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Swiss Chard Beta vulgaris (Garden Beet Group)

Other plants called Swiss Chard:

Phonetic Spelling
BAY-tuh vul-GAIR-iss
Description

The Garden Beet Group of Beta vulgaris is what most would associate with the word "beet"– the round, swollen root vegetable commonly found in stores.  The earthy-tasting vegetable has a number of cultivars in various colors though deep purple-red is the most well-known.  While this plant is normally grown for its root, the leafy tops are edible as well.

Beets do best in full sun to partial shade and moist, rich, well-drained soil.  While they can still grow well in partial shade, it will take longer for the plant to mature to harvestable size. They thrive in the cool temperatures of spring and fall although they can tolerate heat and humidity well.  However, they need consistent moisture in order to produce a good crop.

When planting, direct-seed if possible– transplanting can disturb root development.  Thin plants to 2-3 in apart.  These plants can be grown in containers, doing best in a minimum size of 2 quarts and depth of 8 in.  The plants can be harvested when the roots have grown to 1.5-3 in diameter, anywhere from 50-80 days after germination.  Plant new beets in 3 week intervals for a continuous harvest.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bull's Blood'
    Old heirloom; red roots and dark red-purple leaves
'Bull's Blood'
Tags:
#cultivars#purple#sun#full sun#small spaces#container plant#purple leaves#showy leaves#low maintenance#vegetable garden#edible roots#vegetable#edible garden#edible leaves#edible#cool season vegetable#container#container vegetable garden#shade tolerant vegetable#ornamental vegetable#small space#containers#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bull's Blood'
    Old heirloom; red roots and dark red-purple leaves
'Bull's Blood'
Tags:
#cultivars#purple#sun#full sun#small spaces#container plant#purple leaves#showy leaves#low maintenance#vegetable garden#edible roots#vegetable#edible garden#edible leaves#edible#cool season vegetable#container#container vegetable garden#shade tolerant vegetable#ornamental vegetable#small space#containers#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Beta
    Species:
    vulgaris
    Family:
    Amaranthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Biennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean, Europe
    Edibility:
    Roots and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Trim the greens from the root to store, leaving a small amount of stem behind. Use the greens within a few days as they do not store well. The beets can last up to several months in the fridge under proper humidity and temperature.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Vegetable
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Description:
    Green, non-showy spikes of flowers in the plant's second year. Spikes can rise as tall as 4'.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Large, green leafy tops. Leaves may have red veining or be entirely purple in color depending on the cultivar.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Humidity