- Season: Perennial
- USDA Zones: 5 - 9
- Height: 48 inches
- Bloom Season: Early to late summer
- Bloom Color: Yellow
- Environment: Full to partial sun
- Soil Type: Sandy, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil, above 7.0
- Temperature: 70F
- Average Germ Time: 7 - 30 days
- Light Required: No
- Depth: 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep
- Sowing Rate: 2 - 3 seeds per plant - Scarify seeds before you plant them by scratching each seed with a nail file or nicking it with a knife--this will speed germination
- Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination
- Plant Spacing: 12 inches
Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus) - Start Astragalus seeds and grow this herbaceous perennial plant that is native to the northern and eastern parts of China as well as Mongolia and Korea. It is is the pea family and produces small, pea-like yellow flowers. Astragalus has a long history, many centuries in fact, as a medicinal herb in Chinese medicine. Research in modern day is also finding helpful benefits from the Astragalus herb plant. The Astragalus herb is also known as Milk Vetch or Chinese Milk Vetch.
The Milk Vetch herb is called an adaptogen and it boosts the body's immune system and protects the body against various stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress. It contains antioxidants and is believed to help prevent colds and upper respiratory infections. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on skin abrasions and wounds.
How To Grow Chinese Milk Vetch: It is recommended to scarify the Astragalus herb seeds by scratching the seed coat with a file or nicking it with a knife. It is also helpful to soak the Astragalus herb seeds in hot water for 24 - 48 hours. This scarification helps the seed to germinate more quickly. Most herb gardeners recommend starting the Milk Vetch seed directly outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Astragalus herb plants prefer sandy, well-drained soils that have some organic compost worked into it. The first year of establishment is the most challenging. Mulch around the herb plant to protect it during its first winter.
The Astragalus root is the part of the plant that is used medicinally. When the herb plant is 4 - 5 years old, it is ready to harvest the root in the fall. Astragalus root can be used fresh or dried.