Growing Burdock, also Gobo (Japanese Burdock)

Arctium lappa : Asteraceae / the daisy family

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

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • 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 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 17-18 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best grown in separate bed.
  • Burdock flower ( - George Chernilevsky - Public Domain)

Burdock grows wild on roadsides and waste places and around field boundaries throughout Britain, Europe and North America, and is cultivated in Japan. Grows to about 2 m (6 ft) high.

Has dark green leaves with a long tap root.

Keep watch for seed heads as it can become an invasive weed. The prickly balls were the inspiration for the inventor of 'Velcro', George de Mestra.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Burdock

Harvest in the first year when the burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavour with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related.

It is a key ingredient in the traditional Dandelion and Burdock beer.

Your comments and tips

04 Jun 08, andrea (Unknown climate)
would be wonderful if only i could access seeds. considering i'm apparently living in the 'hippy capital' of Australia, finding it a little frustrating that i can't locate any. CAN ANYONE HELP? poor student, but will offer minimal payment for good seed.
06 Jun 08, Kent (Unknown climate)
The only place I have been able to find non hybird Burdock is Cornucopia Seeds and Plants, who sell on eBay. Also sometimes available from The Lost Seed, but not in stock there at the moment. A quick look on eBay just now shows also available from 4Seasons Seeds. Good luck!
10 Jun 08, kiera (Unknown climate)
Cheaper to buy direct from I've ordered a few times. Great prices, and great customer service.
07 Jul 08, Mark (Australia - temperate climate)
goto - great people and seeds
01 Nov 08, Jonathan (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
The Japanese are great consumers of Burdock, or "Gobo" stir fried with carrot and chilli and soy and is fantastic - called "Kinpira Gobo" it is a lovely dish. I sometimes buy my seed in Japan and if anyone would like me to get some, I can pick some up the next time I'm there... It's ok to import as long as customs see the original packet and can see that the contents have not been tampered with. I have just dug up my first crop but didnt realise the fingers grow really deep and should really be harvested quite early to get them really tender. To think we used to drink dandelion and burdock tea when i was a kid in the U.K... It seems such a under-rated veggie and has a delicious nutty flavour.
23 Jun 10, kim chi pham (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
How can I buy burdoch seed from Japan. Thanks kim chi
12 Dec 08, Catherine (Australia - temperate climate)
Burdock and other culinary and medicinal seeds can be bought cheap and in bulk from Pleasance Seeds. Google for address.
25 Mar 09, Kat (Australia - temperate climate)
Hey Jonathan, you don't have a recipe for that tea do you? I grew up in the UK and I remember is dandelion and burdock as my favorite fizzy drink! I have seen mention of an old fashioned cordial too, which I guess is where the fizzy drink idea came from.
16 May 09, Kenny (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Another ebay store that has them is TheSeedCollection thats where i got mine much cheaper than anywhere else.
14 Sep 09, Richard, Perth (Australia - temperate climate)
I like to grow some burdock plants in my backyard. Where can I get its seeds or seedlings? Is it suitable to grow as a pot plant? If yes, what size of pots?
Showing 1 - 10 of 88 comments

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