Grow Your Own

Mizuna & mibuna

Mizuna is a Japanese leafy vegetable, which grows as a large rosette (head) of finely dissected leaves. Leaves have a characteristic peppery, cabbage flavour, and are used raw in salads or cooked for stir-fries. The young flowering stems can be cooked like broccoli. Similar to mizuna, but with a stronger, light mustard flavour is mibuna. The leaves are excellent in a salad or as a side dish when lightly cooked and seasoned.



Mizuna and mibuna can be grown for harvesting as a ‘cut and come again’ crop as seedlings or semi-mature or mature plants. Sow seeds successionally for a regular supply.

Sow directly into the soil, where they are to grow, in short rows once the previous row has germinated, from March to August.

Earlier sowings can be made during February in pots or modules under glass, before being ‘hardened off’ (acclimatised to outdoor conditions) and planted out.

Sow for ‘cut and come again’ seedlings, under cover from February and outdoors from March; thin to 5cm (2in) apart. Make final sowings in late August outdoors.

Plants to be used when young should be planted, or thinned, so they are 10-15cm (4-6in) apart.

Sow plants to be cut frequently for their leaves, 20cm (8in) apart.

Sow plants for harvesting at maturity 30-40cm (12-16in) apart.
Row spacings at about 23cm (9in)


Mizuna and mibuna are tolerant of cool, wet conditions and dislike extreme heat. Grow in an open, sunny position, with some shade in summer.  If subjected to dry conditions, growth may appear stunted and plants will bolt prematurely. Soil should be moist – improve with well-rotted organic matter before sowing and planting, if necessary.

Mizuna has feathery leaves up to 25cm (10in) high; the rosettes (heads) of mizuna can grow to 23cm (9in) high and can spread to 45cm (18in).

Water well, before the onset of drought. There is a risk of bolting in very hot dry conditions - less so with early sowings - but also if sown too early when conditions are too cold.

Common problems

Flea beetle: Leaves are covered in small holes and damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible.

Remedy: Grow plants under horticultural fleece and keep the soil moist. Water in nitrogen-rich fertilser to help the crop outgrow the pest.

More info on Flea beetle

Slugs and snails: These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.

Remedy: There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers and copper tape.

More info on Slugs and snails

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots. This is usually caused by stress – a cold spell or drought.

Remedy: Sow bolt-resistant varieties and keep the soil moist.

More info on Bolting


‘Cut and come again’ seedlings can be harvested from around three weeks after sowing; larger plants can be harvested up to five times before ‘bolting’.

Harvest heads using a sharp knife, from six to eight weeks. Individual leaves can be cut regularly from plants for a constant supply. Remove a few leaves from several plants, to avoid weakening individual plants.

Eat immediately for the best flavour.

Recommended varieties

‘Mizuna’: Long green deeply cut leaves with white stems.

‘Mizuna Purple’: Purple-tinted stems, the colour becoming stronger as they mature.

‘Kyoto’: Well-flavoured and very hardy for sowing all year round - better under cover in winter.

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