Growing Wasabi Plants in Your Garden

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Wasabi, often considered a challenging plant to cultivate, offers a unique gardening adventure with its distinct flavour and numerous health benefits. This brief guide explores the intricate process of growing wasabi plants in your garden, covering essential aspects from selection and planting to care and harvest. By adhering to specific conditions and showing patience, gardeners can successfully grow this exquisite herb, adding a touch of exotic spice to their culinary creations.

Introduction to Growing Wasabi Plants

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica), a plant native to Japan, is renowned for its sharp, pungent flavour, often gracing dishes like sushi with its green, fiery paste. Contrary to popular belief, growing wasabi in a home garden is achievable, albeit challenging. This guide aims to demystify the process, providing step-by-step instructions to help you cultivate this exotic plant outside its traditional habitat.

Understanding Wasabi

Before embarking on your wasabi growing journey, it’s crucial to understand its natural habitat and requirements. Wasabi thrives in shady, moist environments, often found in the mountainous river valleys of Japan. Its preference for cool temperatures and running water makes it a unique plant to grow, especially in climates that differ from its native setting.

Choosing Your Wasabi


There are two primary types of wasabi: Wasabia japonica ‘Daruma’ and ‘Mazuma’. ‘Daruma’ is known for its larger rhizomes and tolerance to various conditions, while ‘Mazuma’ is prized for its flavour but can be more temperamental.

Planting Material

You can start wasabi from seeds, but this is notably more challenging and time-consuming. For most gardeners, purchasing young plants or rhizomes from reputable nurseries is the most straightforward path to success.

Preparing the Garden


Select a part of your garden that receives partial shade, mimicking the wasabi plant’s natural environment. Avoid areas that get full sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves and hinder growth.


Wasabi prefers rich, well-draining soil with a pH between 6 and 7. Amending your garden soil with organic matter and a bit of sand can improve drainage and fertility. Consider raised beds or containers if your garden soil does not drain well.


Ensure constant soil moisture to emulate the moist conditions of wasabi’s natural habitat. Drip irrigation or a soaker hose can provide a steady supply of water without over-saturating the soil.

Planting Your Wasabi


The best time to plant wasabi is in spring or autumn, avoiding the extreme temperatures of summer and winter.


Plant wasabi rhizomes or young plants about 30 cm apart to give them ample space to grow. Bury them so the top of the rhizome is just above the soil surface. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and keep the roots cool.

Caring for Your Wasabi


Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Wasabi roots are sensitive to drought and excessive moisture.


To support growth, apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in spring and again in mid-summer. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers, which can promote leaf growth at the expense of the rhizome.


Wasabi has few pests, but beware of slugs and snails, which can damage the leaves. Use organic slug pellets or barriers to protect your plants.

Harvesting Your Wasabi

Wasabi takes about 18 to 24 months to mature. When ready, the rhizomes will protrude above the soil—harvest by carefully digging around the plant and gently lifting the rhizome. The leaves and stems are also edible and make a spicy addition to salads.


Growing wasabi in your garden is a rewarding challenge that requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to mimic its natural, moist, and shady environment. While it may not be the most accessible herb to grow, the satisfaction of harvesting your own wasabi for fresh, homemade sushi or other dishes is unparalleled. You can enjoy this exceptional plant’s unique taste and health benefits from your garden with the right conditions and care.

In summary, while cultivating wasabi may seem daunting at first, understanding its specific needs and providing the right environment can lead to successful growth. Whether you’re an experienced gardener looking for a new challenge or a culinary enthusiast eager to grow your own ingredients, wasabi presents an exciting opportunity to expand your gardening and culinary horizons.

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  1. Pingback: Green Gold Guide to Growing Your Wasabi Empire | Wasabi Crop

  2. Pingback: Hardy wasabi plants in the back garden | Wasabi Crop

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