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HomeGardeningMethods to Plant, Develop and Take care of Sorrel

Methods to Plant, Develop and Take care of Sorrel

For those who take pleasure in a pop of lemony herbs in your salads and dishes, you need to contemplate including the sorrel plant to your backyard! It’s simple to develop and can match proper in together with your herb backyard or subsequent to your spinach.

Two primary forms of sorrel are sometimes utilized in cooking: Rumex acetosa (backyard sorrel) and Rumex scutatus (French sorrel). You need to use them to make sorrel soup, salad, or cook dinner them up with different greens and veggies. For those who’re unfamiliar with it, it cooks up identical to spinach, rhubarb, or Swiss chard.

Sorrel can change into weedy in the proper local weather, however it ought to be simple to manage when grown in a yard backyard or a container. You’ll be able to even develop it indoors all yr lengthy. Let’s check out learn how to develop this zesty herb! 

Fast Care Information

Frequent Title(s) Sorrel, backyard sorrel, inexperienced sorrel, pink veined sorrel, narrow-leaved dock, spinach dock, French sorrel
Scientific Title Rumex acetosa, Rumex scutatus
Days to Harvest 35 days for younger leaves, 60 days for mature leaves
Gentle Full solar, partial shade
Water Preserve soil moist with no less than 1 inch per week
Soil Common, barely acidic, well-draining
Fertilizer Natural matter or balanced fertilizer
Pests Aphids, butterfly and moth larvae, slugs, snails
Ailments Powdery mildew, root rot

All About Sorrel Plant

Close-up of sorrel leaves in the garden. The leaves are bright green in color, have a characteristic shield shape with a smooth, slightly glossy texture.
Sorrel is a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia; it grows in moist circumstances.

Sorrel—additionally known as dock—is native to most elements of Europe and elements of Asia however can now be discovered all through North America and in lots of gardens. It naturally grows in moist circumstances like woodlands or meadows close to streams.

When grown within the wild, sorrel is usually thought of a weed since it may be a bit aggressive. It’s a perennial plant that grows in clumps, and the clumps can get larger every year. 

Rumex acetosa is the most typical number of sorrel utilized in cooking. It has an acidic taste paying homage to lemon zest, so it’ll add a citrusy taste to your meals.

French sorrel (Rumex scutatus) is one other frequent selection and is typically most well-liked as a result of the acidic taste is tamer than R. acetosa. Younger sorrel leaves are most well-liked to eat as a result of they’ve essentially the most taste, whereas mature leaves are extra mellow and aren’t as tender.

Sorrel will get its citrus vibes from oxalic acid, which is definitely harmful to devour in giant quantities. Nevertheless, frequent sorrel and French sorrel have decrease portions of oxalic acid, so that they’re safer to eat.

It’s suitable for eating uncooked, however cooking it can make it even safer. There are some varieties that aren’t utilized in cooking (R. crispus and R. acetosella) as a result of their ranges of oxalic acid are too excessive to devour safely.

Sorrel vegetation are native to all of Europe and Asia, they usually’re naturalized in lots of different elements of the world.

Relying on the species, its location, and its related look, frequent names for sorrel embrace backyard sorrel, inexperienced sorrel, red-veined sorrel, narrow-leaved dock, spinach dock, French sorrel, frequent, or sheep sorrel. 

Planting Sorrel

Close-up of transplanting red-veined sorrel into soil in a garden. Female hands in white-green gloves hold a blue rake and a sorrel seedling with a root ball. There are garden tools, a blue bucket and a seedling of young peppers with ripening fruits in a clay pot on the garden bed. Sorrel has distinctly deep red veins running through its bright green leaves. The leaves are lanceolate, and slightly pointed.
Sorrel seeds might be planted instantly within the floor or began indoors earlier than transplanting.

Sorrel seeds are finest planted instantly within the floor, however you can begin them indoors and transplant them outdoors if you wish to get a head begin or in case you have an excellent brief rising season.

Whether or not you begin your sorrel seeds indoors or open air, select soil that’s wealthy in natural matter and drains nicely. Sorrel likes moisture however doesn’t need to keep constantly moist in soggy soil. 

