How to Grow Burdock Plants

Tree Branch

How to Grow Burdock

Are you a first time burdock grower? Or, have you been growing it for a while now? Either way, our “How to Grow Burdock” guide will help you to grow a great crop.

Early settlers brought Burdock to the U.S. American Indians liked it and included this vegetable in their gardens. Today, it can be found growing wild in many parts of the country. Burdock is an edible root, native to Europe, Asia, and Japan. Actually, the leaves and tender, young stems are edible, too. Roots can be eaten raw or cooked. Leaves and stems are usually cooked like spinach.

Burdock has been used in a wide variety of herbal medicines. The most common is the treatment of skin and scalp problems, including combating hair loss and dandruff control.  Burdock has also been used as liver treatment, to stimulate the digestive system, colds, and sore throats, and even for treatment of leprosy.

Caution: Diabetics should consult their physician before eating Burdock. It could interfere with medication.

Botanical Name: Arctium, Biennial

Did You Know? George de Mestral invented Velcro after studying how burdock burrs clung to clothing and animal fur.

Burdock Plant Propagation

Burdock is grown from seed. Sow Burdock seeds in your garden as early as the ground can be worked. Then, cover the seeds with 1/2″ to 3/4″ of fine garden or seed starting soil. Tamp soil. Water lightly, if the soil is dry.

Seedlings germinate quickly, in about 4-7 days.

How to Grow Burdock Plants

Burdock is easy to grow. It grows readily in the wild, without day human assistance. The attention you provide to it in your garden will promote bigger, deeper roots, and more seeds to harvest, too. Burdock likes full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

The soil should be rich and drain well. The most important characteristic of the soil should be loose and free of rocks and stones up to a depth of a couple of feet. This allows the roots to grow long and straight.

After seedlings have grown a few inches, thin to 3″ apart in rows two feet apart. Weed frequently, especially when plants are young.

Keep soil moist. Apply a general-purpose fertilizer once a month.

Did you Know? The roots of some varieties of Burdock can grow four feet long. Furthermore, some plant varieties can grow up to nine feet tall.

Keep flowers and burrs picked, to promote the growth of plants and roots.

Tip: Fewer leaves allow denser plants and a higher yield. If you are growing Burdock just for the roots, prune some leaves as the plant grows.

Also, See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures – germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH – by vegetable plant

Burdock Insect Pests and Plant Disease

Insects can be an occasional problem. Treat with insecticide or repellents, as needed.

How to Grow Burdock - Harvest Time

Days to harvest: 100

Pick leaves and tender young stems for eating fresh. Cook like spinach.

Roots take a long time to grow. Roots can be picked when the roots are one to two feet long. Peel and eat raw or cooked. Use in soups, salads, and stir-fries.

Plant Hardiness

Burdock is a hardy biennial. It can grow in most regions of the country. A hard freeze will kill growth for first-year plants. However, the plant will come up again the second (and final) year. 

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