Growing Organic Sorrel In Pots – Containers At Home

Introduction to Growing Organic Sorrel in Pots

Sorrel plant is a leafy green vegetable grown for its pleasantly tart, lemon flavor. Sorrel is an easy leafy green to grown in pots. Container grown Sorrel plant may even perform better than in-ground plants because you can move the cool-season perennial away from hot sites during the day. The lemony leaves will be easy to access in a pot just outside the door, providing variety in the salad bowl, and it has Vitamins A and C and plenty of other nutrients. In this article we also discuss the below topics;

  • How long does the Sorrel plant take to grow
  • Does Sorrel plant need sunlight
  • Sorrel seed germination period
  • Sorrel plants growing tips      
  • Care for potted Sorrel
  • How often do you water Sorrel in pots
  • How to grow Sorrel at home in pots
  • Growing Sorrel indoors

A Step By Step Guide to Growing Organic Sorrel in Pots or Containers

Sorrel plant is a lettuce-like plant with arrow-shaped leaves. Once established in your garden, it is a hardy plant that requires little care apart from watering. In certain climates, it will grow as a perennial plant. Sorrel is a member of the Polygonaceae family and it is a low maintenance plant. Its leaves can be used fresh, in salads, or as a flavoring in a range of culinary dishes. Sorrel plants have smooth and arrow-shaped leaves that grow from a center rosette. The plant will send up a tall flower stalk as the temperature warms and the red flowers are rather insignificant whorled spikes.

Different Types of Sorrel

Sorrel is grown for its tangy, slightly-sour-tasting arrow-shaped plant leaves. The different types of Sorrels are garden Sorrel, French Sorrel, spinach dock, spinach rhubarb, and common Sorrel. All are good for eating.

The most commonly grown species are;

Garden Sorrel – Garden Sorrel grows about 3 feet tall and produces leaves that can be used fresh in salads.

Garden Sorrel.
Garden Sorrel.

French Sorrel – French Sorrel grows about 6 to 12 inches tall and has fiddle-shaped leaves used in salads. It is also called buckler-leaved Sorrel; this one has green, shield-shaped leaves with a citrusy tang. It grows to 15cm high by 20cm wide.

Herb patience – Herb patience is also called spinach dock. It grows to about 4 feet tall with leaves that can be used either fresh or cooked.

Spinach rhubarb – Spinach rhubarb grows up to 8 feet tall; the leaves can be used like spinach and the stalks like rhubarb.

Common or sheep Sorrel – Common Sorrel is a wild plant whose leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach. Common Sorrel has long, leathery leaves and grows to 1m.

Red-veined Sorrel plant – This has bright green oval-shaped leaves marked with red veins and grows to about 1metre.

Silver Shield Sorrel – Silver-green leaves and grows to 15cm high by 20cm wide

Organic Soil Preparation for Growing Sorrel in Pots

Sorrel plant needs well-draining soil. Then, dig a hole and fill it with water to see how well the soil drains. If the water stands for a while before draining, and mix in more organic compost and a little sand to help it drain better.

Test the soil in your preferred planting bed to make sure it’s suitable for the Sorrel plant. Sorrel plant needs a soil pH level of 5.5 to 6.8. When you’ve chosen a good patch, till the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. Then, mix in organic compost to enrich the soil so that it’s very fertile.

You can get a soil pH testing kit at any local nursery and it is a good tool to have on hand for any vegetable gardener. Grow Sorrel in a pot filled with fertile potting soil and make sure it’s at least 6 inches deep. Plant Sorrel in full sun and it grows best in well-worked, well-drained soil rich in organic material. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting. Sorrel plants will grow best in full sun, although a little partial shade will keep them going longer into the summer season.

Container Size or Pot Size for Growing Organic Sorrel

Sorrel plants grow well in a 6-inch pot. In larger containers, plant Sorrel on 8-inch centres.

Sowing Sorrel Seed Indoors

Sorrel can be started indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. Before sowing Sorrel, keep in mind that this plant is very invasive because it propagates fast. Sow Sorrel seeds about ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. It is sown right at the end of winter with a cover, or in spring directly in the ground. Mark the rows at least 12 to 16 inches apart. Sow in seed holes every 10 inches and then cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil slightly moist.

Sow the seed thinly ¼ inches deep and press the soil down slightly to ensure good contact; germination should take place within 21 days. Transplant the seedlings in rich, well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade after the last chance of frost, placing them 12-15 inches apart. For direct sowing, plant the seeds 4-6 inches apart and thin the seedlings to 12-15 inches apart. Sorrel can also be propagated by cuttings or by root division. Thin as they sprout, to only keep the most vigorous plants and remember to keep watering regularly.

Process of Growing Organic Sorrel in Pots

Step 1) First, choose a spot with good drainage. This plant likes a slightly acidic soil pH level 5.5 to 6.8. Since it is grown for its leaves, a soil rich in organic matter will give you lots of leafy growth.

Step 2) You can start Sorrel from seed, cuttings, root division, or a transplant, in either spring or early fall season. Seed can be started indoors or out, but since you can direct sow as early as 2 to 3 weeks before your last spring frost date; it is easiest to simply sow in the garden. Established plants can handle a light frost.

Step 3) Sow the seed about 1/2 inches deep spaced about 3 inches apart. When the plants are an inch or two tall, thin to 12 to 15-inch spacing. You should need 2 or 3 plants, for the average family’s need.

