Growing Sorrel
For a Smart Herb Garden

Gardeners are growing sorrel for its tart and tangy taste with lemon overtones and high vitamin C content. But there are more benefits to be had if you do. But before I go on to tell you more let's be sure we are talking about the sorrel you want to grow.

red veined sorrel

This page is not about the tree sorrel that is found in Jamaica and other warmer countries and used for rum punch beverages and the like. Ooooh! No, it's about the salad leaf type sorrels. The docks.

Genus Rumex Varieties

There are so many types of Rumex sorrels or docks. The most recognized and grown are the common or garden type Rumex acetosa with a pale green arrow-shaped leaf.

The French sorrel Rumex scutatus with a shield-shaped leaf and a milder flavour is a favourite for soups.

I on the other hand chose a more striking variety for an ornamental effect. Blood sorrel or red-veined dock sorrel (Rumex sanguineus).

Don't wear light coloured clothes when picking it whatever you do! The red sap in the veins will stain your clothes and scare your dinner guests into thinking you chopped your fingers.

Growing Sorrel From Seed

A well draining soil with high iron content is a good growing media for sorrel but it will be happy in any good compost.

  1. Sow your seeds in the Spring or Autumn by planting in rows about ¼ inch deep and about 10 inches apart.
  2. Thinly cover them over with more soil.
  3. When your plants mature make sure you keep them happy by regularly watering.

They also can be sown in a pot indoors any time.

Sorrel shoots have already appeared in the pot although it`s only February.

In addition, we have had severe frosts and my cat Pogo has been laying in the pot waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting bird.

Perhaps it`s the body heat from Pogo that has caused it to come up so early.

The parent plant complained the previous summer. When the sun got too hot it immediately started to droop, so I propped up a fleece shade which gave some shelter but still let in bright light. It worked a treat. No more droopy sorrel.

At the other end of the thermometer a severe winter can hit hard. Dig up your herb, pot it and place it in a greenhouse, cold frame, or under a clear tarpaulin like I do to protect it and plant out again in Spring.

The herb is a perennial and will spring up year after year. It is a good habit to change the plant when it reaches its 4th year.

One thing to remember when growing sorrel. It can reach up to 3 feet or more in height  It gives shade but needs to be under protection from the hot sun itself.

Growing Sorrel For Health

All dock leaves are high in oxalic acid. Be extra careful as to how much sorrel you are consuming.

For more health references on blood sorrel dock see here.

It is good taken as an infusion for some kidney and liver problems but too much does the opposite and is actually bad for the kidneys.

Use it as a mouthwash for ulcers and externally for boils and infections.

  1. HerbHints
  2. How to Grow
  3. Blood Sorrel

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