Grow Turnips in Containers or Pots: Easy Guide for Success

Welcome to the easy guide for growing turnips in containers or pots! Are you a newbie gardener or have limited garden space? No problem! Container gardening is a great way to grow vegetables like turnips in a small area. In this guide, we will provide you with all the necessary information to successfully grow turnips in containers or pots. Let’s get started!

Container Gardening for Turnips: An Overview

Container gardening is a popular technique used by gardeners who lack sufficient space for traditional gardening or wish to grow plants in a more controlled environment. Growing turnips in containers or pots is a great way to enjoy this nutritious root vegetable without the need for a large outdoor garden. By following a few simple guidelines, you can successfully grow turnips in containers and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

The benefits of container gardening for turnips are many. Containers provide a flexible growing environment that can be easily moved to take advantage of the best sunlight and temperature conditions. Containers also allow you to control the soil and water quality, ensuring optimal growing conditions for your turnips. Additionally, container gardening is an excellent choice for those with physical limitations or limited garden space.

Choosing the Right Containers for Turnips

Choosing the right containers is crucial for growing turnips successfully. The ideal container should be deep enough to accommodate turnip roots and have sufficient drainage to prevent waterlogging. Here are some container options to consider:

Container Type Pros Cons
Plastic Pots Lightweight, affordable, and easy to move Less durable than other materials and may become brittle over time
Terra Cotta Pots Durable, breathable, and visually appealing More expensive, heavy, and may crack in extreme temperatures
Fabric Grow Bags Lightweight, affordable, and allow for air pruning of roots May dry out faster and require more frequent watering

When selecting a container, consider the size as well. Turnips require at least 6-8 inches of soil depth for optimal growth. Avoid overcrowding the container and provide ample space for each plant to grow.

In addition to containers, consider other factors such as drainage holes, saucers to catch excess water, and the material the container is made of. Using a high-quality potting mix will also help ensure success.

Selecting the Ideal Turnip Varieties for Container Gardening

When it comes to selecting turnip varieties for container gardening, it’s important to choose those that are known for their compact growth habits. Luckily, many varieties of turnips are perfect for growing in small spaces.

Some of the best turnip varieties for container gardening include:

Turnip Variety Growth Habit Flavor Profile
Topper Small, round roots Mild, sweet taste
Hakurei Small, white roots Crunchy texture and sweet taste
Scarlet Queen Round, red roots Mild and slightly sweet flavor

These varieties are perfect for container gardening because they produce small, compact roots that don’t take up much space. They also grow quickly, so you’ll be able to enjoy fresh turnips in no time.

When choosing your turnip varieties, it’s also important to think about the size of your container. If you have a small container, choose smaller varieties of turnips to ensure they have enough space to grow. For larger containers, you can choose a variety of sizes of turnips to add some variety to your garden.

Preparing the Potting Mix for Turnip Container Planting

Before planting turnips in your containers, it’s important to prepare the potting mix to ensure optimal growth. A well-draining mix with adequate nutrients is key to growing healthy turnips.

Here’s what you’ll need to create the perfect potting mix:

Component Quantity
Peat moss or coconut coir 2 parts
Perlite or vermiculite 1 part
Compost or aged manure 1 part
Worm castings or other organic fertilizer 1/2 part

You can adjust the quantities depending on the size and number of containers you’ll be using.

Combine all the components in a large container and mix well. Make sure the potting mix is moist but not soaking wet. If the mix is too dry, add water until it reaches the right consistency.

It’s a good idea to sterilize the potting mix before using it to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. You can do this by placing the mix in an oven-safe container and baking it at 200°F for 30 minutes.

Planting Turnips in Containers or Pots

Once you have selected the ideal container and potting mix, it’s time to plant your turnips. Follow these steps for successful growth:

  1. Sow seeds: Sow turnip seeds directly into the potting mix, 1/4 inch deep. Space seeds 1-2 inches apart.
  2. Water: Water the soil gently, taking care not to displace the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  3. Provide adequate light: Turnips require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Place the container in a spot that receives full or partial sun.
  4. Thin out seedlings: Once the seedlings have grown to 1-2 inches tall, thin them out by removing the weaker seedlings. Space the remaining seedlings 4-6 inches apart.
  5. Fertilize: Feed your turnips with a general-purpose fertilizer every 3-4 weeks, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Water regularly: Keep the soil moist by watering your turnips regularly. During hot and dry weather, water your turnips deeply to encourage deeper root growth.

By following these steps, you can expect to see healthy turnip plants growing in your containers in no time.

Care and Maintenance of Turnips in Containers

Proper care is essential for container-grown turnips to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Follow these tips to ensure your turnips grow healthy and strong:


Turnips grown in containers require consistent watering to prevent the soil from drying out. Check the soil moisture level daily during hot weather and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other diseases.


Turnips are heavy feeders and require regular fertilizing to promote optimal growth. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, and apply according to package instructions. Alternatively, you can use organic fertilizers such as compost or worm castings to provide essential nutrients to your turnips.

Pest Management

Common pests that can affect turnips include flea beetles, aphids, and root maggots. To prevent pest infestations, use row covers or insecticidal soaps. If you notice signs of pest damage, remove affected leaves or plants immediately to prevent the infestation from spreading.

Temperature and Sunlight

Turnips prefer cooler temperatures and require at least six hours of sunlight per day to grow properly. If the temperature rises above 80°F, provide shade to prevent heat stress. If the temperature drops below 40°F, cover your turnips with a blanket or cloth to keep them warm.


Turnips are ready to harvest when they reach the desired size, typically around 2-3 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife or garden scissors to cut the turnip off at the soil level. Store freshly harvested turnips in a cool, dark place for up to a month.

