How To Develop Wasabi: Advanced But Rewarding


For sashimi or sushi, wasabi is king — and but little or no of what individuals buy as “wasabi” within the United States is definitely actual wasabi, as actual wasabi is understood to be a really difficult plant. Usually, the intense wasabi paste present in these tubes is definitely European horseradish with meals coloring!  But for lovers of Japanese meals, rising the true factor is value it. Freshly grated and packed stuffed with vitamins, it’s troublesome, however doable if you know the way to develop wasabi. 

A member of the brassica household, this Wasabia japonica is a cool-weather-loving grower. Native to areas alongside streams in mountainous Japan, you’ll have to simulate the rocky, moist, and well-draining atmosphere this plant first developed in. Shade is completely required, as is slightly-sulfurous soil and really constant watering and weeding. Grown from rhizomes, wasabi can take just a few years to develop. While troublesome to self-seed, most individuals find yourself discovering plantlets to get their harvest going. 

Many areas of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia efficiently maintain farms of this plant the place islands of leaves and roots dwell in mounded gravel beds as water trickles steadily by. There are actually 18 types of wasabi, though within the US you’re most definitely to solely discover the mazuma or daruma varieties. 

People efficiently develop wasabi, both in greenhouses or in very shady areas of their yard, yr after yr. While it takes about two years on your crops to return to fruition, rising this green-tinted rhizome is fully doable at house, and within the meantime, you possibly can harvest tasty leaves to make use of too!

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Quick Care Guide

The technique of the way to develop wasabi is a bit advanced. Source: Andrew McLucas
Common Name(s) Wasabi, yama, ooi, Japanese horseradish
Scientific Name Eutrema japonicum, syn. Wasabia japonica
Days to Harvest 12-48 months
Light No direct daylight, filtered mild solely
Water 3-4” per week
Soil Humus wealthy, well-draining soil or gravel with soil pH 6.0-7.0
Fertilizer Well balanced 12-12-12
Pests Aphids
Diseases Leaf spot, root rot, rhizome rot & petiole blight

All About Wasabi

Wasabi seedling
A younger wasabi seedling. Source: UnconventionalEmma

Originally from Japan, wasabi is now recognized worldwide for its sushi popping qualities. This root is floor up right into a paste and served with many alternative fish or vegetarian sushis. While this root was initially used for its antibacterial properties to be eaten with fish, it’s now used extra in order a condiment than as a food-safe sanitizer. 

The wasabi plant, or Eutrema japonicum, grows from an underground rhizome alongside stream beds in shady areas and funky temperatures of mountainous Japan. A slow-growing plant, the whole plant can take a number of years to develop to maturity. The wasabi roots are the coveted portion of the plant, regardless that the whole plant is consumed. 

The well being advantages of the particular plant, when grown at house from seeds or from rhizomes, are simple. While initially solely eaten with uncooked fish, this plant can be eaten for its leaves which may be pickled with sugar and salt to make a dish known as Azuke. Alternatively, the leaves may be eaten cooked or in salads.

Slightly strange-looking crops, recent wasabi is grown in aquaponics, soil that doesn’t retain water and even gravel. The wasabi rhizome grows underground and might look very similar to a swollen taproot that protrudes above the bottom when totally fashioned and able to harvest. Rhizomes vary in width from 1-2” and attain a depth of as much as 18”. They sprout a number of lengthy leaf stems that may attain as much as 24” in top. Large heart-shaped and vibrant inexperienced leaves perkily relaxation on its stems and absorb what little mild this plant wants. While it doesn’t all the time flower, the crops can flower in early spring and produce extra seeds that may then be used for propagation. While it takes as much as 60 days for the seed pods to mature, they type alongside lengthy skinny stems and might appear to be tiny pea pods. There are about 2-6 seeds per pod. 

Due to the a part of this world that these crops developed in, if rising wasabi from seed, you’ll have to stratify the seed. Provide a false winter by placing it within the fridge for as much as two months. This course of helps the seed to know when it’s time to depart dormancy and sprout. 

