How To Grow Horseradish In Your Garden And Spice Up Your Meals

How many gardeners out there love to grow food just for their usage? Some percent, I believe, and while some people are growing vegetables to sell them, they will also eat part of what they produce. In case that you love spiced food, horseradish is one of the most interesting ones. 

Therefore, I’ll show you how to grow horseradish, so that you can spice things up a bit when it comes to cooking and serving of meals. Surely, you can decide to sell it, if you notice that the taste is not really “your cup of tea”.


What Is Horseradish In The First Place?

horseradish root

“You know, that vegetable that looks like parsley, but stings the eyes?” would be a short answer to the question from the header. But, things are not that simple, and there is more about this vegetable than meets the eye (Autobots, roll out!).

  • Horseradish is native to Southeastern Europe and Western Asia
  • A mural is found in Pompeii depicting this plant
  • Two US Presidents, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew it and mentioned it as well
  • Contrary to popular opinion, term “horse” in its name is not by animal, but it was used in the 16th century to describe a strong man
  • pH of the soil where horseradish grows should be between 6.0 and 7.0
  • Horseradish thrives in sun but can grow in partial shade
  • The best taste is from those roots which spent winter in the ground
  • Requires well-nutritional soil, but not too much
  • It needs slightly damp soil, but not swampy

As we can see, horseradish is one tough vegetable. In fact, if this was a cartoon, it would probably wear an eye patch and smoked a cigar. That’s how tough it is.

Which Tools Will Be Needed To Grow This Vegetable?

garden tools

When it comes to tools which will be required for growing horseradish, there aren’t much which are necessary. The basic ones, such as shears, shovel, and watering can or hose are sufficient for you to be a horseradish gardener.

However, when it comes to material and additional stuff, there will be some unusual things needed. The soil which will be used needs to be well-fed and rich. Therefore, you will need to provide manure or compost. There is a matter of invasive plant. Namely, horseradish will spread like wildfire, if left unchecked.

Because of that, I have opted for planting these vegetables in barrels. Old, worn out are ideal since you don’t need to worry about them cracking and going to waste. Additional watering holes will be required, but don’t overdo it; some water needs to be retained.

pH testing kit is more than welcome, but if you can’t obtain it, or can’t wait to be delivered, just look around at your plants. If they are growing without a problem, you can consider that horseradish will grow too.

How To Choose A Location For Barrels?

choose location

As I said, horseradish is one tough plant, and consider the sunlight as helping rather than an essential feature for it to grow. Full sun or partial shade, this vegetable doesn’t care. All that it matters is that there are no physical obstacles for roots to grow. Therefore, avoid walls and trees.

Other than that, you are probably good to go. Since this vegetable grows on itself, there is not much care about it.

To Sow From Seed Or By Another Method?

horseradish root

Although it is possible to plant horseradish from seed, it is unpractical and difficult. Instead, use a different approach, which will require a trip to the gardening center, or to a friend which grows this vegetable.

Far better way to grow horseradish is by using pieces of the root system. You can use either top part with leaves, or to cut the root into several pieces, about 6” each. If it is possible, use top parts of the previous plant, since those grow the best.

Is It Difficult To Prepare The Soil?


In general, whether you are planting horseradish in barrels or the garden, the preparation is similar. Of course, the garden requires more work, so we’ll get to it right away.

Since roots of the horseradish are eaten, it is natural that the most attention is given to it. And to grow as it should make sure that you till the soil as deep as possible. Pieces of the root are planted approximately one foot deep, so if you can, till this deep. Before starting, add manure or compost, so that you hit two birds with one stone.

For barrel-grown vegetables, make a mixture of soil and compost. If it is possible, buy mixture used for flowers and use it. Of course, the price for more massive quantities might be significant, so if you can’t afford it, the ordinary soil will do the trick.

How To Plant The Root?

plant from root

Spring is the best time for growing horseradish outdoors, and if you decided to grow it inside, then any time of the year is right.

Of all vegetables I have grown, horseradish has the strangest process of sowing. I have begun sowing operation by digging a hole about a foot deep.

After digging, I have planted the root at about 45o angle, with the narrower part pointing downward. This is done so that the root can spread and grow without holding back. I’ve covered it with soil and watered generously.

Keep in mind that water is needed for this vegetable to grow, and it likes damp soil. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself watering it two times per week.

Is There Something Special To Do, When It Comes To Caring?

Caring horseradish

Horseradish is one of those “plant it and forget it” vegetables. It can keep on on its own, but to help it grow larger and healthier, there are a few things you can do.

First of all, fertilizing once per year can help the plant, but it is not always needed. Only in cases of the extreme heats use neutral fertilizer, so that it can push through the difficult period. Compost and manure are more than enough to provide nutrients.

Pruning will be needed, and it is my preference to keep just 3-4 leaves and to cut the rest. If you notice spiky stems appearing, this means that flowers are following, so cut them right away.

Also, if the water runs off or evaporates quickly, consider using mulch. This is a fantastic tool for tackling these problems, and since it is made of organic material, it will decompose slowly and provide nutrients along the way.

Weeds and pests are always present, but as always, I’ll list them right after the next chapter.

How Should I Harvest And Store Horseradish?


Somewhere in autumn is the usual time when this vegetable is harvested. It needs some skill, but nothing drastic. The first sign of plants being ready are leaves. When they wilt and die out, it is your signal to act.

By using a fork or a spade or a shovel loosen the soil around the plant. Then, reach, grab it and pull it from the ground. Shake of any extra dirt which will be caught. To make things more interesting, you can start planting right away for the next year.

To do so, turn the soil, add some manure, and plant again pieces of the root. They will overwinter and start sprouting in spring again.

To store the roots, you can put them in crate and store in the basement, or you can put them in a ziplock bag, and store in the freezer. Like this, they can spend about three months. Just keep in mind that thorough washing is needed before using.

So, Which Pests And Diseases Will Cause Me Trouble?

Luckily, there are not many diseases and pests which will make the lousy harvest. Those which can easily be prevented and taken care of.

Imported Crucifer Weevil is known for its prolonged eating apparatus and blue metallic shine. Its larvae will bore holes in the root system. Since there are two generations per year, you can break this vicious circle by rotating crops regularly.

On the other hand, Horseradish Flea Beetle will eat the leaves of the plant, thus its name. The most effective way to treat those is to use row covers. These are mechanical obstacles which will keep them away.

Any change in coloring of the leaves might be the sign of White Rust, Bacterial Leaf Spot or Turnip Mosaic Virus. For all of those, disease-resistant plants and cultivars are the best, but a common cause is from bacteria or fungi. Don’t overwater, and you should be good.

Naturally, weeds are highly competitive plants and will drain the soil of nutrients, if given a chance. Remove them immediately, since they are suitable habitat for pests to grow and develop.


So, this concludes the article. If you know how to grow horseradish in your garden, you will surely have enough of these beautiful roots. They will give a great taste to meals and dishes. No matter whether you love eating them pickled or roasted, enjoyment is guaranteed.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts, opinions or advice in the comment section below.

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