Growing Carrots in Containers and Pots: A Complete Guide on How to Plant and Care for Carrots Grown at Home

Growing carrots each year and looking forward to their crunch and color may be a highlight of every summer for you.

Learning how to grow carrots in containers not only maximizes space it can help you maximize the harvest of your favorite summer crisp vegetable!

Since carrots are a root vegetable, it may come as a surprise to some that they grow so well and can have such a high yield if they are planted in a container instead of mounds of dirt.

The truth of the matter is, with the right combination of growing setting and variety, many root vegetables can grow in a container and may even be happier there than in the soil.

They are kept safe from prowling rabbits and deer, and container plantings tend to be more of an easily controlled environment, so keeping pests at bay is another positive feature.

Carrots aren’t the only root vegetable that can be grown in containers either, but after you give them a try and fall in love with the space-saving option that this provides, try out potatoes or radishes as well!

Related post: Companion Planting With Carrots and Other Vegetables and Herbs

11 Steps For Growing Carrots In Containers

How To Grow Carrots In Containers

In this growing guide, we’ll take a closer look at the best carrot varieties to grow in a container and how to grow carrots in a pot to get the most out of them.

This includes choosing the right container size, planting them the right way, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting. 

1. Choose the Best Carrot Varieties to Grow in Container

Choose The Best Carrot Varieties To Grow In Container

If you haven’t grown carrots before, or if you are looking for a new variety to try out, then it is a good idea to start this process before attempting to choose anything else, as the variety you pick will shape the size of the pot​, location, watering needs and light requirement.

Here is a shortlist of some of the most popular and common carrot varieties to grow in containers and some of their main attributes:

  • Imperator 58: An old classic, this variety has been around for years and years and has been a favorite since its beginning. It is an heirloom variety and is large, every inch of it being full of flavor. It can grow up to 9 inches long and is generally ready for harvest in about 68 days.
  • Kaleidoscope: A beautiful blend of colors, this variety of carrot will produce carrots that are purple, some that are red, yellow and orange, and some white. They take slightly longer to mature, at 75-80 days and can grow up to 8 inches long!
  • Short ‘N Sweet: This variety sticks right to its name and provides you with shorter carrots that are bred to have a sweet taste. This is a great option for smaller pots and containers. They produce about four-inch roots and take about 68 days to harvest.
  • Parisian Heirloom: Another great variety for a smaller container, these are pretty, stubby little balls of carrot. A bright orange carrot that is known to be tender and sweet, it is also ready in 60 days, a week at least earlier than most.
  • Purple Dragon: A fantastic-looking carrot that is long and brightly colorful, bright purple on the outside and a popping orange inside. They grow to about six inches long under the soil and take 65 to 70 days to harvest.
Products
IMPERATOR 58 CARROTS
Sow Right Seeds - Imperator 58 Carrot Seed for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with...
KALEIDOSCOPE CARROTS
Burpee Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot Seeds 1500 seeds
SHORT SWEET CARROTS
Burpee 67545 Organic Carrot Short n' Sweet Seed Packet
Name
Sow Right Seeds - Imperator 58 Carrot Seed for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with...
Burpee Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot Seeds 1500 seeds
Burpee 67545 Organic Carrot Short n' Sweet Seed Packet
Prime
-
IMPERATOR 58 CARROTS
Products
Sow Right Seeds - Imperator 58 Carrot Seed for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with...
Name
Sow Right Seeds - Imperator 58 Carrot Seed for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with...
Prime
KALEIDOSCOPE CARROTS
Products
Burpee Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot Seeds 1500 seeds
Name
Burpee Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot Seeds 1500 seeds
Prime
SHORT SWEET CARROTS
Products
Burpee 67545 Organic Carrot Short n' Sweet Seed Packet
Name
Burpee 67545 Organic Carrot Short n' Sweet Seed Packet
Prime
-

2. Choose Correct Pot Size with Proper Drainage 

Choose Correct Pot Size With Proper Drainage

First, you need to pick the right pot for you.

Since carrots do most of their growing underground, you want to find something that will fit this growth and provide some wiggle room for the carrot roots to keep breathing and take up the right nutrients and water that it needs.

When you buy your preferred variety of carrots, be sure to check and know how big they tend to be and get a container that is 1 ½ to 2 times as big as that.

It would be best if you also were sure it has proper drainage, so they don’t rot. If the container does not already have holes, drilling some in the bottom will be the next best option.

