Rising daikon radish: Large and mildly flavored

Do you want a vegetable that is good for you and your garden? Growing daikon radish is the answer. Known for its long, icicle-like appearance and large blooming leaves, a daikon crop will not only provide you and your friends with healthy nutrients in a mild flavor profile, but will also break up compacted soil in your garden.

Daikon radishes or Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus were first grown in East Asia – especially in North China. There are varieties that are native to Japan, India, Malaysia, and even Singapore. Today, Chinese radishes are used across cultures and continents as a food and also as a cover crop to improve garden health. The taproot can plunge deep into compacted soil and break it up for future crops.

Generally, daikon radishes are 1 to 2 pounds each. The largest recorded daikon to date was grown in Kagoshima City, Japan and weighed approximately 73 pounds! It was also over two feet wide! This particular variety, called Sakurajima, grows abundantly in the volcanic region.

What is considered a typical daikon variety, however, does not have the same shape as the sakurajima. Most varieties are cylindrical with white skin, although there are many varieties with completely different characteristics. Leaves grow from the top of the root and can also be eaten. It is consumed fresh, pickled or cooked with soups and other dishes.

Daikon radishes are not difficult to make. Grow daikon in almost every region at the right time. After they are planted and given the opportunity to loosen your garden bed, you can put many other nightshades in their place.

Good products for growing daikon radish:

Brief instructions for care

Growing daikon radish in the fall is easy. Source: Toddieft

Common Name (s) Daikon, mooli, white radish, winter radish, chai tau, icicle radish
Scientific name Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus
Days to harvest 30-80 days to ripen, depending on the variety
light Full sun to partial shade
Water: Keep moist, but not wet
ground Well-drained, modified with compost up to 20 cm from the surface; pH of 5.8-6.8
fertilizer Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. Full spectrum 2x / season is enough
Pests Flea beetles, cut worms, cabbage grinders, aphids, harlequin beetles
Diseases Black root, downy mildew, Fusarium wilt, club root, Alternaria plague, white rust, wire stem

Everything about Daikon radishes

Drying daikonsDaikons dry in the sun. Source: the daily English show

Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus, Daikon radishes are called Mooli in India and Great Britain and Chai Tau in Thailand and Taiwan. White radish, winter radish, and icicle radish are other names for this taproot. Daikon is a Chinese radish, but it was systematically introduced into the surrounding countries where it is popular today. The name Daikon is a Japanese word that means "big root".

The daikon taproot ranges from pale white to deep red, depending on the variety. To photosynthesize nutrients, daikon radishes have sprouting leafy vegetables that radiate from the center of the root. When they lock, they grow a small seed coat that looks something like a green bean (but is much smaller). These have a very mustardy taste and can be added to salads or simply eaten off the plant. The studs eventually bloom into beautiful white flowers. These properties indicate a large change in taste. Daikon radishes, the flower taste very bitter. Be careful not to eat them at this stage.

These plants are at their peak before the first frost, so the seeds are sown in late summer or early autumn. Spring plantings are too warm for daikon. Typically, they don't appreciate high heat. Sprouts have heart-shaped dicots, and real leaves look more jagged. A ripe taproot develops over 30-80 days. The top of the taproot is visible when the daikon is ready to be harvested.

Although vegetables are used in cooking, the taproot is the most in demand. Traditionally, daikon is chopped or julienniert and pickled to serve as a fresh side dish to other foods. With such a mild taste, it is preferred as a raw addition to salads. It is cooked into soups and cooked with chicken and vegetables. It is believed that daikon radishes were grated and eaten raw in Japan as a digestive aid from the Edo period.

My favorite Daikon variety is watermelon radish. It has light green skin and a pink interior. In contrast to the well-known cylindrical varieties, the watermelon radish is round and small. Its taste is sweet and tangy and a great addition to any raw cut vegetable platter you serve at a meeting. Whichever variety you choose, there are so many different shapes and sizes. And since there is a long history of daikon consumption in the world, there are tons of heirloom varieties to look for.

Plant daikon radishes

This radish is easy to germinate, mostly because it's such a loose plant. Wait until late summer or early fall (not spring) to sow the seeds directly in mildly modified media, as you would with radishes. Although many plants grow well in grow bags or containers, daikon is not one of them.

You need a lot of depth to be able to work with it. Therefore, daikon seeds need to be planted in a soil bed or raised bed. That being said, you'll need to grow daikon outdoors in a fully lit, sunlit area. To sow seeds, make rows and drop seeds. As the seedlings grow, thin them out.


Daikon radish flowersThe daikon flowers aren't flashy, but they're pretty cute nonetheless. Source: jumbo185usa

Grow daikon radishes and watch them ripen quickly. All you have to do is make sure you are not overfeeding when planting daikon. Roots then grow and loosen the soil underneath.

