An assembled list of plants that I currently grow or want to grow in the near future with their growing conditions.

Growth Considerations

  • total N
  • NO3/NH4 ratio
  • salinity
  • root zone O2
  • temperature (root/shoot)

Many medicinal plants have a tendency to bioaccumulate heavy metals. This is a big problem for traditionally grown plants especially when the fertilizer is organic in nature. (Nookabkaew et al. 2016) Similarly, anthroponegic sources of cadmium are often the culprit of contamination (e.g. biosolids or industrial runoff).

Synthetic fertilizers are not immune to this contamination, however. Cadmium naturally occurs in phosphate rock. Synthetic phosphorus fertilizers are directly produced from this rock and therefore have higher than background concentrations of cadmium.

Melissa officinalis

I routinely use lemon balm in herbal tea mixtures. My usual mix is 50:50 with lavender flowers. I just like the lemony scent.

Lemon balm has been grown successfully in soilless media. (???)

There appears to be some benefit to water deprivation for essential oil concentration but has variable affects on total yield. (H et al. 2010) (Radácsi et al. 2016)

Lemon balm grows in shade and full sun.

Centella asiatica

Gotu Kola is purportedly used for cognitive enhancement and enhanced wound healing.

Triterpenoids seem to be the most important compounds in gotu kola. (Moyano et al. 2009) These are carbohydrate secondary metabolites and have reduced production when the total nitrogen exceeds 60 mM in shoot culture. Similarly, carbohydrate supplementation increased asiaticoside production while copper inhibits it. (Prasad, Mathur, et al. 2012)

High yields of pharmaceutical quality gotu kola are seen with hydroponics. (Prasad, Pragadheesh, et al. 2012)

Gotu Kola has been used for phytoremediation of waste water. (Nuwansi et al. 2019)

Plant genetics are important for production.

Piper auritum

Grows in tropical climates. Potential for hydroponic cultivation. Will grow several meters tall with ~30cm wide leaves. Propagates by rhizomes, seed.

Possible source of safrole (2-4% essential oil in leaves; 87-94% safrole).

P. auritum could be grown as undergrowth in a larger timber plantation.

P. auritum has a spider mite problem. So I gave it a shower.

Bacopa monnieri

Withania somnifera

Curcuma domestica

Sceletium tortuosum

Kanna is an African succulent that does not do well with overwatering. It thrives in high light and high heat.

Kanna may drop all of its leaves during the summer and regrow them in the winter.

Kanna may be suitable for a fertigation based hydroponic cultivation.

It was observed that more optimal vegetative growth was not necessarily desirable in terms of alkaloid concentration, which suggests that reasonable amounts of stress could increase alkaloid concentrations in the plant. Chapter 3 found soilless media with higher water holding capacity (media containing coco-peat and vermiculite) yielded more desirable results in terms of vegetative growth than media that did not (media containing pure silica sand and/or perlite). Too frequent (every week) or infrequent (every fifth week) fertigation is not ideal for vegetative growth, instead plants reacted significantly to fertigation at 3 week intervals. One can therefore suggest that well drained, yet high water holding capacity soilless media in conjunction with mid-frequent fertigation intervals would yield the best results in terms of vegetative growth.

(Faber 2019)

Preparation method seems to be important. Perhaps to reduce oxalate content or even to enhance psychoactivity.

When the subjects further attempted to ingest unfermented plant material which had been freeze-dried, by mouth, the acidity was most objectionable and the exercise was discontinued. …perhaps the physical crushing of the plant and the fermentation process may, in some way, ameliorate the potentially harmful effects of oxalic acid.

The fermentation method involves placing the whole plant in a sealed plastic bag in the sun for several days, opened and mixed, then sealed for a total of eight days. The plant material is then dried in the sun in a thin layer.

Kanna is also traditionally prepared by burying the whole plant in hot sand left under a fire pit for one hour or overnight. (Smith et al. 1996)

Nicotiana tabacum

Nicotiana rustica

Previous tests have shown that N. rustica is well suited for Kratky style hydroponics.

Hypericum perforatum

Rhodiola rosea

Calendula officinalis

Phalaris aquatica

Seeds are direct sowed in coconut coir.

Ephedra californica

Seeds are soaked in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes before sowing in peat pellet and rockwool.

