How to Grow Rice Paddy Herb (Ngo Om) (Limnophila aromatica)

rice paddy herb container

By Jennifer Poindexter

Do you enjoy growing unique herbs and vegetables? One herb that may not be common to you is Ngo Om, also known as the rice paddy herb.

This plant produces plenty of lush green foliage. It’s native to SouthEast Asia and wasn’t introduced to the western part of the world until the 1970s.

Ngo Om is known for tasting like a mixture between cumin and lemon. If you’d like to grow something different and expand your palate, this could be a great place to start.

Come with me as I walk you through all you should know when learning how to grow Ngo Om, or the rice paddy herb as we’ll call it moving forward:

What You’ll Learn

  • An introduction to Ngo Om (Rice Paddy Herb), its origin, and unique taste.
  • Understanding the growing conditions required for Ngo Om, including its preferences for saturated soil and warm temperatures.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to plant Ngo Om, starting from rooting a plant in water to eventually planting it in soil.
  • How to care for your Ngo Om plants, including their need for consistent moisture, the role of humidity, and the potential use of mulching.
  • Recognizing potential pests and diseases that may impact Ngo Om and learning the necessary preventive measures.
  • The harvesting process of Ngo Om, and several methods for storing the harvested herb to prolong freshness.

Growing Conditions for Ngo Om

The rice paddy herb is a unique plant with specific growing circumstances. In its native growing spaces, it’s named as it is because it grows alongside rice.

Therefore, this plant enjoys saturated growing conditions and warm temperatures. You may grow the rice paddy herb in the ground or in a container.

This plant should serve as an annual in most growing locations, so as long as you provide the right growing conditions during the warmer seasons, it should work out well for you as the time to harvest arrives.

Rice paddy herb can grow in soil that doesn’t drain adequately as there’s little to no risk of oversaturating this plant. You must also ensure the growing location receives full to partial sunlight.

By supplying moisture and sunlight, you’re giving this plant a growing space it should be able to thrive within. Now, let’s discuss how to plant this herb in its designated area.

rice paddy herb propagate

How to Plant Ngo Om

The most common way of growing Ngo Om (rice paddy herb) is by purchasing a fresh plant at a local farmer’s market.

From there, bring the plant home and root it in water. You do this by using a pint jar as a growing container. Pour water into the bottom of the jar.

Sit the plant inside the water to where the bottom is in the water, but the whole plant isn’t submerged. Place the jar on a windowsill.

It may take up to a month for the plant to produce established roots. When they’re approximately one-inch in length, it’s time to move the plant to a container with soil.

Fill a container with nutritious soil, dig a hole deep enough to support the root system, place the plant in the hole, and backfill it.

If you’re growing multiple plants, you may plant them close together as they don’t require much space.

Be sure to water the plant thoroughly and regularly as it loves moisture and needs to remain consistently damp.

If you’d like to keep your plants in a container, your growing process is finished. However, if you’d rather grow this herb in the ground or in a raised bed, you’ll need to transplant them once more.

When all the threat of frost is over, it’s time to move the plants outdoors. Be sure to harden them off for approximately one week prior to transplant.

Then pick a growing location with all of the necessary growing conditions, dig a hole large enough to support the plant’s root system, and place the rice paddy herb in the hole.

Backfill the hole with soil and water the plant deeply. Continue to transplant the remainder of the seedlings using the same method.

This is how you can start your own crop of rice paddy herb to grow around your home or garden space.

Caring for Ngo Om

When I tell you that rice paddy herb is low-maintenance, it’s truly low-maintenance. This plant only needs water.

You don’t need to fertilize the plant as it’s used to growing in difficult conditions. You may consider mulching the plant, especially if growing in a container since there isn’t as much soil around it to retain the necessary water.

It might be better to grow the herb in a modified planter to where there are fewer drainage holes to ensure the plant doesn’t dry out too quickly.

The other requirement this plant has is humidity. If you live in a humid environment, you may not need to help the herb with this.

