How to Grow Carrots From Carrot Tops Indoors

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"Recycling" carrot clippings by tossing them into the compost bin is beneficial for your garden and the environment, but it's not the only option. There's something simply delightful about the idea of growing a whole new plant from a throw-away carrot top. But note: You won't grow an actual carrot from carrot tops. However, you can grow a pretty plant.

Below are some ways to experiment with those leftover tops. (Kids especially will have fun with this!)

(Image: Teo Spengler)

Carrots are root vegetables, and the edible part grows beneath the ground. Homegrown carrots are sweeter and more tender than the ones you find in your supermarket, but the tops of either will work just fine to grow an ornamental carrot plant. Here are several different methods to try.

The Water Glass Method

Ferny leaves begin to grow in a few days.
Ferny leaves begin to grow in a few days. (Image: Teo Spengler)

Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch carrot top
  • Small glass
  • Water
  • Toothpicks or thin wooden sticks

Step 1

Give the carrots a "haircut," scissoring off any long, green shoots.

Scissor off long shoots
Scissor off long shoots (Image: Teo Spengler)

Step 2

Poke three toothpicks into the sides of the carrot top and position it on the top of the glass. The toothpicks rest on the top and the carrot top is suspended inside, with the bottom side down.

Step 3

Add tepid water to the glass until the level just touches the bottom of the carrot top. Place the glass in a bright, sunny window. Maintain the water level by adding a little bit every day.

A carrot top "planted" in water like this will sprout tiny roots from the cut edge and ferny green leaves from the top. Sometimes the leaves grow first, sometimes the roots. Once the roots are 1 or 2 inches long, transplant the carrot top to a small pot filled with potting soil. Keep it in a sunny location and watch the leaves grow.

The Shallow Bowl or Pie Plate Method

Carrot tops sprouting make a nice display.
Carrot tops sprouting make a nice display. (Image: Teo Spengler)

Why grow one carrot plant when you could grow a bunch at the same time?

Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch carrot tops, 6–8
  • Shallow bowl or pie plate
  • Marbles, sand or pebbles

Step 1

Fill the bottom of the bowl or pan with one layer of marbles, or an inch of sand or pebbles.

Step 2

Trim the greens off the carrot tops and set the tops cut-side down directly on the marbles. Add lukewarm water until it just covers the marbles and place the plate in the sun. Add water regularly.

You'll soon see tiny roots growing in on the cut parts of the carrots. About the same time, ferny leaves appear on the tops of the carrots. You can leave the carrot tops in the plate and enjoy the grouping of little plants as a centerpiece. Alternatively, plant them close together in one small pot for a lush and lovely effect.

Tip

  • If you live in a mild climate, your carrot plate will thrive on a patio table outdoors. But don't forget to keep adding water so the plate does not go dry.

The Hanging Method

Here's an interesting take on growing carrot tops: making a tiny hanging basket.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch carrot top
  • Heavy string or light cord

Step 1

Cut off about 2 inches of carrot top, removing any greens. With a sharp knife, hollow out the cut side of the little carrot top, creating a bowl. Be sure to leave a solid section of carrot — at least 1/2 inch thick — nearest to the top of the carrot.

Step 2

Use heavy string or light cord to hang the carrot top, bowl right-side-up, in a sunny window. Fill it with water and keep the carrot "bowl" full. Ferny leaves will spout from the carrot and keep growing as long as you continue to fill the carrot bowl with water.

Tip

  • Carrots are not the only root vegetable that you can use to grow houseplants. Beets and turnips also work well.

References

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