Borago officinalis

Cantharanthus roseus

Germination is a little difficult. I am using 10mM KNO3 solution to wet a rockwool grow cube. Two seeds are placed in the indentation and covered with a bit of rockwool to ensure that the seeds aren’t exposed to light. Two seeds were also placed in traditional peat pellets and covered as well.

Ipomoea tricolor

Seeds are soaked in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes before sowing in peat pellet and rockwool.

Dysphania ambrosioides

Lavandula vera

Crassula ovata ‘Ogre Ears’






Theobroma cacao

I received 21 ICS95 cacao cuttings from Puerto Rico. They were immediately dipped in IBA rooting hormone, planted in a 50:50 vermiculite:coconut coir potting media, and watered with half strength (masterblend) nutrient solution.

Several days later I pulled 9 cuttings from the pot and placed them in my ultrasonic mist bench. The others were repotted in the same verm:coir mix in a smaller container. I attempted to use a plastic bag as a humidity dome, but it became too unwieldy. The mist bench has an inverted clear plastic tote which fits perfectly.

Thus far I have seen little to indicate they are growing roots. Apparently mist benches have the tendency to osmotically pull nutrients from the cuttings when used with pure water (which I did).

Yep… rot :(

Curio radicans

Wasabia japonica

Tradescantia pallida

Work Log


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06 Oct 2020

In preparation for my ten day trip, I have secured almost all of the plants in kratky hydroponic containers. Only the succulents and trees remain in soil.

I also turned the lighting down to a minimum. This feature is super nice for keeping the plants from using too much water while I’m away.

25 Sep 2020

Project Created!

I have several medicinal plants that need specific growing conditions. This is a compiled list.


Faber, Richard James. 2019. “Vegetative Growth and Alkaloid Concentration of Sceletium Tortuosum (L.) N.E. Br. in Response to Different Soilless Growing Media and Fertigation Regimes in Hydroponics.” Thesis, Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

H, Moradkhani, Sargsyan E, Bibak H, Naseri B, Sadat-Hosseini M, Fayazi-Barjin A, and Meftahizade H. 2010. “Melissa Officinalis L., a Valuable Medicine Plant: A Review.” Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 4 (25): 2753–9.

Moyano, Elisabeth, S. Mangas, L. Hernandez-Vasquez, and M. Bonfill. 2009. “Centella Asiatica (L) Urban: An Updated Approach.” Plant Secondary Terpenoids, 55–74.

Nookabkaew, Sumontha, Nuchanart Rangkadilok, Norratouch Prachoom, and Jutamaad Satayavivad. 2016. “Concentrations of Trace Elements in Organic Fertilizers and Animal Manures and Feeds and Cadmium Contamination in Herbal Tea (Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Makino).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 64 (16): 3119–26.

Nuwansi, K. K. T., A. K. Verma, G. Rathore, Chandra Prakash, M. H. Chandrakant, and G. P. W. A. Prabhath. 2019. “Utilization of Phytoremediated Aquaculture Wastewater for Production of Koi Carp (Cyprinus Carpio Var. Koi) and Gotukola (Centella Asiatica) in an Aquaponics.” Aquaculture 507 (May): 361–69.

Prasad, Archana, Archana Mathur, Manju Singh, Madan M. Gupta, Girish C. Uniyal, Raj K. Lal, and Ajay K. Mathur. 2012. “Growth and Asiaticoside Production in Multiple Shoot Cultures of a Medicinal Herb, Centella Asiatica (L.) Urban, Under the Influence of Nutrient Manipulations.” Journal of Natural Medicines 66 (2): 383–87.

Prasad, Archana, V. S. Pragadheesh, Archana Mathur, N. K. Srivastava, Manju Singh, and A. K. Mathur. 2012. “Growth and Centelloside Production in Hydroponically Established Medicinal Plant-Centella Asiatica (L.).” Industrial Crops and Products 35 (1): 309–12.

Radácsi, Péter, Krisztina Szabó, Dóra Szabó, Eszter Trócsányi, and Éva Németh-Zámbori. 2016. “Effect of Water Deficit on Yield and Quality of Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis L.).” Zemdirbyste-Agriculture 103 (4): 385–90.

Smith, M. T., N. R. Crouch, N. Gericke, and M. Hirst. 1996. “Psychoactive Constituents of the Genus Sceletium N.E.Br. and Other Mesembryanthemaceae: A Review.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 50 (3): 119–30.