As it grows so quickly, cress is often considered an ideal crop for children, yet its punchy peppery flavor is more likely to be appreciated by adults. It is the perfect first crop for beginners to add to their kitchen garden ideas, and will sow the seeds of excitement for home growing. Cress is packed with nutrients, in particular Vitamins A, C and K, which will be perfectly preserved when you cut it fresh.  It is also highly space efficient, so even the smallest of homes can accommodate a tray of cress. ‘It’s the perfect size to grow on the windowsill,’ says Rob Smith, product development manager at Thompson & Morgan (opens in new tab).  ‘The trick is little and often – sowing a 4x4 inch (10x10cm) patch every couple of weeks will keep you in fresh, home-grown cress all season – perfect for salads and sandwiches.’ Once you have caught the growing bug, learn how to grow microgreens for a diverse supply of quick and easy superfoods.

How to grow cress indoors

How to grow cress in soil

If you would prefer larger, more mature plants, you will need to learn how to grow cress in soil. You can sow the seeds in the ground, or include them in your vegetable garden container ideas.

Types of cress

There are several types of cress you can grow, so experiment with different seeds and see which flavor you like best. Common plain or curled cress grow very well indoors, as does mustard cress.  ‘If you want to try a different type of cress, have a go at learning how to grow cress outside,’ says Smith. ‘Watercress, American land cress (which is like watercress, but easier to grow in a veg patch), or Greek cress can be grown outside in pots or in the open and are great added to salads.’

Does cress regrow once cut?

Usually when harvesting cress, you cut them close to the soil line. But if you leave half an inch on the seedlings when you cut them, then you may find that the cress regrows.  If growing cress on a paper towel, however, it will have no soil to draw nutrients from, so you will have better success starting afresh. If you have the space, there is nothing to be lost by experimenting. If all fails, then it will only take a few days to grow a fresh new crop.

Where does cress grow best?

Cress grows best in moist soil. It requires plenty of sunlight for the seeds to germinate, so when growing indoors position it on a sunny windowsill. However, when growing outdoors, cress can struggle in high temperatures. ‘When cress becomes too hot and dry, it is prone to bolting,’ says Bonnett. You may find cress is a good crop to grow in a shadier area of the garden.