herbs in Ontario: The case of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, more commonly known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, is a herbaceous perennial normally grown in sub-tropical climates and used for its reported anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, and other properties.
Because ashwagandha is native to India, it requires warm temperatures and will not survive the winter in Ontario. Consequently, it must be grown as an annual or overwintered in a greenhouse in this climate. These types of production would either depress yields or increase production costs compared to its native sub-tropical climate. The plant grew well last year in the OMAFRA Simcoe Herb Demonstration Garden with only minor pest being aphids. However, large scale production of ashwagandha in Ontario would only be profitable with economical overwintering practises or a premium price for local product.
Tropical or sub-tropical herbs with similar overwintering challenges
include lemon verbena, eucalyptus, stevia, datura, and gotu kola.
Ashwagandha growing in the OMAFRA Simcoe Herb Demonstration Garden in 2010
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