Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) seeds, organic

(4 customer reviews)

$3.95$49.10

Family: Legume (Fabaceae)

Hardy to zones 4 to 10 (mulch heavily in colder zones)

(Astragalus membranaceus = Astragalus propinquus = Astragalus mongholicus, the Chinese herb Huang-qi, Huang qi)  Herbaceous perennial native to China. Traditional usage (TCM): increase vital energy and protect against illness. Plants get quite large, flowering to 5 feet, with yellow flowers giving way to pea-like follicles.  Plant is a sturdy survivor, and prefers full sun, average soil, and good drainage.  A deep, sandy, unobstructed soil will encourage large, deep taproots, which are the part used in TCM.   In the spring or fall, scarify seed lightly on medium grit sandpaper and soak overnight.  Alternatively, drop seeds in just-boiled water, stir for 60 seconds, then add cold water until the mix is luke warm and soak overnight.  Then, inoculate seed with a broadscale rhizobium inoculant that contains Mesorhizobium species of rhizobacteria.  Otherwise, inoculate the starting mix with soil taken from around healthy astragalus plants, or plant in an area where astragalus is already growing healthily.  All this is to encourage nitrogen fixation.  Even simply growing the plant in an area where legumes have been grown in the past (red clover or oats/peas covercrop, for example) will help.  Once the plants start to grow healthily, it means they have sequestered the necessary rhizobia from the substrate.  Direct seed in early spring or start in pots in the greenhouse, or start in the fall.   Germ in 3 to 10 days.    Transplant or thin to 6 inches apart.

Packet contains 30 Seeds
1 g contains ~250 seeds
5 g contains ~1,250 seeds
10 g contains ~2,500 seeds

Certified Organically Grown

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5 out of 5 stars

4 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Question

    Kalili

    Hello Richo!
    I certainly want to start my Astragalus seeds to plants off right. Would a general legume inoculant work for this or is there a special product that might contain Mesorhizobium better oriented for benefiting the Astragalus?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Kalili,
      You’re right about this–with the nitrogen fixing plants it really makes all the difference to have the right symbiont in the soil. There are many inoculants out there and the good ones list the species of bacteria they contain. Read the label and get one that lists Mesorhizobium. Alternatively take soil from around an established Astragalus plant that is healthy and use that as an inoculant. It is part of the magic of these plants that they sequester what they need, but they often need humans to initiate. Good thing, otherwise what would we be good for? You’ll enjoy “Growing Plant Medicine Vol 2” which has 7 loaded pages on the Legume family. richo

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  2. Question

    deenaclass

    I have a giant 5-year-old plant now! Do you think it’s possible to harvest just some of the root and replant the rest after it goes dormant? My perennial problem with harvesting roots… Unless it’s an annual, I hate to kill the plant! 🥺

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi deena, the astragalus does have a lifespan, too, so you’ll want to dig the root before its lifespan is over. You can plant more of them. Taproots for the most part can’t be divided. richo

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    • deenaclass

      Ooh- good to know! I’ll be sure to harvest this fall/winter and plan to plant some seeds for future years! Thanks as always for sharing your wisdom! 🫶🏽

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  3. Question

    Laura Scott (verified owner)

    Hi Richo. Attached is a picture of my two year old astragalus plant which I grew from seed purchased from Strictly Medicinal. As you can see, it is loaded with seed pods. Two questions: are the little mini peas inside edible? This is almost a rhetorical question as I have nibbled on them and lived to tell about it but are there known contraindications? They tasted just like raw garden peas! Also, will the seed be viable? I may never have to purchase seed again if they are!

    Thanks a bunch,

    Laura

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi laura, very dense astragalus with echinacea peeping out, good for you! I haven’t made it a habit of eating the astragalus seeds because I’m always trying to save them for seeds. Although a nibble is certainly harmless, probably they do contain some peculiar lectins, so I wouldn’t make it a habit to eat lots of them. Anyhow as you know its the root that does the work. I suppose you could make a spontaneous fresh root astrag/ech compound with what you’ve got there. Richo

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    • Laura Scott (verified owner)

      Thank you, Richo. Gosh there is always something new to learn, re: lectins! I will give this plant one more season before digging roots and look forward to two others (purchased from Strictly Medicinal as plants) to come into their own.

