How to Properly Care for Your Ashitaba Plants: Tips from Green(er) Thu – Kenko

How to Properly Care for Your Ashitaba Plants: Tips from Green(er) Thumbs

Japanese samurai warriors ate Ashitaba plants to heal their wounds and prevent infections. But you don't have to be a samurai warrior to get the health benefits of Ashitaba.

You can grow the Japanese Ashitaba plant right at home, and use its leaves to delay aging and cleanse your cells for boosting your healthy lifestyle.

The Ashitaba plant, also known as ''tomorrow's leaf,'' is a medicinal herb you can grow yourself. The Ashitaba leaves grow back quickly after you cut them so you always have a ready supply.

Are you ready to learn how to grow Ashitaba?

Read more for everything you need to know about growing Ashitaba at home.

What Are Ashitaba Plants?

Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei) is a perennial native to Japan and belongs to the celery family. Since its beginnings in Japan, the plant has spread to China, the Philippines, Thailand, and the US.

It's cold hardy and looks similar to celery. It can grow from 20 to 45 inches tall. The ideal temperature for growing Ashitaba is from 53 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

One amazing fact about the Ashitaba plant is if you pick a leaf, it will grow back by the next day.

Health Benefits of Ashitaba Plants

Japanese natives first discovered the healing powers of Ashitaba during the Edo period, which was from 1603 to 1868. They found they could use it to treat smallpox.

Since then, many other health benefits are associated with the plant. The reason it has so many health benefits is that it contains 13 minerals, 11 vitamins, fiber, and protein.

The most abundant vitamin in this plant is B12, which builds red blood cells, helps concentration and strengthens your immune system.

  • Improves indigestion
  • Speeds up wound healing
  • Prevents infections
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Increases growth hormones
  • Treats aging skin
  • Helps asthma
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps slow down dementia
  • Rich in antioxidants

Now that you've heard about how Ashitaba can help you live a healthy lifestyle, you'll want to grow one of your own. You're in luck because this plant is easy to grow and doesn't need much maintenance.

How to Grow Ashitaba Plants

You can have success growing Ashitaba by following these steps from planting seeds to adult plant care.

Starting from Seeds

Soak your seeds overnight to get them ready for germination. Make sure your water doesn't have any chlorine. Also, using fresh seeds will give you the best results.

After you soak the seeds, drain off the water. Plant the Ashitaba seeds in damp sand, peat moss or potting soil. Place the planted seeds in your refrigerator for one month. Make sure you don't let them freeze.

After one month, place the seeds in a plant container or potting bed filled with soil. Cover the seeds with a light coating of soil. Pat down the soil.

This is the time when growing Ashitaba needs the most care. Make sure that the seeds don't dry out. You want to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Keep them indoors for this step or in a greenhouse.

Your seeds will germinate in about two weeks. If your seedlings don't seem to be making progress, don't worry. They grow slowly.

After about two months, you can transplant your seedlings into 3 to 4-inch pots filled with potting soil. Let your Ashitaba plants grow until they're the size of a fist. Then you can transplant them to your garden or grow them in one-gallon containers.

How to Grow Ashitaba from Cuttings

Once your plants are full grown, you'll see side shoots growing. You can cut these and either plant them right into the soil or place them in pots. The cuttings will grow into new plants.

If you leave the side shoots on your Ashitaba, they will grow flowers. These flowers will go to seed. You don't want the plants forming flowers if you're planning on cutting leaves for medicinal use.

Best Spot for Growing 

Ashitaba grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 10. Choose a spot that has full sun most of the day and fertile soil. You also need an area with good drainage and protected from the wind.

Fertilize in the Spring

Fertilizing Ashitaba with a balanced fertilizer will help it thrive. Read the directions on the fertilizer for mixing it with water. Most 10-10-10 fertilizers for Ashitaba are a mix of one-ounce fertilizer to one-gallon water. This mixture covers about 10 square feet.

How to Harvest

If you only have one plant, you might want to harvest your leaves every other day or once per week. This gives the leaves time to become fully mature. The mature leaves have more nutrients than young shoots.

Of course, if you planted more than one plant, you can stagger cutting among the plants. This way, you'll always have a steady supply of mature leaves.

When you're harvesting, cut the leaves at the base of the stem rather than the stalk. The leaves have six times the nutrients than the rest of the plant.

How to Use Ashitaba Leaves

You can either dry your Ashitaba leaves for making tea or eat them raw. To dry your leaves, tie the stems together with string. Then hang them upside down from a hook and allow them to dry in a shaded area for about one week.  

To make tea, crumble up the dried leaves. You can do this by placing the dried leaves in a plastic bag and roll a rolling pin over them.

Don't roll it into a powder. The leaves should look like loose tea. Measure about one teaspoon of leaves for an eight-ounce cup of boiling water. Let it steep for a two to three minutes.

You can also use the dried leaves as a seasoning for soups or crumb coatings.

Raw Ashitaba leaves make flavorful additions to salads and garnishes. Steaming the raw leaves with other vegetables is another option.

It's Time to Grow Your Own Ashitaba

If you want to enjoy the health benefits of the Ashitaba plant, try planting your own. Ashitaba plant care is simple but the benefits are amazing.

Contact us for any questions you have about growing an Ashitaba plant.