What Do Carrot Sprouts Look Like? Differentiating Them From Weeds

fresh carrot sprouts

Growing vegetables in your garden or backyard is a trend that a lot of people are following nowadays. Carrots are very nutritious, and they can easily be grown with the help of the right soil and the right temperature. However, there are first time growers who end up mistaking its sprout for weeds.

Carrots originated from Persia. Although in the past, they were cultivated for its seeds and greens, today, we plant this vegetable for its orange, fleshy and slightly sweet taproot. Since the carrot is a root vegetable, those who try to grow it on their own will find it difficult to identify its sprouts.

What Do Carrot Sprouts Look Like? Differentiating Them From Weeds

How Do Carrots Grow?

carrot sprout

Since the carrot will grow rapidly, a lot of people will confuse the sprouts for other vegetables or for weeds. This is the reason why many first timers will end up damaging the sprouts or uprooting and killing it. The carrot sprout can also look like cabbage or potato sprouts.

Carrots are biennial plants and they will grow rosette leaves while the taproot within the soil grows. Shortly after germination, the seedlings will begin to sprout. It will develop a clear demarcation that will help separate the taproot from the rest of the plant. The stem will also emerge early on.

carrot sprouts

The first true leaf can be seen 10-15 days after the seed has germinated, later on, more leaves will develop through the stem nodes. These leaves will appear alternately. Compound leaves will also form later as well as leaves arranged in a spiral. The alternating compound leaves will show pinnation.

As the plant matures and the taproot enlarges, the bases of the seed leaves are pushed apart. The seed nodes will also begin to elongate so that it will be able to grow flowers later on. If the plant’s meristem begins to produce elongated meristems instead of leaves, flowers will soon appear.

Identifying The Seed Leaves

carrot sprouts in garden

The best way to identify the carrot sprouts is to know what the seed leaves look like. Also known as cotyledon leaves, this is where the carrot sprout emerges, and this is what provides nutrition for the very small plant. The seed leaves can be seen as a pair of small green leaves that shoot from the ground.

It should be noted that the seed leaves will look like the seed leaves of other plants. As a matter of fact, they can easily be mistaken for tiny blades of grass. They are also smooth with veins that are not prominent. The seed leaves will not look the same as the leaves that will develop as the carrot plant matures.

Identifying the seed leaves can be more difficult than identifying the carrot sprouts themselves. As a matter of fact, a lot of these plants will get damaged because the planter is not able to recognize it and keep it from harm early on. The diminutive size of the leaves is what makes it difficult to identify.

How Can You Identify Carrot Sprouts?

young carrot leaves

The best way that you can do to identify the carrot sprout is to give it a close look. The carrot sprout should grow exactly where you planted the seeds. You should consider getting a magnifying lens so you can clearly identify the seed leaf and the carrot sprouts that will start to grow beside it clearly.

If the leaves are still too small, or if they have just started to sprout, I highly recommend that you wait for a few days until it gets big enough for a thorough inspection. You can also grab a leaf and then try to crush it with your fingers, if it is a carrot sprout then it will have a slight carrot-like odor.

Another way to identify carrot sprouts is to mark the area where you plant the seeds carefully. You can use straws to help you see where the seeds were planted, doing so will also help provide moisture in the area so that the sprouts will survive. Just be sure to remove it as soon as the sprouts emerge.


sprout sandwiches

Identifying carrot sprouts will require a lot of time and patience. You need to have a keen eye and you need to make sure that you recognize its distinct characteristics first before you try to pull it out. Keep in mind that the seed leaf is very important for the carrot’s growth and any damage you cause can kill it.

You should also keep in mind that the carrot sprout has distinct leaves. They will grow alternately, and they will for compound leaves later on. The leaves will also have a spiral arrangement. If it is allowed to grow, the sprout will have more leaves until it is ready to develop flowers.

Carrot sprouts can easily be mistaken for grass or for weeds. This is simply because they can grow fast and their small size can make it very hard to identify. Do not be afraid to use a magnifying lens if you need to see it more clearly, or to pinch-off a leaf so you can smell it for yourself.

Carrots will grow in three to four months’ time. It can provide you with a lot of nutrition and help you create amazing dishes for you and your family. I hope that through this article, you can now identify carrot sprouts easily so you will be able to take care of them until it is time for harvest.

Have you tried planting carrots in your own garden before? Tell us how you identified the carrot sprouts and how you took care of the plants in the comment section below.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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1 comment
Julia Wilson says Jul. 2017

Carrots are classified into five broad categories which are Imperator, Danvers, slender Nantes, Ball-type, and Chantenay. The sizes, shapes, and color are some of the major differences in these types of carrots, but the sprout appearance is the same for all of them. When you want to grow your carrots in a loose and deep soil; Imperator and slender Nantes are the types of carrots that do well in such soils.

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