One goal I have is to grow a root vegetable like radish in my container garden. I’ve researched what it would take for a beginner to grow radishes in a pot and written this post. If you’re looking to start growing radishes at home, you will find this post useful.
I’ve also created a quick checklist you will find useful to immediately start growing your own radishes in a container. You can click the image below to download it.
What are radishes?
A radish is a root vegetable that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and texture.
The plant is an annual that prefers cool-weather to grow well. The root is a taproot that grows fast depending on the variety.
Some radishes can mature in 3-4 weeks which makes them one of the best vegetables for a beginning gardener to grow.
They can come in different colors like white, red, pink, purple, and yellow. And they can grow from 1 inch to 24 inches tall.
The radish has a pungent, peppery taste that makes it popular in salads. It is also used as cooked food in European, Asian, and Mexican cuisine.
What are some varieties of radishes?
You can grow most varieties of radish in your container garden. But I’ve listed some varieties below that are small and easy to grow for a beginner.
The Royal Purple is a radish variety that is round in shape and purple in color. The root grows 2 inches in diameter.
The root is mild in taste and crunchy in texture making it a great addition to your salad.
This radish matures in just 33 days making it a great option to grow as a beginner. The plant is also resistant to many pests and diseases.
Early Scarlet Globe
This is a round variety of radish that produces red-colored roots though the flesh is white.
The root grows 2 inches in diameter and the plant grows 8 inches tall. This radish matures in just 20-29 days making it a good option to grow as a beginner.
The Cherry Belle variety of radish is bright red in color and grows just 1 inch in diameter. The plant matures to 4-12 inches in just 20 days and is suited to grow in a pot.
The flesh has a fresh, crunchy, and tangy flavor making it suitable for adding to salads and soups. It tastes great even if you roast the radish with lemon and butter.
The Burpee White is an heirloom variety of radish that matures in just 25 days. So it’s a good choice for you as a beginner to get quick results.
The radish is white in color and crunchy in texture while having a mild taste. It grows to about 1 inch in diameter and the height of the plant is 4-6 inches.
The Watermelon radish is a variety that was developed in China. It’s white on the outside but has rose-colored flesh on the inside. The root grows about 3 inches thick and has a fresh, crispy but mild flavor.
The plant grows about 4-6 inches in height suitable for a pot. This radish does take longer to grow and has a maturity date of 60 days.
It’s a great addition to salads, soups, and garnishing. You can also roast or sautée the radish with other root vegetables.
Fire ‘N Ice
This is an interesting looking radish that grows with a red top and a white tip and has an oblong shape. The radish grows 3-4 inches and is suitable for a pot.
This radish has fresh, crispy texture and a mild, sweet flavor making it quite popular in salads. The plant matures in about 25 days’ time.
French Breakfast looks similar to the Fire ‘N Ice variety with its oblong shape, white tip, and red top. The flavor is pungent while the texture is crisp. It makes for a good addition to your salad.
The radish grows to about 3-4 inches in length while the plant can grow 4-12 inches in height. This radish variety grows fast with a maturity date of 23 days.
Black Spanish is a radish variety that has black skin and is popular in Europe. It has a spicy, pungent flavor and a crisp texture.
The radish grows 3-4 inches big and the plant can grow 6-8 inches tall making it suitable for a container. This radish does take time to mature and you’ll be able to harvest them from 53-70 days.
The German Giant might sound like it’s a larger radish but it has a 1-2 inches size. The plant can grow 4-12 inches tall and is good for growing in a pot.
The flavor is mild with crimson skin and white, crisp flesh. This radish plant takes about 29 days to reach maturity.
Pink Beauty is a radish variety that grows really fast and matures in just 22 days. The radish has a unique rosy-pink color.
The flesh is white and tastes fresh and crisp. The radish grows 1-2 inches in size while the plant can grow 4-12 inches tall.
Where can you buy radish seeds?
The best place to buy radish seeds is your local garden center or nursery. If you don’t have them nearby, you can also buy them through an online store.
