Some say that wasabi is the hardest plant in the world to grow. There are Japanese farms that have perfected its cultivation over the course of generations, passing this knowledge down through families.
For that reason, you don’t often see real wasabi outside of Japan. Most restaurants and stores sell a counterfeit version that’s made from green food coloring and horseradish.
If wasabi didn’t have such a difficult cultivation, we might see it more widely available. We’ll be looking at why wasabi is so hard to grow in this post.
Quick Answer: Why is Wasabi so Hard to Grow?
Wasabi is difficult to grow because it requires extremely specific conditions to thrive. Once you provide it with those conditions, it then takes two years to mature.
That means you have to keep the plant healthy for years at a time. When you consider that, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most expensive crops in the world.
Read Also: Why is Wasabi Spicy?
What Kinds of Growing Conditions Does Wasabi Need?
What exactly are those conditions that make wasabi such a fussy plant? We’ll tell you what it needs to grow, and then you’ll understand why it’s legendarily hard to cultivate.
First, it needs a very specific temperature range in which to grow. It can only grow in temperatures from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees.
Next, it requires moisture. Its natural settings are usually near rivers or damp forests. Because it doesn’t like to stay soggy, the soil it’s growing in needs to drain efficiently.
This doesn’t mean the wasabi should be allowed to dry. In fact, it should be moist at all times, because it’s a plant that naturally thrives near water.
Wasabi doesn’t like too much sunlight. For that reason, it has to grow in places that provide it shade on those hot, sunny days.
In Japan, wasabi farmers often grow their crops on forested mountains. They’ve spent literally thousands of years honing their cultivation technique to create the unique, pungent flavor that wasabi is beloved for.
Read Also: What Does Real Wasabi Taste like?
Can You Grow Your Own Wasabi?
Yes, you can grow your own wasabi at home. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to be able to imitate very specific and stable conditions in order to do so.
You also need to be patient for the wasabi to grow. It will take a couple years to reach the maturity at which its flavor is best.
We recommend growing it in a greenhouse if you do decide to cultivate your own. Remember to keep it moist (but not soggy), and maintain a temperature strictly between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. You may also want to consider installing a shade cloth in your greenhouse if it’s not already in a shady area.
Wasabi is widely considered one of the hardest plants to grow in the entire world. It’s so hard to grow that there are Japanese farmers who have worked to hone their cultivation techniques over the course of generations.
It is possible to grow your own, but be prepared for a real gardening challenge if you try. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find your own wasabi struggling to flourish.