While learning how to grow horseradish might not seem like the most obvious addition to your plot, once you’ve grown it once, it will become a staple of your vegetable garden ideas.

How to grow horseradish

One of our favorite additions to herb garden ideas, ‘horseradish is a perennial plant that is characterized by its large leaves and edible root,’ says gardening expert Leigh Clapp. Horseradish is also a great addition to your winter garden ideas as it will keep your plot producing through the coldest months of the year. These expert tips will teach your how to grow horseradish:

1. Prepare your planting space

Just like when growing carrots, the priority is the amount of space underground. Ensure you have a deep bed (or pot) so that your horseradish root doesn’t become stunted. 

2. Ensure the soil is not compacted

Rocky soil is a problem, too, as this can cause malformed roots, and mix in a good quantity of manure to improve the soil condition. 

3. Choose your horseradish stock

‘Plants can be grown by seed, but it is far easier to raise from pieces of root, known as thongs, which are available from specialist growers in spring or from pot-grown plants that can be bought all year round,’ says Guy Barter chief horticulturist at the RHS (opens in new tab).

4. Plant horseradish

‘Plant at a depth of 12in and at a 45° angle. Then, cover with soil and water well after planting,’ says Sue Sanderson, Horticultural Executive at Thompson & Morgan (opens in new tab).

5. Water regularly

‘Horseradish requires little attention but will appreciate watering during particularly dry periods,’ adds Sue Sanderson. 

6. Fertilize

Apply a 10-10-10 vegetable fertilizer at the time of planting and then once a month.

Does horseradish like sun or shade?

Horseradish likes full sun. Growing horseradish in partial sun or shade will significantly decrease your yield as the plant will put its energy into growing leaves to find more light rather than focusing its energy on growing its roots. 

What time of year can you grow horseradish?

Traditionally, horseradish is sown in spring, as soon as the soil is no longer frozen, and is then harvested in the following October or November. However, you can also plant horseradish in late fall or winter, sowing your horse radish at this time can produce a more flavorful root as the frost encourage the root to produce more sugars. Whether planted in the fall or in the spring your horseradish will be ready to harvest the following fall.

Can you leave horseradish in the ground over winter?

Yes, you can leave horseradish in the ground over winter if it is sown in late fall or in winter – you can then harvest the following fall. However, if it is sown in the spring it is best to harvest just after the first frost.  Horseradish takes between eight and twelve months to fully grow, so do not leave horseradish in the ground over winter if you sowed the previous spring as this will result in tough and bitter roots.

Should I cut the flowers off my horseradish?

No, there is no reason why you should cut the flowers off your horseradish plant. Unlike fruiting plants – such as when growing tomatoes – where an excess of flowers can stunt production, horseradish is grown for its root which will continue to grow whether there are flowers or not. 

Can horseradish be grown in containers?

Yes, horseradish can be grown in containers, however, if you are hoping to add horse radish to your vegetable garden container ideas or raised garden bed ideas, then there are a few things you must consider.  As a root vegetable, horseradish needs a lot of space underground. When it comes to looking for a container, the deeper the better. As when growing potatoes in a container, growing horseradish in a five-gallon bucket works well as it gives the roots plenty of space to grow. Alternatively, look for pots or bags designed for growing carrots. Learning how to grow horseradish in a container is achieved the same way as you would growing horseradish in the ground, but container grown is often the preferred method as it prevents the horseradish roots from growing out of control and colonizing the garden.

Horseradish companion planting

Horseradish is also invaluable when it comes to companion planting – its spicy root helps to deter pests. ‘Horse radish is a particularly good choice of potato companion plant and strawberry companion plant,’ advises garden expert Leigh Clapp. You can also plant alongside broccoli, kale, and spinach.

Can you eat horseradish leaves?

Yes, you can eat horseradish leaves. While horseradish is primarily grown for its spicy root, its leaves also make a delicious addition to a salad boasting a peppery taste similar to arugula. To harvest its leaves – take the young leaves, leaving the larger ones to continue to support the growth of the root.

How to use horseradish

Horseradish is a beautiful addition to roasted meat – typically beef – as it adds a rich heat and depth. To prepare horseradish grate the root and combine it with white vinegar to create a dressing. Alternatively, try creamed horseradish – which is a little milder – combine 1 to 2 tbsp of grated horseradish with a 1/2 cup of heavy cream or sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.