When to Plant Horseradish

Horseradish roots

Plant horseradish root cuttings as early as 2 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. Horseradish grows best in cool soil, about 40° to 75° (4°-24°C). Set horseradish plants in the garden after the last frost.

Horseradish is cultivated for its pungent flavor. The root is often added to relishes or used dry as a powdered seasoning.

Horseradish is a perennial plant best grown as an annual. Horseradish roots are usually tough and fibrous the second year and not as flavorful as those newly grown.

Growing horseradish as an annual

Horseradish has a spreading habit and can become a weed if left unchecked; the roots spread underground. The best method to keep horseradish under control is to dig it up every autumn; this will keep the roots from spreading. Plants started anew from root cuttings each spring will be more flavorful than those that remain in the garden year after year.

Planting horseradish

Start horseradish early in spring. Plant root cuttings or “thongs” that are about 8 inches (20cm) long. Make holes for each root section by pushing a dibble into the soil at an angle of 45 degrees. Push the thinner end of the root into the soil first; cover the root with 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5cm) of soil.

Plant horseradish in humus-rich, well-turned soil; this will permit easy digging of roots at harvest.

Lift all of the roots in autumn before the first freeze. The smaller roots “thongs” can be stored in sand through winter for planting in a new bed in spring. Store the larger roots for use as needed.

Young horseradish plant
Young horseradish plant

Horseradish planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Late summer plant
Feb. 8Late summer plant
Feb. 18Jan. 15-Feb. 1
Feb. 28Jan. 15-Feb. 15
Mar. 10Jan. 15-Mar. 1
Mar. 20Feb. 15-Mar. 15
Mar. 30Mar. 1-Apr. 10
Apr. 10Mar. 10-Apr. 10
Apr. 20Mar. 20- Apr. 20
Apr. 30Apr. 1-May 1
May 10Apr. 15-May 15
May 20May 1-20
May 30May 10-June 1
June 10May 20-June 10
Large horseradish plant
Large green leaves of horseradish plant in autumn

Horseradish planting details

  • Planting depth: 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm)
  • Space between plants: 30-36 inches (75-90cm)
  • Days to sprout: 14-20 days
  • Days to harvest: 90-140
  • Storage period: 10 months in a cool, dark place
  • Yield: Allow 1 plant per household
  • Varieties to plant: Horseradish is a nonvarietal root vegetable

More on planting horseradish:

How to Grow Horseradish

Seven Ways to Prepare Horseradish

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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