6 Radish Plant Growth Stages: Maturity Process & Lifecycle

Rapid-growing radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and will add a zing to your next dish. Although the Radish has a fast growth time, it must go through six stages in its lifecycle.

The lifecycle of a radish begins with you planting the seeds. After planting your seeds, they will start to germinate and develop into seedlings. The following stage is where the Radish begins to produce a root system. Once the Radish has finished building a robust root system, it’s time for you to harvest. If left in the ground, the Radish will enter the last stage of the cycle, where it will bolt and produce seeds.

Radishes reach maturity very quickly, and some varieties are ready for harvest in as little as 20 days after sowing the seeds. The quick-growing vegetable is a biennial, meaning its lifecycle is two years long, but most gardeners will treat it as an annual.

With varieties available for spring and winter growing, this vegetable makes your garden an ideal addition.

Take a look at this time-lapse video of a radish plant and watch as it goes through the stages of life:

We will look into the life cycle of a radish plant and the process it goes through to reach maturity.

How Long Do Radishes Take To Grow?

Radishes typically take four weeks to grow from seed, so you could plant a batch of them every fortnight to keep a consistent supply.

The fun, vibrant little root veg is part of the Brassicaceae family, making them a relative of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and a whole range of tasty vegetables.

They originated from China and made their way toward the west, becoming an important food source in Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Records show that Egyptians even consumed radishes before the pyramids were constructed.

Generally, radishes prefer a cool climate to grow; the optimum seasons are spring and winter – that’s at least a 6-month supply of radishes!

Scientifically known as raphanus sativus, they are grown for their colorful edible roots and greens. The radish plant, including foliage, will grow to 12-18 inches long (30-45 cm), and the root is best harvested when it reaches an inch (2.5 cm) wide.

Common varieties grown in spring are Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, French Breakfast, and White Icicle. There are a variety of radishes suitable for winter growing, and you can look out for Black Spanish, China Rose, and Daikon White.

Radish Growing Stages

1. Planting The Seeds

For spring planting radishes, the best time to plant is two weeks after the season’s last frost. Alternatively, you can grow a crop in the fall 4-6 weeks before the first fall frost.

Radish seeds can be planted directly into the garden in a sunny position where they will receive at least six hours of sun per day.

If the radishes are planted in too much shade, they tend to concentrate on growing more foliage than roots as they try to reach for the sun.

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Ensure the soil you are planting is well-drained and free from rocks or any obstructions that will prevent the roots from forming correctly.

Adding manure or nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil will stimulate vigorous green foliage while sacrificing the edible roots, so try to stick with organic matter when improving your soil.

Plant the radish seeds about ½ inch deep (1.5 cm) and give them about 2 inches (5 cm) of space between the next seed. You can plant individual seeds into holes or scatter some seeds and thin them out later on when they have sprouted.

The speed at which Radishes will grow makes them an ideal crop to grow with other slow-growing vegetables such as Cucumbers, Squash, or Peppers.

2. Germination Time

The second stage of the radish lifecycle is when the seeds begin to germinate, and this will usually occur after 3-4 days of planting if the soil is warm. The maximum temperature germination will take place is 95°F (35°C).

If planting seeds in the winter, you can expect germination within ten days. The lowest temperature the radish seeds will germinate is 39°F (4°C).

As the seed breaks and begins to send up a stem, you will see the first set of leaves appear. The first set of two leaves, called cotyledons, are seed leaves grown on a heart-shaped stem.

3. Seedlings Appear

Following germination, the Radish will start to form as a seedling, and you will notice the second set of leaves has grown and the stem is looking stronger.

Each seed has produced one stem, a set of leaves, and a tap root that will eventually grow into a radish. So, from each seed you plant, you will harvest one Radish.

During this time, it’s a great idea to add low fertilizer nitrogen to the soil to ensure your Radish will grow a healthy root system in its next stage.

This is likely the only time you will need to add fertilizer, as they are so fast-growing and quick to harvest.

As the seedlings continue to grow, you will notice if you have planted too many seeds in one hole and can begin to thin them out if so. Radish seedlings planted too close together won’t form properly, so ensure they have enough space between them.

Radishes in the seedling stage can be sensitive to variations in moisture, temperature, and any competition from nearby weeds.

Keep the planting area of your radishes free from weeds to prevent any disturbance when they reach their root-growing stage.

At this stage of the lifecycle, the radish seedling is edible and can be harvested as a microgreen. Many people opt to use these micro greens on salads or as a garnish.

4. Root Growth

This stage of the Radish’s lifecycle is exciting for gardeners as it produces its crisp edible root. As the radish plants mature above ground, the root system also grows more prominent beneath the soil.

The taproot system of the Radish will reach 20 inches (51 cm) deep in the soil and can grow out to be cylinder-shaped, tapered, or rounded in appearance.