Planting Wasabi

If rising wasabi from plantlets, i.e. smaller growths on a rhizome of a bigger wasabi plant, it’s finest to start out your crops within the fall. Wasabi grows essentially the most in the course of the cool season, particularly between fall and spring when temperatures are cool, and crops are most definitely to obtain regular water (both rainwater or distilled water).

In late fall, place your plantlets in well-draining soil, gravel, or a rooting medium much like vermiculite. Widely thought of a really troublesome plant to develop, the wasabi root is extra usually propagated by means of vegetative propagation – the plucking of smaller plantlets off the crown of the mom plant and positioned in superb, moist, and shady situations to create a complete new set of wasabi crops. This is taken into account the quickest technique to develop giant portions. 

While generally grown within the United States within the Pacific Northwest alongside the Oregon coast, this semi-aquatic plant may be grown each in aquaculture, or in a raised planting mattress with natural soil, and a really well-draining planting medium. Wasabi want an atmosphere that considerably mimics the rising medium the place they developed alongside river beds. So working water is good, therefore the recognition of aquaponics. If denied these situations, wasabi falls prey to primarily fungal illness because the moist soil incubates a wide range of illnesses. 

To plant, strive utilizing the tatamishi system, a Japanese rock mat system that gives transferring cool water the place the soil drains quickly. Beds can differ in width and size, however encompass a layer of two” of sand, over 3” of gravel, with 16-40” of small rocks because the very backside layer. Within the mattress, there’s a slope of 1-4 p.c which inspires an ever-flowing stream of water.  It’s finest to transplant plantlets once they’re about 1.5” tall and have sprouted 4-5 true leaves. 

Many growers additionally plant wasabi in containers. Wasabi rising may be extra simply managed in this sort of atmosphere as a smaller quantity of gravel, sand, or draining medium is required in an effort to management the rising atmosphere. Growers may also use shade material to maintain their new crops out of direct daylight or place them in a greenhouse in full shade. 

If rising within the floor, transplant plantlets at a minimal depth of two” for his or her lengthy roots in containers with larger depth than common. The root wants more room than most in an effort to develop. 


Wasabi field
A area of wasabi. Source: electricnude

Growing wasabi may be fairly troublesome as they’re recognized to be one of the vital troublesome crops to lift. However, one rhizome can yield a a lot bigger harvest given sufficient time and cautious cultivation. This edible rhizome may be very explicit about its care and desires a gardener who will attempt to finest replicate these situations. 

Sun and Temperature

Wasabi thrives in gentle temperatures. Wasabi leaves want a shady location with no direct daylight in any way and a temperature vary between 46-70 levels Fahrenheit. Above 80 levels the wasabi crops can die, whereas underneath 27 levels the wasabi crops can freeze. 

Try replicating these situations by offering shade within the type of shade material or giant tree shade. Add compost to your planting medium to the depth of ten inches to each present vitamins and insulate the roots from excessive temperature fluctuations. 

Water and Humidity

Wasabia japonica wants water constantly delivered to its root zone. It’s the best plant to develop in a water backyard or in containers the place the soil may be stored constantly moist – wetter than many different crops can tolerate. Many growers exterior the pacific northwest develop these in containers for this precise motive, as their temperamental nature wants specialised consideration in the course of their lives. 

Wasabi is in no way drought tolerant. You’ll want to provide a steady supply of moisture when you plan on harvesting wasabi. Given the rising situations it developed in, it’s finest to try to mimic a humidity degree of between 90-95%. 


Wasabi isn’t grown in typical potting soil. For this rising endeavor, you’ll have to find a really well-draining rising medium equivalent to vermiculite, sand, and gravel and even strive going the aquaponics route. 

