How to grow Wasabi

To grow wasabi, plant it in loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter, keep it consistently moist, and provide it with ample shade and cool temperatures.

Wasabi plant
Botanical nameWasabia Japonica
Name (Common)Wasabi
Native toJapan
Sun levelsFull shade
USDA zones7-10
Soilslightly acidic, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Plant size5 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) and has a spread of about 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 inches).

Wasabi is a pungent, spicy condiment commonly used in Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, and sashimi. It is made from the grated stem of the wasabi plant, which is native to Japan. Real wasabi has a strong, sharp flavor and a slightly sweet aftertaste and is often served as a paste or sauce. However, many commercially available wasabi products are made from a blend of horseradish, mustard, and food coloring and may have a different flavor or nutritional properties than real wasabi.

How to grow Wasabi

Wasabi can be challenging to grow, as it has specific requirements for soil, water, and temperature. Here are some guidelines for planting wasabi:

  1. Soil: Wasabi prefers well-draining soil high in organic matter and has a slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The soil should also be kept consistently moist.
  2. Water: Wasabi requires a high moisture level, and the soil should always be kept moist. It is best to plant wasabi in an area that receives regular rainfall or to irrigate the plants with a drip system.
  3. Temperature: Wasabi thrives in cool temperatures between 50°F and 60°F (10°C and 15.5°C). Planting wasabi in a shaded area with a cool and humid environment, such as under a shade cloth or in a greenhouse, is best.
  4. Propagation: Wasabi is typically propagated by rhizome division. The rhizomes can be planted in a well-prepared soil bed, with the top of the rhizome just below the soil surface.
  5. Maintenance: Wasabi requires regular attention to ensure the soil stays moist and the plant is protected from direct sunlight. Controlling weeds and pests that may affect the plant’s growth is also essential.

Growing wasabi can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful attention to the plant’s specific growing requirements.

Plant zones for Wasabi

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a plant typically grown in cool, moist, and shaded environments. While it is a relatively hardy plant, it is not widely grown in the United States and is considered challenging to cultivate.

Regarding USDA hardiness zones, wasabi can be grown in zones 7 through 10. However, it must be noted that wasabi requires a specific growing environment, including cool temperatures and ample moisture, which may be challenging in some of these zones.

Additionally, wasabi is typically grown in areas with high humidity and abundant rainfall, which may limit its cultivation to specific regions within the appropriate USDA zones. Overall, suppose you are interested in growing wasabi.

In that case, it is essential to research and ensure that you can provide the proper growing conditions for this unique and flavorful plant.

soil to grow Wasabi

Wasabi grows best in a specific type of soil that is loose, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. The soil should also be slightly acidic, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

The ideal soil texture for wasabi is sandy loam, a mix of sand, silt, and clay particles. This soil type allows for good water drainage while retaining moisture and nutrients. The soil should also be rich in organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to provide the nutrients for healthy growth.

It is important to note that wasabi requires a consistently moist growing environment. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a site that has access to a reliable water supply.


In general, wasabi plants require a lot of water but also good drainage to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Therefore, the ideal growing conditions for wasabi involve providing a steady water supply while ensuring that the soil drains well.

One method for providing adequate water to wasabi plants is to grow them in a hydroponic system. In this system, the plants are grown in a nutrient-rich water solution, which allows for precise control over the amount of water and nutrients that the plants receive.

If growing wasabi in soil, it is vital to keep the soil moist, not waterlogged. This can be achieved by using a thick layer of mulch around the plant to help retain moisture in the soil and by providing regular irrigation during dry periods.

Temperature for best wasabi growth

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a cool-season plant that requires relatively cool temperatures to grow successfully. The optimal temperature range for wasabi growth is between 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F).

During the summer months, wasabi plants can be prone to heat stress and may require shading or other methods of temperature control to prevent damage. Generally, wasabi plants grow best in areas with cool summers and mild winters, such as those in mountainous regions or areas with a maritime climate.

It is also important to note that wasabi plants require a consistent temperature throughout their growing season. Fluctuations or sudden temperature drops can result in stunted growth or other problems.

