Growing Carrots in Containers | Epic Guide to Make it Easy

Last updated: 10/31/21

You may be challenged with space in your raised bed space or your garden soil might not be ideal to grow the best carrots.  Growing carrots in containers is a simple way to ensure you get carrots that Bugs Bunny would eat.

One of the other benefits of growing carrots in containers is that you will save some space using a pot to grow a bounty of carrots.  It is also a fun project that most kids would love to take part in.  My girls love to garden and growing carrots is one of their favorite vegetables to grow.

We will go over all the details on how to grow carrots in a container in this guide.  You will learn what is the most ideal soil to grow carrots, how long do carrots take to grow in containers, and what the best type of carrots to grow in a container.

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When is the best time to Grow Carrots in Containers

Carrots are one of those vegetables that can pretty much be grown almost all year long.  It’s one of the beauties of these tasty orange roots vegetables.  Growing carrots in a container will bump this crop up to a select favorite that most will enjoy.

There is nothing like pulling out a huge bounty of dangling carrots from your container once they have matured any time of the year.  However, there still is a  more ideal time to plant carrots to ensure that they are tasty.

Growing carrots in a container are best done during the cooler weather.

The simple reason why carrots will taste better in the cooler temperatures is due to the fact that the root crops concentrate more of their plant energy to the roots.

The rise in the soil temperatures signal to the plant to grow more in the flower stalk for reproduction purposes.

Seasons of Growing Carrots in Containers

In fact, carrots really thrive during the winter if you make sure that the container or soil doesn’t completely freeze. 

growing carrots in a container

You can still plant carrots during the summer, just be aware that they might not be as sweet-tasting and maybe even be a little bland tasting.

Typically, we start planting our carrots into containers in the early spring with a harvest date of early summer before it really heats up.  You can plan to mulch the carrots beds when the soil temperatures start to rise to help the soil stay cool.

We don’t start planting more carrots until the end of August where we are in zone 7b as the soil temperatures will start to decline in late September as the nights get cooler.  You might be able to plant them during the warmer season in your area if your summer a milder.

Carrots are a favorite crop of ours to grow during the winter because they survive snow and the cold without any issues as long as they are covered and the ground does not completely freeze over.

The carrots grown in containers during this time are also the sweetest tasting ones we have all year.

Check out our post about winter gardening here if you want to up your winter gardening game.

Best Carrot Varieties for Containers

Carrots are a root vegetable so having the right sized container is necessary to plan.  Ideally, the minimum sized container that you should plan for is about 12-15 inches in depth.  The bigger and deeper containers will yield better carrots.

The varieties that do best are the shorter ones that don’t grow too deep.   You might consider the small stubby type carrots if your container is on the smaller size to ensure that they grow successfully.

Green thumb Gardener Favorite Carrot Varieties for containers:

Here are a few varieties that you should consider growing.  These carrots are ideal for growing in containers because they are

Click on the links below if you want to check out the latest prices of them:

  • Scarlet Nantes – This variety is one of our favorite carrots to grow in containers.  These carrots grow to produce sweet, crisp, 6-7” cylindrical carrots, with blunt tips. These carrots that are grown in containers grow uniform as long as you sift your soil.  Typically these carrots also grow better in heavier, rockier soils where other carrot types twist and fork.
  • Chantenay Carrots – These carrots produce short, thick roots that about 5″ to 6″ long.  The carrots will taper to a blunt end and are golden orange with a good flavor.  Just make sure that you harvest these as soon as they have grown to 6″ because they have a woody core if they mature too much.
  • Babette carrots is a baby carrot variety that can be harvested at 3-4” (7-10cm), or allowed to grow larger. These carrots often make their way into the high-end restaurants whole, with the tops still attached.
  • Romeo carrots are a radish-style carrot variety that yields a 2″ spherical carrot about the size of a small beet. Beautiful in cross-section, with a delicious carroty richness.

Steps to Growing Carrots in Containers

Materials to Grow Carrots

  • Potting soil – that is ideally very loose, full of hummus or compost, packed with a moderate amount of NPK
  • A container or pot that is at least 12″-15 ” (31 cm) deep – carrot does a long taproot (or central root) that extends deep
  • Carrots seeds – Trying growing carrots without these. Check out our recommended carrot varieties in the above section for what are excellent carrots to grow in containers.

