Beet vs Radish: What’s the Difference?

Written by August Buck
Published: July 10, 2022
Image Credit Negrobov/Shutterstock.com
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Whether you are planning a garden or simply want to experiment in the kitchen, you should know all of the differences between a beet vs radish. Both of these root vegetables have a lot of things to offer the average person, whether they want to cook with them or have them in their garden. However, what are all the differences and similarities between radishes and beets? 

In this article, we will compare and contrast the beet vegetable and the radish vegetable so that you can have a full understanding of both of them. We will address what they look like as well as what their most common uses are, in case you are unclear about either of these things. Finally, we will give you some tips on where these plants grow best and how to care for them. Let’s get started now! 

Comparing Beet vs Radish

Beet vs Radish
The beet plant is used in a variety of other applications compared to the culinary radish.

A-Z-Animals.com

BeetRadish
ClassificationBeta vulgarisRaphanus sativus
DescriptionCommonly a deep red or purple in color, with large edible leaves sticking out from the ground. Frequently bleeds on things when cut into, and has rings when sliced; refers to the entire beet plant as opposed to just the rootSmall root vegetable with delicate leaves and a heart shaped bulb. Found in a variety of colors, including red, pink, purple, white, cream, and yellow. Some roots are round, others are oblong
UsesThe entire plant is edible and has many culinary uses. Also used to naturally dye a number of things, including other food products, and in table sugar productionVariety of culinary uses, including raw, roasted, and made into dips or salads. The entire plant is delicate and edible, with a peppery taste
Hardiness Zones2-112-11
Water and Light NeedsFull sun and well-drained soil. Water frequently; radishes form in 60 daysAt least 6 hours of sunlight per day, and keep the soil moist; some varieties can be harvested in 30 days

Key Differences Between Beet vs Radish

beet vs radish
The radish is a member of the cabbage family, while the beet is a member of the amaranth family, both of which are key producers of a variety of vegetables. 

Negrobov/Shutterstock.com

There are a number of key differences between beets and radishes. For example, these root vegetables belong to different families, with the radish belonging to the mustard or cabbage family, and the beet belonging to the amaranth family. In addition, the beet plant is used in a variety of other applications compared to the culinary radish. Finally, the average radish plant is ready sooner than the average beet plant, though it depends on the specific varieties.

Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.

Beet vs Radish: Classification

While they may look similar and serve similar purposes, the beet plant and the radish plant  belong to very different species and families. For example, the beet is classified as Beta vulgaris, while the radish is classified as Raphanus sativus. The radish is a member of the cabbage family, while the beet is a member of the amaranth family, both of which are key producers of a variety of vegetables. 

Beet vs Radish: Description

Beet vs Radish
Radishes are found in more colors compared to the average beet plant, which only comes in red, yellow, and white.

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Radishes and beets are similar in the fact that they grow primarily underground, with a small amount of leaves sprouting on the surface. However, the radish plant tends to take up less space compared to the average beet plant. In addition, radishes are found in more colors compared to the average beet plant, which only comes in red, yellow, and white. There are more radish varieties overall when compared to beetroot plants. 

For the most part, you will notice upon cutting into a beet plant that it bleeds more than a radish plant. This has to do with the number of pigments found within beets compared to radishes, especially when cutting into a red beet plant. Finally, both of these plants come with their roots or bulbs in different shapes, though beets tend to be rounder and larger than the majority of radish varieties, especially when you look at daikon radish in particular. 

Beet vs Radish: Uses

beet vs radish
The average beet plant needs at least 60 days if not 90 days before it is ready, while some radish varieties are ready in as little as 30 days. 

nnattalli/Shutterstock.com

The uses of radishes and beets are strikingly similar to one another, particularly in a culinary aspect. The entire radish and beet plant is edible, including the leaves and bulbs. However, beets are also used to dye a variety of things naturally, while radishes are not used for this. In addition, the sugar beet is a beet variety that is used in table sugar production, something that radishes cannot offer. 

Beet vs Radish: Hardiness Zones

If you are interested in growing beet plants or radish plants, you’ll find that they have identical hardiness zones. This is the region in which beets and radishes grow best, and they both prefer regions 2 through 11. However, most beet varieties need longer to grow compared to certain radish varieties. The average beet plant needs at least 60 days if not 90 days before it is ready, while some radish varieties are ready in as little as 30 days. 

Beet vs Radish: Water and Light Needs

Beet vs Radish
Radishes enjoy a consistent amount of moisture throughout their growing cycle, while beets prefer well-drained soil and slightly less water overall. 

LifetimeStock/Shutterstock.com

Beets and radishes prefer fairly similar water and light needs, though most beet varieties need more light compared to the average radish variety. However, make sure that you don’t plant your radishes in the shade, as they will waste their time producing larger leaves rather than large roots or bulbs. 

It is also very important to understand how much water both of these plants need, as too much tends to lead to soggy roots and underdeveloped crops. For example, radishes enjoy a consistent amount of moisture throughout their growing cycle, while beets prefer well-drained soil and slightly less water overall. 

beet vs radish

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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