The Q&A Archives: Sprouting Carrot Tops

Question: Recently, I saved some carrot tops ( just the orange part) and put them in water with a little plant food. Once the tops sprouted greens and roots, my plan was to put them in the soil. My expectation was that new carrots will sprout; indeed thatseveral carrots would be produced from the few tops. I have since been told by some equally novice gardeners that I am wrong. What can I really expect to happen when I put the carrot tops in the soil? I live in Northeast Pennsylvania about 50 miles North of Philadelphia.

Answer: You won't get any carrots but you will get a nice tall ferny green plant and some wonderfully lacy flowers (Queen Anne's lace). Carrots are biennial -- in their first season of growth they produce a hefty root (the carrot) and a basal mound of foliage; in their second season, after the root (the carrot) has matured, they send up a flowering spike (their way of dispersing the species: seed).

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