Steps to Growing Carrots in Pots

  1. Grab your container. You want a 12 to 15-inch container because the carrot plants do grow somewhat deep. Results may be a little perfect if you try growing carrots with a small container.
growing carrots in a container
  1. Add enough potting soil to fill up your container.  Make sure you have really loose soil as this is key to growing carrots.
    • Soil that is too compact will slow down the growth since carrot roots like to breathe.
    • The key is to sit your potting soil to make sure there are no twigs or other objects that could prevent the carrots from developing uniform.
  2. Mix in your amendments such as compost or fertilizers that you want. Carrots need a balanced supply of nutrients. You may need to add supplemental feedings later.
  3. Carrot seeds are extremely tiny unless you use the more expensive pelleted seeds.  Do your best to broadcast your carrots seeds evenly across the top of the container to minimize thinning them out later.
    • Refer to the back of your carrot seed packet for some specific guidelines.
    • Most large enough containers can fit about 16-32 carrots.  It depends on the size and width of your container.
  4. Take some of your potting soil after you broadcast your seeds in the container.
    • The seeds only need about 1/4″ -1/2″ of the soil on top of the seeds to germinate.  Ideally, vermiculite with a little peat moss or coconut coir is best to use for this
  5. Water your carrots with a watering can or mist the top with a spray bottle.  Ensure that the top is evenly moist throughout its germination period.

Here is a video that shows you the steps of growing carrots from seed in your containers:

Thinning Carrots in Pots

Oh boy, thinning carrots is one of those garden tasks that you can’t avoid when you plant carrots.  The best part about growing carrots in containers is that you may not need to bend down as much to perform it compared to a raised bed or garden.

You want to ensure that you don’t have too many carrots bunched up together because it will affect the growth of the carrot.  Ideally, carrots need to have at least 3-4 inches of space around them to grow properly.  The best time to do this is very early on in the growing cycle so you minimize any root disturbance as the carrots plants grow larger.

There are 2 ways that you can thin our carrots.  You can either snip off the top of the carrot or pull them out.  Either way works.  Check out the video below if you want to see a few hacks on the best ways to thin your carrots.

How Long do Carrots Take to Grow in Containers

Growing carrots in containers will give you an edge over most because you can start them indoors during the winter time to help them germinate faster.  In ideal conditions, carrots grown in containers will take about 8-10 weeks to fully mature.

The time to harvest carrots will be slowed down if your carrots are grown in an area that does not have much sunlight.  Carrots still will grow in partial sunlight, but it will increase the time to maturity.

Another factor to consider is the soil temperatures.  The warmer soil temperatures will lead to more growth on the stems and leaves, but the actual root itself will not grow much.  This is the main reason why growing carrots in a container are ideal during the cooler weather.

Carrots also need a moderate amount of fertilizers, especially during the beginning growth periods.  Slower growth will occur if there are not enough fertilizers to promote its growth.  Having adequate amounts of slow release fertilizers at sow period and some supplemental feedings as it grows will encourage them to grow.

Carrots in Containers Care Tips

Growing carrots need a little TLC before and during the growth period.  Preparing your soil in advance with soil that is free from any major obstacles such as twigs and rocks that you might find will help the roots grow successfully.

There are other tips and techniques that you should also adopt if you plan to grow carrots in containers.  These include some watering, fertilizing and harvesting tips.

  • Watering your Carrots – Carrots do need a moderate amount of water to grow successfully.  It is especially important during the germination period.  Keep in mind that containers do dry out a little faster than conventional gardens, so make sure to check your carrot plants often and keep them evenly moist.
  • Fertilizing your carrots – Carrots require a moderate amount of nitrogen at the beginning of their growth for the greens to do well, but potassium (K)  is still the main fertilizer for roots.
    • Fill your containers with a good slow releasing fertilizer to help supplement the growth.  Add some compost to your containers.
    • Supplemental feedings of a water-soluble fertilizer are also needed every other week until for the first 4-6 weeks.
    • Just don’t overdo the Nitrogen (N) and keep it balanced with phosphorus (P) & potassium (K).
  • Harvesting your carrots –  Carrots take about 10 weeks to fully mature for some varieties.  It is best to start checking the carrot size about 8 weeks in.  You can loosen the soil around one carrot to check the diameter and even pull one of them up to see if it is fully developed.  It is best to lightly water the carrots during the last 2 weeks to help you pull them easier and avoid cracking.

More Info | Carrot Power

Carrots are a wonderful addition to your container garden.  You will find that following these tips will help you to grow carrots in containers like a boss.  Try different varieties of carrots that you normally would not find at your local market.

You will be pleasantly surprised at the taste and colors of carrots you can grow easily in your containers.

You can also try to grow other plants in containers easily.  We have a page dedicated to growing vegetables in containers found here.

If you want a good easy one to grow, try growing spinach in containers here.

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Additional Questions

  • Can you grow carrots in potting soil? – Yes, you can grow carrots in potting soil.  Just make sure you screen your soil to remove any impediments that could stunt the growth of your carrots.
  • How deep do containers need to be for carrots? -Your container should be at least 12-15 inches deep.  The deeper the container the better.  Try to grow smaller varieties of carrots if you have a shallow pot.
  • How many carrots do you get from one plant? – Your container of carrots can produce anywhere from 20-40 carrots in a single container.  This really depends on the size of the width and size of the container you choose.
Green Thumb Gardener
growing carrots in a container
Jeremy Starke

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