European countries have used Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as Russian rhodiola, as a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The plant also goes by the name roseroot or golden root and bears bright yellow flowers, succulent leaves, and roots that smell like roses when dried. Russian rhodiola thrives in all U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones, and it grows naturally where temperatures dip below freezing. It prefers full sun and tolerates most types of well-drained soil. Russian rhodiola cultivation takes place via seed germination.
- Store the Russian rhodiola seed in the refrigerator for up to six weeks to help speed germination.
- Fill a seed-starting tray with potting soil and moisten the soil with water.
- Sow seeds on the surface of the soil. Tamp seeds down and cover lightly with soil. Do not bury the seeps deeply, as this will prevent their germination.
- Keep the soil moist; do not let it dry out before the seeds germinate. Mist the soil with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging the seeds.
- Place the seed-starting tray in a greenhouse or a location sheltered from strong wind and sun. Seeds germinate in approximately two to four weeks at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Separate the seedlings into individual containers when true leaves, the second set of leaves, form. Handle the seedlings carefully to disturb the roots as little as possible.
- Expose seedlings to more direct sunlight when stalks begin to form, usually one or two months after germination.
- Find an ideal transplant site in the garden for the seedlings. Suitable sites have loamy, clay or sandy soil that drains well. The site must also receive full sun, as rhodiola will not grow in the shade.
- Plant seedlings in the garden in after your area’s last frost date has passed, or as soon as you can easily work the soil. Transplants thrive as long as soil is not frozen.