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Growing horseradish in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Before planting horseradish, spade or rototill the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.
  • Plant root cuttings, sometimes called "sets," in early spring as soon as the soil is workable.
  • Weed control is especially important early in the season when the plants are relatively small.
  • To grow high-quality horseradish, lift and strip the roots twice.
  • The horseradish flea beetle is a serious pest on horseradish foliage.
  • Delay fall harvest until late October or early November, or just before the ground freezes.

Horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, is a large-leaved, hardy European perennial herb that has been a culinary favorite for more than 3,000 years.

This fiery herb thrives in temperate climates and in the cool, high altitudes of tropical countries. Horseradish grows best in deep, rich, moist loamy soil, in a sunny location. Roots become malformed and yields are less on hard, shallow, stony soils.

Soil fertility and preparation

  • Before planting horseradish, spade, or rototill the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.
  • Turn under or mix in generous amounts of well-decayed compost or other organic material.
  • Incorporate a complete garden fertilizer (10-10-10) at a rate of one pound per 100 square feet or a large amount of well-decayed manure into the soil.
  • Fresh or partly fresh manure used before planting will cause excessive top growth and forked roots.
  • Let the worked-up soil settle a few days before planting.

Planting root cuttings

  • Plant root cuttings, sometimes called "sets," in early spring as soon as the soil is workable.
  • Space the sets one foot apart, setting them vertically or at a 45-degree angle.
  • If angled, make sure that the tops point along the rows in the same direction. This makes cultivating easier.
  • Cover the sets with two to three inches of soil.

How to keep your horseradish healthy and productive

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Managing pests, diseases and disorders

Many things can affect horseradish roots and leaves. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis.

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.

Insects

Flea beetles can cause serious damage to horseradish leaves.

Diseases

Horseradish is susceptible to a variety of root rots.

  • Start with disease-free cuttings when starting a new horseradish planting.
  • Rotate the horseradish planting site, making sure to not plant in the same place more often than every three to four years.

Reviewed in 2022

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