SORREL, GARDEN

FAMILY: Polygonaceae

TYPE
  • Annuals
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

Two similar species are grown for their edible leaves, which can be used raw in salads or cooked in soups, sauces, egg dishes. Flavor is like that of a sharp, sprightly spinach, but sorrel is more heat tolerant and produces throughout the growing season. Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is the larger plant (to 3 ft. tall), with leaves to 6 in. long, many shaped like elongated arrowheads. It is native to northern climates. French sorrel (R. scutatus) is a more sprawling plant, to 112 ft. high, with shorter, broader leaves and a milder, more lemony flavor than R. acetosa. Native to Europe, western Asia, and North Africa.

Grow sorrel in reasonably good soil. Sow seeds in early spring; thin seedlings to 8 in. apart. Or set out transplants at any time, spacing them 8 in. apart. Pick tender leaves when they are big enough to use; cut out flowering stems to encourage leaf production. Replace (or dig and divide) plants after 3 or 4 years.

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