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How to Grow and Care for Glasswort

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Salicornia europaea, known as Common Glasswort or just Glasswort, is a halophytic annual dicot flowering in August to October. It flowers in groups of three. Glasswort is found in Africa, Europe and North America. Within the saltmarsh it can be found in low marsh and in depressions, salt pans and open creek sides. It is edible, either cooked or raw.

The plant is at its best for eating in late summer. The stems are very succulent, but have a thin woody core that is easily removed. Its leaves stick out as small protrusions from the main stem. They are best harvested when about 6 inches (15 cm) long, the top 4 inches (10 cm) being used leaving the bottom 2 inches (5 cm) to produce new shoots. The edible leaves are occasionally sold in local markets.

Growing Conditions

Light: Prefers sunny position. Grow it in a container on you window sill or in the open ground.
Water: Best watered with a saline solution (1 teaspoon of proper sea salt in a pint of water).
Temperature: Give them medium (50 degrees F/10 degrees C) to warm temperatures during the growing season—spring and summer. The plants go semi-dormant in winter.
Soil: Light sandy soil (or well drained).

Grower's Tips

Glasswort prefers a rich organic soil with ample nitrogen and regular watering. This species is little, if at all, cultivated and its exact requirements are not clearly understood. It is not known if the plant will require periodic inundation by salty water to grow well. Glasswort is difficult to grow in cultivation, it can succeed in gardens if sown as soon as the seed is ripe in the autumn in a well-drained soil. A very variable plant both in size and the number of branches produced – a number of subspecies are recognised. The best forms for food production are bushy plants up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall with an upright habit that keeps the branches out of the mud.

Links

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