Yet, if the humidity levels are low in your location, and you’re growing rice paddy herb in a container, you can wrap it in a plastic bag to help retain moisture.

If growing the herb outdoors, planting near other plants should help keep moisture in the growing space as it’ll decrease airflow. 

These are the only things you must be aware of when caring for the rice paddy herb. Ensure you take these few steps to encourage greater health, and it should help boost your harvest. 

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Ngo Om

Rice paddy herb is one of the few plants which doesn’t face many threats in the garden. The only pest this plant faces is the leaf beetle.

If you spot this problem, either handpick the pests from the plant or spray them with an insecticide to treat the issue.

The only disease rice paddy herb faces is leaf rot. This occurs when the plant receives too much moisture on its foliage.

If you spot this issue with your plant, remove the damaged parts and treat with a fungicide. These are the main issues you should remain alert to when growing Ngo om (rice paddy herb) in your garden.

How to Harvest Ngo Om

You’ve almost made it! We’ve covered almost all of the basics of growing this low-maintenance but unique herb.

The last topic to discuss is how to harvest from the plant after you’ve put forth the effort to grow it. Rice paddy herb should be ready to harvest in approximately two months.

You should harvest while the plants are still young and tender. Use a pair of clean shears and cut the foliage from each plant you’ve grown.

Try to only harvest approximately ⅓ of each plant to encourage greater regrowth. 

Once harvested, wrap the cuttings in plastic wrap. Then store in the refrigerator. This should help the harvest remain fresh for 24 to 48 hours.

You may also place the rice paddy herb in a jar with water and store in your refrigerator. This may help the herb remain fresh longer.  

Rice paddy herb is considered a delicate herb, so you may also try washing it, placing a paper towel in a plastic bag and storing the harvest in the bag. This could also help prolong the plant’s freshness after harvest.

Harvesting ngo om (rice paddy herb) isn’t a difficult process. Try the different storage methods to see which works best for you to enjoy your harvest as long as possible. 

You now know how to grow, plant, care for, protect, and harvest the rice paddy herb (Ngo Om). Hopefully, these tips will help you to have a positive growing experience.

Plus, you may get to enjoy a new plant and harvest that you’ve never encountered before. This herb could add beauty to your garden and fresh flavors to your food. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ngo Om, or Rice Paddy Herb, is a unique and low-maintenance herb native to Southeast Asia, known for its cumin-lemon flavor profile.
  • The plant prefers warm, moist environments with full to partial sunlight and doesn’t require fertilizers, making it an easy addition to your home or garden.
  • The most common method of planting Ngo Om is to root a fresh plant in water before transferring it to a container or ground with nutrient-rich soil.
  • Though Ngo Om is quite resilient, it’s essential to watch out for leaf beetles and leaf rot, the two primary threats to its health.
  • Ngo Om can be harvested approximately two months after planting, and several methods are available to store the herb and keep it fresh for use.
  • Growing Ngo Om can be a rewarding experience, offering a unique addition to your garden and fresh, exotic flavors to your culinary endeavors.

Growing Rice Paddy Herb Quick Reference Chart

Section Key Phrases
Ngo Om – Native to Southeast Asia
– Cumin-lemon flavor
Growing Conditions – Saturated soil
– Warm temperatures
– Full to partial sunlight
Planting Method – Root fresh plant in water
– Transfer to nutrient-rich soil
Care – Maintain consistent dampness
– No fertilizers needed
– Consider planter with fewer drainage holes
– Adjust for humidity
Potential Pests and Diseases – Watch for leaf beetles
– Prevent leaf rot by avoiding excessive foliage moisture
Harvesting and Storage – Harvest when plants are young and tender (around 2 months after planting)
– Store using methods such as wrapping in plastic, keeping in a jar with water, or storing in a plastic bag with a paper towel

More About Ngo Om

The post How to Grow Rice Paddy Herb (Ngo Om) (Limnophila aromatica) appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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