Wild rocket is a perennial leafy green that can be grown as an alternative to rocket/arugula.
Many of us have tried growing rocket at one point or another. It’s an easy leafy green for a novice gardener to grow and gain confidence in growing edibles. Scatter some seeds, keep them moist and watch them grow. But did you know there’s perennial rocket?
Wild Rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia), also known as perennial rocket, white rocket, wall rocket and Sylvetta is a flowering plant in the Brassicaceae family. The hardy perennial leafy green grows 40cm tall and has marked serrated leaves that differentiate it from regular rocket. It produces yellow flowers which attract bees and beneficial insects and unlike regular rocket, when it flowers, it doesn’t spell the demise of the plant.
How to Grow Wild Rocket
Wild rocket is easily grown from seed and can be sown direct or raised as seedlings in spring and autumn. I have tried both methods and have had similar success. Sow the seeds 3mm deep in well drained, compost rich soil in a position that gets full sun or part shade. Germination can be slow in the cooler months, and can take anything from 7 to 14 days.
If transplanting from seedlings, space them 40cm apart. Water regularly and apply the occasional liquid fertiliser feed. They’ll be ready to eat in approximately 50 to 55 days though they can be picked early as baby leaves.
Being perennial, you may want to relocate it to another position. Wild rocket is easy to transplant. In fact, I have transplanted mine four times so far with great success. Start by harvesting the outer leaves using the cut and come again method then gently lift each plant along with the root ball and transplant in the new position. Water well with a liquid seaweed tonic and give the plant a few days to get acclimatised and re-established in the new location.
Culinary Uses of Wild Rocket
Wild rocket has a pungent peppery flavour that is much stronger than regular rocket. It can be grown as a cut and come again leafy green and used in salads, soups and stir fries and whenever you want to add a peppery flavour. The taste is intense and a little can go a long way.
As the plant matures, the leaves become tougher and more pungent and are better suited to stir fries and soups.
Wild Rocket in Beverages
If you’re into drinking your greens, such as in a smoothie, perennial rocket adds a peppery kick. In cocktails, the leaves can add flavour to drinks whether they’re muddled or made into syrup. The flowers have a peppery and mild aniseed flavour and can be used as an edible garnish.
You may also like… How to grow rocket / arugula
Want to Know More?
You’ll find more information on how to grow rocket, which varieties to try, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use rocket in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.