Mandrake plants are perennials native to parts of Europe. After flowering, mandrakes produce berries which ripen by late spring. However, the plants are known for their roots, which are dark brown and jointed. The roots are deep, much like a parsnip, and have divisions which folklore says resemble the arms and legs of a person. Historically, mandrake root was associated with fertility. However, the entire plant contains hallucinogenic compounds which can prove dangerous or even fatal if ingested. Mandrake is hardy only to -12.2 to -6.67 degrees Celsius.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Mandrake seeds
- 1-qt. pots
- Liquid seaweed fertiliser
Soak the seeds in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for two weeks. Change the water daily.
Mix together two parts sand, one part compost and two parts peat and fill 1-qt. pots. Use tweezers to tease out each seed and plant them 1 inch deep into the growing medium. Place the pots in a place where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. Temperatures should be at least 18.3 degrees Celsius. Water the plants every day, but ensure they don't sit in standing water.
Mix liquid seaweed fertiliser in with the water once a week at dilution rates recommended by the packaging. Begin preparing the outdoor bed in spring when the plants are several inches high and have at least four pairs of true leaves.
Cultivate the partly shady garden bed. Spread 2 inches of compost on the bed and work it 8 to 10 inches into the soil. Rake the bed to remove rocks and debris. Plant the seedlings 2 feet apart and water the bed.
Tips and warnings
- Mature mandrakes can be divided in autumn to create more plants.
- Mandrake root can be sowed in fall and will come up in the spring.
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