How to plant watercress

Barbarea verna

The watercress, also called herb-of-santa-barbara, is a small plant whose leaves resemble in shape and flavor the leaves of the watercress. When it blooms, this plant reaches 30 to 90 cm in height, but during its useful period of cultivation it usually does not exceed 15 cm in height. Its leaves have a pleasant taste and can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches, or can be used in soups and other culinary recipes.


It prefers a mild climate, growing best at temperatures below 20 ° C. At very high temperatures the leaves become stiffer and are less tasty.


It can be grown under direct sunlight in mild weather. In warmer climates, cultivate in partial shade with good light.


Although it is tolerant of the soil, it grows best in well-drained, fertile soil and rich in organic matter. The soil pH can vary from 4.5 to 7.5.


The watercress is very sensitive to lack of water, but on the other hand it does not support flooded land like the watercress. Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.


Once this plant grows fast, its seeds should be sown at the final location of the garden, subsequently removing excess plants to achieve adequate spacing. The seeds can be sown approximately 0.5 cm deep. Germination is irregular, the seeds can germinate in less than a week, but they can also remain dormant for a long period (even for years).

The spacing can be 10 to 20 cm between the plants. Watercress can also be easily grown in pots and planters.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.


Harvesting the leaves of the watercress can be done at any time, but it is usually best to start from 60 to 80 days after planting, when the plants are well developed. The leaves can be harvested individually when necessary, until the plant starts to bloom, because then its leaves can become bitter.

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