Mandrake plant has some interesting and potentially scary properties. There are different ways to grow Mandrake plants, they can be grown from roots or offsets and they can also be started from seed. Growing mandrake plant from seed can be a little tricky unless you know some important tips. Keep on reading to learn more on how to propagate mandrake.

Mandrake is actually a member of the nightshade family and the root is the part that is primarily used. Other parts of the Mandrake plant are poisonous. Actually it was once used in medicine, mostly as a pre-surgery anesthesia. Today, it is rarely used because of the dangers, but it is a fun and interesting plant to grow in your garden. Mandrake plant propagation actually takes a little time, but once you have a mature plant, you have a unique piece of medical history. Mandrake plants are actually a native Mediterranean plant and they prefer temperate conditions. The plant is hardy to USDA zones six to ten in a full sun situation. Due to the plant’s long forked roots, the soil for planting should be well loosened and draining to a depth of at least three feet.

Mandrake is like most other root crops, they don’t like to be disturbed, so it is best to plant them directly outside in a prepared bed. If you start the Mandrake plants indoors, transplant them out and then use a good transplant fertilizer to help them recover. Make sure the planting bed is rich in organic material and it’s able to hold moisture but not become boggy. 


 Growing Mandrake from Roots

One of the quickest ways to get new Mandrake plants is from roots. Take the roots from the mature plants that are at least 3 to 4 years old in late winter when the plants are not actively growing. Dig around the Mandrake plant and then remove the large healthy piece of root. Pack the soil around the in-ground remainder of the plant, trying not to disturb the retained root. Take the harvested Mandrake root and then bury it in a prepared bed or a damp container of sand. Make sure you keep weeds out of the site and also water enough to keep the top few inches (8 cm.) of the soil moist. In a short period, the Mandrake root will send out shoots and leaves. Although it won’t be ready to harvest for several years, but in the meantime you can enjoy its pretty spring flowers.      


Growing mandrake from seed

 In their native habitat the mandrake plant seeds experience cold winters which actually help to force germination. This is called stratification and will have to be replicated with your seed. Growing Mandrake plant from seed will not germinate without this cold experience. Store the mandrake seeds for at least 3 months in the refrigerator prior to planting. On the other hand, northern gardeners can sow the mandrake seed in prepared beds in fall. The mandrake seeds will naturally experience the cold. The mandrake seeds sown indoors will germinate in fourteen days after planting. Make sure the soil is kept moist and weed free. The biggest pests of this plant may be snails and slugs snacking on the young rosettes. Just expect the flowers and berries in the second year. You can harvest the roots when the plants are 4 years old.

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