Products
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots...
#2nd Best Choice
GROWNEER 24 Packs 0.7 Gallon Flexible Nursery Pot Flower Pots with 15 Pcs Plant Labels,...
#3rd Best Choice
GROWNEER 3 Packs 17 Inches Terracotta Color Flower Window Box Plastic Vegetable Planters...
Name
VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots...
GROWNEER 24 Packs 0.7 Gallon Flexible Nursery Pot Flower Pots with 15 Pcs Plant Labels,...
GROWNEER 3 Packs 17 Inches Terracotta Color Flower Window Box Plastic Vegetable Planters...
Prime
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Products
VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots...
Name
VIVOSUN 5-Pack 5 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots...
Prime
#2nd Best Choice
Products
GROWNEER 24 Packs 0.7 Gallon Flexible Nursery Pot Flower Pots with 15 Pcs Plant Labels,...
Name
GROWNEER 24 Packs 0.7 Gallon Flexible Nursery Pot Flower Pots with 15 Pcs Plant Labels,...
Prime
#3rd Best Choice
Products
GROWNEER 3 Packs 17 Inches Terracotta Color Flower Window Box Plastic Vegetable Planters...
Name
GROWNEER 3 Packs 17 Inches Terracotta Color Flower Window Box Plastic Vegetable Planters...
Prime

3. Choose an Ideal Location

Before I add my soil, I always make sure to pick the place where the container will stay because moving it after the soil is added, especially so after it is watered, can get very heavy!

Know that many vegetables do best in full sun areas, and this will be true for your carrots as well. Some varieties have been bred for more shaded areas, however, so you still have options!

Check the packaging that your carrot variety comes in. It will often give you all the information you need.

4. Use Well Draining Potting Mix to Fill the Pot

What Is A Humus Soil

Now that the container has been placed and the variety of carrots has been selected, it is time to fill it with your soil.

It is okay to fill the bottom with gravel or some crushed plastic containers in many container plantings to save on soil.

This is not the best idea when planting a root crop, as the container area is the total area your vegetable has to fill out and grow.

Instead, fill the pot with soil that is more of a sandy loam mix as this should have a good balance of water retention and allow the very efficient drainage that most root crops need to grow well and discourage rotting.

Adding organic matter, like compost, into the mix is another great idea since this will supply the carrots with more nutrients and increase water retention, especially if the soil ends up being too sandy.

If a bit more water retention is your game, then adding peat moss to your soil can also be a viable solution to keep it balanced.

Products
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Concentrated Planting Mix, .67 cu. ft.
#2nd Best Choice
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
#3rd Best Choice
Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types - 8qts for Indoor and Outdoor...
Name
Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Concentrated Planting Mix, .67 cu. ft.
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types - 8qts for Indoor and Outdoor...
Prime
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Products
Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Concentrated Planting Mix, .67 cu. ft.
Name
Miracle-Gro Expand 'N Gro Concentrated Planting Mix, .67 cu. ft.
Prime
#2nd Best Choice
Products
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
Name
Espoma AP8 8-Quart Organic Potting Mix
Prime
#3rd Best Choice
Products
Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types - 8qts for Indoor and Outdoor...
Name
Organic Potting Mix by Perfect Plants for All Plant Types - 8qts for Indoor and Outdoor...
Prime

5. Plant Carrot Seeds Properly

Planting The Carrot Seeds

Carrot seeds of any variety are quite small, meaning they won’t need to be buried very deeply. Instead, take a full scoop of soil out of the top of the pot and set it to the side.

Then, it is enough to sprinkle them over the top of the soil and pour the soil you had previously set aside over the seeds, pressing down on it slightly to ensure that the seeds have settled firmly into the soil but still have room around them to breath.

Planting them up to two or three weeks before the last frost date will ensure a healthy first crop and maximize the available planting season throughout the spring, summer, and fall, getting many harvests of carrots throughout!

Carrots take about 10 days to germinate, so you will have time to pay attention to the rest of your garden before attention needs to be turned on them again.

6. Control the Temperature

Carrots are relatively frost-resistant. Hence, carrots can be planted earlier than some other crops that freeze quickly, like tomatoes.

They prefer cooler temperatures, in fact, liking night temperatures of 55 degrees F (12.7 degrees C) and daytime temperatures of 75 degrees F (~24 degrees C).

Much higher temperatures will cause lower quality carrots. The ability to move the containers is another reason to be gardening in a pot.

7. Follow a Proper Watering Schedule  

 Follow A Proper Watering Schedule

Watering carrots is very important as this is another one of those root vegetables that the heat and moisture around it may manipulate the taste.

