How to plant horseradish

Armoracia rusticana

Horseradish is a plant that has been cultivated since antiquity to use its spicy flavor roots. They are used as a condiment in several types of sauces, including mustards and mayonnaise. They are also used as an ingredient in soups and are used for medicinal purposes. The leaves can be eaten, especially the younger leaves, which can be eaten raw in salads. Some cultivars are used as ornamental plants in gardens.


Horseradish can be grown in places with a mild or cold climate, growing well in the temperature range from 6 ° C to 20 ° C.


Horseradish grows best with at least a few hours of direct sunlight daily.


Cultivate in well-drained, light, deep, fertile soil and rich in organic matter. Heavy soils are not suitable, as the primary roots can become crooked and forked. The ideal soil pH is 6 to 7.5.


Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked. Although the plant can withstand periods of drought, the quality of the root is greatly affected if water is lacking.


Horseradish rarely produces seeds, so planting is usually done using pieces of the roots. Branches that appear in the primary root or even parts of it can be used. The pieces of the branches must be 5 to 20 cm long and about 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter, and should preferably be removed from plants that are two years or older, so that they are more vigorous, although it is also possible to remove them from plants with only one year. The root pieces can be planted in an upright position, or tilted, with the part closest to the root end facing downwards. The root piece should be buried 5 to 7 cm deep.

The upper part of plants that have been harvested can also be used in planting, consisting of the upper part of the primary root with some buds or leaves. These can be divided vertically into up to four parts, as long as care is taken to let the cuts dry for two or three days before planting.

If seeds are obtained, they can be planted in the spring, in the final location, as horseradish seedlings do not support transplantation well. The spacing can be 45 to 75 cm between the plants.

Horseradish can only be grown in large pots, at least 30 cm in diameter and of greater depth (horseradish roots can reach several meters deep over the years in places with deep soil).


As the plant has a slow initial growth, it is possible to plant other crops among the horseradish plants, such as beet, lettuce and other crops whose harvest takes place a few months after planting.

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources. Horseradish can be an invasive plant, so its cultivation must be limited in some way to the area destined for it, and when harvesting, one should not leave pieces of roots in the soil if another crop will be planted on site.

Although it can be grown for many years without replanting, the roots can become woody and productivity can be impaired after a few years by the excess of roots and plants. In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult to control the growth of plants and prevent them from becoming invasive plants. So the ideal is to do the replanting every 2 or 3 years.

Bleaching can be done to make the leaves taste more pleasant, as they also taste spicy. For this, the plants are removed with root and the leaves are cut. The plants are then planted in a dark place, so that the leaves are reborn deprived of light.


Harvesting horseradish usually takes place in the fall, but can also be done in winter or early spring. In some places the cultivation is annual, repeating the planting every spring. Elsewhere it is biennial or perennial, where the plantation is maintained for several years without replanting (however the quality of the harvested roots may decrease over the years). Where the cultivation is annual, the plants are pulled out of the soil trying to remove all the roots, which can sprout if left in the soil. Some roots must be stored for replanting in the spring. In the other growing cycles, part of the roots are not harvested for the plant to regrow.

Young leaves, about 5 cm long, can be eaten both raw and cooked. Bleached leaves can be harvested 10 to 15 cm long. More developed and green leaves can be eaten if cooked.

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