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Propagating Stoneroot

Written by Mindy on March 20th, 2017

While common names of plants many times describe some characteristic of the plant, stoneroot is no exception. As the name implies, the root or rhizome is very hard as a matter of fact it is as hard as stone. Other common names, which include ox balm or horse balm, describe the size of the root. Regardless of what you call it, this can be found growing in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8.

stonerootWhen it comes to propagating this herb, it is best to start with seed. To begin this process, plant your stoneroot seed in a cold frame or covered flat. Once you have sprinkled the seeds on top of the soil, lightly cover with 1/8 inch of planting medium just to hold the seed down. While you can do this in the fall or spring, to get the best results make sure to plant in the fall.

After the seeds have been planted, you will begin to see evidence of seed germination in eight to ten weeks. As soon as the seedling are large enough to handle without breaking, remove them from the cold frame and plant in individual pots that have been filled with all-purpose potting soil. Place your transplanted stoneroot in a shady location, and water. Continue to take care of the seedlings until they are two years old.

Once your seedlings are two years old, it is time to move them to their permanent location. What is this location? Well, think about a bog or along a stream. Really any place will do where the soil is moist and the sunlight is dappling through the trees.

Another great location is to plant it among shallow rooted trees, such as maples.

When the stoneroot is three years old, you can harvest and/or divide the root.

After the seedlings have been transplanted, they are pretty much self caring. But there are a few things that you need to consider when utilizing this plant. First, it has a big, hard root and may be difficult to move all the plant if you no longer want the stoneroot at that location. Second, the mature height of this plant is four feet, which can make landscape selection a little challenging. The third reason to think about before you grow this plant comes from the aroma. Some individuals find the strong, lemony smell of this plant overwhelming. If you think this will be an issue, make sure to place it in a location that has reduced human interaction.


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