Why Do Radishes Split?

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Why Are My Radishes Splitting? 

Have you ventured out into your garden to harvest radishes, only to find they have split? You aren’t alone if this is something that has happened to you. Many gardeners have this problem.  

Radishes often split when there is uneven watering, brought about during periods of little to no water, followed by a rush of water. Another reason for cracking or splitting radishes is the age of the bulb. Older radishes tend to crack where less mature bulbs do not.  

Interested in learning more? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about why radishes split and what you can do to avoid this from happening in your garden.  

Radishes are among some of the easiest garden vegetables to cultivate. They can grow in nearly any soil type and under ideal conditions, they grow rapidly. But even these easy to grow veggies give gardeners headaches sometimes. 

If you have noticed your radishes are split when you pull them from the ground, you aren’t the first gardener and you likely won’t be the last.

Cracking is a common problem when it comes to radishes, but you might not know why. There are two reasons why you might see splitting in the radishes you harvest. 

Most commonly the bulb of the radish splits or cracks because of uneven moisture. In most cases of cracking, the radish plant sees little to no water for a period of time. This  without adequate water is followed by an intense rush of water. This rush of water is too much, too quickly for the plant and cracking occurs.  

You might also be seeing a lot of cracking in your radishes if they are mature. If you have waited to long to harvest, the number of radishes that are cracked will increase. The younger the plant the less likely you will see cracking when you harvest.  

How To Prevent Radishes From Cracking  

Now that you understand why your radishes might be cracking, you will be better able to prevent this from happening. 

If you know the cracks are caused by uneven watering, work in your garden to ensure they are getting even moisture levels. Develop a watering schedule to provide water daily to your plants. Keep in mind that your schedule will have to work around the weather you are getting.

If there is a drought, ensure that you are providing water to your plants and if rainfall levels are high, adjust your watering schedule to skip a few days. Consistency is key, even when the weather is presenting challenges. 

We also discussed that your radishes are more likely to crack the more mature they get. To avoid cracking in this case, simply harvest the radishes in your garden earlier. Don’t let them sit in the ground maturing too long to the point where they are cracking. 

Can You Eat Split Radishes? 

When you have these cracks in your radishes, it might make you wonder if they are no longer edible.

Fortunately, these splits are just cosmetic and the radishes are still safe for you to eat, and if you slice them up for a salad or other dish, no one will even notice the splitting.

Spend a little extra time scrubbing them to remove any dirt from the cracked area. If you are concerned, this part can be cut out. 

Radishes that split have often been in the ground longer and are more mature. Besides being more susceptible to cracking, more mature radishes also become hotter and are spongier in texture.

Hotness comes as the radish ages and also if they grow too slowly.  

Tips For Growing And Harvesting Your Best Radishes.  

This quick growing vegetable is delicious in many recipes or just eaten fresh, but how can you make sure you are getting the best produce from the seeds you plant? We have compiled a few tips to help you grow even better radishes in your garden. 

Radishes like the cooler weather of the spring and can be planted as soon as the ground is workable. Plant at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

To extend your harvest, plant seeds in three-week intervals into early summer. These plants don’t like heat, so your planting window is limited from early spring to early summer.

If you plant in intervals, you will be able to harvest radishes throughout the growing period, not just all at once. Once temperatures reach 80 degrees and above, they will not grow properly and you will notice the tell tale bulbs do not form.  

Once your radishes have sprouted, you will need to thin the shoots as they will not grow properly if they are too close together. Initially, you will sow your seeds closer together, with two or three seeds per inch.

The plants should be spaced approximately a half-inch to one inch apart when they are thinned. You will know it is time to thin your radishes once the plants have reached about one to two inches tall.  

Thinning might be hard to think about. We are telling you to get rid of healthy shoots that are actually growing. But thinning the seedlings is so important, especially when it comes to radishes.

The plants might be healthy right now, but soon they won’t be. Thinning your radishes will ensure the bulbs have room to grow and you will have a nice size crop to harvest. If the radish plants are too close together, they won’t be able to develop a nice sized bulb.  

You won’t have long to wait to harvest your radishes. Radishes are quick to grow into a useable size, with most varieties ready for harvest 25 to 30 days after planting. 

Winter radishes take considerably longer, taking between 50 and 70 days from planting to harvest, again depending on the variety. Winter radishes are planted mid to late summer.  

For best results, harvest your radishes when they are smaller.

The bulb will be much more tender and will not taste so hot. As we also have discussed, they will be less likely to crack when they are younger. Radishes that are oversized have a woodier, tougher texture than the younger versions. 

Split or cracked radishe
Split or cracked radishe

Other Problems To Watch Out For When Growing Radishes 

Splitting or cracking in radishes is common, and many gardeners learn the hard way that radishes planted to close together will not develop into a bulb.

But these aren’t the only issues you might come across when you decide to add these to your garden. Like every plant in your garden, they are susceptible to disease and pests.  

Root maggots and wireworms give gardeners plenty of trouble.

These pests enjoy feasting on radishes, but also will decimate potatoes, beets, cabbage, beans, carrots, lettuce, onions, and peas, to name a few and even flowers like gladiolas and dahlias.

You will know you have a root maggot or wireworm problem if you notice tunneling or holes in your radish. These guys eat through the radish, but the leaves of the plant won’t appear damaged in any way.  

In order to get rid of these apply insecticide to your soil prior to planting. If you are looking for a non chemical option, crop rotation is a good way to start.

Plant crops they don’t like to help reduce their numbers. Crop rotation is always a good practice to implement in your garden to reduce not only insects, but soil borne diseases. It also helps so you aren’t depleting the nutrients in the soil. 

In addition to crop rotation, make sure your soil has good drainage. There are some species of wireworms who do best in poorly drained soil.

If you don’t give them what they like, you can reduce their numbers and in turn your frustration. Check your soil to assess what you can do to make it less desirable for these insects. 

Aside from pests, there are a few diseases you should be looking out for. Radishes are susceptible to Downy mildew. This is a fungal disease that will cause yellow spots on the leaves of the radish plant.

You will also notice fuzzy grey or white growth on the underside of the leaves. Downy mildew also does damage to the bulb, leading to rough, skin and dark brown or black sunken areas on the upper half of the bulb.

Crop rotation will help reduce the risk of this disease. Additionally, are sure your crops are properly spaced.  

Soil borne diseases are also common in radishes causing a black, crusty growth on the bulb. This is called scab and can also be avoided with regular crop rotation.  


Radishes are a staple in many gardens. These tasty veggies are quick growing and require little maintenance.  With regular watering and harvesting when the bulbs are not overly mature all but eliminates cracks in the radishes. Now that we have taken some of the guesswork out of growing radishes, you are sure to have a great harvest this year.