Sun and temperature

Daikon loves to be planted in full sun to partial sun with at least six hours a day. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 11 in temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees (which sometimes occurs through October), although it can grow as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit in colder weather. As soon as temperatures drop below 20 degrees, however, there is a risk that daikon radishes will break off. Alternatively, high heat in spring is not best for daikon. Like any radish (including daikon), daikons prefer to grow in temperatures below 80 degrees. High heat slows down radishes.

If you need to grow daikon radishes when it might be too cold long after autumn, try a frost cloth to protect your harvest until spring. The soil in a raised bed stores more heat than the soil. Here are more likely to keep the leaf color green and healthy in this situation, but forcing these conditions can change the taste of your plants.

Water and moisture

In warm weather, the water daikon radishes daily in the morning hours before ultraviolet rays of the sun had time to get under the surface of the bed. This way you ensure that daikon is not stunted by high heat. As the weather cools, check the humidity to see when it's time to add more water. You want the soil to be moist but not wet. Stick your finger into the ground about an inch. When it's dry at this depth, add some water – but not until the morning hours.

The best type of irrigation for daikon is drip irrigation. An even drop of water in the morning hours gives radishes just the right amount of moisture. However, Daikon appreciates moderate to high humidity. Hence, keep the bed moist and create the conditions that daikon radishes require.


Grow daikon in poor condensed clay media and roots will develop. However, in order to thrive, radishes need a well-drained base soil that is mixed with compost. Most radishes prefer a pH of 5.8 to 6.8 so that the roots form good enough to eat. Daikon does not do well in soils with a high nitrogen content. So test your floor beforehand if this has been a problem before. A high nitrogen number prevents radishes from forming at all. If moisture retention is an issue, apply mulch around the base of each seedling.


Daikon radishes don't need a lot of fertilizer, especially in colder months when it is best not to fertilize at all. If you are planting daikon in modified soil, you don't need any additional help. A compost tea fertilizer once the plant is established and in the middle of the season won't hurt.

Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen in your soil or fertilizer will inhibit the growth of the roots in the daikon and divert the production energy into the foliage. If you choose a commercial fertilizer, use fertilizers with a lower nitrogen content compared to the potassium and phosphorus content. Some even say that no fertilizer is best.


There is only one way to multiply daikon: through seeds. Do you remember the pods we talked about earlier that appear when the daikon is overly mature? The ones that have a nice mustard flavor? Find these, collect them in a paper bag. After drying, the pods open and the seeds are collected. Then plant them in the next growing season through October. This process is especially important for heirloom varieties that rely on their ability to gather seeds for survival.

Harvesting and storing

Harvest daikon radishIt's worth harvesting gigantic radish roots! Source: Ernesto JT

Like any other radish, daikon roots have a long shelf life. Although the daikon leaf may not last, the radish will last for a long time. Harvest and store them properly, and enjoy them long after they are harvested.


When the radish leaf reaches a length of at least 8 inches in early winter, it's time to harvest. This length of leaf is also accompanied by the tips of the daikon roots poking out of the ground. If you are unsure of the readiness of these plants, you can pull one out and see how many inches long or wide it compares to the leaves. It is very important to harvest before the severe frost sets in, which causes root rot.

To harvest, just take the bundles of leaves where they meet the radish and pull on them. If you have enough time before the first frost and you find that the daikon is not as big as you'd like, then you can let the others stay. In your former daikon area, you now have abundant growing medium for other root and nightshade vegetables.


Daikon's green leaves can be eaten raw in salads or wilted, but can only be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. If the leaves are slightly withered and salted, they will keep in the freezer for up to a month. They can also be removed and composted as a green substance. Overall, separating the leaves and roots helps the radish to last longer.

To keep the radish roots in the refrigerator, store them in a plastic bag or in a damp towel. Too much longer in this state and the root takes on a woody texture. Since daikon is full of nutrients, put it in mason jars and store it year round. Pickling the daikon can break down certain compounds that are difficult to digest. Briefly blanch the whole daikon, cut into large pieces and store in the freezer for up to a month. When daikon is sun-dried, it can take up to 6 months.


Big daikonsDaikons can get quite large, up to 2 feet long. Source: Seacoast Eat Local

Daikon is easy to use in the right conditions. However, it is prone to a variety of fungal conditions if it's too cold and too wet.

Growing problems

High heat prevents root development in these plants. Daikons require heat for the seeds to germinate, but grow best when the weather cools. Daikon tends to slip in hot weather. If you find that you planted at the wrong time, try again next time! Let the studs form and collect seed pods for the upcoming planting phase in late summer.

