Jiaogulan / Sweet Tea Vine (Gynostemma pentaphylum)
Exposure: Filtered sun to part shade. Zone
Soil: Average garden soil to sandy loam soils.
Growth habits: Jiaogulan is a vigorous perennial groundcover vine with attractive palmate compound leaves that will climb if given the opportunity. It spreads by underground stolons and should be given a location all its own, otherwise it might overcome less dynamic plants. Jiaogulan dies back to the ground every winter. Mulch jaogulan well for winter protection.
Landscape uses: Jiaogulan makes a beautiful groundcover or can be used in waste spaces where its rambunctious ways won’t be a problem.
Edible/Medicinal properties: This plant is one of the world’s most important tonic herbs, though barely known in the US, except by Chinese medicine people. Jaogulan contains twice as many ginsenoid saponins as ginseng. It strengthens the immune and nervous system, improves circulation, stimulates the liver, lowers cholesterol, is anti-aging, and is a valuable herb for both men and women.