Growing Carrots in Containers: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)

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Carrots are a unique vegetable that needs extra care to grow in containers. Learn everything you need to know about growing carrots in containers for a full harvest of tasty vegetables.

To grow carrots in containers, choose a pot around 12 to 14 inches deep to grow carrots in containers. Sow the seeds about an inch apart and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Keep the seeds moist and cover the pot with plastic until the seeds sprout, then keep your carrots fertilized and watered until it’s time for harvest.

It’s not as hard as you think, and we have all tips and tricks you need to ensure a healthy path from germination to harvest. Read on for detailed information on growing carrots in pots.


Ripe freshly harvested carrots with bright green tops laid together in a piled row.

Growing Carrots in Pots on The Patio

Are you ready to grow your carrots in containers but still have many questions?

We’ll cover everything in this blog post, from preparing the soil to the size of the pot. We even have all the deets on when and how to harvest your carrots. So get excited because it’s time to start planning our container carrot garden now!

Container gardening allows anyone to grow fresh produce in small spaces. Everything from carrots to strawberries, blueberries, and potatoes is endless!

fresh carrots isolated on white background

Can You Grow carrots indoors?

Carrots can be grown indoors for year-round harvesting. When grown indoors, they are less susceptible to pests but ensuring they get enough light can be challenging. Carrots need 6 to 8 hours of full sun, so place your pots in a sunny south-facing window.

Make sure to monitor the temperature, especially in the summer heat. The intense sun can dry out the soil and cause the carrot plant to grow more foliage than roots. If the window gets too hot around mid-day, consider shading or moving the carrots for an hour or two.

If you are growing carrots indoors in the winter, make sure they have a nice, sunny spot in the window. You shouldn’t need to use grow lights, as carrots are shade tolerant.

As with indoor plants, put a tray under your pots to catch water runoff!

The benefits of growing carrots in containers

The best thing about growing carrots in containers is the ability to grow them anywhere. If you have limited space, growing carrot plants in pots is a great way to grow without needing land.

Since containers are usually easily moved, growing carrots and any other root vegetable mean you can give your plants as much sunlight as they need by moving the containers into the path of the afternoon sun.


Garden fresh rainbow carrots on a rustic cutting board.

The disadvantages of growing carrots in pots.

The disadvantage of growing carrots in pots is that they need more water.

Containers dry out much quicker during hot summer days. How often you will need to water your container depends on how hot it is and the size of the pot, but generally speaking, at least twice per week during warm months.

Carrot roots like loose, well-draining soil which means there might be problems during heavy rains because your pots could fill up with water.


Freshly harvested carrots from a large terracotta container.

How big should my carrot pot be?

When selecting a container for growing carrots, it’s important not to choose anything too deep. The depth will need to accommodate root growth and soil and allow enough room for easy harvesting, around 12 to 14 inches deep. Choose a container with plenty of drainage holes, as carrots don’t like soggy soil.

You can also choose a very short variety of carrots, like Parisian or Oxheart varieties, which are short, round carrots that only grow a couple of inches deep, making them easier to grow in shallower container shapes. These shorter carrots can be grown in 8-inch deep containers.

As with growing any plant, check the seed packet for instructions on your chosen type of carrot.

A cross-section showing how deep a carrot will grow in a container.

How long does it take to grow carrots in containers?

It takes about 90 days from germination (planting) until harvesting your first crop of carrots when grown in soil. Depending on the temperature and other environmental factors, this could vary by up to two weeks, between 78-100 days total, before harvest time arrives!


How to Grow Carrots from seeds in Containers:

Carrots are a surprisingly easy vegetable to grow from seed. To get the best results, sow carrot seeds in containers that have been pre-moistened with water and then filled up halfway with potting mix or compost.

If you are growing outdoors, sow seeds in early spring, a week or two before the last frost date. You can continue planting until early summer, though the carrots will not grow as big.

When you plant carrot seeds, ensure they have a little space between them. Plant carrots about an inch or so apart. Place a light layer of potting soil over the seeds to help prevent their seeds from drying out. This spacing will also help prevent weeds in your carrot crop.