I’ve listed some of the radish varieties that are suitable for growing in pots.
|Seed variety||Temperature||Height||Days to maturity|
|Royal Purple||65-75 °F||12-14 inches||33-35|
|Early Scarlet Globe||65-75 °F||6-8 inches||20-28|
|Cherry Belle||65-75 °F||4-12 inches||20|
|Burpee White||65-75 °F||4-6 inches||25|
|Watermelon||65-75 °F||4-6 inches||60|
|Fire ‘N Ice||65-75 °F||4-6 inches||25|
|French Breakfast||65-75 °F||4-12 inches||23|
|Black Spanish||65-75 °F||6-8 inches||53-70|
|German Giant||65-75 °F||4-12 inches||29|
|Pink Beauty||65-75 °F||4-12 inches||22|
When is the best time to plant radishes?
Radishes are a cool-season crop so the best time to plant them is in the spring or fall.
The temperature that is most suitable for growing radishes is between 65-75°F. If the temperature goes below 50 °F, the germination and growth of the radishes will be slow. If the temperature goes above 85 °F, the radishes will become brittle and bitter.
So the best time to plant the radishes is just after the last frost date as spring begins or late summer when the weather starts to cool down.
Radishes are awesome because they mature in just a few weeks. This makes them suitable for growing in succession and getting many harvests during the growing season. You can also harvest the leaves of the plant and use them in salads.
Once the growing season has passed and summer heat begins, you can let the radishes grow and collect the seed pods that are edible as well.
How to choose the pots for growing radishes?
The best pot you can use for growing radishes is one that is flat and wide. The radish varieties we will grow are not that long, so you don’t need a deep pot.
A pot that is 6-8 inches deep should be sufficient for our purposes. But it’s good if the pot can be at least 12 inches wide so we can plant several radish seeds in one pot.
The wide pot will help keep a sufficient distance of at least 2 inches between the radishes so they can grow well without competing for nutrients and moisture.
You can get pots made from plastic, terracotta, ceramic, metal, and even concrete. You can even use a grow bag for growing herbs.
The material you choose depends on your personal choice. If you like something decorating you can choose plastic, metal, or ceramic pot. If you want something that looks earthy, terracotta is a good choice. And if you want a pot that is really strong against the wind and elements, a concrete one works well.
I like plastic pots or grow bags because I have a balcony garden and these materials are suitable for this space. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and durable. And easy to move around in case of rain, wind, or too much heat.
Terracotta is a good material if you like the earthy look in your garden. The only problem is the material is porous and water evaporates fast from such pots. So you will need to water the plants often.
You can buy new pots or reuse existing ones. You could even recycle pots, containers, and paint cans from your house. But remember to sterilize the pot before use.
The best way to do this is by soaking the pot in a mix of 1 parts bleach to 10 parts water for at least an hour. This will help kill the unwanted pests and diseases that may be in the pot.
After the hour has passed, you can rinse the pot well with water and leave it out to dry. Then it will be ready to plant your radish seeds.
You also want good drainage in the pot that you choose. If the pot comes with drainage holes in the bottom, that’s great. If it does not come with drainage holes, you will need to drill them. The drainage holes help to drain out the excess water from the soil.
If too much water remains in the soil, it will drown the radish plant roots causing them to rot.
I’ve researched some plastic pots you can use for growing radishes. You can grow several radish plants in one pot as long as you maintain the required distance between them.
|Countryside Planter||18 inches||8 inches||6.5 inches|
|TABOR Planter||16 inches||7.5 inches||6.5 inches|
|Bloem Planter||19 inches||9.25 inches||7.5 inches|
|Fiskars Planter||26 inches||11 inches||10 inches|
|Santino Planter||15.6 inches||7.1 inches||6.7 inches|
Which potting soil should you use?
Radish plants need arable soil to grow well. This means the soil should be loose allowing moisture and air to flow and be available for the roots. And it should be well-draining to drain out the excess water.
I would not recommend using garden soil because it can be sandy or full of clay making it unusable for growing radishes. It could also contain harmful pests, diseases, and chemicals that would affect your radish plants.
It’s better to invest in a good potting mix that would be sterile and free from such issues. It’s worth the price as you get the best chance of germinating the radish seeds and growing radishes for harvesting.
