How To Grow Watercress Indoors & Outdoors

How To Grow Watercress Indoors & Outdoors

The aquatic plant known as watercress, or Nasturtium Officinale, is a member of the mustard family. It naturally grows near water. Watercress can still be a simple addition to your yard even though the majority of us are not fortunate enough to have a stream in our backyards. 

Watercress can be grown in a variety of ways, and it is not a difficult crop to master. So grow your own harvest of these fresh, peppery leaves that are a wonderful complement to salads, sandwiches, and soups rather than purchasing it regularly from the grocery store.

Watercress has been used in cuisine since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it is also well known for its therapeutic properties. It is thought to contain high quantities of antioxidants and is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron, calcium, and folic acid, making it a salad leaf well worth growing. Read on to learn how to grow watercress at home!

Best Growing Conditions For Watercress

Light & Temperature

Watercress prefers cool temperatures and lots of moisture. It can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 3-11, as long as the temperatures remain above freezing. In warmer climates, watercress can also be grown indoors under fluorescent lights. 

The plant does best in bright indirect light, but can tolerate some shade. When grown indoors, watercress should be placed near a window where it will receive some sunlight.


Watercress can be grown in the ground or in containers, and tolerates a wide range of soil types. However, watercress does best in soils that are high in organic matter and rich in nutrients. The soil in which watercress grows is important to the flavor of the plant. Watercress that is grown in nutrient-rich soil will have a milder flavor than watercress that is grown in poorer quality soil.


Watercress should be watered regularly, especially during hot weather. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. If the leaves begin to wilt, this is a sign that the plant is not getting enough water. Over-watering can also be a problem, as it can lead to fungal diseases. Thus, it is important to strike a balance when watering watercress. 

Nutrition & Fertilizer

Because watercress takes up nutrients quickly, watercress needs to be fertilized regularly. The best fertilizer for watercress is high in nitrogen, which helps the plant to produce more leaves. 

There are several types of nitrogen-rich fertilizers available, including compost, manure, and bloodmeal. When applied regularly, these fertilizers will help to keep your watercress healthy and productive.

How Long Does It Take To Grow Watercress?

Watercress is a vigorous and fast-growing plant, so it doesn't take long to see results when growing it at home. Sow watercress seeds indoors about six weeks before the last expected frost date. You can also direct sow watercress seeds outdoors once the soil has warmed in spring. 

Once the seedlings emerge, thin them so that they are spaced about four inches apart. Watercress will be ready to harvest in as little as six to eight weeks from seed. Cut the plants back often to encourage new growth, and you'll be able to enjoy fresh watercress all season long!

How To Grow Watercress Indoors

Watercress is relatively easy to grow, and it does not require a lot of space. In fact, watercress will even grow in a pot on a windowsill. The key to success is to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Watercress likes partial shade, so it is best to plant it in an area that receives some sunlight throughout the day. Follow our tips below on how to grow watercress indoors:

  • Buy the seeds for the watercress. You can buy seeds online or in nurseries and stores that sell gardening supplies. English watercress and broad leaf cress are two common types of watercress.
  • Get the planting pot ready. Select a sizable planter or container that is at least 6 inches deep and has drainage holes. To ensure proper drainage, fill the container's bottom layer with small stones.
  • Place the planting pot on top of a bigger drainage tray or bucket. The plant requires frequent watering. Its soil should always be moist. To keep the plant moist, pour extra water into the tray or bucket.
  • Put potting soil in the growing container. Use a soilless mixture using peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite that drains effectively. Water the mixture thoroughly, leaving about two inches of room at the top of the container. The potting mix's optimal pH range is between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • With three to four inches between each seed, plant the seeds in the potting soil at a depth of 1/4 inch.
  • Deeply soak the potting mix such that the drainage tray below is approximately halfway full, but not higher than the container. Every two to three days, replace the water in the drainage tray with fresh water.
  • Place the watercress in a location where it will get about six hours of natural light every day, but try to stay away from harsh, direct sunlight that could burn the young plants.