Step 4) Choose a well-draining container that is at least 12 inches across. Use a potting medium that drains freely and is rich in organic matter like well-rotted compost. If planting Sorrel by seed, it can be started inside or out. Sow outside as soon as all danger of frost is past and indoors about 3 weeks before the last date of frost.

Step 5) Space container-grown Sorrel seeds about 3 inches apart in ½ inch depth soil. Then, keep the young potted Sorrel plants moist but not soggy. As soon as they have two sets of true leaves, thin them to 12 inches apart.

Step 6) Sorrel plant is an excellent choice for container growing. You should use at least a 6-inch pot, but 8 to 12 inches would be ideal. You can probably keep Sorrel growing longer in containers than in the ground because you can move it out of the sun on warm days.

Caring for Sorrel in a Container

  • Growing Sorrel plants in pots is a great first-time gardening project because it is so easy. Give the plants 1 inch of water weekly. If the growing soil has plenty of organic matter in it, there is no need to fertilize, but mulching over the top of the root zone will help prevent weeds.
  • For plants that overwinter, apply a top dressing of compost or well-rotted manure in the spring season. You can start harvesting Sorrel in 30 to 40 days and this is the baby stage. Or you can wait for mature plants in 2 months. Cut the plant leaves to the stalks and the plant will resprout new foliage. Cut off any flowering stalks as they appear.
  • Sorrel plant is not bothered by many pests, but aphids may attack some times. Blast them off with water any time aphids populations get large. This will keep your Sorrel plant organic and healthy without any pesticide residue.

Tips on Potted Sorrel Plants

  • Give your Sorrel plants regular water and at least 1 inch per week. Mulching will help conserve moisture and keep the plant leaves clean.
  • Growing Sorrel started with rich soil, but you should amend the soil each year with more organic matter and possibly side-dress with compost or granular fertilizer mid-season.
  • To keep your plants healthy and vigorous divide them in spring or early summer every 3 to 4 years.
  • Sorrel plants will grow well in soil rich with organic matter that is slightly acidic.
  • Sorrel plant requires frequent watering in summer. Then, water Sorrel plant close to the roots to avoid mould development and do not forget to keep beds free from weeds.
  • Sorrel plant thrives in a sunny or partially shady spot, fertile and moisture-retentive soil.
  • Sow seeds in the spring season, a few in small pots filled with seed compost, cover, and water well. Sorrel seeds will take up to 6 weeks to germinate.

Water and Feeding Requirements for Growing Organic Sorrel in Pots

  • Keep the Sorrel moist. Sorrel plant needs plenty of water throughout the growing season. Test the soil to see if it needs water by inserting your finger in the soil near the Sorrel’s plant roots. If it feels dry, go ahead and water the Sorrel plant.
  • Water near the plant roots, rather than sprinkling water over the leaves. Then, this will prevent the leaves from catching mould and rotting.
  • Water in the morning time, when the sun has time to dry the plants before nightfall. If you water too late in the day the Sorrel plants will be prone to growing mould at night.
  • For good plant growth, mix a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting. Each spring, mulch around the Sorrel plant with rich compost.

Organic Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Sorrel in Pots

Sorrel is not often bothered by many pests, but aphids may settle in. Blast them off with water and thin the Sorrel plants, to make them less attractive as hiding spots. You should not have any disease problems with your Sorrel plant. Aphids are the one pest that poses a threat to the Sorrel plant. The best method to get rid of them is by simply picking them off the leaves when you see them. If aphids are infesting your Sorrel plant, an easy organic solution is to blast the leaves with water. This will knock them off without damaging the Sorrel plants too much.

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When and How to Harvest Sorrel

Pick fresh Sorrel leaves carefully when they are young and tender, just 4 or 5 inches tall. Harvest cut-and-come-again through the growing season and laves can be harvested as early as 60 days after sowing. Remove flowers before they mature to keep the Sorrel plants producing new leaves into the fall.

Fresh leaves can be harvested as soon as they reach a length of 3-5 inches. Carefully harvest the outer leaves until the plant becomes established when the entire plant can be cut at ground level. Harvest Sorrel after about 40 days, when the flavor of new plant leaves is at its freshest. To harvest the Sorrel plant, use kitchen shears or scissors to snip off the outer leaves. You can pinch the leaves off by hand. If you want Sorrel to regrow, be sure to leave the taproot and a few seed heads intact.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Organic Sorrel in Pots

Questions about Growing Organic Sorrel.
Questions about Growing Organic Sorrel

How tall does Sorrel herb grow?

On average Sorrel grows 12 to 18 inches.

What colour is Sorrel herb?

A Sorrel plant bears flowers of colour Yellow-Reddish

How much water does a Sorrel plant need?

A Sorrel plant prefers watering moderately.

Will Sorrel grow in shade?

Cold-hardy and a perennial herb plant, Sorrel is very easy to grow in sun or partial shade.

How long does it take to grow Sorrel?

Sorrel plant is a cool-season perennial often grown as an annual. Sorrel will be ready for harvest about 60 days after sowing.

Is Sorrel easy to grow?

Sorrel plant is easy to grow, with plants producing an abundance of pale green leaves.

How much sunlight does a Sorrel herb need?

A Sorrel plant prefers full sun.

Can I grow Sorrel in pots?

Sorrel plant is an excellent choice for container growing. You should use at least a 6-inch pot, but 8 to 12 inches would be ideal.

How long do Sorrel seeds take to germinate?

Sorrel seeds will germinate in 7 to 21 days.

What kind of soil does a Sorrel plant need?

Well-drained soil with lots of organic matter is good for growing Sorrel.

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