Growing horseradish is a popular activity for gardeners looking to diversify and expand their home gardens.
Horseradish root is a pungent, spicy-hot perennial plant that is relatively easy to grow and harvest as long as you know what steps to take and when.
Here’s a little background: Horseradish is actually part of the mustard family.
If you think about it, horseradish kind of looks like a giant, white mustard seed.
Also related to horseradish are wasabi and sinigrin, which is found in black mustard and has similar properties as horseradish.
You probably know horseradish best as a condiment for meats and hot dogs.
But did you know that it’s also an edible plant. Horseradish root is prized in many cultures for its pungent flavor.
It was used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Germans, Russians and English to spice up foods and is now a popular ingredient in many ethnic cuisines.
Plant horseradish root cuttings in a 12 inch tub filled with multipurpose compost. About three roots per tub will be enough, space them evenly. Plant the roots 2 inches deep and cover. Place the tubs in a sunny or partially shaded area. Growth will start in spring and early summer.
Where can you get horseradish roots?
You can get horseradish roots at many garden centers and commercial growers.
It’s also possible to get reliable and good quality roots online such as these that I found on Amazon.
Here are the basics on how to grow horseradish.
First, the size of your horseradish harvest is a direct result of the root size at planting time.
Start with small roots. They should look like pencil-sized white roots that are about 3 to 5 inches long and seem to taper at both ends.
Pinch off any leaves or coarser rootlets (aka “tails”) on the tops of your roots. Roots are very sensitive to sunlight, so don’t expose them directly to the sun at planting time.
Place your horseradish roots in a tub with a mixture of 60 percent well-rotted horse manure and 40 percent garden loam soil.
Pack lightly into the bottom of the tub. Water thoroughly but gently until water runs out the bottom of the tub. Plant your horseradish roots vertically, pointed end up.
Use a mulch to prevent evaporation during hot weather. A 3-inch layer is enough, but use more if you live in a very warm climate and notice moisture loss from your soil.
- Spring is a perfect time to plant this hardy little root! It takes 2 years to bear, so go ahead and get a head start on next years garden!
- Zone 3-8, full sun. you may cut the root into several large chunks for planting purposes, no problem!
- It can be invasive, so plant carefully. It is VERY easy to grow, and grows quite quickly.
- Tasty with many health benefits! All orders Daylily nursery brand and are grown here. All orders are shipped with Daylily nursery branded packing material, and Daylily nursery copyrighted growing instructions.
Plant Horseradish Seeds
Horseradish seeds are small, brown and very hard. They can be difficult to sow because they’re so small with a long germination time of up to six weeks. If you start horseradish from seed, don’t expect your harvest for at least three months or longer!
Sow the seeds directly in the garden, 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart, in spring or fall. If you live in a hot climate, start your seeds indoors under lights three to four weeks before transplanting.
Keep them evenly moist at all times until you see sprouts – about one month after planting. After that, water only when needed to prevent evaporation.
Looking after your horseradish plants
It is easy to look after horseradish. Make sure that you keep them well watered during hot periods to stop them drying out and wilting.
Keep the area around the plants free from weeds and other plants and give the horseradish a feed in mid summer with a well balanced liquid fertilizer.
The only other activity is to remove any dead leaves or foliage from the plants.
How long does horseradish take to grow?
Your horseradish will be ready for harvesting when the plants are 3 to 6 months old but you will get much better, long term results if you leave new plants for a year before harvesting.
When is the best time to harvest horseradish?
Ideally you should wait until the frost has killed the foliage before you dig your horseradish up.
Horseradish produces it’s best growth during late summer and fall so don’t be too keen to harvest early.
Simply dig the roots out of the ground or the pot, depending on which option you chose when planting.
Does horseradish come back every year?
Horseradish is a tough, persistent plant that will grow back every year.
If it is planted in the garden then it will spread and you will not be able to get rid of it, this is why the planter option is often the best choice for growing this crop.
Horseradish grows best in areas that have hard winter frosts that force the plant to become dormant, giving it plenty of energy for the following growing season.
Horseradish is easy to grow, is tough and reliable and, if you plant from roots, it won’t cost you much and you’ll soon have a plant that crops reliably year after year.
Just remember that it is prolific and it will take over your garden if you plant it in the ground.