How to Grow Epazote from Seed – Easy Method!

The Epazote herb plant is an annual, grows in the hot climates of Central America and Mexico. It is a weed-like plant that has strong aromas reminiscent of coriander and thyme.

The leaves are pungent with a flavor similar to cilantro but stronger and they can be used as herb or spice for flavoring beans, soups, sauces, fish dishes and meat dishes. This article will tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful plant.

The History of Epazote

The History of Epazote Herb Epazote is a perennial herb that is native to Mexico and Central America. The plant has been used as an herbal remedy for various ailments in the past.

It was traditionally used by Native Americans, especially those living in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Today it is still considered to be one of the most important herbs among Mexican families who grow it for culinary purposes.

Medicinal Uses of Epazote

Epazote is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. The dried leaves are used as an herb, and they have medicinal properties. The epazote herb can be taken orally or applied topically to treat gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, stomach aches, cramps, bloating and gas.

It also helps with digestion and increases appetite. Some other uses for this herb include: aiding lactation by stimulating breast milk production; treating menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea.

Optimal Timing

Epazote can be grown outdoors year round in warmer climates, or indoors where winters are cold. In the Northern hemisphere, it should be planted outside once soil temperatures have warmed up and frost danger has passed (usually May or June).

Planting seeds indoors provides an earlier harvest of this highly prized herb which would otherwise not mature until October or November when growing outdoors. The ideal germination temperature for epazote seeds is 21°C (70°F), and the seds should sprout within 7-15 days.

Germinating Epazote Seeds

Germinate epazote seeds at home, which can be accomplished by following these steps:

1) Purchase Epazote seeds and a seed starter kit.

2) Soak the seeds overnight before planting them.

3) Use a seed starter mix for an optimal growth environment.

4) Seeds should be planted one inch deep in rows six inches apart from each other.

5) In order to germinate epazote seeds, it is important to keep the soil moist but not wet or soggy. 

6) Allow the seeds to germinate in indirect sunlight for a period of time.

7) A plastic dome cover may need to be placed over the seedbed for protection.

Soil Requirements

There are three types of soil you can use to grow Epazote: clay-loam, sand or clay. The best type of soil for growing Epazote is clay-loam because it drains well and retains nutrients well. 

  • Epazote grows best in soil with a pH level between 5.2 and 8. 
  • Epazote grows best in a soil that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium content. 
  • It also prefers well-drained soil with lots of organic matter and composted manure for fertilizer.

Watering Requirements

Many people enjoy cooking with Epazote herb, but few know how much water it takes to grow this flavorful plant. A simple way to calculate the required amount of water is by taking the average rainfall in your area and dividing it by four.

For example, if you live in a location that receives an average of 12 inches of rain per year, then you would need 3 gallons of water each week for every square foot planted with Epazote herb.

This can be reduced to 2 gallons of water each week for every square foot planted with Epazote herb if you’re growing the herb in a region that receives 8 inches of rain per year.


  • The best way to tell if your epazote needs watering is by observing its leaves. The more droopy they are, the more likely it is that the plant needs water. 
  • It requires more water than most herbs, so it should be watered every day or two during the growing season, but only when there are signs of wilting.

Sunlight Requirements

Epazote is a plant that can be grown outdoors, but it needs lots of sunlight to thrive. The plants need at least six hours of sunlight per day.  If the Epazote herb does not get enough sunlight, it will grow very slowly and produce less leafs than if they were exposed to more light.


  • If you are growing Epazote outdoors and it does not get enough sun, then there will not be many leaves on the plant and they will become yellow or brownish in color instead of green. 


They can be pruned in order to keep them growing vigorously and to help control the size of the plant. They can be pruned with hedge shears or scissors to keep them at the desired height. Pinch back the plants to stimulate leafy growth and prevent flowering and seed development.


To harvest Epazote, you will need to look for the leaves of the plant, which grow from low-lying bushes on branches. They have a fresh green color with small spikes all over them.

You can use scissors or shears to cut off these leaves before they start wilting too much. You can also use a knife or even your hands to break off the branches.

When harvesting, try not to harvest too many leaves from one branch at once as this will be much more damaging than taking smaller amounts over time.

Harvesting the herb regularly will keep it healthier and stronger, so make sure you leave enough for other plants in the area!


  • The Epazote herb will be ready to harvest around 50 days after sowing.
  • The leaves of the epazote plant are harvested when they are 3 inches long for use as an herbal remedy. The whole plants should be dried quickly before being stored away from sunlight for later use as an aromatic spice or medicinal tea additive.

Companion Plants

When growing this plant outdoors it should be planted near other herbs such as thyme or rosemary to help repel pests  such as ants, flies, spiders, roaches, and fleas. 

Controlling Pests and Diseases

The epazote herb plant is susceptible to many pests and diseases, but these can be controlled with some basic knowledge.

Epazote Herb Plant Pests:

  • Aphids – usually found in clusters near leaf joints or along the stem.
  • Ants – typically found around nodes where leaves attach to the stem.
  • Beetles – can damage the leaves and buds.


  • Epazote Herb Plant Pests may cause significant damage to plants. The key is early detection, so that treatment can be done before it’s too late. Prevention techniques include keeping your garden free of weeds, or covering your plant with row cover fabric or spun plastic which will provide a barrier for bugs and birds to keep them from reaching your plants .
  • If you want to make sure your plants are free of diseases and pests, you can cover them with row cover fabric or spun plastic which will provide a barrier for bugs and birds to keep them from reaching your plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s an Epazote Herb?

Epazote is an aromatic herb from the family of Chenopodiaceae. It is grown mainly as a pot-herb but it can also be used to flavor dishes and soups, typically giving them a spicy kick and adding both savory and slightly bitter flavors.

How long does it take for Epazote to grow?

Epazote herb plants are grown from seed to seedling in 7-15 days, but will take about 3 months to reach maturity depending on weather conditions such as temperature and humidity levels.

Can you grow Epazote indoors?

It can be grown indoors if it has direct sunlight, and it is planted in the right soil. The soil should have a pH of 7-8 for optimal growth conditions.

Why is my Epazote turning yellow?

There are a number of reasons why your epazote may be turning yellow, such as too much sunlight or heat, drought conditions, infestation by insects or disease. The best way to determine what is causing the change in color is to inspect the plant closely and check its roots for any signs of insects like aphids or fungal growth.

How do you make Epazote tea?

The following instructions will help you make this tea in your own kitchen:
– Place one teaspoon of dried epazote leaves into a pot.
– Add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil for three minutes on high heat. Remove from heat and let it cool for five minutes.
– Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth to remove any remaining solids. Drink one cup of this tea before breakfast every day.

Is Epazote toxic to dogs and cats?

Epazote is poisonous for pets. It may cause vomiting and diarrhea in small amounts, but more serious symptoms such as seizures or even death could occur if ingested by your dog, or cat.

Is Epazote the same as Wormseed?

They are both used in Mexican cooking, but their flavors are different. Wormseed has a more spicy flavor while epazote has a bitter taste. Epazote also smells stronger than wormseed when it is cooked or dried. Wormseed grows in warmer climates while epazote prefers cooler temperatures, so the two plants should not be confused with each other.


  • Vince S

    Hello, I'm Vince, and I bring over 25 years of dedicated experience in the world of herb gardening. From cultivating fragrant basil to nurturing hardy rosemary, my journey as a passionate herb enthusiast has allowed me to explore the wonders of these versatile plants. Through, I'm thrilled to share my knowledge, tips, and insights to help you embark on your own herb gardening adventures. Let's grow together!