The soil around carrots should stay slightly moist while not be soggy.

This is where good drainage comes in, but high water retention in soil particles is still important. If carrots stay in soil that is kept moist, many varieties will actually grow sweeter.

However, finding the line between sweet and soggy is significant in the health of your harvest!

Blumat Bottle Adapter (3 Pack): Self Watering Spikes/Houseplant Watering Stakes, Automatic...
  • UNIVERSAL BOTTLE ADAPTER: Can be operated quickly and easily with any...
  • PERFECT FOR TRAVELERS: Now you don't have to worry about who will take care...
  • OPTIMAL WATER DELIVERY: Delivers water gradually into the soil of your...

8. Follow a Proper Fertilizing Strategy for Container Grown Carrots

Carrots don’t need a lot more than being given the right soil to live in and the right amount of water while they grow.

Adding some fertilizers may help. However, in an environment that can be controlled and a container can, carrots will normally be able to grow just fine without any supplements if the beginning steps were taken as they should be to cultivate healthy soil.

Weeds generally won’t be a problem; however, it is a smart move to thin the carrots out as you go to ensure that each little root has enough underground room to grow into the full vegetable that you know it can be!

Thinning simply means pulling the plants out that are too close to another, perhaps bigger or healthier-looking young sprout to ensure better growth.

Even if I don’t add any more fertilizer on top of the carrots while growing, I have prepared for this already.

I will watch and add soil over the tops of the growing roots if they become apparent as I watch them mature. 

This will keep the orange part hidden from the sun and safe under the soil layers.

Products
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food, Plant Fertilizer, 4.5 lbs.
#2nd Best Choice
Down to Earth Organic Vegetable Garden Fertilizer 4-4-4, 5lb
#3rd Best Choice
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
Name
Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food, Plant Fertilizer, 4.5 lbs.
Down to Earth Organic Vegetable Garden Fertilizer 4-4-4, 5lb
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
Prime
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Products
Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food, Plant Fertilizer, 4.5 lbs.
Name
Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food, Plant Fertilizer, 4.5 lbs.
Prime
#2nd Best Choice
Products
Down to Earth Organic Vegetable Garden Fertilizer 4-4-4, 5lb
Name
Down to Earth Organic Vegetable Garden Fertilizer 4-4-4, 5lb
Prime
#3rd Best Choice
Products
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
Name
Dr. Earth Organic 5 Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer Poly Bag
Prime

9. Control Common Carrot Pests and Diseases 

Carrot Rust

Keep an eye on the bugs that may be around your crop as they may be a cause for alarm, or at least for keeping a closer eye on the leaves and roots of the carrots.

Prevention will be the best way to deal with all of these pests and diseases, and you may be able to supplement your soil with compounds that will keep the pests away.

Many diseases can be avoided by keeping a clean container and ensuring your watering schedule is maintained.

Below is a shortlist of different diseases and pests to watch out for, including the most common to affect specifically the carrot:

Aster Yellows Disease

Carried by the aster leafhopper, this disease will cause the plant stunted growth both on top and bottom.

This growth on the top is often called “witches’ broom” because of its bushy appearance. On the bottom, it destroys the carrot’s flavor.

Carrot Rust

This disease is caused by carrot rust flies that will come in and lay their eggs in the soil around the plants.

When they hatch, they burrow into the soil and into the carrot itself, leaving rust-colored tunnels all the way through.

Carrot Weevils

These pests look like beetles and also lay their eggs and cause burrowing. However, they won’t leave a rust color behind.

Leaf Blight

Leaf blight is common in many garden vegetables, and this remains true for the carrot. It causes yellow and brown spots on the carrot that will eventually cause them to merge into one and make the tops look sickly and brown.

Monterey LG6150 Garden Insect Spray, Insecticide & Pesticide with Spinosad Concentrate, 16...
  • Fast acting and odorless - Monterey insect killer is a bacterial product...
  • Controls many insects - The insect treatment spray controls caterpillars,...
  • Variety of uses - This pest control can be used on outdoor ornamentals,...

10. Harvesting Carrots from Containers

Harvesting Carrots From Containers

Finally, all of your work has paid off, and you are looking at a beautiful bushy green plant sitting above the confines of the container.

It has come time to pull them out and see what your handiwork has accomplished!

When harvesting, it may be a good idea to try and scoop some of the soil out from around the clumps of carrots.

