Skip to content


In the category of “plants that ask so little and give so much”, I would place horseradish. We ordered and then planted the horseradish roots about 6 or 7 years ago in a 3X3 section of a bed near the back door. The horseradish is still thriving in that spot which gets only late afternoon sun. I don’t think that “partly shady” is necessarily horseradish’s preferred MO; I get the feeling it’s the kind of plant that would try hard anywhere. Horseradish comes back full force every spring, regardless of how we treat it. It’s here to stay. img_5627.JPG

You should keep that in mind when planting horseradish. A plant with such determination needs a permanent spot in a garden. If you should decide to move your horseradish bed once you’ve started it– well, good luck to you.

bloom.jpgThe two things I appreciate most about horseradish are its appearance and its uses. Horseradish plants are lovely and varied during the various stages of their development. I must admit that I was really surprised by this. As a small plant, horseradish has delicate shoots; then a single long stem comes from the middle and flowers, of all things. Later in the summer, the plants’ leaves become huge enough that you might imagine being able to roof a grass hut with them– or maybe that’s just me. Over time, horseradish will spread.

Horseradish doesn’t require much tending. One fall, we experimented with lifting all the roots and replanting just the smaller ones. That worked swell. Another fall, we didn’t get around to that process and the horseradish really didn’t seem to mind much. A few times, we’ve harvested just a few of the older plants and left all the rest alone. They came back fine as well. After picking, we tried freezing (a failure) and drying (a stinky failure). The best plan is to harvest, clean and grate the horseradish, in fairly short order, and then refrigerate in jars with vinegar covering the roots. This procedure will clear your sinuses like nothing else!img_5629.JPG

At the holidays, your guests will be dazzled and amazed by your home-grown, home-made horseradish sauce. You can use it straight from the jar or mix with a little sour cream for a creamier and less pungent sauce. A sparklingly memorable relish can be quickly assembled by combining a can of whole cranberries, a small can of crushed pineapple, and about 4 ounces of horseradish.

It should be easy enough to find some small space in your garden to plant horseradish. Make it just a little bit welcome, and you’ll benefit beyond your expectations.

Posted in • Growing.

Tagged with , .

3 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. BillC56 says

    I love horseradish. Where did you get the plants from?

  2. Jardinier says

    Our horseradish roots came from Gurney. They were Jim’s favorite seed company when he was a kid and he’d peruse the catalog in January. Gurney has a neat policy of including a “freebie” with your order.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Horseradish Harvest linked to this post on October 18, 2007

    […] As I previously mentioned, I find horseradish to be a surprisingly elegant addition to our garden. Toward the end of the summer, however, the horseradish bed starts to appear a little worse for the wear. Some of the tall dark green leaves have become a little beat up looking. We usually trim those off and toss them in the compost. […]