Horseradish

With sweetly scented flowers that attract pollinators and pungent leaves that confuse pests, horseradish makes a great edible necklace around fruit trees. An easy-to-grow culinary plant, I harvest the leaves to use in making sour pickles and the roots for fermented horseradish sauce.


Common Name: Horseradish
Scientific Name: Amoracia rusticana
Family: Brassicaceae
Origin: Mediterranean


Little House on Pine horseradish in bloom. Part of a permaculture guild with a cherry tree.

Horseradish in bloom, May 1.

Garden Uses

  • Niche: Herbaceous perennial, root layer
  • Wildlife value: General insect nectary
  • Pest control: Aromatic pest confuser
  • Bloom: White flowers from late spring to early summer

Culinary Uses

  • Roots: grated raw in horseradish sauce, cooked, dried and ground into a powder
  • Greens: young greens edible, older greens used in pickling

Medicinal Properties

  • Antiseptic
  • Aperient
  • Stimulant
  • Rubefacient

Planting Considerations

  • Light requirements: full sun
  • Moisture: Dry to moist soils; will not tolerate waterlogged locations
  • pH: 5.1-8.5
  • Size: 2-3 feet tall, indefinite spread
  • Spacing: 1 foot
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Propagation

Root cuttings in spring or by planting crowns of harvested roots in winter. 

Maintenance

Extremely hardy. Appreciates watering during dry spells. Fast growing and, although invasive, relatively slow spreading. Rototilling roots can result in unintended propagation and spread. Control long term spreading with alternate groundcovers or structural elements like embedded garden sills.

Extra Benefits

  • Detoxifies lakes, rivers, and streams of industrial pollutants by neutralizing phenols.

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