You need to fill the pot with the potting mix so that it’s almost full. Leave 1-2 inches from the top of the container so water and soil do not spill out when watering.
The radish seeds have enough stored energy to germinate by themselves with the right amount of moisture in the soil. But later you may need to add a little fertilizer to help the radish plants grow well.
The best thing to do would be to add compost to your potting mix when preparing the pot. This contains rich, organic nutrients and microorganisms beneficial for plant growth.
If you don’t have compost, you can add a slow-release organic fertilizer to the potting mix when preparing the pot. This fertilizer will release into the soil slowly after each watering you give. The fertilizer can be a balanced one with N-P-K values of 5-5-5 or 10-10-10.
Here’s a list of potting mixes that would be suitable for growing your radish plants.
- Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Mix
- Burpee Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix
- Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil
- Perfect Plants Organic Potting Mix
- Espoma Organic Potting Mix
How to plant radish seeds in the pots
You can easily start growing radish seeds in the pot itself. You don’t need to start them in a seed tray and then transplant them unless you want to start seeds indoors.
The best idea when starting seeds is to plant several seeds in one hole. This gives a better chance that at least some of the seeds will germinate.
Water the soil to make it moist before planting the seeds. You want it to be a little moist but not damp or soaking wet.
Place the radish seeds in the soil at a slight distance from each other. You can place 2-3 seeds together because we can thin them later.
If the radish is a small variety like the ones I mentioned above, you can keep a distance of 2 inches between the seeds.
Place the seeds in the soil and cover them up with about 1/4th inch of potting mix.
Once the seeds have been sown, use a spraying-can to water the soil gently. You should be careful that the watering does not displace the seeds.
Water the potting mix every day so that it remains moist and gives the radish seeds the best chance of germination.
The radish seeds will germinate in 2-10 days depending on the variety that you are growing.
Where to place the pots?
The radish plants need full sun for at least 6-8 hours to grow. You can grow them in partial shade but the germination and growth will be slower.
But if it becomes too hot in the afternoon, you will need to move the pot in the shade otherwise the radishes will turn bitter.
You can place the pots in a location of your container garden that receives indirect sunlight. If the heat gets too intense like in the afternoon, you need to move the pots to a shaded location.
How to water the radish plants
Radish plants like the soil to be moist but not damp. The roots can absorb the moisture and nutrients from the soil to grow well.
It’s important to keep the soil moist by watering it on a regular basis.
If you’re starting seeds, the best way to keep the soil moist is with a gentle spray of water from a spraying-can. This helps keep the moisture in the soil without displacing the seeds.
Once the seeds have germinated, you can use a watering can to speed up the process. It’s important to avoid underwatering or overwatering the potting soil. Too little or too much water will drown the roots causing root rot.
I use an easy method to find out whether there’s enough moisture in the soil. Stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil. If the tip of your finger does not feel moisture, it’s time to water the soil.
Water the soil well till it drains out from the bottom of the pot through the drainage holes. This means that the water is reaching deep into the soil to the roots.
The best water to use for watering radishes is rainwater if you can collect it. The next best option is distilled water if you have a distiller at home.
Some of us only have tap water available to water the plants and that’s fine. Just keep the water standing in a container for 1 day. This helps remove harmful chemicals like chlorine and fluoride from the water.
I prefer watering the plants in the morning so they can get the required moisture before the sun comes out and dries the soil.
Be careful when watering the radish plants that you don’t splash water on the leaves. The moist environment this creates will attract fungal diseases.
Here’s a list of watering cans you will find useful for watering your radish plants.
- Bloem Aqua Rite Watering Can
- Novelty Watering Can
- Cado Watering Can
- Gardener’s Select Watering Can
- Calunce Watering Can
How to thin the radish seedlings
It’s best to sow several radish seeds together to increase the chances of germination as at least some of them will germinate. But as the seedlings sprout and grow, you need to thin them.
Thinning is the process where you cut off some of the seedlings that may have germinated leaving just one. You also need to cut out the seedlings that may be too close to another one leaving a few inches of space between the seedlings.
