Growing Salsify, also Vegetable oyster

Tragopogon porrifolius : Asteraceae / the daisy family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P P              

(Best months for growing Salsify in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 15 - 20 cm apart
  • Harvest in 14-21 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Beans, Brassicas, Carrots, Celeriac, Endive, Kohl-rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Alliums, Spinach
  • Harvested salsify roots

This root vegetable is not seen in supermarkets but is as easy to grow as carrots or parsnips.

It is a fairly slow growing vegetable but can be harvested in small amounts as required. The ground can be loosened with a fork and a few roots lifted for use.

Scorzonera is a variety of salsify which has black skin on the root.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Salsify

Wash and scrape the roots then boil before frying or roasting. They can also be used to make a creamed soup.

Your comments and tips

19 Dec 07, Mallee Ward (Unknown climate)
I tried salsify as a child, and loved it. Have not seen or heard of it for 45 years, can one buy seeds?
13 Jan 08, Liz (Unknown climate)
Have you tried any of the heritage seeds catalogues? There are some in both New Zealand and Australia. I don't know where you are but an internet search should be able to find you a source for your home area.
16 Jan 08, Daniel (Unknown climate)
I also had salsify as a child and have been looking for 25 years and still havent come across it. I would love to find it as i have a recipe my farther gave me that i'd like to make. Can anyone help me?
22 Jan 08, Clare (Unknown climate)
Salsify seeds can be purchased from both Eden Seeds and The Italian Gardener
22 Jan 08, Chris (Unknown climate)
Kings Herbs and Seeds have also got salsify and vegetable oyster
01 Feb 08, Ben (Unknown climate)
you can also probably find it in many parks... check in wetter areas
05 Feb 08, Carolyn (Unknown climate)
We planted salsify seeds Sth Island, NZ, in early November. Does anyone know how long they take to mature!? Do we wait till the frosts arrive, as for parsnips?
23 Sep 08, (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, I'm in Canberra, planted Salsify some years ago, now it grows like a weed in the garden, which is fine, since we keep eating it! You can buy them from and We peel and chop, then boil them in water, with lemon juice and salt, like artichoke hearts. After the water reduces, we add cream, and bake with a layer of cheese (au gratin style). The flavour of the roots is better before the plant starts to make its flower in late spring. So harvest all through the cold weather. Our early spring is still pretty chilly. But seriously, I worried about how hard it might be to germinate when we first got them, now I can't stop them from self sowing. They seem to be germinating all year round!
29 Sep 08, Tony Dowling (Australia - temperate climate)
I am originally from Invercargill New Zealand My father grows Salisfy, I remember as a kid my mother used to grate the salsify up make into patties and fry them very nice, we used to have the salsify to substitute for Bluff Oysters out of season. Yes the plant does have a resemblance to the taste of Oysters
23 Nov 08, Stephen and Sandra (New Zealand - temperate climate)
We have got the black salsify, we would like to know where to get the white salsify from. When do you plant it and how long to harvest?
Showing 1 - 10 of 86 comments

I will be planting Salsify - Scorzonera in February. I have access to a professional Green House with heat in the Hudson Valley. I wanted to start the seeds there and was interested in taking the seedlings when they reach 2 inches to bring them out doors and plant them in their rows as described, probably in May to continue their growth. What would you suggest and when would I know when they are ready to harvest? Thank you Sal. R

- Sal. R

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