Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

Wild ginger

Zone: 4 to 6

Soil: Loam to sand

Light: Part shade to shade

Bloom colour: Purple brown

Bloom period: Late spring

Height: 8 - 12 inches

Moisture: Medium

Attracts: Not assessed

Notes: Wild ginger is a classic shade plant with attractive foliage. It is found growing over large parts of Eastern North America in rich woodlands with decent drainage and moist soils. This plant only grows about 8 inches high and about 15 inches wide. Wild ginger is fantastic when grown en masse at the front of a shady border as the distinctive thick kidney shaped leaves remain in good condition throughout the growing season and this plant competes well with weeds. This plant will also tolerate some dryness.

The leaves overgrow each other and hide the unusual and beautiful flowers that form underneath. The shape, colour and position of the open flowers suggest that beetles or flies are the most likely pollinators of this plant. The flowers of wild ginger are similar to Dutchman's pipe, to which it is closely related, but it should not be considered as a host plant to the pipevine swallowtail.


The low growth habit of Wild Ginger
Leaf of wild ginger
Wild ginger has kidney shaped leaves. Non-native species tend have lustrous leaves.
Close up of wild ginger flower
A close up of the reproductive structure
Wild ginger flowers
The flowers of Wild Ginger and their close relatives, the Pipevines are split into 3 regular parts, which is unusual.