Final Thoughts

Growing turnips in containers or pots can be a rewarding experience, providing fresh, homegrown produce. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, nutrient-rich turnips. Happy gardening!

Harvesting and Using Container-Grown Turnips

Harvesting turnips from containers is a rewarding experience, and with a few tips, you can enjoy fresh and delicious turnips all year round. Here is what you need to know about harvesting and using container-grown turnips:

When to Harvest Turnips

Turnips are ready for harvest when they have reached their mature size and their skin is firm and smooth. The ideal size for a turnip is around 3 inches in diameter, but this can vary depending on the variety. To check if your turnips are ready, gently push some soil away from the top of the turnip. If the turnip is the desired size and feels firm, it is ready to harvest.

It is important to harvest turnips promptly when they are ready, as they can quickly become woody and bitter if left in the soil too long. Regular harvesting also encourages continued growth and can help prevent pests and diseases.

How to Harvest Turnips

To harvest turnips, gently loosen the soil around the base of the plant with a garden fork or trowel. Carefully lift the turnip out of the container, making sure not to damage the taproot. Remove any dirt or debris from the turnip and trim the leaves away from the root.

If you have more turnips than you can eat at once, store them in a cool, dark place such as a root cellar or refrigerator. Turnips can be stored for several weeks if kept at a temperature between 32°F and 40°F.

Using Container-Grown Turnips

Turnips are a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled, mashed, or grated raw into salads. The leaves are also edible and can be cooked like spinach or beet greens.

Here are some ideas for using your container-grown turnips:

  • Roast turnips with other root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and parsnips.
  • Cut turnips into thin slices and use them as a healthy snack or side dish.
  • Make turnip fries by cutting turnips into thin strips and baking in the oven.
  • Add grated turnips to coleslaw or other salads for a crunchy texture.
  • Mash turnips with butter and cream for a delicious side dish.
  • Cook turnip greens with bacon and onion for a flavorful side dish.

Experiment with different recipes and find your favorite way to enjoy your homegrown turnips!

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Container Turnip Gardening

Despite your best efforts, sometimes problems can arise when growing turnips in containers or pots. Here are some common issues and solutions to help you overcome them.

Pest Infestation

Turnip flea beetles and aphids are common pests that can damage your plants. To prevent infestations, inspect your turnips regularly and remove any affected leaves or plants. You can also try using natural repellents or insecticides. For example, spraying neem oil or a soap-water solution can help deter pests.


Turnips can be susceptible to fungal diseases such as white rust and downy mildew. To prevent these problems, ensure your plants have good air circulation by spacing them adequately and avoid overwatering. If you notice any signs of disease, remove the affected leaves or plants immediately and dispose of them. You may also need to use a fungicide if the problem persists.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can cause stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and poor yields in turnips. To avoid these issues, ensure your potting mix is well-balanced and includes essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can also use organic compost or fertilizers to boost your plants’ health. If you notice any symptoms of nutrient deficiencies, adjust your fertilization accordingly.

Temperature Fluctuations

Turnips prefer cool temperatures and can be sensitive to heat. If your containers are exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures, your plants may wilt or bolt prematurely. To prevent this, move your containers to a shadier spot or use shade cloth to diffuse the sunlight. You can also water your plants more frequently to help them cope with the heat.

By being proactive and addressing any issues that may arise, you can ensure a successful container turnip gardening experience.


Q: Can I grow turnips in containers or pots?

A: Yes, you can successfully grow turnips in containers or pots. Container gardening is a convenient option for those with limited space or who want more control over their growing environment.

Q: What are the benefits of growing turnips in containers or pots?

A: Growing turnips in containers or pots offers several advantages. It allows you to have fresh produce even if you have limited outdoor space. Containers also provide better control over soil quality, drainage, and pest management.

Q: What containers are best for growing turnips?

A: When selecting containers, choose ones that are at least 12 inches deep to accommodate the turnip roots. Good options include plastic or ceramic pots, wooden crates, or fabric grow bags. Ensure that they have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Q: Which turnip varieties are suitable for container gardening?

A: Several turnip varieties are well-suited for container gardening, such as Tokyo Cross, Scarlet Queen, and White Lady. These varieties have smaller-sized roots and compact growth habits, making them ideal for container cultivation.

Q: How do I prepare the potting mix for turnip container planting?

A: To prepare the potting mix, use a well-draining soil blend that is rich in organic matter. Add compost or aged manure for nutrient enrichment. Ensure the mix is loose and friable to promote healthy root growth and water drainage.

Q: How do I plant turnips in containers or pots?

A: Start by sowing turnip seeds directly into the prepared potting mix, following the recommended spacing guidelines on the seed packet. Water the seeds gently and keep the soil consistently moist. Once the seedlings emerge, thin them out to provide enough space for proper growth.

Q: How do I care for turnips in containers?

A: Regularly water the containers, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist. Fertilize the turnips with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Monitor for pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures to manage them. Provide sufficient sunlight and protect the plants from extreme temperature fluctuations.

Q: When and how do I harvest container-grown turnips?

A: Harvest turnips when they reach the desired size, usually between 2-3 inches in diameter. Gently loosen the soil around the roots and carefully lift them from the container. Trim off the greens and store the turnips in a cool, dark place. Use them in delicious recipes to enjoy their homegrown freshness.

Q: What are common issues in container turnip gardening?

A: Common issues in container turnip gardening include pest infestation, diseases like powdery mildew, and nutrient deficiencies. To address these problems, regularly inspect the plants, apply appropriate organic pest controls, maintain good airflow around the containers, and ensure proper fertilization.