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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Spinacia oleracea Spinacia oleracea
Lactuca sativa Lactuca sativa
Beta vulgaris (Garden Beet Group) Beta vulgaris (Garden Beet Group)
Daucus carota subsp. sativus has some common insect problems:
Pests of Carrots
Daucus carota subsp. sativus has some common disease problems:
Damping-off in Flower and Vegetable Seedlings

Daucus carota subsp. sativus

Phonetic Spelling
DAW-kus kar-OH-tah sah-TEE-vus
Description

The domestic version of its wild relative, Daucus carota subsp. sativus is a common vegetable in the Apiaceae family.  It is closely related to other aromatic herbs such as parsley, fennel, and dill.  It is most easily recognized by its feathery green leaves that protrude from a thick, fleshy, edible taproot– they are most commonly orange, although cultivars in many colors and shapes are available.  Their orange color is due to a high beta-carotene content, providing a significant source of vitamin A.  Carrots are biennials, only flowering in their second year, but they are grown as annuals when harvested as a vegetable.

Carrots grow best in full sun, tolerating partial shade, and moist, neutral to slightly acidic, sandy loams.  Heavy, compacted, and poorly drained clay soils can cause the roots to branch and distort.  Keep the soil moist as under-watering can lead to tough, bitter carrots.  Check the soil moisture several inches down rather than just the top inch.

When planting, direct seeding is best– transplanting can easily damage the young taproots.  In NC, the best times to plant are early February to late March for a spring crop and August to mid-September for a fall crop, once temperatures are between 40 and 60 F.  Row covers can help protect young seedlings from extreme heat.  Bury seeds 1/4 in deep and thin plants 2-3 in apart.  Carrots can be grown in beds or in containers as small as 2 qts with a minimum depth of 10 in. The seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate and therefore can be planted before the last frost date.  The roots grow to maturity between 70-120 days depending on cultivar and environment.  They can be harvested and eaten at any time after reaching full size, about when the top of the root begins to rise out of the soil.  Be mindful when fertilizing as too much nitrogen can cause the plant to divert energy towards leaf growth instead of roots.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems: Carrot yellows, Alternaria leaf spot, and root-knot nematodes may stunt or wilt growth.  Powdery mildew may affect leaves and root rot may affect seedlings.  Insect pests include aphids, carrot rust fly, leafhoppers, flea beetles, leaf miners, wevils, various caterpillars, and slugs.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Daucus carota.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Vegetable Garden- Reynolda Gardens
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atlas'
    Small spherical roots 1-2 in long; good for shallow soil and containers
  • 'Little Finger'
    Nantes type with 4 in long roots; small and sweet
  • Nantes type
    Cultivar group with 6-7 in long cyndrilical roots; tender and sweet; grows well in heavy soils
  • 'Purple Haze'
    7-8 in long tapered roots; purple with an orange core
'Atlas', 'Little Finger', Nantes type, 'Purple Haze'
Tags:
#sun#full sun#partial shade#small spaces#green#container plant#moist soil#vegetable garden#children's garden#edible roots#vegetable#edible garden#edible#cool season vegetable#container#container vegetable garden#shade tolerant vegetable#sandy soil#loamy soil#ebh-vh#ebh#summer#fall#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Atlas'
    Small spherical roots 1-2 in long; good for shallow soil and containers
  • 'Little Finger'
    Nantes type with 4 in long roots; small and sweet
  • Nantes type
    Cultivar group with 6-7 in long cyndrilical roots; tender and sweet; grows well in heavy soils
  • 'Purple Haze'
    7-8 in long tapered roots; purple with an orange core
'Atlas', 'Little Finger', Nantes type, 'Purple Haze'
Tags:
#sun#full sun#partial shade#small spaces#green#container plant#moist soil#vegetable garden#children's garden#edible roots#vegetable#edible garden#edible#cool season vegetable#container#container vegetable garden#shade tolerant vegetable#sandy soil#loamy soil#ebh-vh#ebh#summer#fall#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Daucus
    Species:
    carota
    Family:
    Apiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Commonly cultivated vegetable
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central Asia,, Afghanistan, garden origin
    Edibility:
    Leaves, roots, flowers, and seeds are edible. The roots are a common vegetable and can be cooked or eaten raw. The flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavored dish, the aromatic seed is used as a flavoring in stews, and the leaves can be cooked or made into a pesto.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 3 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 2 in. - 0 ft. 3 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Vegetable
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    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
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small, dry, and ribbed with bristly hairs.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Umbel of small white 5-petaled flowers in a lacy-looking flat-topped cluster; 3-4 in. wide; deep purple floret in the center. Blooms on the plant's second year. While the flowers can attract a variety of insects, cultivated carrots are almost always harvested well before flowering.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Pinnatifid
    Pinnatisect
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal and alternate, 2-pinnately divided and deeply cut into numerous narrow segments. Leaf blades are thin and feathery, reaching roughly 5" long and 2" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies