A Complete Guide to Growing Horseradish in Containers

fengye
5 min readApr 8, 2024

grow horseradish in a pot

I. Introduction

Horseradish is a perennial root vegetable. Traditionally, people grow horseradish in gardens or fields. But you can also grow horseradish in a pot. We will discuss the steps on growing horseradish in pots.

II. Selecting the Right Container

1. Ideal Container Size and Type

Horseradish roots can grow quite large. So choose a container at least 12 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep for optimum growth. You can use plastic, ceramic, or metal containers. Avoid materials that may leach harmful substances into the soil. For example, treated wood or old tires.

2. Importance of Drainage for Horseradish Growth

Horseradish requires proper drainage to thrive. Make sure your plastic flower pots have drainage holes. This prevents water from pooling, which can cause root rot.

3. Choosing the Right Soil Mix for Container Cultivation

Horseradish prefers well-draining, loamy soil. You can create a suitable soil mix. For example, combining equal parts of compost, sand, and garden soil. Avoid using heavy or compacted soils. They can hinder root growth and lead to stunted plants.

growing horseradish in pots

III. How to Grow Horseradish in a Container?

1. Sourcing Quality Horseradish Crowns or Roots

Source quality horseradish crowns or roots when growing horseradish in containers. You can find these at your local nursery or order them online from reputable suppliers. Choose crowns or roots that are firm and without disease or damage.

2. How to Plant Horseradish Root in a Pot?

You should plant them at the proper depth and spacing. Horseradish needs deep containers to allow for its long taproot to grow. Plant the crowns or roots about 2 inches deep in 15 gallon pots.

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a hardy perennial. Horseradish growing zone is in USDA zones 3–9. When planting multiple horseradish plants, space them at least 18 inches apart.

3. Tips for Ensuring Successful Germination

Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Horseradish prefers well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0–7.5. Add some organic compost or fertilizer to the soil before planting horseradish in containers.

In cold climates, you can start growing horseradish indoors. Then transplanting horseradish outside once the weather warms up. This will help kickstart their growth and ensure a successful harvest.

4. How to Transplant Horseradish?

Fill your container with well-draining soil. Ensure there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom. Carefully remove your horseradish plant from its original pot or ground location. Gently loosen the roots with your fingers. Be careful not to break them.

Place the plant in the center of the container. Fill in any gaps with fresh soil. Water your horseradish thoroughly after transplanting. Finally, place your container in a sunny location and continue to water regularly.

IV. Essential Care and Maintenance

1. Sunlight Requirements

Horseradish plants thrive in full sun. So place your 20 gallon pot in a spot with 6–8 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you are growing horseradish indoors, place the container near a sunny window or provide artificial lighting.

2. Watering Schedule

Maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil and avoid over-watering. It can lead to root rot. Check the moisture level of the soil regularly. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Make sure your container has proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil.

3. Fertilization Needs

Horseradish plants are heavy feeders. They require regular fertilization to thrive. Choose a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer every 4–6 weeks during the growing season.

4. Managing Pests and Diseases

Container-grown horseradish is less susceptible to pests and diseases. However, you should keep an eye out for common pests. For example, aphids and caterpillars.​​ Treat your plants with an appropriate insecticide if you notice any signs of pest infestation.

As for diseases, make sure to remove any infected leaves or stems immediately. Maintain proper sanitation practices to prevent the spread of disease.

V. Container Management Tips

1. Staking and Supporting Horseradish Plants

While horseradish can grow quite tall, it also has a tendency to spread out. You should stake and support it properly. This prevents the plant from sprawling and taking over your container.

You can use bamboo poles to create a framework for the plants to grow on. Place stakes or trellises around the perimeter of the container.

2. Regular Monitoring and Adjusting Container Placement

Horseradish is a hardy plant. But it does require regular monitoring to ensure proper growth. This includes checking the moisture levels in the soil and adjusting container placement accordingly.

If the soil is too dry, move the container to a shadier spot or consider using self-watering containers. If the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, move it to a more shaded area.

3. Pruning and Thinning for a Healthier Harvest

Prune and thin the plant as needed. This keeps your horseradish plant healthy and encourages large root growth. Remove any dead or damaged leaves. Thin out overcrowded stems to allow for better air circulation. Pruning also helps prevent disease and pests.

VI. Harvesting Horseradish

1. Determining the Right Time to Harvest

The best time to harvest horseradish is in late fall or early spring. The leaves start to turn yellow. This indicates that the horseradish has stopped growing and you can harvest it.

2. Techniques for Harvesting Roots

When harvesting horseradish, it is important to be gentle. Avoid damaging the plant’s roots. Start by loosening the soil around the base of the plant with a garden fork. Then, gently pull out the root from the ground. Make sure not to break or damage it.

Harvest horseradish without damaging the plant. Cut off just a portion of the root. Horseradish plants have a deep taproot. Cut off a piece will not harm the plant.

3. Storing Harvested Horseradish for Long-Lasting Freshness

Once harvested, you can store horseradish in a cool, dry place for several months. For longer storage, wrap the roots in damp paper towels. Store them in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze it to enjoy fresh flavor for even longer. Simply grate the root. Place it in a freezer-safe container. Horseradish will keep its pungent taste for up to 6 months when frozen.

VII. Companion Plants for Horseradish

1. Companion Planting Horseradish

Chives help repel aphids and provide shade to the horseradish roots.

Garlic has a strong aroma that helps deter pests.

Marigolds attract beneficial insects that can help control pests.

Nasturtiums flowers are edible and have a peppery taste similar to horseradish. They also repel whiteflies and squash bugs.

2. What Not to Plant with Horseradish?

Any member of the brassica family. For example, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli. They can stunt the growth of horseradish and prevent it from developing a strong root system.

Potatoes compete for nutrients in the soil and can reduce the yield of both crops.

Mint can easily overtake horseradish and become invasive.

VIII. Conclusion

Growing horseradish in containers is an enjoyable experience for any gardener. You can enjoy an abundant harvest of horseradish from your own backyard with proper care and attention.

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fengye

I'm a horticulture specialist, my job is to give objective, evidence-based recommendations to help home gardeners.