Beets are an underrated vegetable in today’s world. You often can only find them canned in the grocery stores, but if you like fresh beets, you might want to try growing a few beet varieties in your garden beds. Fresh beets taste different than the canned ones.
For beet lovers, there are dozens of different types of beets to grow. Whether you want a beet ideal for pickling or one that grates well in a salad, we included one for you to grow.
The Best Beet Varieties To Grow In Your Garden
We are going to take a look at each type of beet. We broke them down by type to make it easier to figure out what you want to grow in your garden.
Heirloom Beet Varieties
Heirloom beets are varieties that have been around for decades, cultivated by gardeners over the years. Most often, heirloom beets are known for the best flavor and pest resistance. Here are some of the most popular heirloom beet varieties.
1. Bull’s Blood
This is an heirloom beet variety that produces burgundy-purple leaves rather than the typical greens that you might associate with beets.
Gardeners rave about Bull’s Blood beets for salads because they have the right color and a great size for it.
It does produce smaller roots than other varieties, measuring 3-4 inches. It takes around 58 days to reach full size.
2. Detroit Dark Red
The first type of beets we had to include was Detroit Dark Red because it’s hands-down one of the most popular variety on the market today.
It’s known for being a great storage heirloom beet that grows good-sized roots that mature in 60 days.
The roots are a deep red, and the greens are edible and delicious. While they might be slow to start, once they begin to grow, there is no stopping them.
You’ll have plenty of ways to cook them in the kitchen this year.
Here is an open-pollinated variety that is ready to harvest in 55 days after you plant them in the ground. Gardeners love Sangria beets because they’re one of the most bolt-tolerant choices.
That means it does well for hot climates or areas that have largely fluctuating temperatures.
Sangria beets come out an intensely red color, and you can harvest them as small, baby beets or as mature roots. They don’t get too tough if you leave them in the ground for longer than planned.
Sweetheart is a lovely beet that has foliage tinted an emerald color. It truly stands out in the garden.
You can expect Sweetheart beets to mature in 58 days, and they produce extra-sweet, delicious roots. Not only can you use the roots, but the tops make delicious greens.
Here we have a sweet, cylindrical beet called Forono that has a nickname of “Cook’s Delight.”
It’s an Italian heirloom that grows 5-8 inch long roots that are 2-3 inches wide. You should plan to harvest these beets younger rather than leaving them in your garden for too long.
6. Early Wonder Tall Top
Based on its name, you probably can guess that it is an early-maturing variety. Early Wonder beets mature in 50 days, so this can be a fantastic variety to use for succession gardening or to increase your harvest.
Gardeners love Early Wonder because it’s an all-around delicious beet, forming 3-4 inch globes. You can use it in salads, soups, or pickled. You can try roasting, boiling, or grating them.
7. Ruby Queen
No one can leave Ruby Queen out of a list of beet varieties. In 55 days, you can have a beet with short tops that measure around 10 inches in height. Ruby Queen is prized for its consistent growth; all of the roots are round and smooth with an evenly-red interior.
If you want a variety of beets that can be canned, Ruby Queen is well known as one of the best canning beets. It has a pleasant, mild, sweet flavor that thrives in nearly all conditions. That makes it an excellent choice for all home gardeners and home food preservers.
8. Mammoth Red Mangel Beet
If you are looking for massively large beets, then the Mammoth Red Mangel Beet is a great way to go. These take 100 days to mature; some of them have reached up to 40 pounds and 6 feet long! Talk about massive!
Not only is Mammoth Red delicious for your dinner, but it’s also a popular livestock feed that was commonly used in the 1800s. It can be a fodder crop if you have a homestead.
Hybrid Beet Varieties
What are hybrid beets? Like any hybrid plant, these are plants that were bred together for different characteristics. It could be the color, disease resistance, or production rate. New hybrids come out all the time.
Warrior is a newer hybrid beet on the market, and it was created to have a lovely deep red color on the inside and outside. At the same time, Warrior beets are tender and sweet. It takes around 57 days to reach maturity, and you’ll find the roots to be globe-shaped and smooth with green tops that are tinged red.
10. Red Ace
If you want that classic, red beet variety that you know and love, Red Ace matures in the garden in 55 days. It grows roots the size of a fist, on average, that tends to taste sweeter than other types. It doesn’t get pity, even if you let it grow too big.
Pacemaker Beets creates medium to large-sized beets that have a deep red color inside and outside. These are slow to bolt if exposed to higher temperatures. That makes Pacemaker an excellent choice for those who live in the South.
