Motherwort Growing Guide
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Motherwort Growing Guide

What is Motherwort?

Motherwort is a spiky, weedy, clumping perennial herb that can reach at least five feet tall, motherwort is often found growing wild, especially in wet areas. It is also a commonly found weed along roadsides and in neglected gardens. Motherwort produces clusters of pink to purple flowers that bloom from midsummer through early fall. Motherwort’s botanical name Leonurus cardiaca means “lionhearted.” This may be related to the plant’s reputation for bringing strength during times of emotional stress, and also possibly to the relation to motherhood as motherwort has historically been used to benefit the female reproductive system. The flower spike is also thought to bear resemblance to a lion’s tail.

How to Start Growing Motherwort

Seeds should germinate in 2 to 3 weeks, at which point they can be thinned or transplanted to 2 to 3 feet apart. Keep the established plant well watered. Plant in early spring after the last frost in moist soil when it has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover seeds thinly and press tightly into the earth. Keep in full sun.

Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, motherwort was reportedly used to calm and soothe the nervous system, as well as to ward off evil spirits.

Our Favorite Motherwort to Grow

Motherwort Plant Spacing

In-Ground Planting

Row Spacing - 2 feet

Plant Spacing - 18 to 24 inches

Planting Depth - 1/8 inch

Raised Bed Planting

Row Spacing - 2 feet

Plant Spacing - 18 to 24 inches

Planting Depth - 1/8 inch

Motherwort Soil, Irrigation, & Fertilizer

Soil Requirements to Grow Motherwort

  • Loose, well-draining soil
  • pH between 7.0 and 8.5
  • Rich in organic materials
  • Good quality compost added to the soil

Motherwort Irrigation Requirements

Motherwort plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. Using drip irrigation is always recommended to be sure that your plants are getting moisture directly to their root system. If you’re using conventional overhead watering techniques, try and use something like the Dramm Watering Can and water and fertilize at the base of the plant to keep moisture off the leaves.

Raised Bed Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 7.0 – 8.5, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

1/4 cup of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 7.0 – 8.5, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

1/4 cup of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

Motherwort Pest & Disease Protection

Insects

Organic Controls

Horticulture Oil
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips

Bug Buster-O
Aphids, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies, Moths, Armyworms

Monterey BT
Caterpillars, Cabbage Loppers

Take Down Garden Spray
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Moths

Diatomaceous Earth
Cutworms, Ants, Slugs

Sluggo Plus
Slugs

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Common Diseases

Organic Controls

Complete Disease Control
Gray Mold, Leaf Spots, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Harvesting, Preserving, and Storing Motherwort

When & How To Harvest Motherwort

Harvest leaves when the plant is in full bloom or just after, as this is when the plant is most potent. We recommend using gloves to harvest as the leaves and flowering tops can be a bit thorny and sharp. Harvest the aerial parts—leaves, flowers, and stems can be used.

Storing & Keeping Motherwort

To store your motherwort, hang it to dry in an airy, dark place or use a dehydrator on the lowest setting to dry it out faster. Once dried, store the motherwort in an airtight container like a glass jar.

Come See Our Motherwort!

Motherwort Growing Tips & Tricks

Super Self-Spreader

Motherwort spreads through the numerous seeds it produces, but it also spreads through rhizomes, which are horizontal roots that new plats shoot up from. These rhizomes can either be left to spread if you choose, or you can dig them up when the plants are dormant in the fall and relocate them or give them away. To reduce the number or new plants from seeds, cut back motherwort plants 3 to 5 inches.

Cold Stratification

Motherwort seeds that are taken from the plant needs to be exposed to cold temperatures in order to germinate via cold stratification. To do this, soak the seeds for 12-24 hours, then put them in a plastic bag. Seal that bag and put it in the refrigerator for 10 days. Make sure the seeds do not dry out.

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