Growing wasabi plants in pots

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The best place to start going wasabi plants is in your back garden – so go and buy some hardy wasabi plants from our Wasabi Crop Shop.  It can be quite challenging to grow wasabi and from this blog post, we will give an exclusive insight. 

At Wasabi Crop we grow these amazing wasabi plants in a polytunnel, but I cannot tell you all our commercial secrets. However, a few wasabi plants can be grown in a wheelbarrow, a large bucket and of cause plant pots.  It is important to make sure they all have some drainage holes.

Wasabi plants like the shade

So, to grow wasabi in your garden, the first thing you must do is to find a shady place, it can be under a branch of a tree or near a tall fence. In addition, underneath large bushes can make an excellent home for the hardy wasabi plants.  Essentially, you can plant the wasabi in any location as long as it is not in direct sunlight.

growing wasabia japonica in the garden
Wasabi plants react with sunlight by causing them to wilt

Wasabi plants like well-drained and wet soil/compost mixture

Another important aspect of growing hardy wasabi plants is to make sure they are watered regularly: the soil must always be kept in a moist state as the plants require consistency. However. the wasabi must not be planted in standing water: hence it is not an aquatic plant. Nevertheless, wasabi plants native to Japan can be found growing in the shade along mountain sparkling streams.  So, you must try to replicate these conditions to the best of your ability.

wasabi plant growing in the garden
Wasabi plants growing in a shady part of the garden

Growing wasabi in large plant pots

The straightforward approach is to grow wasabi in approximately 10-litre pots containing drainage holes. First of all place a layer of pea shingle to cover the drainage holes and make sure it is at least 4 cm in depth. Then fill the pot up with good soil or use a mixture of soil and compost.

Planting wasabi in pots has the benefit that you can transport them around the garden if the weather gets too hot or bring then into the house if it becomes really cold outside.

What is too hot or too cold for growing wasabi?

A good rule of thumb is that if the outside temperature becomes higher than 26°C or below 0°C the wasabi pots must be moved into your house and kept out of direct sunlight.  Only do this if the hot or cold weather persists for several days.

What about wasabi seeds?

You may have come across people selling wasabi seeds on the internet. I warn you now that these so called wasabi seeds will be fake and they are most certainly not wasabia japonica, but you will more likely get mustard seeds.

Wasabi mustard or wasabi arugula is not real wasabi

Actual wasabi seeds are rare and extremely difficult to germinate

To be certain you are better just to buy genuine wasabi plants from the Wasabi Crop Shop.

Harvesting the fresh wasabi

By owning a wasabi plant you can harvest three wasabi parts.  They are:

  1. The prized rhizome which can be easily recognised by it’s knobbly out appearance, a bit like a knobbly carrot but a shade of green.  The rhizome can be grated into the wasabi paste and used in your favourite dish.  Also, the rhizome will stick out of the surface of the growing medium.
  2. Wasabi Leaves.
  3. The leaf stems.
fresh wasabi rhizomes
Fresh Wasabi Rhizomes

Producing a mature rhizome it can take up to 2 years because the good news is that you can eat the wasabi leaves and stems while you wait.

When you reach harvest day, you simply dig out the wasabi plant and if you are lucky you will see lots of shoots and plantlets which can be broken off and replanted to produce more wasabi.

When you have extracted the rhizome (a swollen stem), wash it under cold running water and grate the required amount. Then wrap the rhizome in a piece of cheesecloth or tea towel and place in a fridge on a ceramic or glass plate. If you store the rhizome correctly, it should last up to 4 weeks.

Wasabi leaves and stems are crunchy and delicious

growing wasabi in the glass house
Wasabi leaves and stems growing in the shaded greenhouse

When you harvest the large heart-shaped wasabi leaves, make sure you do not damage or cut off the small central leaf sprouting from the crown of the wasabi plant.

These wasabi leaves grow most of the year so you can harvest them every 1-2 months and enjoy eating wasabi greens with your sandwiches.

You can include wasabi leaves and stems into your mashed potatoes!

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