a seed starting heat mat. Keep soil moderately moist, though not overly, dripping wet. Water soil when the soil surface just begins to dry. Allow proper air circulation for containers.
Originally from Venezuela.
Days to Maturity
An exotic hot pepper variety having 3″ long fruits that ripen from green to black to red and have a fairly hot flavor. The fruits remain at the black stage for a number of weeks providing an exotic and ornamental look to the plant. In addition, stems and leaves are covered in silvery hairs. Plants show tall, upright growth up to 3-5 feet. The variety is also known to overwinter quite well in relatively frost free climates.
Seeds are now available at our seed store.
Optionally, seeds can be dipped in a dilute hydrogen peroxide mix (1 tsp hydrogen peroxide per cup water) for one minute to disinfect seeds prior to planting. If your soil or seed sprouting setup is susceptible to mold growth this can be useful to kill mold spores.