How to start watercress seeds?

sheepco(MN z4)February 15, 2008

I recieved some watercress seeds from a generous trader last summer and can't remember how to grow them. Can someone help me out? Also, I've read I can put it in the pond pretty early, how early? I can start it in the house, and keep it in here 'til it will survive outside, but keep in mind we can plant peas and spinach the 1st week of May, but tomato plants before Memorial Day is just asking for a late frost :)

Thank you!

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larryl(7 Southern Oregon)

I have never done it, but I'll bet it is pretty easy. If you have enough seeds, just try a couple things. Maybe some sand completely saturated with water and toss some seeds on the surface. They might sprout fine in wet potting soil. Or, throw a few into a glass with a quarter inch of water. One of these will probably work.

If this doesn't work, you can always get watercress from the grocery store and root it anywhere in the pond. My watercress survived the winter with only a little frost burn.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 2:42AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Hi Sarah, Larry is just about right, but make it regular soil rather than sand. Soak it well and just sprinkle the watercress seeds on the surface.
Keep the soil moist at all times by sitting the planting pot in a bowl of water, so that it sucks the moisture in.
Needs about 70°F ambient temperature, to start sprouting.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 6:34AM
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Another thing I've read about starting it from seed (besides sowing it wet) is that it likes about 30 days of cold stratification, so sowing it outside while it's still chilly would work, Sarah. :)


    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:54AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Thanks gang. I'm going to enjoy trying this out, especially because none of the grocery stores out here in the boonies carries watercress.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I just sprinkled the seed on top of the pots with a mixture of kitty litter and sand hanging off the sides of my stock tanks. When the flea hoppers attacked the new plants, I just splashed them off into the water and the goldies enjoyed a snack. The bonus was...babies...lots and lots of babies surviving in the huge root ball dangling in the water under the plants. Everywhere a stem touched the water, new roots sprouted.

I'm gonna give it a try again this year. I'm gonna start them indoors under lights in boggy pots and then plant them in the top of my skippy in the big tank bare root. Hopefully this will prevent the fry from surviving so well.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 4:10PM
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Do you let this float or does it need to be planted into some soil or gravel in a pot in the pond?

I finally found some seeds, also. Can't find plants anywhere.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 7:31PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Broadcasting the seed on top of the snow is usually pretty adequate. I use this same method when I grow poppies, larkspur or delphinium. If you are growing it in pots, you may have to stick it in the fridge crisper for a few weeks. 1 baggie, moist soil with extra peat moss, seeds. Sandy

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 10:05PM
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always_outside(8a DFW, TX)

I don't have experience with seeds, but I do have watercress growing nicely in my pond. My mother visited Kentucky last summer and picked some wild watercress growing in a clean, natural pond nearby. She brought it to me (we're in TX) nearly half dead. I planted a few pieces in the shallow gravel area (no soil) in my stream and it has gone crazy. I got the plants without any roots - they were simply cut - but they rooted very quickly. Now, when I try to thin them out, the roots fight back! It seems to really love our winter weather (we have lows in the 40s). It is growing so well.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:37AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

The plants I got last spring (from the same trade) did great potless in the skippy. Next year I'll try throwing a hunk in the pond for the winter, I didn't realize it was so hardy! For now I think I'll put the seeds in the fridge for a couple weeks, then start them out on top of soil in pots. Then I'll either wash the soil off the roots and/or put some cuttings in the skippy as soon as it's up and running in May.

Thanks again for all the input! S

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 10:14PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Last time I looked, some of it had sunk to the bottom of my pond and looked healthy down there. Is it perennial in zone 5? I also have some in a lotus tub in a barely heated greenhouse and even though the tub has skinned over with ice several times, it looks fine. Is this stuff pretty tough or what?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 7:44PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Sandy 0225, try the two links below for more information about watercress.
I cover my ponds over in winter and the watercress grows all year long.

Lots of info, about cultivation and the medicinal properties of watercress here. [copy and pasted URL]

Here is a link that might be useful: Watercress [Click Here]

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 8:02AM
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