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The root of a radish is a bulbous taproot with colorful skin and a peppery taste. You can find radish roots in colors from white and pink to yellow, green, or black, which makes them striking in salads and fresh dishes.

The color of the Radish will determine a different flavor; for example, red radish roots are smaller and have a sharper taste, making them great to add to salads. White Radish roots are somewhat sweet and have a mild peppery taste.

Any stress from drought during this stage of their life can cause poor development, resulting in unpleasant flavor and tough texture.

Radishes require 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain each week for optimum growth, so if you are not getting rainfall in your area, follow a good watering routine.

Keeping the soil wet during this time allows the root to move easily through the soil while keeping the vegetable succulent.

5. Time to Harvest

Photo: St Peter’s Community News / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The most rewarding part of the Radish plants’ growth cycle has arrived, usually occurring after four weeks of planting.

The best time to harvest radishes is when they have grown to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. You can check the size of your radishes by either pulling one to check or by lightly brushing away some of the soil to have a look.

The harvesting time of radishes will affect their taste; if they are left in the ground for too long, they will become tough and bitter to taste. Harvesting your radishes is easy, and you don’t need any special tools to do so.

Pull at the base of the foliage, and the root will surface with them.

After you have removed the radishes from the ground, you can use a clean, sharp knife to cut the greens from the top and remove the taproot that has grown from the base of the globe.

You can store radishes in the fridge for up to 1 week, so if you have planted a succession crop, they will have reached their harvesting stage by then too.

To store radishes correctly, place them in a water bowl and keep them in the refrigerator or on the countertop.

If you have excess radishes and want to store some for the summer period when they have difficulty growing, you can blanch them and freeze them. Frozen Radishes will last up to six months.

6. Bolting/Flowering

The final stage of the Radishes lifecycle happens when the plant is left in the ground after the harvest stage.

By this point, the Radish has stopped putting its energy into producing its edible root and starts concentrating on flowering to reproduce.

You will notice a large stalk emerge from the center of the greens, and after time, branches containing white or pink flowers will grow. At this point, the root of the Radish is over matured and inedible.

Once the flowers are fully opened, like other plants, they will attract local pollinators such as bees and butterflies to feed and transfer their nectar.

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As the flowers of the Radish plant are cross-pollinated, they will begin their seed production. The seeds of the radish plants are encased in woody pods that look similar to bean pods and are great to save for the following season.

Radishes will tend to bolt or go to the flowering stage prematurely if the temperatures are too warm, so be mindful if you are planting in late spring because as you approach the summer months, they will not stand the heat so well.

It’s a great idea to leave a few radishes in the ground for this purpose, and it will save you from buying seeds next year.

Saving seeds from vegetables you have grown in your garden provides a stock of vegetables that have adapted to your conditions, making them more resilient than store-bought seeds.

FAQs About The Radish Plant Growth Stages

How do you know when radish is done growing?

You will know when the Radish is done growing by checking the size of the root.

Gently remove the soil from the base of the stem and measure the Radish. If the Radish measures 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, they have reached its harvest stage.

What is the lifecycle of a radish plant?

The radish plant goes through 6 stages of its lifecycle, starting from its seeds planted and germination. Once the seed has germinated, a seedling with true leaves will form and begin to develop a healthy root system.

Following the growth of a robust root system, the Radish will reach the harvest stage or, if left to continue growing, will result in flowering.

How long does it take for radishes to bolt?

Radishes will bolt after reaching the harvest stage (4 weeks after planting), provided they are in cooler temperatures.

If the radish plants are grown in warm conditions, 70°F (21°C) or higher, they are susceptible to premature bolting.

How many radishes do you get per plant?

You get one Radish per plant, so you will harvest one radish globe for each seed you plant.

Luckily, radishes are growing fast and don’t take up a lot of space, so to give yourself a good supply of radishes, follow succession planting methods.

Final Thoughts

Radishes are a fast and fun crop to grow in vegetable gardens and can be planted directly in the ground or containers. Because of their ability to grow through the spring and winter, they can supply you with fresh produce for six months.

Looking at the lifecycle of the Radish, this plant can provide you with an edible product from the day it sprouted. Many people grow radishes for microgreens, and they have a great peppery taste while being packed with a heap of nutrition. Whether I am harvesting the roots or the greens of this versatile vegetable, they are great to have on hand for most of the year.

These benefits, paired with their low maintenance requirements, make them a must-have for every veggie garden.

Lucy Young

Meet Lucy, a seasoned gardener with a green thumb and a wealth of experience cultivated over 10 years in her own backyard oasis. Now, she channels her passion into writing, sharing invaluable gardening knowledge on her website. From nurturing plants to expert pruning techniques, Lucy's articles are a treasure trove for both seasoned enthusiasts and budding gardeners. Join her on this leafy journey as she sprinkles insights, tips, and tricks to help you create your own flourishing paradise. Get ready to dig into her gardening wisdom and unlock the secrets of a thriving garden!

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