Growing Watercress

Liz_wMarch 14, 2003

Does anyone have any experience with this. Apparently you can grow it in an old bath. I'm getting some seeds & would love to know more.

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I have seen it grown in beds irrigated by a stream, and it grows in a few drainage ditches here. A bath might be ok, if the water is changed.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 4:17AM
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With watercress, since the seeds are so small, you can start them in a shallow pan of water. They like wet feet. So once it germinates, you want to transplant to a moist medium. I'm actually growing mine in my water garden, in a boggy area. If you don't have a water garden, Violet had suggested to me to grow them in a birdbath. One of my friends is actually growing his in an used old bathtub! lol

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 4:27AM
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I have an old bath tub & my plan was to start them off in a seed tray type thing without drainage holes then put them in the old bath. I'll change the water every few days. I'll keep it near the vege garden so the water runs off somewhere useful. Thanx :) Nice to know it is possible.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2003 at 10:33PM
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I grow watercress in a still shallow pond without changing the water.
If you have it in a stream near sheep (no jokes) the watercress can become infested with liver fluke worms and if ingested they can cause harm.

If you wanted to grow it in a man made stream, why not make a reed bed biological filter to remove algae and then recycle the water back through a pump to the watercress.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2003 at 7:23PM
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ok i am in a quandry now. i planted half my seeds in a container without drainage & some very wet compost. so far they haven't sprouted. i put the other half in a jar of water & they sprouted so i need to think about tranfering them to the bath. do they need compost in the bath ? would pumice be better ?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2003 at 3:47PM
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Would any of you be willing to let me know if you were successful. I've just bought some seeds and am standing with them in my hand wondering what to do next!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2004 at 8:51PM
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I had mine growing in a large kitchen sink where there was a 'bottom' of rocks, and soil and rotted leaves. The plants shared with an Iris and some mint.

I found that the leaf size on mine diminished after about three years - probably lack of care on my part.

One particularly healthy patch I know of is in a shallow streamlet which brings down fine particles of rotted vegetation from a stand of mixed bush. These are caught by the roots of the watercress. The roots help to form a miniature 'swamp' where the water is warmed and slowed, brings food, and passes on. The current depth of the mud is between 30-40cm straight down as the gumboot plunges, though the upstream depth is less.

As far as I've seen, watercress grows out of the main stream flows in the eddies where particles have a chance to settle. Similar situations to those that suit the yellow Mimulus, though they don't seem to grow together in this area. Apart, along the same stream, yes.

The plants get a long afternoon of sunshine and milder light in the morning. If they are disturbed then there are usually enough roots in the substrate for them to regenerate.

I have this vague memory about an article in 'Growing today' (I think - the lifestyle magazine) where someone was growing watercress commercially. Your local library might be able to do a search through the index for each year to pin it down for you.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 4:02AM
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My watercress I grew from seed only ever had very small leaves. I think where the bath was was not helping as it was at the top of a SW facing coastal hill & I think the wind just ripped into it. I tried some too I got from a packet of organic watercress I brought to eat that had roots on & it was way better. Then the husband put the horses in the same area & they drunk it all :( I have some seeds left & am in the process of re-organising & moving my vege garden along with the watercress bath so I will try again when it has some more shelter.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2004 at 4:44PM
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Growing watercress is very easy. You can propagate by buying a bunch of watercress in the market or growing them by seed
My experience show me that they can grow in water and also grown without water as long as the soil is moist and soft. I also experiment on 2 methods
The 1st method is when I cut the lawn, I use that to make a good compost(in a bin), then when it brown and moist enough, i put it on the top of the soil where i want to plant watercress.
The 2nd method is i growth that in a bath tub. with running water.
My result is the 1st method is better, as long as i keep the soil wet, the compost generate food for the watercress. Compare to growing in bath tube, watercress growing on soil has leaves larger (because more nutrition from the compost). However, when we not provide enough water, the stem is harder, taste is stronger.I also found that they like sun but not get direct sunlight.

When i bought a bunch of watercress in the market and propagate them in a bath tube (with soil on the bottom), it propagate so quick, but when the soil run out of nutrition, the growing start slow down.

That is all my experience. You can send me email on if you like to share any experiences about growing Watercress.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:57AM
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I grow my watercress in a gravel bed in a hydroponic solution. I can post the recipe if anyone is interested. I also grow mint and American Land Cress in the same bed.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 6:25PM
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