Even gardeners in Texas can grow Pacemaker beets well in their hot and dry climate. You can expect a harvest in 50 days.
Miniature Beet Varieties
Mini beets are adorable! Who doesn’t love these perfectly round beets that are small, typically measuring less than 2 inches in diameter. There aren’t too many varieties, but here are the most popular picks.
12. Little Ball
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Often called Baby Ball, this is a mini version that produces red, round beets that only measure 1-1.5 inches. It takes 55 days to mature, and not only can you harvest the root ball, but you also can harvest the greens.
13. Baby Beat
Here is the true queen of miniature beets. Baby Beat is a real mini, baby beet that is well-proportioned despite its small size. It forms an excellent, round shape with a short taproot and smooth skin from early in its growth. You can use this variety for cooking or steaming, and the short tops are great to toss into salads.
Specialty Beet Varieties
When you think of beets, you probably imagine red beets that are solid colored and round. With specialty varieties, you might find green or yellow beets or ones that are striped instead of a solid color.
Ready to see some cool specialty beet varieties?
14. Green Top Bunching
15. Giant Yellow Eckendorf Beet
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This heirloom beet has a unique look that makes it stand out in the garden or at the market. Developed in the 1920s, Giant Yellow produces large, smooth, long, cylindrical-shaped roots that can weigh up to 20 pounds each. Around two-thirds of the beet grows above ground.
While the outside of these beets is yellow, the flesh is solid white. Not only are they great for eating, but Giant Yellow Beets are great to grow for animal food.
It was traditionally used as food for farm animals on small homesteads who needed cheap ways to feed their animals.
16. Sugar Beets
This is a white beet cultivar, and most white beets can be used to make sugar. Sugar beets have the highest sugar content, and they’re also one of the biggest varieties of beets. Due o their size, it also can take up to 100 days for these beets to mature.
If you want a beet with a different shape, Cylindria produces long, tapered, cylinder-shaped roots of average to moderate sizes.
Due to the slightly larger size, it does take more time for these beets to be ready to harvest, taking nearly 60 days on average. Cylindria beets are delicious for pickling or salads.
18. Touchstone Gold
Can you believe that there are gold beets? Gold beets tend to be less gritty and have a palatable taste for people who don’t commonly eat beets.
Touchstone Gold is a new heirloom variety that is gaining popularity quickly. It has a gold flesh with yellow rings, and it keeps its color well, even after you cook them. Touchstone beets bled less into your foods than other ones.
Golden is the original gold beet variety, but it is often called Golden Detroit. Compared to other types, Golden Detroit has smaller roots, and it’s quite versatile in all the different ways you can use it in the kitchen.
In 55 days, the beets reach maturity and will be ready to be added to salads or cooked for dinner.
Last but surely not least, Chioggia is one of the most commonly selected specialty beets that gardeners choose, but it does go by different names. You might know it by “Candy Stripe” or “Bassano.”
As you might have guessed by one of the nicknames, Chioggia is a striped variety of beets. It’s striped white and red – a real showstopper. Chioggia matures in around 50 days.
How to Grow Beets in Your Garden
Beets have been a cool-weather staple crop for centuries. For most gardeners, it can be easy to have an ample harvest. Here are some of the things you need to know about growing beets in your garden.
When To Plant Beets
You should plant the first round of beets in the early spring when the soil is finally workable after the winter. Use succession planting to plant a row or two of beets every 2-3 weeks until mid-summer.
The Right Soil
It’s essential to have the right soil. Most crucial is that you need to make sure the soil is free of rocks and other things that might impend the beetroot to grow appropriately. It needs to be fluffy soil that is fertile with a soil pH level between 6.0 to 7.0.
How Much Light
Beets do best when planted in full sunlight, but they can handle a bit of afternoon shade to avoid the heat of the strong sunlight.
How To Plant Beet Seed
Beets need to be planted from seeds directly into the garden. Don’t try to start the seeds indoors; root crops will become root-bound too quickly. Expect it to take 5-10 days for the seeds to germinate. Once the seeds germinate, you’ll need to thin out the greens, leaving 3-5 inches between each beet.
Each plant needs to receive around 1 inch of water each week. You do need to keep the soil consistently moist during germination to encourage the seed shell to soften and open.
Beets are a fantastic crop for new gardeners to grow because they do thrive in most soil conditions. They handle neglect well, and most are ready to harvest in two months or less.
When you pick the best beet varieties for your garden, you can be sure that you have the beets you want for the recipes you like to cook and that they’ll be ready to feed your family in time.
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.