Poke is an attractive addition to any garden and properly processed it lends its healing properties to salves and oils. Poke can be a powerful asset to your arsenal of cures for ailments. A true low-dose botanical that should be used wisely. Poke root infused oil used topically has an amazing ability to create movement where it is lacking – breast lumps, mastitis, clogged ducts, varicose veins, swollen lymph nodes, bruising, etc.
Poke is a very interesting plant that will naturalize quite easily. I find poke to be a boon for birds which can help fight epic caterpillar populations.
Common name: Poke, pokeweed, poke salat, poke sallet
Botanical name: Phytolacca americana
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Scarification/Stratification: 60 days cold moist conditioning will bring on a better germination count, or plant in the fall.
Hardiness: -40 F
Sow temp/season: Plant in fall or stratify seed then sow warm.
Sow depth/spacing: Sow 1/4 inch deep a foot apart.
Germination time: After cold requirements are met, germination is weeks to years later. Germination ongoing.
Final spacing: 1-2 feet.
Final height/spread: Can reach 7 feet tall and four feet wide.
pH range: 5.8-7.5
Soil type: Not picky.
Nutrition: Does well with a dash of compost from time to time.
Drainage: As long as crown is dry, drainage is optional!
Water requirement: Tolerates drought, but with most plants, grows better with some water.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Time to maturity: Will set seed first year.
Hilling: You can hill a few inches on main stalk.
Propagation: Direct seed outdoors. One can start seed in flats then transplant to landscape.
Hybridization: None to worry about!
Uses: Consult with a qualified herbalist.