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A picture of a Leek

Leek

Allium porrum

Also known as

St David's Lily, Cenhinen

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Half-hardy

3a-9b

USDA zone

-40°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

60cm

Max

50cm

30cm

Min

10cm

3 months to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Leek

A field of leeks, showing the arching dark green leaves lit up with the sun.
A close up of the white and purple flowers of a Leek

Leek Overview

Allium porrum, commonly known as Leeks, are biennials which are grown for their long fleshy stems and strong taste ideal for adding to soups, stews and casseroles or eaten raw as part of a salad. Leeks are a staple vegetable in many countries and are widely grown due to their low maintenance. Sow into seed trays, under glass in late winter and transplant after the last frosts for the best results. As the stems start to grow and mature they can be blanched by mounding up dry soil around them. Your tasty stalks should be ready to be harvested in early autumn, throughout winter and into early spring. Alternatively, Allium porrum can be left to flower the following year for its great ornamental value. It produces large, spherical, pompom-like white and purple blooms on tall bare stems. It is one of the oldest known vegetables with archaeological evidence of it being grown in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 BCE.

Common problems with Leek

Leek Companion Plants

How to harvest Leek

Harvest from early summer onwards. Lift the whole plant up gently with a fork and cut off excess roots.

How to propagate Leek

Seed

Sow into seed trays in early Spring and transplant into beds once seedlings are roughly as thick as a pencil. Plant out by making a hole bigger than the seedling, place it into the hole and watering it in - do not fill with soil or firm it in. This way, the roots will spread out as the plant grows and protect it more from toppling in the wind as it gets taller. Direct sowing : after the last frost, sow seeds thinly, 2.5cm (1") apart into drills approx. 0.5cm (1/4") deep, with each drill spaced 15cm (6") apart. Cover the seeds with sifted soil, firm the soil down and water in. Germination should occur within 14 to 21 days and is usually very good. Seedlings will need to be thinned out to leave plants 10cm (4") apart.

Special features of Leek

Wet sites

Crop rotation

Plant in beds that have previously been used to grow lettuce, cabbages or peas.

Other uses of Leek

Leeks are one of the national symbols of Wales. The story goes that in 640 A.D, King Cadwallader and his Welsh fighters wore the plant on their hats to distinguish themselves from the enemy Saxons and won the battle. In Hebrew, the word for 'leek' is 'karti' which is a pun on another Hebrew word 'yikartu', which means 'to be cut off'. So a Jewish tradition is to eat leeks at Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a wish for enemies to be 'cut off'.

Edible

Leeks are used in a multitude of recipes and cuisines.

Edibles to Plant Out in August.

Young plants started off indoors can now be planted out.

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