Seeds ought to be planted just below the soil. You’ll be able to place them on the soil and canopy them with a lightweight layer of soil or press them into the soil barely and barely cowl them up. Preserve the soil moist however not moist.

For those who’re planting sorrel seed indoors, begin three weeks earlier than the final frost within the spring. Plant 2-3 seeds in a seed beginning pot and skinny them out as soon as they’ve all sprouted so you’ve got only one seedling left.

The seedlings can be a couple of inches tall by the point you’ll be able to transfer them open air, and you can begin harvesting the tender sorrel leaves nearly instantly. 

Don’t transplant them outdoors till the hazard of frost has handed, because the seedlings may freeze, and plant the transplants about 6 inches away from one another. For those who plant the seeds instantly open air, sprinkle the seeds in a row and skinny them out as soon as they’re a couple of inches tall.

Caring for Backyard Sorrel

Rising sorrel – whether or not you select red-veined sorrel, frequent, or sheep sorrel –  is rather a lot like rising different greens. Preserve them watered and maintain them cool. Total, they need to be one of many simpler vegetation in your backyard!

Solar and Temperature

Close-up of a growing sorrel (Rumex) in a sunny garden. The plant has bright green leaves with a characteristic spear shape with slightly pointed ends.
Sorrel is finest fitted to USDA zones 3-7, cool climate, and full solar publicity.

Sorrel grows finest in USDA zones 3-7. They like cool climate and are finest fitted to spring and fall. When the climate is cool, they like full solar publicity.

However, if you wish to develop sorrel by the summer time, you’ll have to plant sorrel in a shady space that receives morning solar. Alternatively, attempt planting sorrel in a container you’ll be able to transfer into the shade in the course of the hottest a part of the day.

For those who stay in a colder or hotter local weather outdoors its most well-liked vary, you’ll be able to develop sorrel leaves indoors all yr! Place them below a develop gentle or by a sunny window, and also you’ll have scrumptious sorrel very quickly.

Like different greens, sorrel is delicate to frost and scorching temperatures. Use frost or shade cowl when there’s a hazard of frost or warmth to guard your vegetation. Sorrel will bolt in scorching temperatures, so you could lose your vegetation as spring transitions to summer time in hotter climates.

Water and Humidity

A female gardener waters fresh sorrel plants from a yellow watering can on a raised bed in a garden. Sorrel has bright green, arrow-shaped leaves with a smooth texture.
Preserve your soil moist however not moist, and water your vegetation early within the morning on the base.

Remember to give your soil no less than one inch of water every week so the highest 1-2 inches of soil stays moist. The frequent and red-veined sorrel vegetation don’t prefer to dry out, however they don’t prefer to be moist, both. Moist soil may result in root rot and kill your vegetation.

Water your vegetation early within the morning at their bases to keep away from getting the leaves moist. This may cut back the danger of ailments spreading in your backyard and permit the water to soak into the soil earlier than the solar begins to evaporate it.

French sorrel is extra tolerant of dry soil, so if constant water is a typical drawback in your backyard, the French selection ought to be simpler to develop.


Top view, close-up of a gardener's hand loosening the soil near a growing sorrel in a sunny garden. The gardener wears a purple and black glove and holds a red and gray pitchfork. Sorrel has beautiful, oblong green arrow-shaped leaves.
Plant sorrel in well-draining, barely acidic soil.

Develop sorrel in barely acidic soil with a pH of 5.5-6.8. For those who wrestle to maintain your soil impartial, pop some sorrel in! As for the kind of soil, sorrel isn’t too choosy!

Strive planting sorrel in soil that drains simply, like a predominately loamy or sandy soil; clay soil is prone to be too heavy except you combine it with natural matter or perlite.


Close-up of a woman's hand spraying liquid fertilizer from a blue spray bottle onto a growing sorrel plant in a raised bed. Sorrel produces oblong, arrow-shaped leaves that are dark green in color.
Think about using a normal vegetable fertilizer excessive in nitrogen.

