How to Grow Sorrel – A Beginner’s Guide

sorrel plant growing in garden
Sorrel, which are known botanically as Rumex acetosa, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing sorrel as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Sorrel

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the sorrel seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when sorrel are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Sorrel the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing sorrel in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your sorrel grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 5.5 to 6.8.

0.5″ apart in rows 12″ apart. 1″ apart in rows 18″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 6-8″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your sorrel seedlings 12-18″ apart when seedlings are 1-2″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Sorrel

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your sorrel. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your sorrel should be getting full sun to partial shade

How Much to Water Sorrel

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your sorrel do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your sorrel begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Sorrel to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your sorrel grow.

It takes approximately 7-14 days to germinate, and a total of 45-60 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Sorrel

The best time to harvest your sorrel is when leaves are 3-6″ long and before they become too bitter.

Sorrel can grow up to about 12-18″ tall.

What Can Sorrel Be Used For?

Food Use: great for salads, soups, and cooking.

Flavor Profile: tangy, lemony, and slightly bitter.

Can Sorrel Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant 1 plant per 12″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your sorrel around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Sorrel Safe for Bees?

Yes, sorrel are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing sorrel is bee-friendly.

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