The carrot is instantly recognisable and is seen on dinner plates all over the world. Some are short, orange, and fat and others are long, purple, and slender. I have been growing various carrot cultivars for many years and am often asked “Can you grow carrots from carrot tops?”
The answer is Yes & No. If we mean carrot greens – the above ground plant, then Yes, we can continue to grow this plant from just a carrot top but, if we are talking about the fleshy root, the answer is no – you cannot regrow a carrot root from just the carrot top.
Carrots are a root vegetable that seem to have been the subject of many myths through the years. Although carrots are good for your overall eye health, carrots making you see in the dark is one of those myths which was surprisingly created by British intelligence during WW2.
The world was led to believe that eating carrots had given the British pilots superior night vision when in truth, the British propaganda was designed to hide the fact that the British pilots during the war had access to the first working radar system enabling them to down more enemy fighters during the night.
Another myth seems to be that you can grow carrots from carrot tops. Now although in some senses that may be true as you are still able to grow the greens all the way through to seeding, you are not able to regrow the root vegetable.
Since you can still grow the greens with a small part of the root attached, it is easy to see where this myth came from, but we assure you that it is not quite accurate.
What are Carrots?
“The carrot is a biennial plant in the umbellifer family, Apiaceae. At first, it grows a rosette of leaves while building up the enlarged taproot”. Wikipedia
Carrots are a root vegetable that were originally grown for their aromatic greens as far back as 900AD. Many people still cultivate carrots for their greens, but they are now more widely known for their colourful roots.
The carrot root (taproot) is one of the most versatile vegetables in the world and it can be eaten cooked or even eaten raw. It has many culinary uses and is a major favourite in China with the Chinese accounting for 45% of the worldwide carrot growth.
How to Grow Carrots from Carrot Tops
There are a couple of ways that can get you started but we will cover the easiest and most fun way to do it if you have kids that can watch along or join in too.
What you Need
- Fresh Carrots
- Sharp Vegetable Knife
- Chopping Board
- Glass Dish
Step 1 – Cutting your Carrot Tops
Take your carrots and using the sharp knife and chopping board, remove 2.5cm of the carrot ensuring that it is the end that the greens will grow from. You will want to ensure that you make one nice clean straight cut so that your new plants will be able to stand up unaided.
Step 2 – Watering your Carrot Tops
Next, you will want to place your cut carrot tops in the dish with the stubby growing end facing upwards and add a tiny bit of water. Ensure that you do not add too much water, you only need enough to ensure that the cut end is slightly wet.
Step 3 – Watch them Grow
Place your dish in a nice and light windowsill and check daily to ensure that the plants still have water. As the water is so shallow it will disappear quickly. It will not take long for the carrot to start growing shoots from the top and roots at the bottom.
Step 4 – Plant
Once there are sufficient roots, the carrot tops can be planted into loose, well-draining soil to continue growing until you are ready to harvest the greens to use in a nice salad or you could continue to grow until they flower and harvest the seeds to truly grow your own carrots.
Well as you have seen, you are able to grow carrots from carrot tops although the regrowing process only applies to the greens and not to the colourful, tasty taproot that we all know and love because once the taproot has been removed, it can never grow back.
Growing carrots from carrot tops can be especially rewarding if you manage to grow the carrot top enough for the plant to flower and produce seeds as from the seeds, you could indeed grow a new crop of carrots.
Why not give it a try, this is certainly an easy and fun way to teach your kids about the wonders of life and the garden.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Your carrots need a warm and light windowsill but do not leave your dish in full sun all day, they will dry up too quickly!”
“Recycle an old glass ashtray to make a great dish for growing your new carrot tops!”
“Line the glass dish with newspaper so you are able to see when it has nearly dried and add more water!”
“Save the seeds for the next growing season and you will indeed have grown carrots from a carrot top!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to grow carrots from carrot tops?
Carrots will not grow back the taproot once it has been removed. You can regrow the edible greens from just the carrot top which does not take too long at all, you will start to see movement in as little as just a few days. How long it will take to flower and produce seeds will depend on the amount of water and light it receives.
Can you eat the tops of carrots?
Yes, carrots were originally cultivated for their aromatic greens. Carrot greens are still widely eaten and can be used in salads, pesto, and tzatziki among other things.
What is the top of a carrot called?
Above ground carrot plants are known as carrot greens. They are also an edible part of the plant and have been eaten around the world since as far back as 900AD.
Are carrot tops edible?
Yes, carrot tops are edible. Carrots were originally cultivated for their edible greens before people even began eating the taproot. Carrot greens go great in salads and have many other culinary uses.