The wasabi experiment

The wasabi experiment

If you follow us on Instagram you know that we recently have been experimenting with growing wasabi.

Someone asked us if it’s actually possible to grow wasabi in Botanium, and since we are slightly obsessed with growing plants hydroponically, we had to find out.

Most of the wasabi seeds found online are actually mustard seeds, or “wasabi aragula”, which is not real wasabi. Real wasabi is rare even in sushi restaurants - it’s usually common horse radish mixed with mustard and additives. You have probably never tasted real wasabi, and neither have we (yet).

Real wasabi (not from our plant) grated with an Orishogane, a Japanese grater

Even though you can eat all parts of the plan, wasabi usually refers the underground stem which the roots extend from - the so called rhizome. Once the plant has grown big, this underground part is harvested. It has a short shelf life and Is only grated right before it’s about to be eaten, since it quickly reacts with air and deteriorates.

It turns out that wasabi seeds are difficult to harvest and therefore extremely rare. They only last for a very short time once they are released from the plant, which makes it very impractical to grow wasabi from a seed. Instead, we found a company online that sells small Wasabi plant which we then could transplant to a Botanium.

In Japan, the plant grows naturally along stream beds in mountain valleys, which is why it should thrive in a hydroponic system like Botanium where it gets constant access to water and air. It's very sensitive to direct sunlight, so it's crucial to keep it on a shaded but bright spot.

When transplanting a soil borne plant into a Botanium it is important to remove as much soil as possible. Soil absorbs a lot of water and easily "suffocates" the roots.

After removing the soil, we covered the roots in growing medium and put the plant under our fluorescent lamp.

If you decide to give it a shot yourself, don’t expect to get wasabi on your sushi next week - growing wasabi is truly a hobby for the patient. When growing commercially, it takes 2-3 years before the stem is 4 centimeters thick and is ready for harvest. We hope that growing them hydroponically in Botanium will speed up this process, but it will still take a considerable time.

Our wasabi after a few weeks of growth

Follow us on instagram for more updates about this project!

Tags: wasabi


  • Posted by Dean on

    This looks great, I was wondering about it myself in terms of will the chamber be big enough to grow the rhizome. Will be sure to keep an eye on it.

Leave a comment