Wasabi Japonica is widely accredited as the “hardest to grow” plant in the world. The plants are native to Japan and require a very specific set of environmental conditions to successfully produce healthy plants.
Few growers outside of Japan have successfully grown Wasabi Japonica commercially. This has led not only to a high global demand for fresh grown product, but also to an increasing amount of interest from commercial growers trying to tap into a market that now pays an estimated $325/£250 per kilo of rhizome.
A small startup in Scotland called The Functional Plant Company is currently working with LED grow lights from GE Current, a Daintree company to grow wasabi. The Functional Plant Company is using a variety of hydroponic and micropropagation techniques to produce plantlets from tissue culture through to acclimation and eventually full maturity. They are proving that light intensity and spectrum are equally important factors in establishing new cuticle and stomatal development. Their aim to prove this can become more efficient and faster by using GE LED battens as compared to natural daylight.