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Growing Burdock, also Gobo (Japanese Burdock)

(Arctium lappa)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P P             P P P P

(Best months for planting Burdock in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)


  • Easy to grow.
  • Harvest in 120 days
  • 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.
  • Space plants: 60cm

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

01 May 11 amy (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Does burdock grow in nz and if so where can you get some seeds or plants to start in the garden
02 May 11 Nicky (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I've grown some this year in Christchurch. Bought the seeds from the garden centre under the "Niche" brand - green packet.
22 Apr 12 Stephen (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, Would you please kindly let me know where I can buy Burdock Seeds? I am in Auckland. Thanks Stephen
13 May 12 Ru (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
It looks as though Burdock is a weed-plant in Auckland, they are trying to eradicate it as a pest and in some areas it would be banned for sale. Hort NZ has a page on it: rnzih .org .nz /pages /arctiumminus .htm
20 May 12 Bill (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
It seems from the reference given that the banned plant is arctium minus, not arctium lappa. I didn't get that this one is banned.
08 Jun 12 Margaret (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
There are burdock seeds for sale on Trademe
08 Apr 13 Joshua (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Could I buy Gobo in New Zealand? Can't plant in my garden as I dont have any space available.
10 Aug 13 Heather (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Kings Seeds sell seeds. Have planted in Auckland and grew well. Needs really friable soil as grew down to nearly 1 metre. To buy Gobo, try Asian shops. Really enjoyed the flavour. Put into acidulated water straight after cutting as goes brown really quick.
15 Sep 13 Mark robins (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
It's a nasty weed the seed head will stick to everything it comes in contact with. You will wish you never planted it.
15 Aug 14 Toni Robertson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It sounds like the key is not to let it seed. Does anyone know whether stock like it?

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See planting calendar for these climate zones

New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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