Would you like to learn how to grow carrots indoors? Believe it or not, growing carrots indoors is easier than growing them outdoors.
In this article, you will learn what carrot varieties to grow, what pots to use, and how to feed and water them.
Can You Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops?
First, let’s dispel a common myth that you can grow carrots from carrot tops.
You can plant a carrot top and it will grow leaves but it will not grow another carrot root.
Sorry but if you want to grow carrots indoors you will need to grow them from seed.
But don’t worry it’s easy and I will show you how to grow your own sweet juicy carrots indoors.
First Some Carrot History And Facts
The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) is a root vegetable, typically orange in color, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivars exist, all of which are domesticated forms of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and Southwestern Asia.
The plant probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds.
The most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the stems and leaves are also eaten.
The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its enlarged, more palatable, less woody-textured taproot. Carrot – Wikipedia
Carrots are members of the umbellifer family and are biennial meaning they flower in their second year.
They typically take about 90 days to mature. But they can be harvested as early as 50 days as baby carrots.
Carrot roots contain high amounts of alpha- and beta-carotene and are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.
Some relatives of the carrot are parsley, cilantro, coriander, fennel, anise, dill, and cumin.
So it isn’t that surprising that carrot tops and seeds were also eaten. Now to the business at hand.
How To Grow Carrots Indoors
Carrots are a sun and moisture-loving plant and the closer we come to meeting these requirements the better our carrots will be.
What that means is if you grow carrots indoors you should plan on providing supplemental lighting for them.
Growing Carrots Indoors Under Lights
LED grow lights will work best because they can provide full spectrum light with less heat and a lower electric bill.
I am using a Spider Farmer SF 2000 in my kitchen garden. You can check it out on Amazon here.
My garden has slowly grown in size from 2×4 to 3×6 and I can cover it all with this one LED grow light.
I put plants with the highest light requirements like tomatoes in the center and lower light plants like lettuce on the edges.
Here is a review of the LED grow light I use to grow my carrots and other indoor vegetables. Spider Farmer SF2000 Unboxing And Review (indoorvegetablegrower.com)
Best Soil For Carrots
Carrot varieties are available in different colors and lengths but all varieties will do better in a deep pot with a light growth medium.
Coco coir is the perfect growing medium for carrots because it doesn’t compact and holds moisture really well.
It also weighs much less than potting soil which is something to consider.
Many soil mixes also contain perlite to lighten the mix and improve drainage. I wouldn’t use them.
Carrots can become misshapen or grow forked roots when they hit stones or other obstructions.
So you will want a potting mix that doesn’t contain any man-made or natural stones in it.
To grow the best carrots you want a growing medium free of them and one like coco that allows easy straight growth.
Growing Carrots In Containers
5-gallon buckets make great planters for carrots because they are deep. If you decide to use them you will need to add drain holes.
Plastic pots that are 8-12 inches deep can also be used. Make sure they have holes for drainage.
Another great option is fabric pots. Potato grow bags are deeper than standard grow bags and you might even try growing potatoes indoors with them too.
You will want to choose carrot varieties with good flavor and that are free of bitterness.
There are many varieties of carrots and there is quite a bit of variation in flavor and sweetness.
Carrots can also vary a lot in length. Since we are growing in containers it is best to choose shorter varieties to grow indoors.
There are basically 4 main carrot types and many color variations as well. The main types are:
Imperator which are the long carrots you typically see in the supermarket.
Danvers carrots are your classic American garden carrot.
Chantenay carrots are blocky carrots that are often used for cooking and canning.
Nantes carrots are a cylindrical carrot that is sweet and fine grained and often used for juicing.
Most of the many different carrot varieties, including color variations fall into one of these groups.
Here is a good article that gives more information on carrot types: https://www.homefortheharvest.com/types-of-carrots/
You may want to try growing some different varieties until you find the ones that suit your tastes and grow well for you.
Nantes carrots are my personal favorite carrot type. They are sweet and crunchy and nearly coreless.
The picture above is Burpee Nantes Half Long Carrot and the variety I will be growing. You can get it here.
Growing Carrots From Seed
Carrot seeds are fairly small and they are also fairly cheap. Precision seeding can be very time-consuming and can result in a thin stand.
So I prefer to seed fairly heavily and thin out plants as they grow until I have carrot plants 2-3 inches apart.
Carrots usually germinate in 6-10 days but sometimes it can take up to 3 weeks. Cover them with about 1/2 inch of soil.
I grab the pot I am going to grow my carrots in and try to spread my seeds evenly on top of my soil.
I am growing in coco coir and I sprinkle a layer of it on top of the seeds and gently pat it down.
Usually, I start seeing seedlings popping up within the first week but it can take longer for them all to germinate.
Can You Transplant Carrots?
I have never personally tried this because I believe if you disturb the carrot roots they will grow into forked roots.
However, some gardeners say they have been successful at this.
They say if you are very careful about digging up young seedlings and separating the roots it can work.
Since we are growing carrots indoors I really see no point to this. Plant them in the pot they will grow in and thin as necessary.
Watering And Fertilizing Indoor Carrots
If you do decide to grow carrots in coco coir watering will be easy. Coco coir holds moisture very well without compacting.
Roots will have an easy time growing in it and enjoy the moisture levels they need.
You don’t want to let coco coir dry out. Just keep it evenly moist but not soaking wet.
Feeding is simple too. Use a nutrient designed for growing in coco and follow directions.
Canna Coco A&B is a time-tested nutrient designed for growing in coco coir and probably the best coco nutrient on the market.
This has two parts used in equal amounts. You can get it here.
Unlike soil mixes, coco coir does not provide plant nutrients.
So you will always water it with a nutrient solution and never with plain water.
Canna has perfected growing in coco bringing it down to a science so if you follow directions you will have fantastic crops.
If you are growing carrots in a peat-based potting mix you can use any well-balanced fertilizer for your plants.
Go easy on the nitrogen as too much can cause forked roots.
Carrot Fertilizer Requirements
Carrots are a root crop. Root crops do best with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous and potassium and lower in nitrogen.
Nitrogen promotes leaf growth and although carrots do need some remember it is the roots we are after.
You can also add worm castings or kelp to your potting mix to help improve growth.
These supplements can help provide important micronutrients and growth auxins.
Thinning Your Carrots
You can thin your carrots as they grow to a final 2 to 3 inches apart. I like to let things grow before doing much thinning.
I only thin plants that are growing alongside each other in the same spot. The rest I leave to get larger.
This will allow you to harvest baby carrots which will be ready weeks before your main crop.
It will also open things up for the remaining plants to grow.
My carrots will take 70 days to mature but I can thin out things and start harvesting baby carrots 3 weeks earlier.
How To Grow Carrots Indoors Updates
I just planted my carrot seeds about a week ago. So far there are only a couple popping up so there is not much to see right now.
I will be sharing photo and video updates on how my indoor carrot grow progresses. So you might want to bookmark this page.
Growing Beets And Carrots In Containers
So here is an update. I harvested a few carrots today. They were tasty.
Most of them can go a bit longer before harvest but thinning out a few larger ones will leave more room for the rest to mature.
These are in 2-gallon fabric pots filled with coco coir. I think they do well in coco but it looks like they could benefit from a slightly deeper pot.
The ends are a bit bent which means they hit bottom. Oh well, there’s always next time.
I do have a YouTube channel with videos about growing vegetables indoors at: https://www.youtube.com/c/SMALLFARMSBIGIDEAS
So please check it out for videos about growing indoors.