Harvesting Wasabi

Harvesting wasabi (Wasabia japonica) can be a delicate process, as the plant’s thick, fleshy stem, or rhizome, is easily damaged. Here are some steps for harvesting wasabi:

  1. Wait for the right time: Wasabi can take two to three years to mature, and the rhizome is typically harvested in the fall or winter when the leaves have died back.
  2. Prepare the plant: Cut back the stems and leaves to about 2-3 centimeters (1 inch) above the soil line, careful not to damage the rhizome.
  3. Dig up the rhizome: Carefully dig up the rhizome using a hand shovel or similar tool. Be gentle and avoid breaking or damaging it.
  4. Clean the rhizome: Rinse the rhizome under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
  5. Store the rhizome: Wasabi rhizomes should be stored in a cool, humid environment, such as a refrigerator or root cellar, until ready to use. They can be stored for several weeks to a few months.

It is important to note that fresh wasabi has a more vibrant flavor than powdered or processed wasabi, so harvesting the rhizome at the right time and handling it with care can help ensure the best quality product.

How large do Wasabi plants get

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a small herbaceous perennial plant that typically grows to a height of about 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) and has a spread of about 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 inches). The plant produces large, broad leaves and grows from a thick, fleshy stem called a rhizome.

The size of the plant can vary depending on several factors, including the growing conditions, the age of the plant, and the variety of wasabi being grown. In general, wasabi plants grown in optimal conditions and allowed to mature fully can reach a larger size than plants that are grown in less ideal conditions.

It is important to note that wasabi is a slow-growing plant and can take several years to reach maturity. Additionally, the rhizome of the plant is typically harvested after two to three years of growth, which may limit the overall size of the plant.

Varieties of Wasabi

There are several varieties of wasabi (Wasabia japonica), which can differ in their flavor, texture, and growing requirements. The most commonly grown variety is the Mazuma wasabi, which is known for its pungent flavor and is often used in sushi dishes. Other varieties include Daruma, which has a milder flavor, and Midori, which has a sweeter taste and is known for its bright green color. Some other less known varieties are Sawa, Shiro, and Wase.

  • Mazuma wasabi: most commonly grown variety, known for its pungent flavor and use in sushi dishes.
  • Daruma wasabi: has a milder flavor compared to Mazuma wasabi.
  • Midori wasabi: has a sweeter taste and is known for its bright green color.
  • Sawa wasabi: has a unique, almost citrusy flavor and is often grown in running water.
  • Shiro wasabi: has a milder, slightly sweet taste and is prized for its pale green stems and leaves.
  • Wase wasabi: has a bold flavor and is often used in Japanese cuisine.

It is important to note that while there are many varieties of wasabi, authentic wasabi can be difficult to find and is often substituted with a mixture of horseradish, mustard, and food coloring.

Wasabi Common Diseases

Like all plants, wasabi (Wasabia japonica) can be susceptible to a variety of diseases, pests, and other problems. Here are some common diseases that can affect wasabi:

  1. Bacterial soft rot: This is a bacterial infection that causes the rhizome to become soft and mushy. It is often caused by poor sanitation or damage to the plant.
  2. Black rot: This is a fungal disease that causes the leaves to turn yellow and wilt, and can also affect the rhizome. It is often caused by poor soil drainage and overwatering.
  3. Clubroot: This is a soil-borne disease that can cause the plant to wilt and the leaves to turn yellow. It is caused by a fungus and can be difficult to control.
  4. Root-knot nematodes: These are microscopic worms that can infect the roots of the plant, causing them to become swollen and knotted. This can result in stunted growth and reduced yields.
  5. White rust: This is a fungal disease that causes white spots or pustules on the leaves, stems, and rhizome. It is often caused by high humidity and poor ventilation.

To prevent these and other diseases, it is important to practice good sanitation, avoid overwatering, and ensure proper soil drainage. Crop rotation can also be helpful in preventing soil-borne diseases. In cases of severe infection, chemical treatments may be necessary, but it is always best to try to prevent problems from occurring in the first place through proper growing practices.

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