You can strive rising within the tatamishi system described above, or instantly into gravel alongside a stream, or in a 50/50 mixture of sand and gravel in rising containers. Given the issue of rising this explicit plant, it is likely to be finest to strive just a few rising strategies directly and see which works finest on your rising atmosphere. 


Wasabi doesn’t want a lot fertilizer. They’re slow-growing and because of this, can’t take an excessive amount of fertilizer. However, it’s finest to present them a balanced fertilizer (that means the NPK numbers are all the identical) like a 12-12-12 on the time of transplanting. Additionally, many farmers apply a foliar spray to the leaves about 1-3 months earlier than harvest to enhance taste. 


While troublesome to develop from seed, it’s attainable. Known for his or her low germination charges, when you do get a few of the seeds or seed shells, strive overplanting and anticipate underneath germination. Additionally, in the event that they haven’t already been stratified, you’ll have to put the wasabi seeds within the fridge for two months to simulate a chilly interval for the wasabi seeds to go dormant. You can anticipate a germination time of 3-4 weeks. 

More probably, you’ll be capable of supply or discover pups, plantlets, or begins (all the identical factor). These are the child plantlets that develop alongside the stem or crown of a extra mature wasabi plant. With these begins, you possibly can place them instantly into your rising medium, guaranteeing that the basis has enough room to develop downwards. This is finest performed within the fall with a number of months of superb rising situations on the horizon. 

Also grown by means of tissue tradition, this feature is open to many large-scale farmers who need to develop sterilized merchandise at a quicker charge with out spreading a few of the many illnesses widespread on this crop. This is a comparatively new technique to propagate crops and never one thing replicable exterior a laboratory. In your seek for wasabi, strive looking for wasabi tissue tradition crops when you can’t discover the extra conventional begins. 

Harvesting and Storing

Wasabi roots
Wasabi roots are the prize everyone seems to be attempting for. Source: tonnoro

The best a part of rising is attending to benefit from the fruits of your labor! 

Harvesting & Storing

Wasabi is definitely edible at virtually each stage of its life. However, it’s normally harvested when the stalks are protruding above the bottom by about 4-5 inches and are about 1 1/2” thick. Simply pull the stalk gently out of the bottom, attempting to not break it in two. Remove the leaves and any rot on the base of the basis. 

It’s finest used recent and eaten uncooked after being grated. It normally solely lasts about two months recent within the fridge. It can alternatively be dried and powdered, however this causes the plant to lose a few of its treasured vitamins. There aren’t any unused parts of wasabi, as the whole plant is edible. Try including its leaves and stems to a salad, or pickling them to make azuke. 


Closeup of wasabi leaves
A closeup picture of wasabi leaves. Source: mannewaar

A troublesome plant to develop, chances are you’ll come up in opposition to just a few issues within the 2+ years you might be rising wasabi. 

Growing Problems

One of the commonest issues with rising wasabi is discovering root rot. In order to battle this drawback, strive looking for rot-resistant starters. There are a number of varieties which were bred to be proof against rots. Improve drainage in your rising space and take away wilted leaves that may harbor illness as soon as useless and decaying. 


Wasabi doesn’t endure from too many pest issues. They’re rather more vulnerable to fungal issues. However, aphids are massive followers of the wasabi leaf. Neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap will deal with the aphids simply.


Wasabi suffers from a plethora of fungal illnesses together with leaf spot, root rot, rhizome rot & petiole blight. It could also be onerous to distinguish between the illnesses as lots of them manifest with the identical signs of wilted leaves, browning and blackening stalks and roots, and a greyish tinge to their leaves. Prevention is the most effective path to take as few crops survive the illness, particularly given how lengthy it’s to reap. Use a copper spray as a preventative for leaf spots. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Wasabi in flower
Wasabi flowers are comparatively nondescript. Source: noe

Q: How lengthy does it take to develop wasabi?

A: 1-3 years on common. 

Q: Is it onerous to develop wasabi?

A: Yes. But it’s rewarding once you obtain harvest!

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