Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Cress

Cress (Apium graveolens)

Often wild foraged in the mountains of Appalachia, these highly nutritious, easy-to-grow greens are frost-tolerant and winter hardy. They have yellow flowers which are also edible and easily self-seed. Outside leaves can be harvested continuously starting within a couple of weeks of emerging. Cress can be used as a substitute for watercress in salads, soups and stir-fries.

Nutrients: very high in vitamins A, C and K; folate, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium.

How to Grow Cress from Seed

Bed Preparation

A frost-tolerant biennial that is easy-to-grow by direct seed. Direct seed in early spring through fall. Sow thickly in a dense line or 2" band for a good stand.


Plant Seeds: 1/4-1/2" deep with 1" between seeds in rows 12-15" apart. Days to Sprout: 2-15. Mature plant spacing/Thin to: don't thin for baby greens, 4-6" mature greens. Companions: beets, carrots, dill, lettuce, onion, spinach, tomato, nasturtium, cilantro.


Established plants can harvested by cutting above the growth point for cut-and-come-again production, or cress can be planted in successions every 2 weeks for continual harvest.

How to Save Cress Seeds

Will easily self-seed if flowers are allowed to mature. The cress family develops small, curved seedpods that form from the tiny flowers. The seedpods shatter easily and can be difficult to find and harvest due to their size, which is what makes them so excellent at self-seeding. Start looking for them after the flowers disappear and harvest seed pods by gently rolling them in your fingers.