How to Grow Cress

Three Methods:Growing Cress OutdoorsGrowing Cress IndoorsHarvesting Cress

Cress is a plant with a peppery taste that can be added to dishes like salads and soups. It’s a cold season crop that you can easily grow on your own, including indoors.

Method 1
Growing Cress Outdoors

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    Obtain cress seeds. Cress will easily grow from seeds. You can also grow cress if you have stem pieces of cress cuttings. You can obtain cress seeds in home improvement and garden stores or online.[1]
    • Plant cress every two weeks if you want to have a continuous harvest. When using soil to grow cress, choose soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Plant the cress in early spring as early as you can work soil. Cover the seed lightly with soil or compost. You only need a 1-2 foot square to plant cress. That should deliver enough of the plant.
    • Cress needs water to grow – lots of it. Don’t let cress roots become dry. Cress is a cold-weather crop. If you try to grow it in hot weather, it becomes bitter, and you can’t eat it. Find shade. You don’t want to grow cress in direct sun. You can pinch the cress back to promote new foliage.[2][3]
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    Sow the cress. You should plant the cress seeds in your garden early in the spring before the last frost. Cress grows quickly from seeds. Cress is worth growing because it’s filled with vitamin C.[4]
    • You will be able to harvest the cress 15 to 20 days after sowing the cress. Plant more crops until mid summer. You can also plant the cress yet again in early fall and during winter.
    • Garden cress is also called broadleaf cress. Curly cress and watercress are other forms of the vegetables, which grow in cool weather. Put cress in either full sun or part shade. Part shade is best for cress.[5]
    • Sow cress ¼ inch deep. Sow the seeds thickly in wide rows. Space each row between 18 and 24 inches apart. You will want to keep the cress in even moisture. You can plant cress with carrots or radishes. Try to keep the soil weed free when growing cress.

Method 2
Growing Cress Indoors

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    Grow watercress inside. People usually grow watercress inside in water. Grow the watercress indoors in a water tray.
    • Obtain a shallow tray, such as a plastic food container from a grocery store. Line it with paper tissue or a kitchen towel. Wet the paper or wool, but don’t add so much water that it’s swimming in it. Sprinkle seeds over the surface.
    • Cover the tray with cling film. This will stop evaporation. Without the cling film, the cress could dry out fast. You want a container that is about an inch or two deep. You want space for growth because the seedlings will hit the ceiling of the film eventually. Germination will likely start in about a couple of days.
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    Use a pot. Instead of a shallow container, you could also plant the cress in a three-inch pot that you fill with damp compost.
    • Sprinkle the seeds onto the surface of the pot. This can be an effective method for growing cress because the cress will eventually starve in a container without soil.
    • The soil in the pot, especially if it’s damp compost, will provide the cress with enough nutrients to continue growing the cress. You could use a water sprayer to water the container. Push the seeds lightly into the soil. Check up on your cress every day until it begins to sprout.

Method 3
Harvesting Cress

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    Cut the cress. Cut or pinch the tips of the cress. Start cutting the cress when it grows to 3 or 4 inches tall. If you cut the plant back to ½ inch, it will quickly regrow.
    • Cress is very tender when it’s at early seed-leaf stage. Harvest cress before it matures. You can also use the sprouts fresh.
    • Snip the stalks off at the base. Store the cress. You can keep cress in your refrigerator for about one week. Seeds can be allowed to sprout.
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    Eat the cress. People use cress as an addition to salads or sandwiches. Sometimes people also snip the cress stalks off at their bases in order to use them as a garnish.
    • Add cress to steamed or boiled potatoes and soups. You can replace parsley with cress. Cress is filled with carotenoids, mustard oil, vitamin K, and antioxidants, in addition to vitamin C.
    • Once you cut cress, it’s going to continue to grow, yielding additional harvests. You can usually cut cress four or five times before it stops growing and goes to seed.
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    Determine different kinds of cress. There are several different types of cress, although they bear many similarities.
    • Garden cress, also called broadleaf cress, has light and bright green leaves. It thrives in damp soil.
    • Curly cress, also called cresson, resembles parsley with its finely divided leaves. It’s dark green and also thrives in damp soil.
    • Watercress is an annual that is usually grown in water. You can grow watercress indoors in a pot that you set in a tray of water.


  • The cress on average takes about one week to grow.
  • If you aren't very good at putting a small amount of water in the dish, the just spray the dish a couple of times with a water spray.
  • This cress is great for salads.
  • An average packet of cress should give several crops..
  • Any pets, like a rabbit or hamster, would really appreciate this tasty treat!


  • Do not eat if withered and dry.
  • Never use any pest poison on the cress.

Things You'll Need

  • A packet of cress seeds
  • a piece of kitchen roll
  • a tray
  • water

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables