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Grow Beet Greens at Home (no green thumb needed)

I recently heard about an easy way to grow fresh beet greens at home. Check it out!

1.  Buy a bunch of beets with the tops still attached.

2. Trim the greens off (and please use them for cooking! They are delicious in soup, such as this Creamy Fennel and Greens Soup  or quickly sauteed like spinach. By the way, the stalks are wonderful chopped up and cooked like onions. Waste not, want not, right?)

3. Cut off the top of the beets, LEAVING AT LEAST 1/2 INCH OF BEET ROOT

4. Set them cut-side down in a dish of water and leave in a sunny spot in your house. The below image shows how the beet greens grew over the course of just one week. I think I’ll pick some now!


And lastly, some fun beet facts:

  • Beets belong to the chenopod botanical family, which also includes chard, spinach and (oddly enough) quinoa.
  • Red and yellow beets are a rich source of betalain pigments and epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids, both phytonutrients that have been studied for their beneficial effects on the human nervous system and eye health. Two of these compounds, betanin and vulgaxanthin, have shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
  • Beets are high in folate (one of the B vitamins) and many minerals, including magnesium and iron.
  • About 10-14% of us will experience “beeturia” (when your pee is tinted red-orange) after eating beets. This is not harmful, but can certainly be frightening when you’ve forgotten about eating beets!*
  • Some research suggests that beeturia is most common if you are deficient in iron.

Have you grown beet greens at home before? In the comments below, let me know if you have tried and how it went. If you have never tried, do you think you’ll give it a shot?

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

50 Comments

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  1. I’ve just seen this recently. Do you know if these “starter” greens can be transferred outside to a garden? Part of me thinks it might work and part of me thinks it couldn’t. Do you know?

    • Ruffian, I don’t see why not. I’ve never tried though. Would be a good experiment to see if the beet root grows back. Let me know how it works out, will you?

      If you’re really into beet greens, you can just plant a whole beet and continue to harvest the greens all season. The beet root will get very woody, but if all you want is the greens, it works out in your favor. Also, beets are easy to grow from seed.

      • Thanks so much for your reply! I think my mom is going to do an experiment using a batch of beets started from seeds and another of beets started this way. I’ll let you know what happens.

      • Re growing from the top or the bottoms of celery or carrots, green onions and such is a great way to get your seed for the next year as well. I re grow the celery bottoms when I have used them, if they grow well then I have planted them. Some do well and others don’t but it give me fresh new celery to use for a while. This year I planted one that was growing well and it has gone to seed, which is great, because I harvest my own seeds from almost everything. I would like to try this with a beet top and see if I could get it to seed by the following year, rather than 2 or 3 years for seed. Great idea for greens thanks for sharing it.

        • Good point about letting the plants go to seed, Lin. I’m going to try this with celery this year and see what happens!

      • Yes i tried the beet greens for the first time.i want to grow the greens. So good thank you

  2. Oh..this is a great idea..I like beets but love the greens more…so I was looking for a type of beet that grows tons of greens instead of the beet getting big..but, this is a great idea!!! I can just cut off the greens and let them grow back and don’t care if the beets get bad…and the best thing about buying already in store with tops on…you don’t have to wait until they grow from seeds…which I have done and it takes months…so, just so excited..thanks so much for the great idea!!!

    • Yes Carrol, this is super easy and much faster than growing from seed. You can even plant the whole beet in the garden if you’re only interested in the greens.

  3. I have a beet that has ripened in my refrigerator and has started to sprout. Can I just plant this beet? How deep? And what should I add to the soil? I live in Florida, so it is sandy, and warm some days and cold some days! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    • Yes Lisa, you can just plant the whole beet. Leave the top 1/4 inch or so sticking out of the soil (in other words, don’t bury the stems of the leaves that are sprouting). I’d consult your local nursery/garden store about amending the soil, since I’m not familiar with growing in FL. Good luck!

  4. If you buy a bunch of beets, stick one in the ground and water in.
    After a month or so it will be big and the main beet sticking out of the ground but very possibly with a male beets now attached.
    If so, separate and replant. They just keep multiplying! I’ve been doing this for a year now 🙂
    Spring onion too. If you buy with no root, stick a sprig in a glass of water until roots grow then plant 🙂

  5. I just found these I forgot to use in my refrigerator two of them had started to sprout the tops so I asked if I could plant them and I will I’m going to put them in a dish of water let’s hope I get at least the Greens thank you

    • You’ll have beet greens to harvest in no time, Debbie!

    • Beet green pesto is yummy!

  6. Thanks for info about beets. I have a small garden but dedicate an area to beets. I mainly grow them for the greens. Which variety do you recommend for this?

    • Hi Robin,
      I’d check with your local garden store to find a variety that grows best in your climate. You might also like to grow chard, which is from the same family as beets, but cultivated specifically for the greens. Chard has a similar flavor to beet greens, but are more tender.

  7. Great ideas

  8. I tried. Leaves grew and can be harvested for stir fry, tasty too. However, after the first harvest, only tiny leaves regrow and they never grow to a size big enough for consumption. I even transplanted them in soil but they just stay alive without getting any bigger. Do you know if they can regrow forever?

    The same happens to bok choy. The only thing that seems to regrow several times is garlic green in my experience. Spring onions probably will regrow forever but they attract too many bugs and I gave up.

    • I sat a full beet over a cup so its roots were in the water and it contunually grows new leaves you can harvest. Suppose if you plant it in a pot of soil and give it enough light you can have an eternal beet that will live forever in vegetative state. Or maybe my beet is just so large it will take a few years to use up all the energy making leaves.

    • I have been growing the tops of beets like this for years now, and also suggest you use the young small leaves in your salads, much like baby spinach, it is sweet, crunchy and very tasty too!

  9. Love this idea to get beet greens after seeing the amount of potassium in the greens.

    Does this subscribe me?

    • Hi Trish, If you’d like to receive my newsletter, you’ll want to go to the Freebies page and pick one of the free ebooks to download. 🙂

  10. I don’t see where to sign up for your e-mails…only your recipe book…..

  11. Hi there, thought you should know i never knew that its good to eat the greens of the beetroot. I will try it for sure. I am from RSA and i dnt even know anyone who does. Thanks for the info. Be well

  12. How long can you grow the beet greens for? Do you have any information about the nutritional values of the newly grown beet leaves since only water is used?

    • I’m interested to know this too! I planted some about a month a go and the greens grew pretty quickly, but now they seem to have stopped and they aren’t looking the healthiest. Do they keep growing or is there an end to the growth?

  13. Lily, thanks for the info. Really appreciate it! I had a couple of beets in my frig that began sprouting. So I did a search and found your site. I ear beet greens primarily for the potassium. Sauteed with leeks, they’re delicious in an omelet.

  14. We are growing all the roots ‘n shoots possible here in my RV monastery…as a ‘vegetable-Larryian’, I have noticed each day, that a green drink from blender or juicer from homegrown greens, is 1000% more energetic and exciting on a physical level,than any kind of ‘made-to-order from natural ingredients’ stimulant or processed nutrient pill. Thanks for you and your site, Ms.Lily! PS: Add bee pollen so there will be 2000% more cosmic Ness!

  15. After searching quite a few sites, I finally found yours, and saw many peoples’ comemments, asking my question, Can I just plant a whole sprouting beet in the ground, for growing and harvesting (leaves and tasty roots) later ?? I bought about 7 bulk beets at my grocery store, all nicely sprouting, and I thought, maybe I can grow them !! I’ve never eaten the leaves, but if these will keep growing, I’ll try them. Should I let these first plants grow to seed, and harvest those for next year ? Not sure if I’ll get any edible beets from these soon…comments are unclear. Another site said to harvest beetroots and pack in moist sand over the winter for next year, too. Any ideas/answers, Lily ? Thanks very much for your helpful site ! Blessings ! Marti Dawson, in Fallbrook, CA (San Diego county)

    • Yes, you can simply plant the beet and grow greens. The root will get quite tough after a growing season, so it might not be worth digging up and eating at that point. But, like you said, you can let it go to seed and gather those for next year.

