How to Grow Watercress Indoors – Powerhouse Super-food

by | Apr 12, 2018 | Guides, Herbs U-Z, HowTo's | 6 comments

Peppery Leaves and stalks packed with nutritious goodness, the amazing watercress. It truly is a Super-food. Placed in a bright area of your home you can grow watercress indoors and enjoy the benefits in easy reach.

Watercress is very adaptable to in-home growing. You have several options to achieve successful results. Read on to find out how you can get started enjoying this great green.

Why Grow Watercress Indoors?


It is crazy expensive in the store! At least where I am. I do not know about you.

Locally it could be anywhere from 1 to 3 dollars US for a small bunch. That may not seem like much but that is not going to last very long. It may be enough to add to 2 salads or garnish a couple sandwiches.

Making a decision to add that to a regular diet could add significant cost to a grocery budget. Seed prices are cheap. They grow to harvest-able in 4 weeks and keep producing even after trimming. Thereby making it much more budget-friendly to grow your own. Watercress garden takes up very little space and will even work in an apartment.


It is A Powerhouse Super-food

Watercress is often used as a lovely, fresh garnish but there’s a lot more to it than that. It packs more Vitamins A, B1, B3, C, K. Plus iron, potassium, and calcium than any other veggie! Now That is No Joke.

Breaking it down further > 1cup of watercress

  • Equals 60% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C!
  • Vitamin K equivalent to 312% of the daily recommended value!
  • & 64% of Daily Vitamin A!

See The nutritional data of Watercress here.

 A Small List of Adding Benefits of Watercress in Your Diet

Improves Brain Health

Protects and Improves Eyesight

Cold and Virus prevention

Folate-rich foods aid risks of birth defects, depression, strokes, cognitive decline, and certain types of cancers.

Better Bone Health

Aids Thyroid Function

2 Methods for Growing Watercress at Home

In all the methods listed there is always one important factor. MOISTURE.

Watercress is typically found growing along the shallows of creeks and streams. They thrive on the cool moisture of flowing water. This can be duplicated indoors by providing a fresh watering method that keeps consistent moist growing medium.

There are additional methods to grow watercress indoors including using capillary mats and cotton. These work great for keeping watercress at a small micro-green stage. For mature growth, these methods are often not the best ways to go. I will not be sharing the specifics of these methods here but they are planted similarily to the soil method.

Method One – Traditional Soil

You will need

  • 2 Trays or pots that fit inside themselves. 1 with holes 1 without. Recycled plastic containers can work great for this. In addition, 10/20 flats and seed flats with drainage holes also work well.
  • A good rich soil ideal for absorbing water yet still allows for air flow. A good rich seed starter or my favorite organic potting mix, Fox farm ocean forest works great. You can see a review for this soil here
  • A Bright window or grow lights to allow 6 to 8 hours a day of light. The direct hot sun is not recommended, so avoid hot sunny windows that have excess heat.


Planting Steps:

  1. Fill the tray that has holes with your Potting mix. Spread evenly and remove any lumps.
  2. Moisten the soil very well.
  3. Sprinkle the watercress seeds on top of the soil
  4. Press them gently on top of the soil but not too deeply. Just set them on the surface.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap or plastic dome cover if available.
  6. Place the planted container in the solid flat or larger solid bottom container
  7. Pour water in bottom flat to about ¾ inch up the planted pot or flat
  8. Place in a brightly lighted area or under grow light

You will begin to see sprouts usually within 3 to 5 days. You will be able to begin harvesting micro green sprouts within 4 weeks. Larger sprouts within a couple weeks after. As you trim your cress it will grow bushier and new growth will form.

Important! Change the water in the bottom tray every 3 days. Fresh water is important to keep watercress healthy and prevent bacteria.

Method 2 – Soil-less Growing. Hydroponics or Aquaponics

This could be the simplest hydroponic plant you could grow. It is perfectly adapted to the water environment. Using hydroponic nutrients will benefit growth but not 100% necessary for watercress if you change the water frequently. In addition, an air stone will ensure the water stays oxygenated and prevent bacterial growth.

If you grow in aquaponics, water changes are not necessary but extended rinsing before eating is recommended.


For Hydroponics I use:

Simple steps:

  1. Moisten the rapid rooter plugs
  2. Sprinkle seeds around the top of rapid rooter plug
  3. Place plug in the basket and secure with clay pellets or other stones
  4. Fill grow box to proper water level, add nutrients if desired
  5. Place basket in Grow box

For aquaponics:

Systems vary so it is hard to be specific. I use the rapid rooter plugs like above. Place them in my flat aquaponic tray surrounded securely by clay pellets. That is, it! All the nutrients and water are added to the existing aquarium aquaponic set-up.