For those who develop sorrel with loads of natural matter like compost or leaf mulch, you most likely gained’t want to use fertilizer, because the nutrient-rich matter will present sufficient.

For those who don’t have compost or develop sorrel in poor soil, you need to use a normal vegetable fertilizer that’s a bit larger in nitrogen since nitrogen helps with leaf manufacturing.

Granules will solely have to be equipped a couple of times in a rising season, whereas liquid fertilizer will have to be utilized extra typically. Established vegetation can develop in less-than-ideal circumstances within the wild, so you could not even want fertilizer!


Close-up of male hands pruning sorrel leaves with yellow pruners on a bed in a sunny garden. The leaves are oval-shaped, bright green in color, with a smooth texture.
Sorrel might be pruned by eradicating outdated leaves and flower stalks.

For those who’re rising sorrel for culinary functions, you most likely gained’t have to prune your sorrel typically because you’ll be consuming the leaves! You’ll be able to prune off older leaves you didn’t harvest in time, and the flower stalks it produces because it tries to bolt.

Pruning as seen within the video above will assist promote new development.

Since sorrel grows in clumps, you’ll be able to separate the clumps to create new vegetation. This can be mandatory should you develop sorrel as a perennial in your backyard and begins to take up an excessive amount of area.


Close-up of many young red-veined sorrel seedlings in starter seed trays. Trays have many deep cells filled with soil mixture. Sorrel seedlings have beautiful small arrow-shaped leaves of bright green color with characteristic red veins.
There are 3 ways to propagate sorrel: seeds, breaking apart clumps, and cuttings.

There are 3 ways you’ll be able to propagate sorrel. All of them work nicely, so you’ll be able to mess around and discover the strategy that works for you.

Seeds are most likely the simplest approach to get sorrel into your backyard for the primary time. Sorrel grows small pinkish-red flowers as soon as it bolts, which is the way it produces seed stalks. It can save you the seeds to start out new vegetation subsequent yr. Then sow sorrel seeds indoors or open air as desired.

For current vegetation, you’ll be able to break up the clumps into smaller clumps and plant them some other place to supply a brand new plant. This technique is simplest should you can develop sorrel as a perennial herb. If you need to develop them as annuals in your backyard, you gained’t get a lot use out of this technique.

One other approach to propagate is by cuttings. You’ll be able to place a leaf in water till it develops roots after which plant it in soil.

Harvesting and Storing Sorrel Crops

Now that you simply’ve grown sorrel, it’s time to eat it! Let’s take a look at how one can harvest and retailer your sorrel contemporary or in any other case.

Harvesting Backyard Sorrel

Close-up of a woman's hands picking fresh sorrel leaves into a large metal bowl in a sunny garden. The leaves are oblong, shield-like shape, bright green in color with a smooth and glossy texture.
Harvest younger and tender sorrel leaves with clear backyard shears beginning 35 days after planting.

Sorrel is often finest loved when the leaves are younger as a result of they’re tender and flavorful. You can begin harvesting leaves as quickly as 35 days after planting.

Use clear backyard shears or scissors to chop leaves on the plant’s base. Begin with the outer leaves since these are the oldest. Sorrel is a cut-and-come-again inexperienced, so it can proceed to supply new development, so you’ll be able to harvest from it repeatedly!

For those who don’t thoughts the style of older fiddle-shaped leaves, you’ll be able to wait till the plant has grown a bit for a much bigger harvest to eat all of sudden. For those who want the youthful leaves, sow sorrel seeds in succession so that you’ll at all times have some readily available.

Storing Sorrel Leaves

Fresh green sorrel leaves in crate on wooden table. The leaves are bright green in color, arrow-shaped with a delicate, smooth and slightly glossy texture.
To retailer sorrel, maintain harvested leaves in a plastic bag within the fridge for per week.

Retailer harvested sorrel leaves in a plastic bag within the fridge with a paper towel to soak up extra moisture. Leaves can be contemporary for as much as one week. Don’t wash your sorrel till you’re prepared to make use of it to stop extra moisture within the bag.

For long-term storage, wash the sorrel and permit it to dry out utterly. Then, chop it up and retailer it in a freezer bag. It might probably keep in your freezer for a number of months.

