Grow New Plants from Carrot Tops or Other Roots (Project) - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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Grow New Plants from Carrot Tops or Other Roots (Project)

Plants often reproduce by seed, which involves two different parent plants and the process of pollination. But sometimes plants reproduce vegetatively, which means a part of the plant like the root or the stem generates a new plant. This plant has only one parent and is genetically identical to it.

You can see this process in action by regrowing plants from common root vegetables. Carrot, radish, turnip, and beet tops can all grow into full plants all over again.

root vegetables growing in a pie tin
Illustration by SAm Tomasello.

You’ll need an aluminum pie pan or takeout container from a restaurant. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the pan with a pencil point so water will drain out. Place the pan on a tray.

Add a layer of soil about 2 inches deep. Place root tops in the soil with their cut bottoms down. Trim the tops of any leaves that are still attached, but leave about an inch of the leaf stems.

Place your garden in a sunny window and keep the soil evenly moist. Observe your root-top garden every day and watch for leaves to start to grow and for small roots to grow out of the root tops into the soil.

This project originally appeared in Gardening With Children (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007).

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Image, top of page: SAm Tomasello