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RHAPHANUS sativus

Image of Rhaphanus sativus

Jessie Keith

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

RHAPHANUS sativus

Plant Common Name

Radish

General Description

The beauty of radishes is they are easy to grow and fast. Like many crops in the cabbage family, these natives of Europe and Asia grow best in mild, cool weather, so they are best grown in spring and fall where summers are hot.

This annual root vegetable is best known in its round, red-skinned form, but radishes may also be elongated and pink, white or very dark in color. They have a crisp, juicy texture and a mild and sweet or hot and spicy flavor. Hot flavor can be cultivar dependent but also becomes more intense when the plants are subjected to higher temperatures. Radishes can be harvested as early as three weeks after germination, depending on the cultivar. Days to harvest vary from 25 to 50 days.

The plants are bushy rosettes of coarsely lobed leaves with a strong arugula-like smell. After a few weeks, the bulbous roots mature. It is not advisable to wait too long to harvest radishes. If you pick them past their peak of ripeness they can become hollow, woody or develop a stronger, less palatable taste. It is rare to see radish flowers because plants are harvested before they bloom. Once the plants bolt, or send up flower stems, they can no longer be eaten. The blooms are small, white, four-petaled and borne in loose clusters. Long siliques filled with black seeds follow pollination by bees and other insects.

This is strictly a seed-grown crop. When temperatures are cool during the day and above freezing at night, sow rows of seeds directly in the ground. Cover them very lightly with soil and keep evenly moist but not wet. When they germinate, thin seedlings as directed on the seed package, four to six inches is the most common spacing width. Radishes grow best in full sun and fertile, friable soil with good drainage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    4"-10" / 10.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    4"-6" / 10.2cm - 15.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes