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Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) is an ancient medicinal plant whose stress-relieving properties were already known to the Vikings. Certain species of the plant can be grown in the garden. Worth knowing about roseroot and tips for cultivation and care in the home garden.

Roseroot can be used to make tea, for example

The rose root - a small profile

  • Botanical name: Rhodiola rosea
  • Species: about 50, 2 of them in Europe
  • Plant type: succulent
  • Plant Family: Succulents
  • Origin: Pyrenees, Alps, Arctic, North America
  • Perennial: yes
  • Size: up to 35 cm in height
  • female flower: flowers yellow at first, then orange
  • male flower: purple
  • Flowering period: May to July
  • Hardiness: up to -40 degrees
  • Use: medicinal plant

Rhodiola is a perennial herb that develops thick, fleshy stems and many flowers. It forms clumps and rhizomes that can be used for propagation.

Rhodiola root has been known as a medicinal plant for centuries. Even the Vikings are said to have used the positive effects. Today the plant is valued above all in the Scandinavian countries as well as the Baltic States and Russia.

The root of the rose root is used. Extracts and teas are made from it. Little is known about the medicinal properties of plants grown in the garden. It is important that you actually plant the variety whose roots contain the desired ingredients.

rose root scent

Roseroot owes its German name to the fact that the stems give off a slightly rose-like scent when they are cut. This aroma also develops when the root is crushed. The flowers also give off a pleasant scent.

Rhodiola has a stress-relieving effect

Rhodiola is used for a number of disease symptoms. The effect has been scientifically proven in some studies, in other studies the effectiveness could not be confirmed. Roseroot contains, among other things:

  • glycosides
  • flavonoids
  • terpenoids
  • proanthocyanidins
  • organic acids

The extract from the root is said to help with states of exhaustion and make the patient more resistant to stress. Tea or rose root extract is also recommended for potency problems, mild and moderate depression and anxiety disorders.

Grow roseroot in the garden

The location for roseroot in the garden should be as sunny as possible. Since the plant is absolutely hardy, it does not need a sheltered location or cover in winter. Cultivation in tubs is not easy, as roseroot develops very long taproots.

The soil must be well drained and lime-free. A mixture of mature compost soil with gravel has proven itself. The soil must be deeply loosened so that the roseroot taproots have plenty of room. The plant does very well in the rock garden or alpine garden. It is also extremely decorative as a ground cover.

Roseroot is planted out in spring. The planting distance between the individual plants should be about 25 centimeters.

Easy-care medicinal plant for alpine gardens

Once the roseroot has settled into the garden, you no longer need to worry about caring for it. Watering is only necessary when the soil has completely dried out in summer.

Some gardeners recommend fertilizing roseroot in the summer. This is usually not necessary. Only use organic fertilizers if you don't want to give up additional nutrients altogether. It is good if you sprinkle some mature compost around the planting site in spring and rake it in lightly.

Caring for roseroot in the bucket

If you want to grow roseroot in a tub, you need a very deep pot so that the taproots have enough space. A large drainage hole is important to prevent waterlogging. Fill the pot with clay soil mixed with gravel.

During the growing season in summer you have to water the container plant regularly. However, the substrate must not become too moist. Do not leave any water in the saucer and only water again when the soil on top has dried well.

Place the tub in a sunny to partially shaded spot on the patio or balcony. Although roseroot is absolutely hardy, it is better to put the pot in a frost-free place in winter. Alternatively, you can place it in a protected corner on an insulating surface.

How to multiply roseroot

Rhodiola can be propagated by seed. For this you need seeds, which you can obtain from specialized retailers. Seeds from your own cultivation are not recommended, as the resulting plants are often not of the same variety.

Sowing is done in early spring, preferably in a greenhouse. Fill seed trays with a mixture of clay and sand that is not too wet. The seed must not be covered afterwards, since roseroot belongs to the light germs. The temperatures should always be above ten degrees.

It takes between two and four weeks for the seed to germinate. The seedlings are then isolated and cared for in the greenhouse for the rest of the year. You should only put the young plants outdoors after the next winter.


The species Rhodiola heterodonta, which is related to roseroot, is not suitable as a medicinal plant. It is grown purely as an ornamental plant in light, preferably sunny locations.

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