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The Mitsuba Plant: A Complete Guide and Care Tips
Are you looking for a versatile, edible plant to add to your garden? Look no further than the mitsuba plant! This leafy green is commonly used in Japanese cuisine and is gaining popularity among home gardeners.
In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide on how to grow and care for mitsuba plants.
What is Mitsuba?
Mitsuba (Cryptotaenia japonica) is a herbaceous perennial that grows up to 60cm tall.
It’s native to Japan, Korea, China and eastern Russia where it’s used extensively in traditional medicine as well as cooking.
The plant has triangular-shaped leaves that can be harvested throughout the year.
The leaves have an aromatic flavour similar to celery or parsley with hints of pepper and can be added raw or cooked into soups, salads or as garnish for sushi rolls.
How To Grow Mitsuba
If you’re interested in growing your own mitsuba at home, here are some tips:
- Sowing Seeds: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date or directly outside after the last frost date when soil temperatures reach around 15°C.
Cover with approximately 5mm of soil mix containing equal parts perlite/compost/sand/vermiculite.
- Light Requirements: Mitsuba prefers partial shade but will also grow in full sun if given enough water during dry periods.
- Watering: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged by watering regularly especially during hot summer days when water evaporates faster from soil surface.Recommended watering schedule is twice per week if grown in pots or once a week for garden beds.
- Soil Requirements: Use well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter like compost.
Mitsuba prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH (6-7).
- Fertilizing: Apply organic fertilizers like worm castings, compost, or manure tea every 4-6 weeks during growing season.
- Pest and Disease Control: Mitsuba is relatively pest-free but could be affected by slugs/snails, aphids or whiteflies.
You can control these pests by handpicking them off the plant, using natural predators like ladybugs or spraying with a homemade insecticide made of neem oil/soap mixture.
Mitsuba Plant Care Tips
To keep your mitsuba plant healthy and productive, follow these tips:
- Pruning: Prune regularly especially if you want to encourage bushy growth with more leaves.
Pinch back stem tips and flower buds to divert energy into foliage production.
- Harvesting Leaves :Mitsuba leaves can be harvested throughout the year starting from as early as two months after sowing seeds.Recommended harvesting schedule is once every two weeks by cutting off outermost stems close to base.
This will encourage new growths from center of plant
- Cleaning :Rinse harvested mitsuba thoroughly under running water before use to remove any dirt or impurities that may have accumulated on leaves while growing outside.After rinsing you can dry it using paper towels before usage
- Cold protection :In areas where temperatures frequently drop below freezing, mitsuba can be grown in pots indoors or under covers.
Otherwise leaves will droop and become damaged
- Companion Planting: Mitsuba can be planted alongside other herbs like mint, basil or chamomile to benefit from their insect-repelling properties.
It also grows well with lettuce and spinach as they prefer similar soil conditions.
Mitsuba is a versatile, easy-to-grow plant that’s perfect for beginning gardeners looking for a unique addition to their herb collection.
With its delicate flavour and numerous health benefits, mitsuba is becoming increasingly popular in cooking worldwide.
By following our guide on how to grow and care for mitsuba plants, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh greens straight from your garden all year round!