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Sium sisarum
Sugar Root
  • Hardy to Zone 5
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Germination Tested N/A
  • Approximately 120 seeds per packet
Regular price $5.00 CAD
Regular price Sale price $5.00 CAD
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Skirret is a delicious perennial root vegetable in the carrot family. It produces masses of long off-white roots that taste somewhat like a potato crossed with a carrot and a parsnip. They are great roasted, but can also be boiled, fried, stewed, added to soups, or eaten raw grated or out of hand. The roots do not need to be peeled, although most roots have a thin woody core that is easily removed by the diner after cooking. The spring shoots can be eaten, as well as the mature leaves, which taste like celery leaf or parsley.

If started early enough from seed, they can make large enough roots to eat by fall. But for the best harvest wait until the second year at least. Yields will keep increasing after that.

To harvest, wait until the top has died back in the fall, then dig up the whole plant. Cut off the largest roots, and replant the rest of the crown. If any offsets have formed around the base, you can pull or cut those off and plant them separately. The main crown can often be divided into multiple new plants using a sharp shovel. Roots can be harvested all winter, and probably all year, although the flavour is probably best from fall-early spring.

Skirret is a "forgotten" crop, which likely fell out of favour because it was difficult to cultivate using modern industrial agriculture methods. But it's very easy to grow for the backyard gardener! It's native to China or Asia more, and was wildly popular in Europe in the middle ages.

Further breeding efforts could focus on larger roots, and getting rid of the woody core that some roots have. But it's already pretty amazing as it is! I've heard rumours of a pink skirret being developed.

Growing Instructions

Skirret seeds can be challenging to germinate. I recommend sowing outdoors in pots in spring after danger of frost. Skirret seeds germinate slowly and erratically over several weeks or months, so be patient! It seems that oscillating temperatures are the key to getting these seeds to germinate (cool nights and warm days). Keep the soil moist.
Some people recommend using a heat mat indoors, but I haven't had great success using that method. If you want to get a jump start on the season, you could try turning the heat mat on and off over several weeks to simulate variable spring temperatures.

Once enough seedlings have come up and they are large enough to handle, plant them in the garden about 1 to 1.5 feet apart.

Growing conditions: Skirret does best in full sun, but part shade may be ok as well. Well drained soil is best, but it seems to do fine in heavy or clay soil as well, as well as swampy soils. Not drought tolerant.

Shipping & Returns

We ship seeds within Canada for a flat fee of $6, United States for $25, and internationally for $25*. Live plants and bulbs can only be shipped within Canada.


Shipping in Canada 

We ship seeds in Canada via regular letter mail, which is an untracked service, and usually takes 1-2 weeks to arrive. Larger bulbs and plants are sent via tracked flat rate box.


Shipping to the US

We ship all US orders by tracked packet and they usually take two weeks to arrive.

According to the USDA, most seeds require an import permit to be brought into the US and the permit is free and useable for multiple orders/years. The package will list the contents as "Garden Seeds". In our experience shipping seeds over several years, most small orders will make it across the border without issues, but occasionally they will be held at US Customs. 

It is your responsibility to ensure you have the required import permit and Cicada Seeds will not be responsible for any orders held or confiscated by US customs.


Shipping Internationally

International orders are usually shipped via untracked packet. The package will list the contents as "Garden Seeds". It is your responsibility to ensure you have the required import permit and Cicada Seeds will not be responsible for any orders held of confiscated by customs.

International shipping countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom


If you have any issues with the quality of your order, please contact us within 60 days and we will make it right!

*Shipping fees are in Canadian dollars. 

Ecologically Grown

Seeds are grown ecologically without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
they all sprouted

I planted my seeds in a multi-cell tray in May, and put it outside full-time in a sunny area. I didn't manage to keep it moist the whole time. They all started sprouting about 3 weeks later.

Not a single sprout

Not a single one of these seeds germinated. I know the package says "inconsistent germination" but multiple attempts with multiple methods and not a single one sprouted.