      Peace and all Good!

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  4. Question

    Jerrica Sweetnich

    Hi there. I started my seeds indoors and they germinated beautifully. I transplanted them outside and they died within 24 hours. Any advice for next time?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi jerrica, it helps to inoculate with forest soil and work up to a larger size before transplanting out. sometimes herbaceous perennials appear to have died but if they have a sufficiently budded root they come back the next year. so either grow in place in the garden (direct seed) or keep in pots for long enough to assure a budded crown. r

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    • One person found this helpful

      Frances

      You usually have to do a transition period where you start off with an hour of sun and increase to full sun over a week or two weeks.

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  5. Question

    GB

    I live in Iowa and I’m curious if I can simply scare soak and plant in early spring when soil temps are just above freezing

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      yes, that is a recommended way of doing it. r

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    • Kimberly Cook

      Good Afternoon Richo, I would appreciate your advice. Can I plant my astragalus seeds and ashwagandha seeds in the same garden bed or should they be maintained in separate beds? Thank you!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Kimberly, thanks for writing. There’s no reason to keep astragalus and ashwagandha plants in separate beds. One is an N. fixer and the other is a nightshade. Reasonable companions, still they should be spaced far enough apart for each to develop to its full potential. Unless you’re in a very warm zone 8 or above, the astragalus is going to be a perennial, and the ashwagandha an annual. richo

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  6. Question

    D. Wedemeyer (verified owner)

    In your web site recommendations for growing astragalus you recommend scarifying seeds and also soaking overnight in mycoblast tea or kelp tea.

    Should this soaking take place BEFORE or AFTER your recommended 20 days of cold moist refrigeration?

    Also, we are in Tampa, Florida, and for the next month expected daytime temperatures will be in the low to mid 80s and nighttime in the 60s. Rather than direct seeding in this warm weather, would you possibly suggest seeding in a cooler indoors environment and then transplanting into the outdoors warmth a few or more days following germination?

    I don’t remember the precise weather conditions, but about 10 years ago we had very good results with direct outdoors seeding of your astragalus. However, when we attempted to repeat the process 3 or 4 years ago we had poor germination.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hello! The seed coat needs to be pierced or scratched before soaking. Kelp tea can be substituted for mycoblast. After soaking, plant in cool soils or refrigerate in moist medium and then plant warm. We’ve taken to inoculating our seed plantings with soil from around established astragalus plants. This has been working well. Astragalus is one of those plants, you know what i mean, when I say SOMETHING always seems to happen to it–you make the perfect planting and then a bird pecks into it, or whatever chance, absurd mishaps occur. its like that. richo

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  7. Question

    k

    Do deer like to feast on Astragalus?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi k, not particularly, although i suppose if it was the only green thing around they would eat it. deer like mucilaginous herbs and bitters like chicory and dandelion. they will jump a fence to get broccoli, but they’re not too interested in astragalus. r

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    • One person found this helpful

      matt smith

      Just wanna say, as for the 2022 seeds, no scarification was needed. 7 days into stratification half the seeds rooted out. Thanks for fresh seed!

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  8. Question

    Danielle, Mars Hill NC (verified owner)

    My soil is mostly clay, so I’m planning to make a raised bed for my little seedlings. How deep should the bed be to give the tap roots enough room to grow?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Danielle,
      There’s a picture of the taproot in the gallery. I’d give it 12 inches anyway. To a certain extent it isn’t critical because if the soil depth is less than that the plant will adapt.
      Richo

