Grow amazing hardy wasabi plants in the back garden

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Growing wasabi plants in pots

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The best place to start growing 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 this blog post will give you 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, or plant pots. It is important to make sure they all have drainage holes.

Wasabi plants like the shade

So, to grow wasabi in your garden, the first thing you must do is find a shady place. It can be under a branch of a tree or near a tall fence. In addition, hardy wasabi plants can make an excellent home underneath large bushes. 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 ensure they are watered regularly. The soil must always be kept moist, 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, a layer of pea shingle should be placed to cover the drainage holes and ensure they are at least 4 cm in depth. Then, fill the pot with good soil or 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 them 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

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

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

When harvest day arrives, you simply dig out the wasabi plant. 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 cheesecloth or a tea towel and place it in a fridge on a ceramic or glass plate. If you store the rhizome correctly, it should last up to four 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. Enjoy eating wasabi greens with your sandwiches.

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

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