Cover the container’s top layer of soil with plastic until germination occurs after about two weeks. This is called “clamping,” It helps keep moisture levels constant throughout. Clamping not only ensures healthier carrots but prevents the seeds from drying out.


Freshly harvested carrots grown in containers sitting in a black crate ready to be washed.

How often should carrots be fertilized?

Fertilize your carrots once a week with compost or manure. How often you fertilize your plants will depend on how much food they can absorb. If the plant gets enough water and sunlight, it should only be fertilized once every two weeks.

You can add a handful of bone meal to the soil before planting to encourage healthy root growth.

You may also want to use fish emulsion as an organic alternative since this provides vitamins that help strengthen the carrots’ immunity from diseases. Healthier plants also do far better against pest attacks. However, the fish emulsion does not have nitrogen, so adding some fertilizer is necessary when using fish emulsion alone.

fresh carrots with green leaves isolated on white background.

How Much Water Do Carrots in Containers Need?

Carrots need about an inch of water per week and like their soil moist. Ensure your soil isn’t dry, which can lead to browning leaves and damage to root systems.

Ensure good drainage using a potting mix with added sand rather than straight garden dirt. Garden dirt can clump in pots and cause rainwater to accumulate, which will cause growing challenges for your carrots. Carrots like moist soil, but too much moisture can lead to diseases and rot.

Be sure to keep the top of the soil damp until seeds germinate and seedlings emerge.

 

What types of common pests and disorders affect carrot crops grown outdoors?

Carrots can be affected by many types of pests, such as aphids and rabbits. Rabbits won’t dig up the carrots and chew on them while asking you, “What’s up?” but they will eat the carrot tops and greens, killing the root.

Some common disorders in carrots are carrot rust fly maggots which lay eggs on the root system.

You can prevent these pests and disorders by using a protective cover like row covers or screens. In late summer, you can also plant your carrots for protection from carrot rust fly maggots.


A closeup of a bunny eating a carrot.

How much sunlight do container carrots need?

Carrots require full sunlight to grow well in containers. Carrots will have fewer and smaller roots if grown without adequate sunlight, exhibiting a weak or stunted growth pattern.

Generally speaking, the more true sunlight available to your carrot crop in containers, the better off it’ll be. This is especially important for those who grow their own containerized crops on patios during Northern hemisphere winters.

However, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause foliage necrosis (leaf burn). Leaf burn, if left untreated, would eventually affect root health, so make sure you shade plants adequately during intense periods of direct sun exposure by shading them when necessary with row coverings like cloth tarps.

 

When to harvest carrots from containers:

If you grow carrots in pots, it is good to harvest mature carrots within twelve weeks.

Carrots are best harvested when the roots form a tight ball. If you pull on the root, it should come out of the soil with little resistance.

Harvesting is as easy as grasping the top of the carrot and pulling it free from the soil. Don’t forget to wash the carrots before use, even if you plan on peeling them.

You can also harvest smaller baby carrots during the growing season.


A closeup of a carrot root that is ready for harvest.

Do carrots grown in containers taste different?

Carrots grown in containers are as tasty as carrots that grow in the ground. But their taste differs depending on your soil mix and how often you water them. Still, overall, there shouldn’t be a major difference between container-grown carrots and traditionally planted carrots.

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Are there carrot Varieties best suited for containers?

If you’re planting carrots in a container, it’s best to use shorter varieties of carrots like Chantenay, Little Fingers, Oxheart, or Parisian carrots. These types are more likely to grow quickly and have the ability to produce higher yields. Also, look for short-season carrots seeds or varieties best suited for short seasons.


A closeup of a bundle of short carrots, perfect for growing in containers.

A bevy of fresh carrots at your doorstep

Well, there you have everything you need to know to have a harvest of carrots, even in the smallest spaces. Now, all that’s left to do is fill your container with dirt and plant some seeds! Be warned; You might get hooked on container planting. It can quickly take over your porches, decks, and available sitting space!

Editorial Note: This post was originally published on August 11, 2021, and was updated on January 7th, 2023.


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