Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Profile

Written by Iris

Nov 08 2021

Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Profile
A member of the mustard family, which includes a variety of plants such as broccoli, radish and cabbage, Tatsoi is an elegant edible garden green. Tatsoi plants are grown worldwide for their delicious and healthy spoon-shaped vegetables. Tatsoi is near the ground and grows from rosettes of emerald green leaves with creamy stems. The tatsoi plant does not form a head, as does its cabbage cousin. Tatsoi is shorter than many types of Asian garden vegetables, but produces many broad leaves.

Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Picture


Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Info

Botanical Name  Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa 
Common Name  Tatsoi, Tah Tsai, Spoon mustard, Spinach mustard, Rosette bok choy
Plant Type  Biennial  
Mature Size  8-10 in. tall, 12 in. wide 
Sun Exposure  Partial sun to full sun
Soil Type  Rich, well-drained
Soil pH  Neutral (6.5 to 7.0)
Bloom Time  Seasonal

Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Distribution Area

Tatsoi is a heritage variety of Brassica rapa cultivated throughout Asia for many centuries.  The seeds of this variety are open-pollinated meaning that you can collect them and they'll grow true to type the same as the parent plants.

How to Grow and Care for Tatsoi (Mustard Greens)

How to Grow Tatsoi (Mustard Greens)

  • With Seeds
Sow seed outdoors two weeks before the last frost, or at the start of fall six weeks before the first frost. Avoid planting seeds or seedlings in late spring and summer. Tatsoi is not suited for warm conditions. It thrives in the cool late spring.
Find a full sun to partial shade, area of your garden to plant. Tatsoi prefers well-drained, well-worked, loamy or sandy soils rich in nitrogen. It thrives outdoors in raised beds or in prepared ground soil.
To sow seed, amend unprepared soil with compost at an average depth of 10 inches. Seeds prefer 50 to 80 degrees to germinate. Create rows ½ to ¼ inches deep, spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Tatsoi grows outward in a radial fashion, so ensure there aren’t other plants crowded out in that process. Drop seeds in the trench at 1 to 2 inches apart. Seed germination rates are high at 75%, so drop 2-3 per spot. As seedlings mature, thin them to 6 to 8 inches apart. This gives plants plenty of room to grow. Starts mature in 6 weeks.
Plant seedlings in the same temperature conditions you would for seeds but a couple of weeks later, with temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. Growing tatsoi starts 6 to 8 inches apart, and harvest when leaves are mature — throughout the season until the flowering stage. Starts reach harvest maturity at about 3 weeks.   

How to Care for Tatsoi (Mustard Greens)

  • Light
Tatsoi grows best in partial sun; about three to five hours each day is ideal but it can handle full sun if it is kept well watered.
  • Soil
Like many brassica plants, tatsoi will grow in various soil types and conditions but prefers well-draining, nitrogen-rich soil that doesn’t compact easily.
  • Water
These plants are relatively thirsty, particularly in hot regions where the soil dries quickly. You should water tatsoi regularly and make sure the soil is kept moderately moist but not wet.
  • Temperature and Humidity
Tatsoi plants are biennial and may survive undercover in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7; however, they will quickly bolt to seed in the spring. These greens grow best in temperatures from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and may bolt if the temperature drops to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fertilizer
The tatsoi plants are not among the heavy feeders. They will grow just fine if you already have prepared the soil by adding lots of organic materials into it. Applying additional fertilizers is not required.
  • Pruning
Remove damaged or browning foliage from the rosette as they appear. Check daily to ensure damage to tatsoi is not related to fungal or insect pests. As tatsoi plants bolt in warm weather, remove any flowers and add them to a salad or eat them raw. Bolts are a sign the life cycle is completing. However, leaves can still be harvested up until the season is over if tatsoi bolts. The mustard flavor of tatsoi decreases into bitterness at the point of flowering.

Read details on how to grow and care for Tatsoi

Uses of Tatsoi (Mustard Greens)

Edible Uses

Tatsoi is an ideal vegetable for stir fry dishes and sauteed with garlic and butter. Many Japanese and Chinese recipes use tatsoi and ginger on beef or noodles or are often eaten raw in garden salads. Its fast growth rate has become a popular ingredient in commercially-produced baby green salad mixes. You may expect such a small plant that grows quickly to lack slower and larger cousins'nutritional benefits. Still, tatsoi offers a potent combination of healthy nutrients. The leaves and stalks are high in Vitamins A and C, both known to boost your immune system and help fight off colds. The tatsoi plant is rich in fiber, calcium, and beta carotene. It offers antioxidant properties that can help detoxify your digestive system.

Varieties of Tatsoi (Mustard Greens)

Be careful when you are looking for tatsoi seed. Many times it is confused with bok choi or mizuna because they are closely related.  Remember to watch for the scientific name which is (Brassica rapa subsp. Narinosa). The subspecies is the important part since related species is Brassica rapa.
You often see this variety listed as tatsoi or as an “Asian green.” Organic Asian Green Seed from Johnny’s Seeds is their generic variety. It forms the traditional compact rosette shape, withstands frost and is great in microgreen mixes.
This hybrid variety has large, savoyed leaves and is good for bunching, which makes it ideal if you are selling at your local farmer’s market. It's also more heat tolerant than other varieties. Plant 12-inches apart for full-size heads.
Red Cloud
This beautiful hybrid variety grows upright and has burgundy colored leaves. Great for bunching or baby leaf and has a long, tender stem. It adds real color and pizzaz to a winter salad.
Lady Murasaki Asian Green
This tatsoi variety comes from Fedco seeds and is named after Lady Murasaki, a famous Japanese author who wrote in 1000 AD. This is a striking purple, open-pollinated variety that holds its color well. It’s also slow to bolt.

Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Common Pests/Diseases

Tatsoi is a favorite of pests. Common pests include cabbage worms, slugs, leaf hoppers and caterpillars. The key to controlling pests is early detection. Regularly check the core of the plant if there are visible signs of pest infestation, like insect poop or larvae eggs. Spray a neem-based solution once a week to prevent or eradicate pests, applying it generously on the top and bottom leaves, as well as the stems. The plant can still be revived even if most of the leaves are destroyed by pests. Cut the infected leaves, leaving around 2 inches at the bottom. It will grow back its full leaves in about 2-3 weeks.    

Tatsoi (Mustard Greens) Companion Plants

Tatsoi does well with other brassicas such as cabbage, mizuna, and endive. It will also play nice with lettuce, parsley, and spinach. It makes a nice edible landscape plant along with violets, pansies, and nasturtiums. You can also grow it with other greens found in mesclun mixtures.

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