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  9. Question

    Jason

    I was excited to see my 60 Astragalus seeds sprouting after 3 weeks damp in the refrigerator. Now I have them in 2″ soil blocks with Rhizophagus intraradices on a heating/germination mat around 70degF, and after 3 additional weeks see no sign of activity. How long should I wait for sprouting?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Jason,
      Thanks for staying in touch. The Rhizophagus is a very good idea and will help assure success. These are cool soil germinators and I wouldn’t use a heat mat myself. Let the heat come to the plant naturally from above. Read richo’s blog “advanced seed planting techniques” for more on this. Dig up a seed and see what’s happening in order to gain a feel for progress. If the root cap is still healthy then OK! If brown, then the transfer was not successful. My opinion–chancy to pre-sprout seeds, better to scarify, soak overnight and plant in cool medium and yes, inoculate. r

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    • Jason (verified owner)

      Richo,
      I really appreciate the coaching on this one. Just got another batch of seeds, scarified and soaked them, and with sow in well-draining inoculated medium. I can throw the flats into a walk-in cooler for 3 weeks at 40F if that assures success. What do you think? Also, should I take the time to sow in cells and avoid disturbing seedlings later by pricking out?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      cool greenhouse temps preferred, chilling of flats not advised, seedlings relatively easy to prick out, haven’t seen big problems as long as inoculant is present r

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    • Danielle (verified owner)

      Hi Richo, I’ve tried astragalus two springs now with excellent germination. But both times seedlings get some kind of damping off problem and stems break off at soil level. I’ve only ever had this problem with astragalus. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for contacting! Astragalus is an n-fixer and that’s a good thing but it does need the right mycorrhizal associations otherwise like you say it can get yucky fast. Inoculate with some soil from around mature astragalus plants or use a broadscale inoculant as purchased in nursery supply store. Using a sandy potting soil can help. I direct-seed these in the field in order to avoid damping off–they ten to do better that way–but it is challenging! Richo

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    • gehl.danielle (verified owner)

      Thank you very much for the response! I’ll try the inoculant along with my other legume seeds.

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  10. Question

    Susan Alli

    How does this like being in a container or best placement for my Hellish hot summers of Modesto,Ca?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Susan, This plant does well in hot climates and is taprooted, so does not particularly like pots. Give standard garden culture for modesto. richo

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  11. 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Shivani Spirit

    Easy to grow.

    Shivani Spirit

    I started the seeds with just a light scarifying and they germinated well and I now have some beautiful medicine plants!!! Thank you!! I Love growing the medicines that I use!!

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  12. One person found this helpful

    Question

    Shivani Spirit

    Hi Richo, I started a few seeds in the spring and now have some beautiful plants. How long should I wait before harvesting the roots? This year or should I wait a few years/. Thanks Shivani

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Shivani, In the first year they don’t make much root to speak of, probably best to wait until fall of second year to dig. r

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  13. Question

    aler58 (verified owner)

    Is it possible to propagate Astragalus via cuttings? I started seeds this year and the plants are growing well but I may be moving. I don’t want to lose a year’s growth starting from seed next spring.

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi there, I would recommend instead cutting the aerial parts back to the crown and digging the root and transplanting it to your new garden. Taprooted plants of this nature do not respond well to propagation by cutting. Richo

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    • One person found this helpful

      aler58 (verified owner)

      Thank you so much for the quick reply!

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  14. Question

    Tim Roberts

    Do they normally have that low thick bushy pattern of growth for you? And how tall do they tend to get in your climate? I’m much more used to a far more ‘leggy’ plant with a spindly appearance by comparison.

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Tim, We generally see these bushy and low-growing in the first year and up to 5 feet tall, woody and multi-stemmed, very bushy, in the second year. As was previously noted in this feed, the plant requires soil mycorrhizal associations for proper germination and growth. I find that inoculating with a broadscale mycorrhizal inoculant and/or kelp tea to be necessary. Richo

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  15. Question

    Arno van den Berg

    Its a little late in the year for growing them I think. Will the seeds germinate well a year later? Do you know how many years the germination rate of this seeds is good?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Arno, Not really, Astragalus seed is fairly short-lived and should be sown upon receipt. It is not late in the year to start growing perennials–perennials can be started, realistically, any time. It is annual plants that have a certain number of days required for their growing season.
      richo

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  16. Question

    Susan Meeker-Lowry

    My new astragalus seedlings are planted in the garden. We’re supposed to get a freak snowy cold night – down to 28. Will covering them be enough or should I dig up and replant when the storm passes?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Susan,
      It depends on how thoroughly they’ve outdoor acclimatized, but I personally would cover them with straw and pull the straw off after the freak snows are passed.
      richo

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  17. Question

    Nancy

    Does anyone know if this will grow in Costa Rica (near the coast, so maybe 800′ elevation, hot, with distinct wet and dry seasons)?

