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Growing wasabi in the Northwest

I would like information about growing wasabi in the Northwest, such as how to propagate it, and ideal growing conditions.

We don’t have any books in the Miller Library on wasabi propagation, and most general propagation books do not include wasabi (the plant’s botanical name is Eutrema, though there is some taxonomic disagreement over the species name, and the genus is sometimes listed as Wasabia). Cultivation of wasabi in this country is a relatively new endeavor, so the more current the source, the better. I did a journal search in Web of Science, and could not find anything on wasabi propagation or cultivation. There may simply be little information out there.

A colleague here in the Miller Library says that wasabi is a notoriously difficult-to-grow plant, and the fact that it requires cold running water throughout the year seems to preclude growing it in a climate which has freezing conditions in winter, unless you are able to protect the plants from frost damage.

Washington State University’s publication, “Growing Wasabi in the Pacific Northwest,” by Carol Miles and Catherine Chadwick, may be especially helpful to you. There is an earlier article by Miles from WSU’s Vegetable Research facility. It was published in PNW Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter in October of 1996.

Purdue University’s New Crops site offers the following information on wasabi cultivation. It contains a link to an article on growing wasabi in New Zealand, which has some climate similarities to our region.

An article on wasabi by John A. Ball includes a list of growers. You will notice that several are in the Pacific Northwest.

Although it is not specific to the Pacific Northwest, Utah State University has a concise guide to growing wasabi in the garden.

Mother Earth News also published an article on wasabi cultivation in October/November 2004.