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Watercress: Appreciated For its Leaves

Watercress is a vegetable and condiment plant appreciated for the spicy flavor of its leaves.

 what you need to know:

Name: Nasturtium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae
Type: Leaf vegetable

Height  : 20-60 cm
Exposure: Partial shade
Soil: Rich in humus, saturated with water

Sowing: March to July –  Harvest: May to October

Watercress: appreciated for its leaves

Sowing and planting watercress

Here are our tips for growing watercress, from sowing to harvesting, watering, and pests to watch out for.

The sowing of watercress is carried out in soil saturated with water or kept very moist and rich in humus (mixture composed of 50% potting soil or good garden soil, and 50% compost).

  • Bury the seeds a little (0.5-1cm).
  • Transplanting takes place when the seedlings have 4 or 5 leaves.
  • You can also plant, directly in place, young plants purchased in pots or mini-clods.

The watercress being a plant that grows naturally in running water and shallow (banks of streams), it is necessary to provide, in the absence of a stream, a deep culture basin of 30 cm at most.

If the water is not constantly renewed by a pump system, it must be changed at least twice a week.

What watercress likes:

  • waterlogged soil, ideally running water
  • rich soil
  • transplanting, which strengthens the seedlings.

Watercress: appreciated for its leaves

Watercress diseases

The watercress is not prone to diseases and, apart from aphids, it is only slightly affected by pests (the stems that emerge from the water are out of reach of slugs and snails).

Harvesting watercress

Harvests take place about 6 weeks after transplanting or planting. You simply cut the leaves and stems as needed.

In the fall, protect the crop from frost with a wintering veil in order to prolong the harvests.

Warning! Never harvest wild watercress: it can harbor the liver fluke, a parasite that causes dangerous liver disease in humans, distomatosis.

Watercress varieties

  • ‘Petit Vert’: variety with small dark green leaves, with a powerful flavor, similar to that of wild watercress.
  • ‘Gros Vert’: variety with large dark green leaves, spicy flavor
  • ‘Improved broad-leaved’: variety with large light green leaves, with a milder flavor than the previous ones.


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