Somerville Garden Club

Select Radish Cultivars

The newsletter’s loss is the web site’s gain. A list of radish cultivars from Liz Loveland.

Many of the radish cultivars that were popular even twenty years ago in the U.S. have become rare or completely disappeared from commerce. Here are some radishes that usually grow well in our climate, including some that are sometimes sold at local farmers’ markets and others that are much less common:

Spring/Autumn Radishes

  • ‘Cherry Belle’ – The type of radish many think of as the classic radish, it is small, fast-producing, and cherry-colored with a white interior.
  • ‘French Breakfast’ – If ‘Cherry Belle’ were squeezed, this might be the result. It is long and thin and partially white, partially scarlet. The name nods back to the days when radishes were commonly eaten as an appetite stimulator or an appetizer, regardless of the meal.
  • ‘Helios’ – A beautiful globe radish with rich yellow skin, it produces roots a bit slower than the smaller cultivars above.
  • ‘White Icicle’ – This was once one of the most popular radish cultivars, but is much less common today. Its appearance tips one off to its name—long, thinnish white roots that can reach about 5–6 inches.
  • ‘Red Meat Chinese’ – If not identical to the popular radish now sold as ‘Watermelon’, it is at least very similar. It is a beautiful round cultivar with a red interior. Takes about two months to fully mature, but like all radishes, it can be pulled young.
  • ‘Green Meat Chinese’ – Similar to ‘Red Meat Chinese,’ but with a green interior.
  • ‘Violet de Gournay’ – Rare in the U.S., it is a French heirloom with a deep violet exterior and pure white interior, and looks somewhat like a carrot from the outside. In our type of climate, it is generally better grown in the autumn and harvested in early winter.

Winter Radishes

  • ‘Black Spanish Round’ – Perhaps the classic winter radish, this heirloom has been grown for hundreds of years and is still fairly popular today. There is also a ‘Black Spanish Long’ with icicle-like roots that is less common.
  • ‘China Rose’ (AKA ‘Chinese Rose’) – Another very old variety, this one with a strong flavor that is great for radish aficionados.
  • ‘Minowase Daikon’ – Once a popular open-pollinated variety from Japan, it is being replaced commercially by hybrid versions in the U.S. The roots can grow to two feet in good conditions yet still stay tender.

Comments are closed.