Watercress

Nasturtium officinale

Southern Watercress, Water Cress

1 of 6
1 of 6
Nasturtium officinale is commonly known as Watercress, it is an aquatic, hardy perennial herb that is one of the easiest plants to grow, especially for hydroponic cultivation. It looks delicate, but has a sharp, peppery taste. It enjoys "super-food" status due to its health benefits, i.a. antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds. The natural habitat of this fast-growing plant is in streams and it is an indicator of water quality. It can multipy itself and become invasive.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring, Summer

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

For fresh use, harvest watercress sprigs year round when they are 10 - 15 cm in length, aoubt 8 weeks after sowing. Simply cut the cress; the plant will send out new shoots soon. You can get up to 10 pickings a year. Leaves turn bitter once flowers start blooming.

Propagation

Seed

The preferred method, because cultivated plants are prone to viruses. Sow the tiny seeds lightly in Spring, in wet, enriched soil. Germination in about 8 days.

Cuttings

Almost any part of the plant, even a single leaf, will form roots in ideal conditions - clean, slow flowing water, about 5cm deep.

Special features

Crop rotation

Light feeder.

Wet sites

Watercress loves clear, running water, but is very adaptabe. Found in the wild in flooded areas. Ideal to plant in a water feature in the garden.

Pot plant

It will do well in a pot that stands in a container filled with water.

Attracts useful insects

Bees like the pollen-rich flowers. Host to beneficial spiders and beetles.

Repels harmful insects

Deters cucumber beetles.

Special features

Origin

Cultivated in Europe since the 1600's.

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Wet

Soil type

Loam

Soil PH preference

Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

Helps to treat various ailments eg. digestion, TB and arthritis, and reduces the risk of disease. High in Vit A and C, Iron and Calcium. Traditionally used on hair, to promote growth.

Edible

The sprouts, leaves and stems are used in countless ways in salads, sandwiches and cooked dishes. Nutrition wise in the same league as spinach and cabbage.

Personality

Family

Brassicaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

None

Problems

Snails. Whiteflies and Spider mites are problems, but can be held in check by ladybirds.

Related Problems

Companion plants

Grow alongside aquatic plants.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play