One other long-term answer is an “herb dice.” Fill an ice dice tray with chopped sorrel and olive oil and put it within the freezer. Subsequent time it’s essential to cook dinner with oil and sorrel, pop it within the pan, and also you’re able to go! You’ll be able to add different perennial herbs to pack in additional taste too. 


Sorrel isn’t actually a troublemaker because it’s disease-resistant and has only a few pest issues. However right here are some things to look out for.

Rising Issues

Close-up of a growing sorrel in a sunny garden with damaged leaves. The leaves are oblong, arrow-shaped, bright green with damaged brown edges and spots.
Sorrel prefers cool climate and should begin bolting in scorching climates.

Sorrel is a hardy perennial, however it may be robust to develop in scorching climates because it likes cool climate. Whereas it’s comfortable to develop in zones 3-7, it could begin bolting in late spring or early summer time in areas that heat up fairly shortly.

You’ll be able to decelerate the bolting course of by planting it in an space that receives afternoon shade or indoors. In zones above 7, you’ll need to plant it indoors or in shady areas.


Close-up of a colony of aphids, an insect pest, on a sorrel stalk, against a blurred green background. Aphids are tiny soft-bodied black insects that suck the sap from plants.
To do away with aphids, use a robust jet of water or neem oil.

The pests which may hassle sorrel are probably going to be discovered all through your backyard since there aren’t actually any sorrel-specific pests.

Aphids are available in many colours and suck the sap from leaves and stems. The best approach to do away with them is to scrub them off with water. Neem oil can be useful for suffocating them.

Snails and slugs are sometimes interested in greens of every kind. Diatomaceous earth may help kill snails and slugs, however DE is actually solely efficient when it’s dry, and sorrel likes moist soil, so it will not be that efficient. Decide them by hand. You’ll be able to put on gloves should you suppose that’s an icky activity!

Helpful nematodes are one other nice pure approach to kill slugs, as these nematodes search for critters and never vegetation. There are a lot of slug and snail killers in the marketplace, so search for an possibility that can fit your backyard.


Green sorrel leaf damaged by Ramularia rubella. The leaf is oblong, arrow-shaped, green in color with symptoms of the disease in the form of red spots.
Sorrel is disease-resistant however could get powdery mildew and root rot from overwatering.

There aren’t any ailments which might be particular to sorrel, making it a buddy to many gardens! Even so, it could succumb to powdery mildew if different vegetation in your backyard have the illness. You’ll be able to stop it with a fungicide, however you’ll need to throw away contaminated vegetation since there isn’t a treatment.

In case your soil is just too moist, your sorrel could develop root rot, which is able to finally kill the entire plant. Don’t water by hand if it rained not too long ago, and check out to not give your plant a couple of inch per week.

Often Requested Questions

Q: Are you able to eat sorrel plant?

A: Sorrel is scrumptious and nutritious and is nice in soups, salads, casseroles, and another dishes which may want some lemony taste.

Q: Is sorrel poisonous to people?

A: Sorrel has oxalic acid, which is poisonous to people in giant quantities. Including sorrel to salad gained’t be sufficient to harm you, so it’s suitable for eating.

Q: The place does sorrel develop finest?

A: Sorrel grows finest in a sunny location with moist soil in spring or fall.

Q: Does sorrel come again yearly?

A: Sorrel can often be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 5-7, which means it can come again yearly.

Q: Is sorrel suitable for eating uncooked?

A: Sorrel is suitable for eating uncooked in small quantities. (Possibly don’t eat kilos of it each day!)

Q: What does sorrel style like?

A: Sorrel tastes rather a lot like lemon zest – it’s tangy and citrusy.

Q: What forms of sorrel are edible?

A: Rumex acetosa (frequent sorrel) and Rumex scutatus (French sorrel) are the most secure varieties to eat due to their decrease ranges of oxalic acid.

Q: Is sorrel exhausting to develop?

A: Sorrel is often simple to develop if the soil is moist, the temperatures aren’t too scorching, and it will get sufficient daylight.



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