Do root vegetables regrow themselves, and if so, how?



I mean, don’t you take the whole root out of the ground when you harvest, for example, a carrot? Do you have to replant every single carrot you harvest?

In: Biology

The whole plant is harvested so yes, a new one needs to be planted if you want more. If you put a carrot from the store back in the ground though, it will actually start to grow again. Same with potatoes, onions, and even above ground plants like lettuce. If you let them grow long enough they’ll eventually flower and produce seeds too, so you can grow more.

Most root vegetables won’t regrow the root. The big exceptions are potatoes and yams (actual yams, not sweet potatoes). For the rest, the one root is all you get. The rest of the plant can still survive and grow, but it won’t regrow the root.

For your carrot example, you can dig up the root, cut off the greens with about an inch of rood, and replant it. The carrot stump will send out new roots and try to keep growing. If it survives, it can stay dormant over the winter and finish its life cycle the next year–carrots have a two year lifespan. The tricky part for the plant is if the stump holds enough energy to allow the plant to grow and flower in the second year. That takes a lot of energy that it may not have with such a tiny root.

Which was a lot of words to say “No. You have to replant them every year.” You can keep harvesting the greens of beets. turnips, and others since those will continuously regrow, but not the root.

Carrots are regrown from carrot seeds; potatoes are generally regrown from “seed potatoes” which are chunks of potatoes with enough energy to sprout and sustain leaves until they are self-sufficient.

(The carrot is the actual functional root of the plant, but the potato is a storage tuber attached to the plant’s roots.)