We love vegetables for their taste and nutrients.
But sometimes, we love them for their looks.
We love them so much, we end up planting them in the flower garden.
Bloody dock is one of those edible ornamental foliage plants that have exotic look as well as taste.
It is a perfect plant for container gardening.
Eye-catching as it is, it is from the family of sorrels, so naturally it has that tangy, acidic flavor.
Bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus) goes by many names.
Bloody sorrel, Red-veined dock, Blood wort and wood dock.
It is native to Europe, northern Africa, and southwest Asia.
It is an herbaceous perennial, with bright rosette of lancer-looking leaves. Its green leaves have blood-red veins running all through them, thus the name red-veined.
Sorrel leaves can be used in salads to make it a feast to eyes, or in soups to get that lemony flavor, or even cooked like spinach.
Their lemony flavor is coming from Oxalic acid they contain, as such they shouldn’t be ingested in large quantities.
It is hardy to zone 4 and it will grow every year as a perennial in the zones above 4.
Propagation of bloody dock
Bloody dock can be grown from seeds, or clump-divisions.
They don’t like being transplanted, though.
Once they established, divide the clumps in early spring.
If left unchecked, it grows tall and will have smaller leaves and goes to seed fast.
They self-seed to the point of being invasive. So keep an eye on them.
Remove the long flower stalks with seeds.
Feel free to cut them back to rejuvenate growth.
And next season, pull the small plants and use them in your salads.
What do they need
As usual they love nutrient rich soil with enough moist. Not fussy about soil-drainage.
Good sunlight is preferred, but still survive well in shades.
It needs a lot of water and doesn’t like droughts.
Their leaves easily wilt and look like they are dead, only to be revived with another watering.
So water regularly. They don’t mind being in constant wet soil.
Keep picking leaves to encourage new growth. Always pick young leaves as bigger leaves become tougher and bitter. At that point they become inedible.
Some leaves will lose color and become yellow. Remove those leaves as well.
If picking leaves looks like time-consuming, cut it back and it will have new tender growth.
Slugs and snails feast on the leaves, just like the regular sorrel.
There will be leaf rust, smut and spots.
With the growing movement of edible gardening, bloody dock will make to it to the list easily and beautify your garden as well as satisfying your appetite.