However, since it is important to plant carrots in pretty loose soil, grabbing them firmly at the bottom of the green stem and gently tugging them out of the soil will generally be enough for them to break free and be placed in whatever bucket or basket you may be used to take them in and clean them.

YUWLDD Garden Genie Protective Gloves,Planting Vegetables and Flowers Digging Soil...
  • ⭕There are 8 durable claws on each glove to make gardening easy and...
  • ⭕A good helper for gardening - Easy solution for digging Loose...
  • ⭕Soft and Waterproof - Breathable technology that protects your hands...

11. Finish and Repeat

Now that you have harvested your first round of carrots consider yourself a pro. Even if you need a couple more rounds to perfect your carrot and container growing routine, you are now ready to plant another crop!

You should be able to reuse the container and the soil for four or five carrot harvests, depending on the work you put into the health of your soil beforehand.

In between each go, you may want to ensure the health of your soil and add a bit more compost and stir it in. This also guarantees that the soil is still as loose as you need it to be.

This is also the time to make any amendments you may have thought necessary during the growing period for the last crop, perhaps more sand for drainage or more peat moss for retention.

FAQ: Growing Carrots in a Container

How often is it necessary to water carrots?

Carrot In Soil

It is important to keep your potted carrot plants moist without over-watering them. Depending on the sun, wind, and rain you are getting in your area, this can vary widely.

One good way to determine whether they need more water is to stick your finger into the top two inches of soil if it is crumbly and dry, definitely time to water! If it is still very wet, then wait a day or three before watering.

Self Watering Vegetable Planter Box with Trellis on Wheels - Mobile Garden
  • Add convenience and space to your home garden or community garden plots...
  • The planter with trellis has two wheels and a handle, making it easy to...
  • An extra-large 3-gallon water storage zone with a self-watering pot makes...

How much space do carrots need to grow?

They can be planted very close together by sprinkling, as they are so slight that planting one at a time is generally more time than it is worth.

They can be thinned afterward so that there is at least a space of 2-4 inches between each of the carrot plants.

Look at your packet and see how big the carrots will be growing. If they are a smaller variety, they can be grown closer together.

How long do carrots take to grow in containers?

Carrots only take about ten days to germinate, and varietal dependent will generally take about 65 to 75 days to reach full maturity after planting them in a pot.

How big (wide) do containers need to be for carrots?

This is entirely dependent on how many carrots that you would like to grow at a time.

Planning for each carrot plant to have 1-3 inches will allow you to determine how much each container can feasibly support. Keep in mind that depth is also going to be important!

How do you know when carrots are ready to harvest?

Harvesting Carrots From Containers

This is hugely varietal-dependent. However, when they have reached a bright orange color is generally a good indicator.

However, this may not work for you if you like to plant purple, red, white, or any other color carrot. Keeping a calendar will be the best way to go.

If the packet that your carrot variety came in says it reaches maturity in 65 days, keep track of when that will be, check for color, and if all looks well, go ahead and harvest!

How Many Carrots Can You Grow In A 5-Gallon Bucket?

Without overcrowding, you can plant anywhere from 10 large carrots to 25 smaller carrots inside an average 5-gallon bucket. Be sure to space them 2-4 inches apart, and then you should be fine, even growing in such a small but amply deep area.

What Happens To A Carrot If It Is Left In The Sun Instead Of Being Covered In Soil?

Although it doesn’t encourage toxins to be produced, as it will in potatoes, the sun will cause the top of the carrot to turn green and give it a sharply bitter taste compared with the rest of the carrot that is, hopefully, sweeter.

Conclusion

Learning about how to grow carrots in containers and the backyard may not only help you to maximize your garden space and harvest.

It can also be its own project for your kids, making it a little more approachable and small scale for them to start to handle before getting them dirty up to the shoulders in the larger garden if that’s what you have space for.

With the promise of some great harvests and the versatility that containers provide, growing carrots, potatoes, and many other plants, you may find yourself switching to a container garden steadily over the coming years since they make your plants easier to reach and control the environment for the crops!

If you are sure, watch how dry the soil is, as well as its health, then you are sure to have a bounty each season for friends and family to continue to enjoy, all from perhaps only a bucket!

Sale
FOYUEE Raised Planter Box with Legs Outdoor Elevated Garden Bed On Wheels for Vegetables...
  • SIZE: 40-1/2" L x 15-1/2" W x 31-1/2" H overall, planting box: 37-1/2" L x...
  • ERGONOMIC: Elevated raised planter box with legs eliminates the need to...
  • METAL: Made of stable galvanized steel raised garden bed with anti-rusty...

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.