Watercresses are small aquatic plants up to 50cm high that are very easy to grow and highly appreciated above all for their flavour, but also for their interesting medicinal properties.
In addition, watercress can be kept both at home and abroad , so you will only need a small pot and substrate so that they can have optimal development.
- 1 Characteristics of watercress
- 2 How are they cared for?
- 2.1 Location
- 2.2 Irrigation
- 2.3 Subscriber
- 2.4 Multiplication
- 2.4.1 Seeding
- 188.8.131.52 Special care for autumn-winter
- 2.4.2 Cuttings
- 2.4.1 Seeding
- 2.5 Collection
- 3 What are watercresses used for?
- 3.1 Culinary uses
- 3.2 Medicinal uses
Characteristics of watercress
Watercress, whose scientific name is Nasturtium officinale , are plants that have elongated, oval leaves with very marked nerves. Its flowers are very beautiful, as you can see in the image above, as they are made up of four sepals (or “false petals”), six stamens and a pistil. These are grouped in axillary inflorescences, and are very small, barely 1cm.
The fruit is long and thin, inside which are the seeds which we will see below how they are sown.
How are they cared for?
To have watercress you only need to take into account the following:
They can be both outdoors in full sun and indoors with lots of light , in pots or directly in the ground.
Frequent , avoiding drying the substrate between waterings. It will typically be watered every 1-2 days in the summer, and every 3 days the rest of the year.
It is highly recommended to fertilize during the spring and summer months with organic fertilizers, such as guano , manure or humus . Spread only a small amount, so that it forms a thin layer, and then it has to be mixed with the surface of the substrate or the earth.
If you want to have new plants, you can sow their seeds at any time of the year, or make cuttings in spring or summer. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
Planting these plants is a really very simple task. These steps must be followed:
- The first thing to do is, of course, acquire the seeds. You will find them in nurseries, agricultural stores or online.
- Once at home, it is highly recommended -although not essential- that they be placed in a glass of water for at least one night. In this way, the next day you will know which ones will most likely germinate -which will be the ones that sink-, and which ones will not.
- Next, it’s time to prepare the seedbed. This can be a pot of about 20cm in diameter, seedbed trays, yogurt or milk containers… in short, whatever you want. Of course, it must have at least one hole for drainage, since although they are aquatic, they do not like to have “wet feet” constantly.
- The seedbed is filled with humus-rich substrate, and a maximum of 3 seeds are placed in each pot or alveolus.
- Afterwards, they are covered with a little substrate.
- Finally, it is watered and placed in an area where the light hits them directly, or in a room where a lot of natural light enters.
And now, to wait. But don’t worry: you won’t have to wait long. In just a few days (at most 10), you will see how your seeds begin to germinate.
When they have a height of about 5-7cm you can move them to larger pots or to the garden.
Special care for autumn-winter
Watercress has the peculiarity that it can be sown throughout the year, including in the coldest months of the year. But… (there is always a but), the reality is that low temperatures do not suit them too well. Therefore, if you dare to sow them during these seasons, it is important that you place the seedbed in a greenhouse or that you put it near a source of heat . In this way, they will be able to germinate as well as if they did it in spring.
You can prepare your cuttings in spring-summer, cutting a stem that has between 4 and 6 pairs of leaves, moistening its base and impregnating it with powdered rooting hormones. Afterwards, the only thing left is to plant it in a pot with universal growing medium and water .
Keep them moist, and you will see how in two-three weeks they will take root.
The ideal time to collect watercress is in autumn and winter , although since they can be sown all year round and they grow so fast, they can be collected at any time. Of course, the plants have to be fresh and they do not have to have flowered.
To collect them, the stems of about 8 centimeters are cut and then they are tied into bunches , which are washed well and put in water to keep them fresh until the moment of consumption arrives.
What are watercresses for?
These plants have two different types of uses: culinary and medicinal.
Its leaves, with a spicy flavor, are used to prepare exquisite salads and soups .
They are highly recommended for people who have kidney problems , stomach pains , anemia , diabetes or goiter . The treatment consists of taking infusions made with the whole plant, which must be chopped well so that its benefits can be fully exploited.
In addition, it helps to lose weight , as it has a high content of vitamin C and fiber; and it can even be used to take care of the hair , as it contains vitamin A, sulfur, iron and zinc that protect it, applying a watercress-based dye directly to the scalp.