      Or you can buy beet seeds and plant them for either eating the greens or the root (or both).

  16. If I cut the head off and put in the ground/sool how long will it take for me to get a beet?
    Does it only grow the green leaves by doing that?

    • The beet root won’t regrow, just the greens.

  17. My beet greens are growing great here in Florida . I just put them in water from some beets I bought at the vegetable stand

  18. I never liked beets, well maybe pickled but too much sugar, until I discovered roasting them. I can’t get enough and eat them like candy. I figured but wasn’t sure that the tops should also be eaten (I am a health food foodie) but I had no real experience with beets. Then I noticed something pushing up in my compost pile. You guessed it, beets! That is how I ended up here. I searched beets from cuttings. So now, I’ll be consuming the green tops as well as growing more from the bulb top. Thanks so much!

    • I usually throw a couple beets on on the grill after Bar B Que. Turn them a couple times before going to bed. You can peel them easily the next day. Terrific in salads with walnuts and feta.

  19. I just started growing them about 4 days ago and they are already omg budding out!! So neat!! I’ve done this with onions, carrots, celery, lettuce and cabbage with great results!!!❤️❤️

  20. Hi, I recently planted 5 beetroots in our backyard (whole beetroot directly into soil) and the greens growing nicely. Will new bulbs grow out of them or only greens? Thanks!

    • Only greens. The beet root would be very, very tough.

  21. Hello. Ive started the beet in the dish of water and it is doing well. It now has a couple roots growing from it. What do I do from this point? Do I keep it in the water or do inplant it in soil? Thanks for your help!

    • You can do either.

  22. Beetroot is a perfect yield for anybody new to growing vegetable and is one of the staples in an accomplished plant specialists plot. They are anything but difficult to grow and give serving of mixed greens leaves following fourteen days, child beets following several months and after that bigger beets in 3-4 months.

  23. Re-started my earth worm compost “farm’ (really just a drum that all kitchen veg offcuts go into to decompose. Coincidentally placed some beet offcuts in there and to my surprise saw the greens growing. Got excited about planting beets.. quickly googled and came across your article.. so my understanding is I will not get beets as such but the beet greens .. and thank you for the tip on how to use the greens. I agree! one should never waste any part of any plant. I am starting to wonder whether the greens can also be used to make a healthy veg smoothy.. time will tell 🙂 thank you for the article.

  24. Yup, I just trying using the beet from the Top ….it’s grow back and I am just a starter… cause I came across this items which is good for cancer patients.

  25. I am so pleased I stumbled across your site when searching for “growing beetroot from cut offs”. Last night I was cutting up some betroot and they had little leaves on and I wondered if this could be possible. SO YAY 🙂 It is and I cut them just as you mentioned above, but now I see I must put them in the sun, which I will do. When does one then plant them in soil?

  26. I’m so glad I read this. I LOVE Beet greens so I’m going to do this tonight. I can’t wait to see the greens grow & then get to eat them =) Awesome Blog!

  27. I love beet greens and grow beets in my garden.
    Just a tip, when I remove the stem from the green prior to sautéing,
    I keep the stem, chop into bits and freeze.
    I use the beet stems on pizza and they are delicious.!

  28. I have been growing them till the leave are mature and moving them to soil. for some reason they do not do good in soil. after few days the leaves just tend to drop in the soil and die. is there a solution to it? would they need some support till they grow bigger?

  29. I want to strengthen my blood vessels and heard that beet juice helps. Will beet greens do the same?

  30. Yep, I’m growing the hacked-off tops of some beautiful golden beets in a few shallow dishes with a bit of water, and they look so healthy! What fun. I do hope they’ll get big enough to be at least a side dish, though clearly I could use the tiny greens in a salad. No response necessary, just wanted to add my 2 cents!

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