Watercress growing tips and variety guide

Easy-to-grow watercress is said to purify blood and keep your complexion clear! Harvest leaves and stems, and eat fresh in salads, sandwiches, omelettes and quiches or pureed in soups. When basil is out of season, watercress makes a vibrant green pesto.

Sow and grow

Get started

You can sow and plant watercress in early spring to early autumn in all regions. Watercress grows easily from cuttings, best taken in spring or autumn.

Watercress growing tips and variety guide

READ MORE: * Leeks: growing advice and variety guide * How to grow carrots * Grow your own salsa verde


Growing tips

Watercress does better and produces larger leaves in semi-shade (it will even tolerate dense shade) but in colder areas can be grown in full sun. It’s a hardy perennial that dies back in colder areas to resprout in spring, but if the water freezes, plants may die.

Watercress can be raised in large buckets or troughs if kept very moist, or in garden soil, but the latter can cause it to develop an unpalatable hot pungency. Liquid feed regularly.

The more you cut watercress, the less likely it is to flower and run to seed.

Standout varieties

Both standard watercress (Nasturtium officinale) and the variety ‘Aqua Large Leaf’ are quick to sprout.


This crop suffers from very few problems, so watercress is well worth growing at home, especially as harvesting from the wild is not recommended unless you are sure the water source contains no parasites or bacteria.