Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a creeping herbaceous plant native to the wetlands of China and India. From Asia it has spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including the southeastern United States. This edible herb is also known as coinwort, Asiatic pennywort and mandukaparni. It has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat such ailments as insomnia, anxiety, skin lesions and scleroderma, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gotu kola is easy to grow outdoors in warm climates. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 11.
Plant gotu kola seeds in moist potting soil. As these plants are native to tropical swamplands, warm and moist conditions are conducive to fertilisation. If possible, plant the seeds in a greenhouse in the spring.
Separate the individual plants into their own pots once the seeds have sprouted. Gotu kola plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a good amount of moisture and some organic matter. Clay soils are optimum.
Water the young plants daily. Maintaining moist soil is key for sustaining this plant's well-being. These plants may disappear during droughts, yet maintain the vitality of their roots and reappear once moisture returns, according to the website Floridata.
Transplant the young plants outdoors the next spring or early summer, after the last danger of frost is past. Gotu kola plants may be planted in either full sun or partial shade. As in their early stages of growth, it is important to provide mature gotu kola plants with sufficient water. These plants can be found growing wild on the edges of marshes.
Separate new plants from their parents after they have set down roots. Once established, gotu kola plants will reproduce by producing above-ground runners. These new plants can be repotted.
Harvest your gotu kola plants once they are flourishing outdoors. Their leaves can be used for culinary or medicinal applications. To harvest, simply cut the slender stems connecting the leaves to the roots.
Maintain gotu kola patches by eliminating weeds, which leech water and nutrients from the soil. Weeding should occur every 15 to 20 days for best effect.
- "Cultivation Of Medicinal and Aromatic Crops"; Farooqi A.A., B.S. Sreeramu, B.S. Sreeramu; 2004
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