The watercress They are small aquatic plants up to 50cm high, very easy to grow and highly appreciated above all for their flavor, but also for their interesting medicinal properties.
In addition, watercress they can be had both at home and abroadso you will only need a small pot and substrate so that they can have an optimal development.
Watercress, whose scientific name is Nasturtium officinaleThey are plants that have elongated and oval leaves, with very marked nerves. Its flowers are very pretty, as you can see in the image above, being 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 below we will see how they are sown .
How are they cared for?
To have watercress you just need to take into account the following:
They can be both in the outdoors in full sun and indoors with lots of lightin pots or directly on the ground.
Frequentavoiding drying the substrate between waterings. Usually it will be watered every 1-2 days in 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 o humus. Spread only a small amount, so that a thin layer is formed, and then it has to be mixed with the surface of the substrate or soil.
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 at least one night. In this way, the next day you will know those that in all probability will germinate -which will be the ones that sink-, and those that will not.
- Next, it is time to prepare the seedbed. This can be a pot of about 20cm in diameter, seedling trays, yogurt or milk containers … in short, whatever you want. Of course, it must have at least one hole for drainage, since even if they are aquatic, they do not like having their “feet wet” constantly.
- The seedbed is filled with substrate rich in humus, and a maximum of 3 seeds are placed in each pot or socket.
- 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 (10 at the most), you will see your seeds begin to germinate.
When they are about 5-7cm tall 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 seedling in a greenhouse or that you put it near a heat source. In this way, they will be able to germinate as well as if they did 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. After that, the only thing left is sow it in a pot with universal growing substrate and water.
Keep them moist, and you’ll see how in two-three weeks they will take root.
The ideal time to collect watercress is in autumn and winterAlthough they can be sown all year round and grow so fast, they are harvested 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 tied in bundleswhich will be washed well and put in water to keep them fresh until it is time to consume them.
What are watercress 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 renal problems, stomach aches, anemia, diabetes o Goiter. The treatment consists of taking infusions made with the whole plant, which must be chopped well so that its benefits can be used to the maximum.
In addition, helps to lose weightas it has a high content of vitamin C and fiber; Y can even be used to care for hairas it contains vitamin A, sulfur, iron and zinc that protect it, applying a watercress-based dye directly on the scalp.
Have you heard about the magnificent qualities of watercress?