The benefit of thinning the radish seedlings is you allow more space between them. This helps them get the required nutrients without competing with each other. It also helps good air circulation and sunlight reaching the plants. The spacing helps to reduce problems of humid conditions causing fungal diseases.
Once the radish seedlings have grown 2-4 inches tall, you can start thinning them. You should be able to see a few leaves grown on the plants when they’re ready for thinning.
You can use a pair of pruning scissors to cut off the unwanted seedlings. The best method to pick the seedlings to thin is to pick the ones that appear weak. Hold the base of the seedling and cut it out with the scissors.
You don’t need to throw the seedlings away as they make for delicious microgreens to use in your salads.
Do the radish plants need fertilizer?
The best source of nutrients for the radish plants that you can add in your potting mix is organic compost. You can mix in some when preparing the potting mix.
Compost is the best thing to add to the potting mix because it contains rich, organic nutrients. And it also has beneficial microorganisms that improve the soil texture.
Once the radish seedlings have germinated, you can add the compost once more if you wish. If you don’t have compost, you can mix in a slow-release organic fertilizer with the potting mix. This will be slowly released into the soil as you water the plant.
Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on how much and how often to use the fertilizer.
You just need to mix in the slow-release fertilizer once to the potting mix when preparing the pot. Or you can use an organic liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
Spray the liquid fertilizer on the soil as well as the foliage to give the plants a boost of the nutrients they need.
It’s good to use a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus as it helps boost the radish root growth. A fertilizer with NPK 5-10-10 will work well for radish plants.
You don’t want to use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen because that will encourage the plant to grow more foliage than the root. Be careful not to overuse the fertilizer on your radish plants as it will damage the leaves and roots.
Here is a list of slow-release organic fertilizer you can use.
Here is a list of organic liquid fertilizer you can use.
- Neptune’s Harvest Organic Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer
- Espoma Organic Grow Fertilizer
- FoxFarm Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer
How to protect radishes from weeds
When you grow radishes in a pot, you’re growing them in a protected environment which includes protection from weeds.
There will still be some weeds growing in the pot due to the weed seeds blown over by wind or dropped by birds and animals.
The best solution to the problem of weeds is to add a layer of mulch to the pot. This could be organic material like grass clippings from the lawn, dried leaves from the yard, or moss you collect near the house.
Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown 2-4 inches tall, you can add the organic mulch to the pot. The mulch helps protect the plant from weeds as it blocks the sunlight and prevents weed seeds from germinating.
The mulch also keeps the potting soil temperature regulated so it’s not too hot nor too cold for the plant. The mulch helps retain moisture in the soil so you don’t need to water the plant as often.
The organic mulch also breaks down over time and adds beneficial nutrients to the potting soil.
How to harvest radishes from the pots
I think growing radishes is the best thing a beginning gardener can do because it’s easy to grow and matures really fast. Many radish varieties will be ready for harvest in 20-35 days.
You can harvest both the radishes as well as the leaves of the plant for adding to salads.
The radishes are ready for harvest when the top is about the size of a quarter. You can remove a little bit of soil near the base of the plant to check if the radish is ready for harvest.
To harvest the radish, hold the stalks at the base of the plant. You don’t want to pull on the leaves because they’re delicate and will break off.
Hold the stalk with at the base with your hand and gently pull the radish out of the potting soil. You can give it a little twist if the radish does not seem to come out easily.
How to store the radishes
The best time to eat the radishes is as soon as you’ve harvested them from the pot. So let the radishes continue to grow till you need to eat them.
But be careful not to let them grow too long because they will tend to become bitter after a certain maturity.
- To store the radish for a longer time after harvest, the first thing to do is remove the leaves.
- Wash the radish well with water and trim a little bit of the root and the stem.
- Place a paper towel in a resealable bag and put the moist radishes inside the bag.
- Add another paper towel on top of the radishes and place more radishes on it.
- Keep using such layers of paper towel and radishes till all are in the bag.
- Remove air from the bag, seal it, and place the bag in the refrigerator. The radishes will remain fresh and crisp for about 1-2 weeks.