When the weather is too coldor too frosty for daikon, the roots are still developing but your daikon crop is rotting. Remember to pull daikon before the first frost date to keep the destruction at bay.

Too much water can also damage daikon roots. If you find that the soil is not drying properly, water less. Alternative, not enough water cracks roots and changes the taste of your daikon. Mulching to reduce evaporation of soil moisture.

Too much nitrogen directs all of the energy from these plants to leaf development rather than root development. Prevent this by measuring the nutrients in your planting area with a soil test. Many higher education counseling centers offer free kits. If you find that you have had a recurring problem, test the soil before planting it again.

Overcrowding prevents tap roots from forming in all radishes. Thin seedlings that sprout as soon as their true leaves develop at least a few inches apart, although you initially sow an inch apart. Remember to keep the rows at least 18 to 20 inches apart in the initial seed germination phase.


Daikon plants show signs of Flea beetle Infestation when small, webby round holes appear on the leaves. Look for damage, not the culprit themselves, as flea beetles look very different from species to species. To rid your crop of flea beetles, handpick them or set sticky traps that will attract and kill them. Diatomite, which is scattered around the base of the plants, prevents flea beetles from entering. Use pyrethrins when things get out of hand. Row covers also keep all insect enemies away from your plants.

Cutworms are another insect pest that daikon plants struggle with to survive. They consume the base of plants to pupate and develop into a moth, which, ironically, does no harm in the garden. Prevent cut worms by creating a barrier around the base of the seedlings that extends a few inches into the ground. If you notice them around your yard during the day, hand pick them and soak them in soapy water. If spraying is required, use BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) to prevent further damage.

Cabbage grinder Eat the leaves of daikon, which makes it very difficult for nutrients to move towards root development. Also, cabbage grinders consume leaves before they can ripen. If you have a blooming garden, birds, insects, and other animals hunt loopers, but BT, pyrethrins, and spinosad (a mushroom-based pesticide) also eliminate cabbage grinders.

Aphids Nibble on daikon leaves before the roots ripen too. Check the underside of the radish leaves daily for signs of aphids. They're many different colors, but they look similar – tiny and round and plentiful. Hire ladybugs to feed on these pests. Also, spray your plants with neem oil, which aphids hate.

Harlequin beetle (Murgantia histronica) are small stink bugs with a black-orange to red patterned shell. When you see them, handpick them and remove them from the plants before they mature. They overwinter in plants. So if you honestly notice really cool looking black and white eggs on plants near your daikon plants, remove and destroy them before they hatch. Apply spinosad to control the spread of harlequin bugs.


Black root (Aphanomyces raphani) is a fungal disease that rots radish roots and strikes when conditions are too humid. This happens at every point in the radish life cycle. There is no other way to treat black roots than by preventing the cool, damp conditions in which they thrive. Remove and destroy infected products. Do not compost.

Fusarium wither (from the fungus Fusarium oxysporum) is another fungus that occurs in excessively cool and humid conditions. Some soil bacterial and mycological additives will prove helpful against Fusarium, but prevention is best.

Club root (another fungal disease) affects radishes by mutating roots. If you notice stunted growth in the leaves of your plants, pull out a daikon to see if it is infected. Destroy damaged plants, do not compost them.

Wrong mildew is another fungal disease that occurs in conditions of high humidity or high humidity. Although it can be treated with copper fungicides, it is best to avoid it as it is stubborn and cannot easily become extinct. Avoid compost material that is colonized with downy mildew.

Alternaria plague is another pathogen that radishes struggle with when the proper growing conditions are not met. If the leaves have brown spots, apply a liquid copper fungicide to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease.

Similar, white rust Spores collect on leaves and can also be treated with copper fungicide.

If you notice a dark spot right at the base of your daikon seedlings, it is likely Wire trunk (Rhizoctonia solani) has started. Wirestem colors the seedling leaves bluish. Copper fungicides treat affected plants after the transplant.

frequently asked Questions

Delicious daikonsDaikon has a milder radish taste that is very pleasant. Source: Detsugu

Q: How long does it take to grow daikon radish?

A: It depends on the variety. Some species take as little as 30 days to ripen, others up to 80. Choose a variety that suits your needs and take into account the first projected frost date. This will give you an idea of ​​how many days you have before daikon should be harvested.

Q: Can you regrow daikon radish?

A: Unfortunately, daikon taproots cannot be regrown after harvest. However, if you enjoy the greens, they will continue to reproduce when they are replanted.

Q: is daikon radish perennial?

A: Daikon radishes are annual radishes that enjoy increasingly cool soil temperatures as they ripen. They will produce near the first frost date once a year.

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