How To Grow Watercress Outdoors

When growing watercress outdoors, it is important to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. The soil should also be kept moist, but not waterlogged. Watercress is typically grown from seedlings, which can be purchased from a garden center or online retailer. Follow these tips to grow watercress outdoors:

  • Begin by seeding or growing mature watercress. Mature watercress is available at grocery stores and farmers markets. Simply give the stalks' bases a few days of water soaking to promote root development, and then plant them in soil just like you would from seeds.
  • Watercress thrives in areas that are cool, sunny, and partially shaded. The best place to grow watercress is in the shallow part of a freshwater stream or creek that flows continuously, but you can also make your own pool of water.
  • Dig a hole that is about two feet across and 12 inches deep. A thick sheet of strong plastic pond lining should be used to line the bottom and sides, leaving a four-inch lip at the top and a few drainage holes in the sides. 
  • Compost, coarse builder's sand, garden soil, and a little amount of fertilizer should all be added to the lined hole. Make sure the soil is well saturated before planting and fill the hole to the brim with water.
  • The seeds should be sown around 1/2 inch apart and 1/4 inch deep, and then covered with a thin coating of fine gardening soil.

Watercress Care & Maintenance

Watercress is a lovely addition to any garden, and it's relatively easy to care for. The key to keeping watercress healthy is to make sure it has plenty of water. Watercress likes moist soil, so it's important to water it regularly, especially during hot weather. 

In addition, watercress does best in partial shade, so it's a good idea to plant it in an area that gets some sun but is not in full sun all day long. When it comes to fertilizing, watercress is relatively low-maintenance. A light application of fertilizer every few weeks is all that's needed to keep it looking its best. With a little care and attention, watercress will thrive in any garden.

Watercress Pests & Disease

Common Pests

Flea and mustard bugs are drawn to watercress. Spend an hour submerging your plant in water to get rid of these pests. Your plant won't mind getting wet, and the bugs will drown. A few radish plants could also be grown close to your watercress. The bugs will be driven away by the radishes.

Plant Disease

Watercress is susceptible to a number of diseases, which can reduce its yield or even kill the plant. One of the most common diseases is bacterial wilt, which is caused by a bacteria that infects the plant's vascular system. This prevents water and nutrients from being transported properly, causing the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. 

In severe cases, the entire plant may die. Watercress is also susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew. These diseases cause white or gray powdery patches to form on the leaves, which can eventually lead to leaf loss. Watercress plants can be treated with fungicides, but preventive measures such as proper spacing and adequate air circulation are also important.

How To Harvest Watercress

Watercress is relatively easy to grow, and it can be harvested throughout the growing season. To harvest watercress, simply cut the stems about an inch above the roots. The leaves will regrow, so you can harvest watercress multiple times per season. When harvesting watercress, be sure to wash it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Once it is clean, you can enjoy it fresh or store it in the fridge for later use.

Storing Watercress

The best way to store watercress is to place it in a bowl of ice water. This will keep the leaves crisp and prevent them from wilting. The water should be changed daily, and the watercress should be used within a few days for the best flavor and quality. 

If you need to store watercress for longer than a few days, you can place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. However, it is important to note that watercress will lose some of its flavor when stored in this manner.

Review: How To Grow Watercress

Watercress is a lively addition to any garden, with its bright green leaves and peppery flavor. It's also one of the easiest plants to grow, and can be started from seed or cuttings. Watercress thrives in moist soil, so it's a good plant to grow near a pond or stream. It will also do well in a pot that's kept moist. 

When watering watercress, be sure to keep the leaves dry to avoid fungal diseases. Fertilize every few weeks with a liquid plant food, and harvest the leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Watercress is a nutritious and delicious leafy green that's easy to grow at home. With just a few simple supplies and some basic care, you can enjoy fresh watercress all season long. Give it a try today!