Given a cool shady position Wasabi japonica is the plant that Wasabi paste is made from. It can be grown in the home garden, and is and is successfully being grown commercially using hydroponics in Australia. Also grown in shaded damp positions for the attractive foliage.
Grown the stem rather than the actual root, it is the above ground stem that is cut once it reaches around 2-3 cm 1 inch in width and 15 cm 6 inches in length. The wasabi flowers are also edible.
Also known as the Japanese Horseradish, this is a root vegetable that is used for the foliage in fresh in salads as well as for the roots grated into salads and of course in the well know ‘wasabi paste’.
Why would you grow it ? If you have ever tasted true fresh wasabi paste than you would realise that much of what if offered in supermarkets is a poor imitation often ‘bulked out’ with horseradish. True wasabi has a more delicate, but still fiery taste.
Does it grow well in Australia ? Excellent in Tasmania where it is grown commercially by a dozen growers. Also grown in Victoria by 3 – 4 growers.
Care – How to Grow Wasabi Plants
The natural environment is in forested areas near damp areas, so this is what we are trying to recreate, a shaded, moist humid environment. Wasabi naturally grows in river beds in water with a temperature of around 12 – 15 C although it can be grown in soil, the resulting product is considered to be inferior when used fresh.
Commercially wasabi is grown hydroponically in green houses, this allow the natural growing conditions to be more carefully mimicked.
It grows beat in a cool climate, temperatures that range between 5 C and 22 C are ideal.
In Australia wasabi is generally grown under shade cloth as it requires a warm humid environment in summer, but not strong direct sun. Plant will take around 2 years to create a root or tuber worth harvesting, however the foliage is also used in salads. A relatively dry winter is required so a raised garden bed and a humus rich soil works well.
Plant will send up offshoots or suckers, break these of to help with root / tuber formation. You can grow it in containers, choose a large pot with a humus rich organic potting mix. Add some extra compost and cow manure if needed.
Harvest time is usually in spring to autumn.
Wasabi plants are available for sale online from the following suppliers
FOUR SEASONS HERBS – or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Huge range of rare & unusual herbs, edible perennial plants, wasabi, saffron corms & organic garlic. Specialised Mail order nursery.