How to Grow Ashitaba – Angelica keiskei Koidzumi
A plant with the common name of ’Tomorrow Leaves’ would seem to promise a few medicinal benefits, Ashitaba has been grown in Japan and China for just this purpose.
The botanical name is Angelica keiskei Koidzumi and it has been grown since the 15th Century. The root, stem and the leaves are all used in various traditional medicines. It is the presence of Chalcones in its yellow sap that give this plants its said benefits.
Today it is a ’new’ superfood in western culture. It is grown as perennial vegetable as well as for the seed.
The leaves can be eaten as a salad, the new shoots can be used, or the plants can be juiced.
The common name of “Tomorrow Leaf” comes from the ability of the plant to grow new foliage quickly after a leaf has been picked. Pick a leaf one morning and a new one will replace it by the next morning.
Ashitaba is renowned for the amount and the variety of fibre, vitamins, minerals and proteins it contains. It is the antioxidant, chalcone that makes this such a valued plant.
It is only found in remote areas of Honshu and the Izu Islands.
How to grow Asitaba
The choice is to grow Ashitaba from seeds, or to buy small plants.
Seed may appear to be cheaper, however they are difficult to germinate. Seed also needs to fresh, and reliable sources of fresh seeds are difficult to find.
Young seedlings are not cheap, however they are hardy in the right conditions and will spread.
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Ashitaba Growing Conditions
Plants should be spaced at around 40cm apart. Part shade is recommended.
It requires a nutrient rich soil to thrive. Seaweed fertiliser, blood and bone and well rotted cow manure can all be mixed into the soil before planting.
Although best kept moist, Ashitaba will survive in dryish conditions.
Reaches around 1.2 metres in height and is used both as a vegetable and for medicinal purposes.
IF you can find fresh seeds, try this method of propagation.
Seeds will benefit from being soaked and then given period of stratification in the refrigerator.
- The seeds should placed in a plastic bag in a peat and sand mixture.
- They are best planted out in spring, and they need to be surface sown.
- Keep the seeds moist yet not wet.
- Provide warmth and some humidity, a heated propagation tray is suitable. Germination should commence in 14 – 21 days.
- Seeds should be kept in the propagation material for two months before planting into individual pots.
- Use a free draining potting mix and ensure the containers have good drainage.
- Grow on in light shade (or full sun in cooler climates)
Ashitaba is available fro sale from the following nurseries
KALLINYALLA NURSERY – Phone: 0428822725.
Shaen St Port Lincoln, SA, 5606
KLEMZIG GARDEN CENTRE – Phone: 08 8369 0338
32 O G Rd Klemzig, SA, 5087
In Victoria try
MT EVELYN GARDEN CENTRE - Phone: (03) 9736 1162
126 York Rd, Mount Evelyn VIC 3796
Excellent range of herbs and vegetables, full range of general nursery lines, pots and garden statues
AJS BULLOCK NURSERY – Phone: 03 9890 3162
48 Cosier Dr Noble Park, VIC, 3174
ACORN NURSERY – Phone: 03 5141 1900 673
Canterbury Rd Surrey Hills, VIC, 3127
AUSSIE GOLD PLANT NURSERY – Phone: 03 5428 7929
126 Amess Rd Riddells Creek, VIC, 3431
In New South Wales
Try BERRIMA COTTAGE NURSERY – Phone: 02 4877 2929
28 Old Hume Hwy Berrima, NSW, 2577
BALCONY IN BLOOM – Phone: 02 9905 2462
10 Green St Brookvale, NSW, 2100
ANNANDALE GARDEN CENTRE – Phone: 02 9660 0874
36 Booth St Annandale, NSW, 2038
BONNYRIGG GARDEN CENTRE – Phone: 02 9610
5366 Elizabeth Dr Bonnyrigg Heights, NSW, 2177