Growing Red Veined Sorrel – an edible perennial!

red veined sorrel_grow-with-hema

I love growing red veined sorrel! It is so pretty, making it perfect for most sunny garden borders and deep planters. Red veined sorrel is a perennial which means once you plant it, it’ll grow for many years to come. Not only is it beautiful, the young leaves can be added to salads, stir fried as well as cooked in your favourite dishes in place of spinach. It has a strong tangy flavour so you will not need a lot either!

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In summer
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In winter

I sowed seeds in my raised bed two years ago in spring and I have been harvesting this beautiful sorrel ever since. A very productive plant and I am not sure you need more than one or two plants if you are going to have it as a perennial in your garden!

You can also grow it just for the baby leaves to add a lemony tang to your salads. For this, you’ll have to sow seeds regularly so that you have a continuous supply of little leaves as you can harvest the whole young plants.

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Growing from Seeds

Buy Red Veined Sorrel Seeds

Red veined sorrel seeds can be bought online or from good garden centres. The seeds are ever so tiny that it is very easy to sow too many!

You can start them indoors in March or sow the seeds straight outdoors too.


Fill a pot with fresh multipurpose or sowing compost. Water the compost and then take just a few seeds carefully to sprinkle as evenly as possible on the surface. Lightly sprinkle more compost on to cover. Leave on a windowsill to germinate. It does not need warmth or heat to pop up.

The seedlings will appear in about 2 weeks. Let these grow a second pair of leaves called true leaves before transplanting them into their own pots with fresh multipurpose compost.

red veined sorrel seedling_grow-with-hema

Water well and keep them in a bright spot. In a couple of weeks you can plant them outdoors in your garden bed, deep pots or planters.


Even easier to sow outdoors but it may take from 2-3 weeks to germinate depending on the temperatures outside. Sowing the seeds in the second half of March helps. Water your planter or bed first before sowing the seeds about 1 cm deep.

red veined sorrel seedling_grow-with-hema

Once the seedlings have their second pair of leaves, you can thin them out which means pulling out overcrowding seedlings. They need to be 15cm apart so that the remaining plants can grow bigger.

However, if you simply want to grow them as baby leaves to add to your salad, then you can sow regularly and pick whole plants once they have a few leaves.

Must Haves for Growing Red Veined Sorrel

These 5 are a must for red veined sorrel to thrive:

  1. Sunny location – These greens love a sunny spot to grow well. If you have a space that is sunny for part of the day, that will be great.
  2. Water – These plants love to drink water! Keep the soil or compost moist and water well during the summer months.
  3. Depth – Red veined sorrel has deep roots, which means the pots or planters you choose must be 30cm deep or more. If you are growing it in a garden border or bed, decide where you would like to locate it as once you plant it, it does not move well. It will happily grow in that position for a long time.
  4. Harvest often especially in the warmer summer months and remove the inner flower stalk if it appears; this will help the plant to keep producing more leaves that you can continuously harvest.
  5. It helps to give the plant a complete cut in spring and then also whenever it gets too big. I do this regularly, which means I have always got the promise of fresh young sorrel leaves for my kitchen and the plant gets refreshed too!
red veined sorrel cut_grow-with-hema
Cut right down …
sorrel perennial greens_grow-with-hema
Springs back beautifully!

Hope you have been tempted to grow this gorgeous beauty too!

Buy Red Veined Sorrel Seeds

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How to Grow Nasturtiums – easy edible flowers

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4 Replies to “Growing Red Veined Sorrel – an edible perennial!”

  1. As an aside, if grown around a pond then allow the stalk to mature into a seed head and watch the birds at play! They sit on top their weight slowly bends the stalk down until they land with a splash. And rewind! Sparrows love it and are the reason why this garden has loads of red veined sorrel

    1. Sounds beautiful Gilly, perhaps one day I’ll be able to do the same!

  2. Kerry Myler says: Reply

    I think I have this in my new garden but am a little nervous to eat in case it can be mistaken with anything poisonous. Is there anything that looks similar that I should worry about?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kerry! Not sure to be honest. I’d sow some seeds and grow them for eating, as it’s so easy to start them like this. The packets also have loads of seeds in them!

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