Gotu-kola is an amazing plant that spreads joyfully. She is a tropical perennial vining groundcover that thrives on neglect, really. A highly medicinal herb that should grace every garden.
If you live in temperate climates, it is best grown in large pots. Runners will hang down from the pot and start a patch around it. That patch will cover allocated area by the end of the growing season, at which time you can harvest quite a bit of leaf and mature seed. For germination, it really does best in a natural environment with fluctuating temperatures. There isn’t one warm temperature that it will sprout at, for its own survival, seeds continue to sprout throughout the certain period of time that it prefers. For normal growth, it does very well in dappled shade and is cold hardy to 25-29 degrees.
Botanical name: Centella (hydrocotyle) asiatica
Type: Tropical evergreen, perennial groundcover
Scarification/Stratification: Soak overnight in warm water. Needs to have a cold snap. Please see commentary above for a bit more info on that.
Self fertile: Yes
Sow temp/season: Late tropical fall in hot conditions, brief period of cold followed by warm.
Sow depth/spacing: Surface sown on soil with thick mulch of rock. One seed per inch.
Germination time: 60-160 days
Final spacing: Will spread profusely, it’s hard to say.
Final height/spread: A four inch mound and it knows no bounds.
pH range: 6 to 7.5
Soil type: Fast draining, rocky, moist
Nutrition Soil component, rich in nitrogen, such as compost from manure.
Drainage: Fast draining yet good water retention
Water requirement: Drought tolerant but prefers moist.
Root type: Fine, delving AND shallow
Companion plants: Best grown amongst large bushes, trees, or annuals such as an oak tree, blueberry bush, or tomato plant.
Pest and disease resistance/susceptibility: None to our knowledge. We haven’t seen anything mess with it. Possibly deer?
Sun: Prefers dappled shade, especially midday.
Time to maturity: One year for established plants, 90 days seed set from flowering.
Hilling: Will benefit from seasonal mulching
Suckering: Profusely! Along its runners.
Hybridization: None to be concerned with.
Uses: Best eaten fresh or preserved through tincturing. Uses cover a wide spectrum from hair health to adapting to the very needs of your body.