Growing wasabi is one of the challenging jobs in the world of home gardening. Why? Because this plant can be very fussy. There are a lot of things to consider before getting it ready for this Japanese herb.
The level of humidity, water content, and the environment in growing wasabi can be quite specific. This plant is also considered as a tough herb to maintain and cultivate.
List of The Guide For Growing Wasabi Anywhere In The House
But no need to worry, below are some guides and things to know before you begin.
1. What You Should Know Before Growing Wasabi
To be sure, we’re not gonna talk about the green stuff which you often have in the Sushi meal. It will be about the Wasabi plant species.
It’s also known as Wasabia japonica. This herb is originated from the mountain area of Japan which belongs to the Brassicaceae family.
The amazing fact is that you can eat all of its plants’ parts. You can also have them as one of the ingredients in the cooking. Because wasabi is more than just a green paste at the side of your Sushi meal.
For the record, the paste comes from the roots, not the leaves. Even it’s quite hard, people still can grow them in their backyard or indoor home garden.
2. Types Of Wasabi Plants
Mainly, this herb grows in the northern parts of Japan. Until these days, many countries cultivate plants such as New Zealand, China, Korea, Taiwan, and even in the US.
The states like Oregon, North Caroline, and Tennessee begin to plant them on a large scale.
There are some types of this herb you may need to know before growing the wasabi plant.
Moreover, there are two major categories Seiyo-wasabi and Hon-wasabi. Honwasabi is the one grown in Japan which is the original version of this plant.
The most popular types in the Honwasabi category is the Mazum and Daruma. To this day, there are an infinite amount of wasabi types out there.
3. Propagation In Growing Wasabi
This is the method of gardening that involves producing new plants through natural processes from various sources like cuttings, seeds, and other parts of the plant.
It’s something to do with wasabi because it’s tough to find plantlets at the ordinary garden centers.
You can easily get the wasabi seeds and plantlets through online stores. After getting the products, you have to soak them in distilled water. Leave it for a night.
This method will get the outer covering to be softer and easy to remove. It can also expedite the germination.
The next step or propagation is to draw rows in the area of planting. Give it around five to six inches of space in between.
Set the rows up to 2 inches of depth and 2 inches of width. Sow a single seed per hole. Then, water them thoroughly before covering with soil.
The most important thing to do is to keep the soil moist around the plants. If you are planning for growing wasabi in pots or containers, set them in one or two inches of depth and space in between.
After they become seedlings, thinning the weak ones and begin to transplant them to a bigger pot. Propagation can also use plantlets that you can find surrounding the mother plant.
4. The Best Time To Grow Wasabi Plant
So, when is the best time to grow wasabi? It’s in the late fall up to mid-winter season. That’s because the seeds need cold temperatures to break the dormancy. They need about to months until February.Growing wasabi in a hot climate will need some special treatments. Since the seeds need a really low temperature to germinate, use an artificial cold treatment for that.
Two varieties, Daruma and Shimane, are quite recommended. Keep them in the refrigerator and start planting when the temperature is around 50 to 55 Fahrenheit.
5. The Best Location And Condition
Wasabi's plant is quite fussy. The garden area should meet the conditions it needs. You should find the best spot around the house indoors and outdoors.
On the contrary, the homeowner can just create the right conditions for the plant.
Typically, this herb plants in moist and timbered areas. So, locate the potted wasabi in an area that’s humid and temperate. The temperature of your location should be between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wasabi would be very hard to grow in a location where the temperature often rises or falls out of range. For those who live in a place with a hot climate, consider having a sheet or tarp to shade the garden so it won’t get too much heat.
That’s why growing wasabi as part of your urban gardening project is just right. Just protect them from direct sunlight. For a balcony garden, it’s recommended to have it facing North or East.
6. The Importance Of Watering
Just like many other plants in pots, water is crucial. Wasabi needs more than ordinary. It needs deep and regular watering.
Water will keep the soil moist. It will also maintain the coolness around the plant and the level of humidity it needs for growing well.
Prevent overwatering the wasabi because it can make the root rot, especially when you’re growing wasabi at home.
If you have lettuce plants in the garden, you will know how to water the wasabi. They are quite similar in watering needs.
There is one more thing to keep in mind. Don’t get the plant to wilt and dry out. It will die sooner than you might think.
7. Pest And Diseases In Growing Wasabi Plant
Don’t forget to prune away the dead, diseased, damaged, and wilted leaves from the plant. Those things would attract more diseases and pests to ruin other parts of the plant.
Speaking of pests and diseases, you will face some of them while taking care of this herb.
Watch out for alfalfa looper larva, slugs, aphids, and cranefly larva. Avoid those insects by keeping the wasabi plant in a cool area.
If you’re growing them in the home garden, just handpick and squeeze the pests one by one. It would be an easy job.
Some people may not like squeezing like that. They can spray the affected area with insecticidal soap.
For prevention, spray the plants with neem oil. Or, you can just remove the plant when it’s affected severely.
What about diseases? You will face issues like root rot, leaf spot, ad rhizome rot. One thing to do is to improve the watering method.
You might consider growing wasabi indoors because it would help you deal with the problem.
8. Harvesting And Storing The Wasabi
As said before, all of the parts of the wasabi plant are edible, leaves, stems, flowers, and even the roots (rhizome). That’s what’s so great about this herb.
You can harvest the leaves, flowers, and stems when the plant is four to six inches tall. For the roots, just pull the entire plant up. After the harvesting, store the rhizome in the fridge to keep it fresh. It should only be inside for a month or so.
However, you can enjoy the best flavor of wasabi right after harvesting. Its freshness will taste even better than you imagine.
Clean the roots and grate them to make it ready for the side dish of your meal. It should be consumed within 30 minutes.
The wasabi root can last longer if you dry and grind it. Moreover, the grower can get the best shape of the rhizome after 15 months to two years of caring.
9. Potential Health Benefits
Wasabi plant contains some properties that are good for your health. According to studies, this herb provides a stomach-calming and anti-bacterial contents. One pleasing benefit is promoting fat loss.
According to some research, the wasabi leaves have properties that may prevent weight gain. However, the result is not promising since it’s not yet proven to be effective in human testing.
In the US, it’s tough to find wasabi products that majorly contain authentic material. It’s often substituted by horseradish which tastes quite similar.
Make sure you have the real one by reading the label carefully. But then, you should prepare for an expensive price to get it.
Many people consider growing wasabi as a difficult gardening job. After reading all of the things in this guide, you now know how to deal with this unique Japanese plant.