Taraxacum officinale (regular dandelion) is a blooming perennial herb of the Asteraceae family. Dandelion blooms open into a white puffball, or pappus, which is also known as the seed head or “blowball.” The wind usually carries the fluffy pappus parts, which aids regeneration by dispersing the seeds.
Dandelions, despite their reputation as weeds, have edible flowers, leaves, and roots. The blossoms and leaves can be used in salads and sautéed foods, while the roots can be made into tea. Dandelions also grow swiftly in a variety of conditions, making them a simple garden plant to grow.
Uses of Dandelions
Vitamins A, C, E, and K, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are among the vitamins and minerals found in dandelions. Dandelion is a common ingredient in many moisturizing soaps, oils, and lotions due to its high vitamin A and E concentrations.
Dandelions can be consumed fresh or cooked after being properly washed as a menu supplement. Combine buttery dandelion leaves with other salad greens for a spring mix, or sauté them with garlic, onion, and other vegetables in a saucepan. Fritters can be made with either opened or unopened flowers.
For a medicinal taste, add dandelion petals, oil, honey, or essence to a range of baked items, such as cookies, muffins, and cakes.
Dandelion tea is made by immersing dried or fresh dandelion roots in heated water and straining them. Although they do not possess caffeine, dandelion roots can be used as a coffee replacement.
Dandelion wine can be made by fermenting dandelions in a mason jar with sugar and citrus and leaving it to sit for one to two years.
Read also: How To Grow Dandelion Indoors From Seeds
What Is The Growing Season For Dandelions?
Dandelions plants require low care and they grow in USDA hardiness zones 3–9. Dandelion seeds can be sown from early spring (approximately six weeks before the last frost) until late summer or early fall, with a seedling growth of about 10 to 14 days. They can thrive in the soil as cold as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, although they appreciate a hot climate.
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When to Harvest Dandelions
During the spring growing period, dandelions can be harvested. The further dandelions are allowed to flourish, the sourer they become. Dandelion flowers should be harvested while the flower heads are a full, vivid yellow color, which occurs shortly after they emerge.
Dandelion roots can be harvested at any time throughout their life cycle, but late fall and early spring are the optimum times to harvest them. Because dandelions self-seed, if you wait longer to gather them, their seed heads will sprout and the seeds will be dispersed by the wind.
Tips To Care For Dandelions
Dandelions are self-pollinators that don’t need much maintenance. Although they might pose themselves as a nuisance by spreading to your garden, there are ways to maintain them.
It generally takes more work to keep them from growing than it does to prevent them from sprouting forever. However, check the instructions below for a few easy ways to keep your dandelions in good shape.
Constantly water them. Dandelions prefer damp soil, so keep them wet by watering them daily. Before every round of irrigation, ensure the top two inches of soil are completely dry.
Keep your eyes on the sun. When growing dandelions, ensure they get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you intend to eat the greens after they’ve set themselves, ensure they have plenty of shade.
Read also: How To Grow Dandelion From Cuttings
Mulching should be avoided. Mulching is a popular weed-control method, but it prevents the light that dandelions require to develop their seeds. Dandelions should not be mulched.