Growing Guide
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Wild ginger

Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Wildflower, Ground Cover

Also known as Canadian wild ginger, European wild ginger, Canada snakeroot
Asarum sp.
Aristolochiaceae Family

Small and spreading, with glossy heart-shaped leaves, the wild gingers make showy groundcovers for partly to fully shady areas with moist soil, especially woodland gardens. The European species is usually evergreen.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade
  • full shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires acid soil
  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates damp soil
Prefers rich, moist but well-drained and acidic soil.

Hardiness zones:

  • 4 to 8
Canadian species is considerably hardier than the European, growing in Zones 2 to 8.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet

Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet

Keeps spreading via rhizomes, eventually filling in garden spaces.

Bloom time:

  • mid-spring
  • late spring

Flower color: other

Blooms are brownish purple.

Foliage color: dark green

Foliage texture: medium


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • spreading mass

Individually, the plants are rounded mounds, but they collectively form a spreading green mat.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with flowers as cups

Bell-like blooms often hidden under foliage.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive - This plant spreads slowly and is not an aggressive groundcover.
  • non-invasive
  • native to North America - Canadian Wild Ginger is native to northereastern Canada and the USA. European species is not native.
  • evergreen - European Wild ginger is evergreen, Canadian Wild Ginger is not.
  • fragrant - The roots are fragrant and smell like ginger root.
Special uses:
  • wildflowers - Canadian Wild Ginger is a North American native wildflower.
  • naturalistic garden - Well-suited to naturalistic woodland gardens.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by division or separation - Divide in spring. Division is seldom needed for maintenance.

Maintenance and care:
Do not prune before winter. Remove dead foliage in spring. Very low maintenance.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Slugs and snails, especially in spring
Leaf gall
Two wild gingers are common garden plants, Asarum canadense (Canadian Wild Ginger) and A. europaeum (European Wild Ginger). The Canadian species is hardy all the way down to Zone 2. Though only hardy to Zone 4, the European species is usually evergreen or semi-evergreen, lower growing, and makes an even better groundcover.