If this is your first-time hearing about hydroponics or aquaponics learn more here. The Difference Between Hydroponics and Aquaponics – Alternative Gardening Methods

The shared video shows a very simple hydroponic type method of growing watercress. If you are just starting out and have no other hydroponic or aquaponic equipment this may work for you.

Because there is no air movement in the water I would change it every 3 to 5 days vs the suggested methods in this video.

How to Use Watercress


I love salads and greens. They are some of the best things on earth in my opinion. If you are anything like me, you have probably already had a taste of watercress. It has a clean crisp light peppery taste.

Besides salads, it goes on about everything like a garnish with “bang”. I like to think of it as anywhere I can put pepper, why not watercress. A great finish on top any meat, seafood, or vegetable dish. Works well on eggs and beautifully on sandwiches of all kinds.

Small delicate young cuttings are great fresh, but the mature plant and stems taste wonderful cooked. Watercress soup is a very popular dish that is bursting with amazing flavors.



Important Tips to Remember

√ Always rinse watercress thoroughly before eating. Standing water can build bacteria that can be easily rinsed away.

√ Keep trimming to get nice bushy growth.

√ Too much to use right now? Watercress stores best in the refrigerator with cut end in a glass of water.

√ If you are going to add pepper to a dish add a garnish of watercress instead. It will fit just as well and add a nutritional boost!

√ There are many types of cress. Garden cress varieties are similar but considered more a salad cress and do not have the stand-up power of the watercress varieties.

Are You Ready to Start the Watercress Trend?


With all the boom in natural health care and holistic approach to healing. Introducing a superfood that is so rich in nutrition and benefits seems to only make sense. Since it is so easy to grow watercress indoors there is no better time to start than now!

Honestly, I love the flavor. It’s great that it is good for me too! Bonus!

Watercress is also known as Nasturtium Officinale. My first experiences with a related herb were flowering Nasturtiums. I grew them in my outdoor garden initially as a great beneficial companion plant. I soon fell in love with the peppery taste of its leaves.

red arrow down rightHave you had any experiences with any other cress plants or nasturtiums? Perhaps you already added watercress to your diet. I would love to hear from you and get your thoughts. Leave a comment Below!

Happy Growing!


Author: Christina

Author: Christina

Hi! laughing It is great to meet you! I am happy you found your way here to Inside Herb Gardens. This is a hobby I am extremely passionate about. I love gardening, herbs and using them! I hope you do too. I am here to help. Reach out or drop me comments.

Learn More about Me HERE.

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  1. Cynthia

    Wow. Growing this delicious green indoors sounds so inviting. you have given wonderful instructions and I actually think I could do this. I love watercress on sandwiches and salads. Thank you for giving me the confidence that I could actually be successful in growing watercress.

    • Christina

      Hi Cynthia,

      You are very welcome. Watercress is delicious! You will be surprised how easy it is to grow. You will have fresh before you know it and never look back. I think it is one of the fastest growing herbs I have ever grown. Once it gets going it is ample and quick.
      Let me know how it goes for you.


  2. Pernilla

    Hello Christina,

    I love cress. Believe me or not, yesterday I sowed cress seeds – before I saw your post. I put them in salads or as topping on cottage cheese – mmm, delicious. Cress is a great decoration. I use to decorate Easter Feast table with cress – like grass with chocolate eggs on it. It is also great as topping on the real eggs, as you also said in this post.

    It is so fascinating to see them grow, it happens so fast, in only a day and there you see them sprout. You motivated me to sow watercress now, haven’t thought about that.

    Your posts are so inspiring!


    • Christina

      Hi Pernilla,
      I thank you for the credit of inspiration! I think maybe I just reminded you, and you inspired yourself 🙂
      Watercress is one of my favorites. I say that about many because I have many. But it really is so great for you, taste good and has much versatility. I never thought about for decoration, that is a great idea. Garden cress is good too. I prefer to stretch outside the direct family line a bit and grow nasturtiums over garden cress. I like the flavor better. Although they grow slower and do not sprout tiny like other cress relatives.
      Direct cress types though, watercress I think is divine. I think it outmatches land type cress for packing a punch in a green. Do you notice a difference in garden and watercress taste?
      I look forward to hearing more about your herbs and your garden!

      • Pernilla

        Hello Christina,

        I always do it the quick way with cress and sow them inside an put them on a plate on the window sill. I haven’t yet tried the watercress. I surely want to try it out this summer. I’m wondering about how they will taste compared to the cress I’m used to.

        Happy to have a herbs and garden expert like you to ask for advice!


        • Christina

          Hi Pernilla,

          I think that watercress over garden cress has a greener richer taste. I think it has a more peppery tone and all-around more intense flavor. I have not tried every variety of garden cress so there may be some that are more comparable.Let me know what you think of this as a comparison.


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