Aromatics

Mertensia maritima, the oyster plant


Mertensia maritima, also called oyster plant, or vegetable oyster, is an amazing plant whose taste should surprise you.

In summary, what you need to know:

Last name : Mertensia maritima
Family : Boraginaceae

Foliage : Persistent
Type : Aromatic plant, perennial

Height
: 15 cm
Exposure : Partial shade
Ground : Well drained

Flowering : Summer

Sow mertensia maritima

This is probably the best way to grow mertensia by doing a seedling.

In this way, you will promote the establishment of the oyster plant in its environment and ensure good development.

Relatively fragile, she doesn't really like to be moved or transplanted.

  • Sowing of mertensia maritima takes place in spring or autumn, but without any risk of frost.
  • Mertensia maritima dreads too hot and too sunny
  • It likes well-drained soils and dreads moisture.

You can also sow a little earlier, under cover, for planting in the spring.

Planting mertensia maritima

If you have opted for sowing under cover or bought your plants in a store, it is best to plant mertensia in the spring.

You can thus plant your mertensia in the ground or in pots because it is a plant whose cultivation in pots is highly recommended to avoid snails.

  • Avoid soils that are too heavy and too compact
  • Prefer partial shade rather than overly hot situations.
  • Water when the soil is dry, but not excessively because mertensia dreads both humidity and drought.

Pot culture has 2 main advantages:

  • By raising the pot a few centimeters you prevent the snails from coming because they are fond of them.
  • Mertensia sows on its own and this helps to define its space of vegetation because it can become invasive when it is well established.

Maintenance of mertensia maritima

The oyster plant is relatively fragile and deserves some care if we want to keep it and harvest its delicious aromatic leaves.

In terms of maintenance, we recommend:

  • Regularly cut the stems in half in order to give vigor and strengthen the plant.
  • Remove the flowers as they are of little interest and exhaust the plant to the detriment of the foliage which is the greatest interest of this plant.
  • Water in hot weather or prolonged drought.

You can also mulch the base of the plant in summer, which helps maintain a certain freshness.

Harvesting mertensia maritima leaves:

Leaves can be harvested as needed, from spring to fall.

  • The morning harvest is always preferred to keep the maximum aromas
  • Never pick more than half of the leaves because the plant needs them to continue to develop.

Find expert advice in video:

Mertensia, snails and slugs

These 2 parasites, snails and slugs represent the 2 biggest pests for mertensia maritima.

Indeed, they love these leaves and can wipe out a plant in a short time.

It is therefore best to protect your mertensia maritima from snails and slugs with a protective net or mulch made of pungent things.

Good to know about mertensia maritima

It is a plant that is used a lot in cooking, by connoisseurs but also by great chefs who like to associate it with fish dishes.

It is enjoyed both raw and cooked.

Some synonyms to shine in society:

La Mertensia maritima has known and still knows several denominations.

The most common is oyster plant but it is also found under the name of maritime mertensie, vegetable oyster or vegetable oyster, or even pulmonary from Virginia.

Smart tip

Offer a mertensia leaf to your guests with a glass of Champagne, they will be surprised and certainly thrilled by this astonishing association!
(alcohol should be consumed in moderation)

Video: OYSTER LEAF (October 2020).