If you’re looking for a little something different to add some zip to your favourite Mexican dishes, then epazote herb growing may be just what you need.
What is Epazote?
Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides), is an herb in the Chenopodium family, along with lambsquarters and pigweeds. Although often thought of as a weed, epazote plants actually have a long history of both culinary and medicinal use. This adaptable plant is native to tropical Americas, and is commonly found throughout Texas and the Southwestern United States. Common names include paico macho, hierba homigero, and yerba de Santa Maria. The plant is drought resistant and grows to 3 feet high at maturity. It has soft leaves that are notched and small flowers that are hard to see. Epazote can usually be smelled before it is seen, as it has a very pungent odor. In large doses, the flowers and seeds are poisonous and may cause nausea, convulsions and even coma.
Epazote herb growing is not difficult. This plant is not picky about soil conditions but does prefer full sun. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zone 6 to 11. Plant seeds or seedlings in the early spring once the ground can be worked. In warm areas, epazote is a perennial. Because of its invasive nature, however, it is best grown in containers.
Epazote can be grown in Europe in warm conditions or in a green house. It is recommended to grow in an area of it’s own or maybe even a pot as it can inhibit the growth of other plants around it as it contains a compound called ascaridole. However it can also be good used as a companion plant as it is good at offering protection to other plants that may be suspectable to pests as it’s masks their smell.