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  18. blick002

    blick002

    I started these indoors and transplanted into average garden soil, full sun, zone 3. They were slow to take off the first year, being partially shaded by neighboring faster growing seedlings didn’t help. In their second year they really took off – many bloomed and set seed. A beautiful plant. I’ve neglected to mulch them, but they seem to survive just fine with the heavy blanket of snow we get.

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    • Kathy

      I’m in S Fla with hot sun in the early and all summer. Would it be better to plant under the oak trees rather than in full sun?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Kathy,
      I think full sun is OK even in S. FL. By the way, you really don’t have to cold stratify this particular batch of seed–its coming up in 7 days with just a slight sandpaper scarification and then plant warm.
      Richo

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  19. One person found this helpful
    Rene Andalon Aguilar

    Rene Andalon Aguilar

    It is a seed that has high properties to strengthen the immune system

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    • Erin

      Question

      Any chance astragalus can be grown in a pot?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      It can, but the more room there is for the taproot the more medicine you get.

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    • Deborah Hall

      I have no ida where mine came from, but I’m afraid the taproot will interfere with my other plants. When would the best time to transplant? If it can be transplanted.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Taprooted plants don’t transplant well. Astragalus is a nitrogen-fixer that is kind to other plants.

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    • Tim Roberts

      Whilst most taprooted things dont seen to transplant nicely, I have been stunned by how well Huang Qi has coped with being roughly pulled from pots and shoved in other places. I’ve done this a bit, and they sulk for a day then just fall back on their amazing toughness, mind you, they are only a few months old and a max of 30 to 50 cm high when doing this, so no big taproot yet.

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    • Laura M

      Hi there, I’ve seen astragalus listed as up to zone 9. I’ve also seen it said that astragalus grows almost anywhere in the US. I’m in zone 10a in Bay Area (sunset climate zone 16). Would you say astragalus is marginal for where I am? Only looking to plant if I can expect robust vigor and root production. Thanks!

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Laura, We list Astragalus up to a Zone 10. The surviving and thriving of astragalus depends much less on climatic concerns and much more on soil mycorrhizae. If the roots kick in, the plant will be happy. We have a lot of trouble producing a good start on this, gardening is about trial and error, you’ll never know if you don’t try. Richo

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    • Phee

      Is any part of the plant itself edible?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello there, yes, the root is edible if extremely fibrous. My recommendation is to dig the root, wash it, cut in sections and boil in soup. You can eat the sections, well, if your teeth are strong enough, otherwise remove them from the soup and the broth will contain the goodies. When we make astragalus tincture, we extract first with hot water–that’s the way to proceed.
      Richo

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    • Leslie Hoppe (verified owner)

      Will deer eat astragalus? Many thanks for your answer!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Leslie, Deer will eat most plants that are soft (and especially mucilaginous) in texture and neutral in taste. Top deer forage is: chicory, plantain, Linden tree. They will even eat some plants that are strong tasting (like peppers). Here are a few tips: 1) Fence them out. 2) Grow diversity, and switch up your plant placement. This confuses them. 3) Keep a dog. 4) Mediterranean perennials like Hyssop, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are about as deerproof as a plant can get 5) cage your trees–once they get up to 5 feet tall or so, if the leading bud remains unchewed, then–you’re off! Richo

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    • carol burke

      can I plant astragalus in same garden bed with asparagus ?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Carol, They won’t fight, but remember that astragalus gets quite large, so give it 4 feet. richo

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    • Summer

      How old was the root in your gallery picture?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      2-year (i had to look). r

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