Horseradish is a perennial root vegetable. Traditionally, horseradish is grown 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 with enough space for them to develop. A container with a diameter of at least 12 inches and a depth of 18 inches is recommended for optimum growth.
The type of container also plays a significant role in the success of your horseradish plant. You can use plastic, ceramic, or metal containers. It is best to avoid materials that may leach harmful substances into the soil. For example, treated wood or old tires.
2. Importance of Drainage for Horseradish Growth
Like most plants, horseradish requires proper drainage to thrive. Make sure your plastic flower pots
have adequate 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.
III. How to Grow Horseradish in a Container?
1. Sourcing Quality Horseradish Crowns or Roots
The first step in growing horseradish in containers is to source quality horseradish crowns or roots. You can find these at your local nursery or order them online from reputable suppliers. Choose crowns or roots that are firm and free from any signs of 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, be sure to 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. You can also add some organic compost or fertilizer to the soil before planting horseradish in containers.
In cold climates, it is recommended to 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. After transplanting, water your horseradish thoroughly. 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
You should maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil. But avoid over-watering as 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. When choosing a fertilizer, opt for a balanced one 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. To prevent the plant from sprawling and taking over your container, it's important to stake and support it properly.
You can use bamboo poles to create a framework for the plants to grow on. You can also 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
To keep your horseradish plant healthy and encourage large root growth, prune and thin the plant as needed. This involves removing any dead or damaged leaves, as well as thinning out overcrowded stems to allow for better air circulation. Pruning also helps prevent disease and pests from affecting the plant.
VI. Harvesting Horseradish
1. Determining the Right Time to Harvest
The best time to harvest horseradish is in late fall or early spring. The plant's leaves start to turn yellow. This indicates that the horseradish has stopped growing and is ready to be harvested.
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.
Another technique for harvesting horseradish without damaging the plant is to cut off just a portion of the root. This is possible because 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, it is recommended to wrap the roots in damp paper towels. Store them in the refrigerator.
To enjoy horseradish's fresh flavor for even longer, you can also freeze it. Simply grate the root and 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: they help repel aphids and provide shade to the horseradish roots.
Garlic: its strong aroma helps deter pests.
Marigolds: they attract beneficial insects that can help control pests.
Nasturtiums: their 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: they compete for nutrients in the soil and can reduce the yield of both crops.
Mint: it can easily overtake horseradish and become invasive.
Growing horseradish in containers is an enjoyable experience for any gardener. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy an abundant harvest of horseradish from your own backyard.