How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:19 pm

In today’s article we are going to learn how to grow watercress step by step in our vegetable gardens.

To do this, we will see the different cultivation tasks that we have to perform from sowing to harvesting watercress. We will also see what are the benefits of watercress and some recipes with watercress that are delicious and also very healthy.

What is watercress?

How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know

Before we get into how to grow watercress, let’s see what we are talking about when we talk about watercress.

Its scientific name is Nasturtium officinale but it is also commonly known as watercress, water cress or water cress. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family.

Watercress is a plant that grows spontaneously near streams, places with stagnant water or marshes (it is therefore said that watercress is an aquatic or semi-aquatic plant), so in ancient times it was considered a weed.

How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know


Now that we know what watercress is, we will see step by step how to grow watercress. We will talk about the sowing of watercress, the pests and diseases that can attack them or the care of these plants, until we get to the end of the story… the watercress harvest! 

Let’s get started!

  1. Sowing watercress: Where and when to sow?
    When to sow watercress?

It is recommended to sow watercress in spring (late February or early March).

Where to get watercress seeds?

Watercress seeds are available at specialty garden stores or online. These seeds should be placed at approximately one-half inch planting depth (1- 1.5 cm).
Where to sow watercress?

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As mentioned above, watercress are plants that need to grow in places where there is water. That is, they constantly need the presence of water. However, we must be careful that animals such as cows or sheep do not drink from this water, as they can transmit diseases.

Therefore, we have 2 possibilities when deciding where to sow watercress:

Sow watercress in the wettest places in the vegetable garden.
Sowing watercress in pots: placing a bowl of water under the pot.

Another possibility is to buy fresh watercress and put it in a plastic bag (perforated) with soil. Put that bag in a pot and under the pot put a bowl with water.

How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know
  1. Watercress care

For the cultivation of watercress are recommended clay soils, rich in humus. With a depth of about 15 centimeters.

The best are shady places so that they do not get too much light.

As mentioned above, watercress needs a lot of water, so watering should be abundant, always keeping the area very moist.

In addition, if the plants bloom you should cut the flowers before harvesting.

  1. Harvesting watercress

Watercress should be harvested after about 2 months. When the plants are about 15 centimeters long. When harvesting, the side shoots should be removed.

To avoid damaging the roots, the cut should be made at about 5 centimeters.

Once we have harvested the watercress, it is recommended to wash them with cold water and consume them at the time. On the contrary, if we want to use them later, we wait for them to dry and put them in the refrigerator.

  1. Pests and diseases of watercress
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As with other crops, we cannot forget about pests and diseases of watercress. Therefore, we will now see if there are any pests or diseases to which we should pay special attention.

Above all, snails and cress cowslip are the most important pests.

Snails are herbivorous mollusks that like humidity and bite the leaves of plants. If we observe a shiny trail on the leaves we can detect their presence.

They can affect both leaves and fruits of almost all plants. Especially to the tender leaves of chard, basil, spinach, lettuce, oregano, etc.

Here is an article on how to eliminate snails and slugs from the vegetable garden.

How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know
Snails and slugs are one of the most common orchard pests.

The watercress pest

Apart from snails, there is another pest of watercress that can appear when growing this vegetable. It is known as the “watercress cowbug”.

It is a tiny black insect of the coleopteran (“beetle”) family that eats the tender leaves. If the pest is strong, it can cause great damage.
Benefits of watercress

Now that we have learned how to grow watercress, let’s see what their benefits are and what recipes we can make with them.

There are many beneficial properties of watercress; of all of them, the following stand out:

Rich in calcium, so they strengthen our bone system.
Purifying and diuretic properties
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene
Vitamin C and Vitamin K
In addition, it is low in calories

Cooking recipes with watercress

After seeing the benefits of watercress, let’s see what recipes we can make with it. From the simplest to the most complex ones, for all levels of cooks on the blog!

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The simplest is to consume them in salads along with other ingredients such as lettuce, endive, … and a good dressing.
They are also very tasty in sandwiches.
As an accompaniment to meat and fish dishes.
Watercress cream: We need watercress, potatoes, leeks, garlic, chicken broth, olive oil, salt, pepper and cream. Fry the potatoes and leeks in a frying pan. Then add the garlic and chopped watercress. Then add the chicken broth and let it cook for about 20 minutes. After that time, put everything in the blender until it has a creamy texture. Add a little cream and pass it through the blender again. And that’s it!

How to Grow Watercress Step by Step: Everything You Need to Know
Watercress is a good accompaniment to all recipes.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.