Skip to Content

Is Mustard A Plant Or Tree

Believe it or not, that tasty yellow condiment you’re spreading on your burgers and hot dogs come from a beautiful plant! Mustard trees grow all over the Middle East and parts of Asia. The type of plant it is has always been confusing for gardeners due to its name. But, is mustard a plant or tree?

It is commonly referred to as the mustard tree; however, they are classified as a plant or a bush because mustard is an herb. Some brown mustard seeds produce plants that look very tall and have similar appearances to trees.

While other mustard seeds produce much smaller and leafier plants, these are the ones commonly grown in everyday gardens. Next, we’ll get into the world of mustard trees. If you would like to learn more, stick around! 

How To Plant Mustard Trees

Mustard plants have been around for centuries and have so many beneficial properties. Not only is the entire plant edible, and you get mustard out of the seeds, but it is also said that the mustard plant has medicinal aids such as digestive aid and a decongestant. 

Mustard is an extremely easy plant to grow, and it’s a fast grower as well. It is a cooler weather plant and does not tolerate heat. However, since it grows so quickly, you can plant it in the early spring or early fall, once the summer heat has died down. With that in mind, here is how to plant mustard seeds.

Step One 

Mustard is usually planted by seed, though you may be able to find starts. You will want to sow the mustard seed three weeks before your last frost outdoors in the soil. Plant the seeds about 1/2-1 inch apart. 

Mustard likes well-draining, airy soil that is well fertilized. Mustard is also one of those plants that enjoy more acidic soil, so ensure your soil has a pH of at least 6.0 or above for planting mustard. 

Step Two

The seeds should begin sprouting within ten days of planting. Once the seeds sprout, you will want to thin out the seedlings, which are about 3 inches apart. To thin out seeds, carefully take one seedling at a time(making sure you have the roots and everything) and make a new hole for it, in this case, 3 inches apart from the other seedling. 

Step Three

Mustard is relatively easy to take care of once it’s been planted. The plants only need water, and long as you plant them in well-fertilized soil, you may not even have to worry about feeding them. Mustard needs about 2 inches of water a week, so unless you get good rainfall, you can carefully hand water. 

Step Four 

Mustard greens are usually ready to harvest within four weeks of planting, super quick! You can pick a few leaves at a time as you go, or you can cut down the whole plant. To harvest mustard seed, you must wait until the plant begins to bolt or start seeding. This happens within 30 to 40 days of planting for mustard. 

When a mustard plant begins to bolt, this is when you start to see all those beautiful yellow flowers. As the flowers mature and grow, they start forming pods, where the seeds will be held. Wait until these pods turn brown, indicating that they are ready for harvest.

Removing the seeds from these pods can be a long process if there is much matter. You can remove the seeds by hand or try putting the pods into a brown paper bag and shaking it. 

How Tall Do Mustard Trees Get 

The leafier plants are average from 1 foot to 6 feet tall. Brown mustard seeds that produce more tree-like bushes can have plants that grow up to 30 feet tall in the right conditions, hence why they are mistaken for trees! However, normally these trees will grow, on average, 6 to 10 feet tall. 

How Is Mustard Made?

As you probably know, there are many different types of mustard. Each flavor of mustard is made from a different mustard seed. For instance, if you want to make Dijon mustard, you will use black mustard seeds. Yellow mustard is made from white mustard seeds.

Once you have the flavor of mustard and the correct seeds, you can grind up the seeds and mix them with white or apple cider vinegar and other spices like salt, garlic, pepper, honey, etc. To match the flavor, you are going for. 

What Are Mustard Greens Used For, and What Do They Taste Like?

We mentioned above that the entire mustard plant is edible! And we talked about growing and harvesting mustard greens, but what are they used for, and what do they taste like?

Mustard greens tend to be a bit bitter, peppery, and have a background flavor of mustard. They are rich in nutrients and are considered a superfood! Mustard greens can be used for many things like salads, steamed, sauteed, or added to soups and sandwiches. They add amazing flavor to any dish and are super fun to play around with. 

Final Thoughts

The mustard tree isn’t a tree at all. Since mustard is considered an herb, the mustard tree is classified as a plant or a bush! Since some types of mustard seeds produce extremely tall plants that look similar to trees, this is how they are commonly mistaken for trees.

Mustard is a really simple and quick-growing plant that is a great spring or fall time crop that will make a great addition to your garden. Apart from harvesting the greens, you can wait till the plant goes to seed to harvest the seeds and make your mustard! Happy gardening!