Arrow-leaf Ginger - Asarum arifolium
Arrow-leaf ginger is a low-growing plant in the Birthwort family that is found chiefly throughout forest environments.
It is adaptable to many hardy zones, easy to start, and is pest resistant.
Arrow-leaf ginger's arrow-shaped, deep green leaves with silvery veining have licorice or anise smell. Purple, quarter-sized flowers grow low down under the leaves in spring. Their low-growing habit makes them an ideal ground cover, and they are natural companions to ferns, pachysandra, sumac, and dwarf iris. The spreading habit of arrow-leaf ginger makes it great for mass plantings and helpful in naturalizing large areas. A garden edged with arrow-leaf ginger is lovely.
Arrow-leaf ginger grows best in acidic soil and is hardy in zones 3-9.
The plant grows up to 8 inches tall and 1 foot wide.
In wooded habitats, the arrow-leaf ginger is in its natural growing environment, but the plant can grow in partial sun or partial shade also. In the forest, flies and wasps pollinate the flowers, and ants spread their seed, which ripens in mid to late summer. It's also possible to start new plants from seeds sprinkled on the surface in pots barely covered with soil. If the pots are taken outside, sunk in the ground, and left throughout the winter, germination will usually occur. Arrow-leaf ginger is easy to grow in humus-rich soil.
They are very slow-growing so take some time to spread. They should be grown 12 to 24 inches apart so that they will form a green carpet. They grow from rhizomes, which grow close to the surface of the soil. Spring is the best time to divide the rhizomes using a sharp knife. If the plants are always provided with adequate moisture to prevent them from drying out and added leaf mold in the fall, the arrow-leaf ginger will always look its best. The plantings have the added benefit of being rabbit and deer-resistant.