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Like Wasabi? Here’s How to Grow Wasabi at Home

Like Wasabi? Here’s How to Grow Wasabi at Home
 Like Wasabi? Here’s How to Grow Wasabi at Home

Do you like the taste of wasabi? If you do, why not plant it at your home so you can enjoy the taste whenever you want? The plant is not demanding although it does require a bit of caring and patience to thrive. Here, we will tell you how to grow wasabi and share some information regarding the plant. Let’s start.

About Wasabi

Wasabi (Wasabi japonica) is a Japanese plant used in various dishes. Lots of people like wasabi in their food because of the plant’s unique taste. The spiciness is a little bit similar to horseradish, which is why many restaurants used horseradish and dye them and serve them as “wasabi.” The real wasabi taste is, however, more vegetable-like with distinctive heat.

The term “wasabi” is usually meant for the rhizome or plant stalk. What you should now about wasabi is that the rhizome is not the only part that can be used. The root, stems, offsets, and leaves are edible and can be used in various ways. You can harvest all these parts while waiting for the rhizome to mature.

Varieties

How many wasabi varieties are there? There are 17 different wasabi varieties. Two of the most commonly grown for commercial purposes are Daruma and Midori. The Daruma variety produces only a single rhizome while the Midori variety is able to produce multiple offsets. Be sure you check the variety before you are purchasing offset to plant.

Can Wasabi Be Grown from Seed?

Yes, it can. There are two problems, however. First, it is difficult to germinate wasabi seeds. Most advertised “wasabi” seeds are either weed or mustard seeds. Second, although you can buy the seeds from Japan, you have to apply to the Japanese Embassy’s Trade Office. Even then you are unlikely to get the seeds.

Since growing from seed is difficult, we recommend you to grow your wasabi offsets. Unlike seeds, offsets are widely available. Also, since you are planting wasabi from offsets, there is no need to germinate anything at all. You can just plant, grow and harvest it, making the entire process less time-consuming.

Wasabi can be planted in different ways. Some people plant their wasabi outdoors in their garden or yard. Some people plant wasabi indoors while some other plant wasabi hydroponically. Since it is a matter of preference, it doesn’t matter whether it is outdoors, indoors or hydroponically, as long as you take care of the plant properly, you will get the desired result.

How to Grow Wasabi

Alright, let’s talk about how to grow wasabi now. First thing first, you must know that wasabi grows best when the steady temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the growth rate will be slowed down. Below 27 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant will die.

Too cold of temperature is not good. Neither is too hot. If the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will suffer from heat damage. Also, the risks of plant contracting diseases and pests are increased as well. This is why providing all-year-round shade and summer watering is crucial.

What about the soil? The ideal soil for wasabi is well-drained filled with organic matter. If you decide to plant in a pot, the size of the container should be at least 2.5 gallons or 10 inches. Prepare the soil, 8 to 10 inches depth then work in 10 to 12 inches of compost.

Don’t plant the wasabi too deep. If it can stand upright, then it is deep enough. The roots must be entirely covered. To make it doubly sure, you can backfill the hole, followed by pressing into place gently. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the rhizome part should be above the surface at all times.

When it comes to watering, water the plant well is sufficient. Never allow wasabi to sit in water. After the initial planting is done, irrigate the soil with cool water. If necessary, mist the plant to keep it cool and prevent wilted leaves. Mulching also helps in keeping the moisture retention, especially during warmer months.

If there are any wilted leaves for a week or so, dispose of them immediately. This will lower the risk of the plant contracting disease as well as deter pests. Keep the container or planting bed free from weed. Fertilize the soil with a balanced fertilizer regularly to help the plant grows optimally.

Harvesting

Now that you know how to grow wasabi, let’s move to how to harvest it. Remember, since the entire plant can be harvested, you should harvest one part carefully while leaving the other parts intact unless you harvest the entire plant. This way, you will be able to get the most out of the plant.

Leaves

Let’s start with the greens. Waiting for the plant stalk to be harvest-ready will take some time. Fortunately, in the meantime, you can harvest its leaves. The leaves are delicious. You can add the leaves to various dishes, juice them, saute them, or even eat them raw in a salad.

It takes about 8 weeks from planting for the leaves to be harvest-ready. Once they are ready, you can harvest them every 6 to 8 weeks. To harvest the leaves, just cut the leaves and leave the small, sprouting leaf at the top of the plant so the leaves will keep growing.

Stems

Just like the leaves, the stems or leaf stalks are ready to harvest in around 8 weeks. So when you harvest the leaves, be sure to harvest the stems also. The stems are crunchy and spicy. Not surprisingly, they can be cooked in many ways, from juicing, steaming, sauteing, to adding raw ones to your mashed potatoes.

Rhizome

The plant stalk takes about 15 months to 2 years to harvest this part. To harvest, pull the entire plant up. Cut the leaves, leaf stalks, and roots. Grate the rhizome only when you want to use it. When not used, place it on a damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator.

Roots and Offsets

Wasabi roots and offsets can be used to add wasabi flavor be it as paste, extract, sauces or other items. Yes, both roots and offsets can be harvested as well. Depending on the variant, you may see some offsets or plant starts underneath the rhizome. Break these off. You can plant these offsets or add them to your dishes. 

Pests and Problems

Knowing how to grow wasabi is not enough to get the best result. You should also know about pests and problems that might hinder the growth of your wasabi. Knowing these should help you to prevent and anticipate in case they do appear. Some of the most common pests and problems include aphids, cranefly larva, slugs, and fungal complications.

Maintain the ideal temperature for wasabi and use stable irrigation that wasabi requires are the best defenses against pests and diseases. Insecticide, slugs removal, and cooper spray also help in fighting against those pests and problems. Be careful when treating wasabi. In cases like fungal complications, isolating the plant or disposing of it entirely might be needed.

Closing

And that’s how to grow wasabi. It usually takes about 15 months to 2 years to harvest the rhizome or what is commonly recognized as “wasabi”. In the meantime, you can harvest the other parts like leaves, stems, roots or and offsets, which themselves can be used for cooking too. Ready to plant your own wasabi plant? Good luck!

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