How to Grow Watercress | Guide to Growing Watercress

How to Grow Watercress | Guide to Growing Watercress  



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Commonly found growing in shallow streams and along the edges of water, Watercress is nutrient-dense relative of nasturtiums. Loaded with vitamins A, C, K and minerals calcium and iron, watercress makes a fine addition to salads, sandwiches, and anywhere else that flavorful greens are used.


Seeds or Seedlings

8-12 days at 50-70 F

5 years

Moist, rich

Full Sun, Part Shade

3-4" apart

3-4" apart


Growing Guide

Under natural conditions, Watercress is a semi-aquatic herb often enjoyed for the the peppery taste and dense nutritional qualities of the leaves. It can be difficult to germinate and is best started in a site that receives good amounts of sunlight and plenty of moisture. Although watercress typically grows along stream banks and near sources of running water, this is not necessary, and with some planning it can be cultivated in containers.


Watercress is perennial in zones 5 and higher, and can be cultivated as an annual elsewhere. It does not tolerate transplanting and should be started in the container or site where it can initiate and complete its entire growth cycle.


Sow seeds ¼" deep, with 3-4" between seeds. As noted, a steady supply of moisture is absolutely ideal for watercress. Growing containers allows you to ensure this with some ease. Select smaller containers that are well-drained and have holes in the bottom. These containers can be placed into a larger container that containers water and will a constant supply to the smaller containers containing your plants.


With some warmth, germination should take place within 8-12 days. Do not let plants dry out during germination or at any point during growth.


Once established, watercress is fairly easy to maintain. The primary requisite is water, and it is important to change your water frequently. Stagnant water is not healthy, and water should be cycled every few days.


Harvesting Guide


The leaves can be harvested anytime, just be cautious when harvesting not to pull up the delicate roots. Use a scissors or snip and cut close to the ground once the stems are about 6 inches long or longer. Be careful not to over-harvest watercress; a good general rule of thumb is to never take more than ⅓ of the leaves in a single harvest. Once the plants go to flower in late summer, the leaves quickly become bitter and unpalatable.


After completing its growth cycle, and the plant has gone to flower, the seeds grow in pods and one can easily detach a mature pod and placed it upside down in a paper bag. After three months the seeds are properly dried and by shaking the bag they will fall out of the pod and should be kept in a tightly sealed jar.




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