Growing Water Chestnuts At Home

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Water Chestnut

Growing Water Chestnut

Water chestnuts are an aquatic plant that grows in ponds, marshes, and shallow areas of slow-moving streams and rivers. They are grown for food, with their tasty corms used as vegetables in salads and stir-fries, and their shoots and leaves eaten as a vegetable. They are a great source of fiber, proteins, and minerals and are also used to make medicinal oil, flour, and a sweet drink.

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Cheatsheet: Growing Water Chestnuts at Home

Benefits of Growing Water Chestnuts:

🌱 Enhances self-sufficiency

🌱 Nutrient-rich addition to your diet

🌱 Aids in water purification

Choosing the Right Location:

📍 Shallow, sunny areas with at least 100 frost-free days

Preparing a Water Garden Bed:

✂️ Remove grass and weeds

🚜 Loosen soil and add compost

🚣 Create shallow beds with raised edges

🚿 Fill with 4-6 inches of water


🌰 Soak seeds for 24 hours

🌿 Plant 1-2 inches deep, spaced 12 inches apart

💧 Maintain a constant water level of 2-6 inches


🌞 Provide full sun exposure

🌊 Ensure consistent watering

🌱 Remove any floating weeds

⚠️ Protect plants from frost


🌾 Harvest when leaves turn yellow

🖐️ Gently uproot plants

🔪 Remove outer husks

♨️ Boil for 20-30 minutes

Storage and Usage:

🛒 Store in a cool, dry place

🥣 Add to salads, stir-fries, or soups

🌾 Enjoy their low-calorie, fiber-rich goodness

Growing Water Chestnut: A Unique Addition to Your Backyard

Ever thought about adding something exotic to your garden? Consider growing water chestnuts! It's easier than you think, even in a small backyard.

What You'll Need

  • Large containers or shallow ponds
  • Muck soil or potting mix
  • Water chestnut corms

You can find corms at Asian markets or online. I got mine online and they were surprisingly robust by the time they arrived.

Setting Up Your Container

Choose a broad, shallow container. Water chestnuts prefer about 4-6 inches of water above the soil surface.

Fill the bottom with a layer of mucky soil. This can be pond soil or a mix of 1 part clay and 1 part sand.

Water chestnuts thrive best in shallow, stagnant water, making them perfect for home gardeners with minimal space!

Once your container is filled, simply add water. Keep it at a consistent level to avoid stressing the plants.

Planting the Corms

Push the corms about 4 inches deep into the muck. Space them about a foot apart to give them room to grow.

In my experience, it's best to plant water chestnut corms in late spring when the water temperatures are warmer. This promotes faster growth.

Caring for Your Water Chestnuts

Water chestnuts are fairly low-maintenance. They need at least six hours of sunlight daily for optimal growth.

Maintain the water level. You'll find this easy with a larger container as it holds more water and evaporates slower.

Studies show that mature corms provide an impressive yield of up to 7 corms per plant!

Every few weeks, check for pests. I've spotted aphids occasionally, but a gentle water spray usually keeps them in check.

Harvesting the Bounty

Water chestnuts reach maturity in 7-8 months. When the leaves turn yellow, it's harvest time!

Drain the water and gently dig around each plant. Lift the corms, wash them under running water, and they're ready to use.

From stir-fries to salads, fresh water chestnuts offer a crunchy, nutty flavor you won't get from canned ones. Trust me, the taste difference is enormous.

Frequently Asked Questions

What soil is best for growing water chestnuts?

Loose, loamy soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is ideal for growing water chestnuts.

How much sunlight do water chestnut plants need?

Full sun is best for water chestnut plants, at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

How often should I water my water chestnut plants?

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, watering every 1-2 days depending on the weather.

When should I harvest my water chestnuts?

Harvest in late fall when the leaves start to yellow and die back, typically 6-8 months after planting.

How do I store harvested water chestnuts?

Store in a cool, dark place with good ventilation for up to several weeks, or in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

Water chestnuts is a nutritious, healthy, and versatile vegetable that should be added to every garden. It can easily be grown in any sunny area, grows quickly and can be harvested for several years. With its high protein and vitamin content, it can be added to salads, stir-fries, stews, soups, and other dishes to add flavor and texture, and is a great source of fiber. Not only is it beneficial for the health of your family, but it is a great, low-maintenance vegetable to grow!

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