This is an interesting plant that attracts many pollinators and is great for your borders, shading out unwanted weeds and adding white flowers to any planting arrangement. Medicinally, the dried herb is loaded with hormone producing compounds, toning the reproductive organs and it is a potent aphrodisiac, helping the mind feel desire. It may help impotence and dryness by increasing blood flow to the organs in both men and women. Source of osthole, a molecule that also helps fight osteoporosis. Used extensively in TCM.
A thick layer of mulch (1-2 inches) will protect the seed and leaf from soil splashing during periods of heavy rain, which is key for herb of a high quality. It also helps to clear-cut the flower stalks before extended periods of rain. The rain ruins the seed for medicinal uses. This practice will make more seed later anyway, so cut away!
Common name: She-chuang-zi, snow parsley
Botanical name: Cnidium monnieri
Type: Self-seeding annual
Hardiness: Hardy in all zones
Sow temp/season: Sow in cool soils of late winter/early spring
Sow depth/spacing: Sow seed 1/8 inch deep and spaced one seed per inch and thin to one plant per six inches. Can start in pots by putting three seeds per pot, thinning to one plant per pot, then transplanting when garden soil is more agreeable. Sometimes winter/spring soils are hard to work, being wet and sometimes frozen.
Germination time: Between one week and a month, depending on weather. I find oscillating temperatures and fluctuations of moisture awaken the seed.
Final spacing: Every 6-8 inches
Final height/spread: Main foliage is 8” from soil, while flower spikes rise 3 feet. The spread is a foot.
pH range: 4.5-7.5
Soil type: Likes moist loam, rich in organic matter
Nutrition Not a heavy feeder, but will benefit from compost from time to time.
Drainage: Likes lots of water, but I find, like with most plants (99%), does not like grow in a swamp.
Water requirement: Likes lots of water, as in, frequent waterings. The more sun plants receive, the more water they need. If transplanting, add an inch of mulch, preferably pine needles.
Root type: Fine surface roots that spread and taproots that delve 12”inches deep.
Companion plants: Companion plants are not limited to chives, lettuce, leeks, garlic, marigolds, onion, parsley, carrots, radishes and tomatoes.
Pest and disease resistance/susceptibility: Internet says carrot flies are a problem, but I have not seen it as an issue. If one sees carrot flies, a homemade white onion spray will kill flies. Or plant chives, onions, garlic or leeks near she-chuang-zi.
Sun: Prefers part shade with morning sun, but will tolerate full sun if given sufficient moisture.
Time to maturity: 60-70 days until seeds ripen. Flowering and seed production continues until first frost.
Hilling: None needed, but a layer of mulch helps keep soil moist and leaves clean.
Suckering: Throughout the growing season, the crown spreads, sending out new foliage and flower stalks.
Propagation: Can start in pots/plugs at least 1”. Transplant to landscape or a minimum of a one gallon pot.
Hybridization: If growing other plants in this genus, separate by ¼ mile to ensure seed is pure. Unlikely, due to the rarity of genus.
Uses: Fresh or dried leaf or seed used in tinctures or decoctions for a wide variety of ailments not limited to infertility, impotence, osteoporosis, kidney failure, vaginitis, and parasites. The infusion in a skin cream or salve (or tincture) used externally is a potent treatment for eczema, scabies and ringworm.