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How to Grow Salsify

Tragopogon Porrifolius, Biennial

Salsify is an "old fashioned" root crop, that is not commonly grown in home vegetable gardens. It is a slow growing root crop, grown similar to carrots. We encourage you to give this easy to grow vegetable a try. You'll be glad that you did!

Salsify plants have grass-like leaves and purple flowers. It is grown for its long, thick root, growing up to a foot in length. It can be peeled and cooked like mashed potatoes.

Salsify is also called the Oyster Plant and Vegetable Oyster, for it's oyster-like flavor.

Did You Know? Salsify is related to dandelions and chicory.

There are not many varieties of salsify plants. The most common variety is Mammoth Sandwich Island.

While Salsify plants are classified as biennials, they are grown as annuals.

Days to Maturity:

Salsify is slow growing. It requires 110 - 150 days to reach maturity.

Sowing Salsify Seeds:

This cool weather plant, is very cold tolerant.

Directly sow Salsify seeds into the garden, as early as the ground can be worked in the spring.

Sow seeds 1/2" deep and  1 to 2 inches apart.

Final spacing should be 6-10 inches apart.

Seed Germination: 7-21 days

How to Grow Salsify Roots:

Salsify is slow growing, yet it an easy to grow root crop.

It is a cool weather plant, that tolerates cold weather and frost.

The roots need loose, deep soil for best growth. Prior to sowing seeds, prepare the soil to a foot deep. Remove rocks and hard debris up to a foot deep.

Fertilize at planting, and again in mid summer, with a general purpose fertilizer. Do not over fertilize the plants. Over fertilizing can cause forked and split roots.

Keep plants well and deeply watered, especially in droughts and hot weather. Dry soils can cause roots to become tough and fibrous.

It is important to keep the plants well weeded, especially when the plants are young. Weeds can overcrowd slow growing Salsify.

The plants grow best in cool weather. Shade plants in hot weather, over 85 degrees.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures

Ideal Soil pH

Harvesting Salsify Roots:

If possible, wait to harvest roots until after the first frost. Cold weather improves flavor.

Do not try to pull up roots by the stems. Dig deeply around roots with a spade, to avoid breaking the roots.

Brush off roots and remove the stems. Place in a cool, dry place to dry for a few weeks. Or, store in the refrigerator.

Insects and Pests:

Salsify roots are seldom bothers by insects or pests.


Plants are basically disease free.


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