Beet Plant Growth Stages

The beet life cycle is a process that takes anywhere from 55 to 70 days, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

There are seven distinct growth stages that the beet plant goes through, and each stage has its own specific needs.

In this article I’ll discuss each of these growing stages in detail as well as optimal growing conditions, necessary care, and valuable tips to help you produce an abundant beet harvest.

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harvesting beets

Beet plants (Beta vulgaris) are a popular and nutritious root vegetable that can be grown in most gardens and even in containers.

Their vibrant color and earthy taste make them a staple in many dishes including salads, soups, and sides.


Stage 1 – Planting the seeds

To get your beet crop started, prepare the soil by digging in some aged manure or compost to enrich the soil.

Beet seeds can be planted directly out in the garden about two weeks after the last frost of the season.

Make sure the temperature of your soil is at least 50°F (10°C) before you start planting.

Plant the seeds about 1/2 an inch (1 cm) deep and space them out one to two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) apart.

Don’t worry if you plant them too close together because you can always thin them out later and keep only the strongest seedlings.

Some common beet varieties to plant include Detroit Dark Red and Cook’s Custom Mix.

Stage 2 – Germination

According to the University of Maryland Extension, the beet seeds will begin to germinate 10 to 15 days after planting, depending on the soil temperature.

It may take a bit longer if the soil is still cool.

beet leaves

Stage 3 – Seedling Growth

As the seedling develops, the plant’s root system and the foliage begins to form.

Be sure to keep the soil moist during this stage, but be careful not to overwater the seedlings.

This is also the time to thin out your seedlings if you planted them too close together.

Cut off any weak or unhealthy looking seedlings with sharp scissors, leaving behind only the strongest and healthiest plants.

This stage usually lasts 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the variety and environmental conditions.

I like to pick some of the beet leaves to use in salads when they’re about 4 inches (10 cm) long, but don’t take too many leaves from each plant because it will reduce the root growth.

beet seedlings

Stage 4 – Root Development

Healthy beet plants develop round, bulbous roots that grow larger over time.

Ensure there’s enough space for the roots to expand by maintaining adequate spacing between plants.

At this stage you can apply liquid vegetable fertilizer to the soil to help promote root growth.

Beet plants enjoy full sun exposure and require consistent moisture for sustained growth.

Keep the soil evenly moist but avoid overwatering, which may cause root rot.

Stage 5 – Harvesting

Beet plants are ready for harvest when their root bulbs reach a diameter of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm).

If you leave them to grow larger than that they’ll become woody and less palatable.

Beets can usually be harvested 55 to 70 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

To harvest the beets, carefully loosen the soil around the base of the plants and pull them out of the soil by holding onto the base of the leaves.

Remove the leaves and wash the beets thoroughly under running water.

Beets can be stored in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to a week.

beet roots

Stage 6 – Flowering

Beets are biennial plants, which means they typically flower and produce seeds in their second year of growth. [1]

Beet flowers are tiny and they’re mostly pollinated by wind, but they also attract insects, which helps with pollination.

Stage 7 – Seed Production

After the flowers die off you’ll be left with small seed clusters that will eventually dry out and turn brown.

You can crush the dried seed clusters in your hands and remove the chaff to get the seeds.

Store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to plant them.

Beet seeds remain viable for 2 to 3 years if stored properly.


So there are the 7 stages of beet growth from planting the seeds to harvesting and producing seeds.

From planting the seeds to harvesting the mature roots, each stage plays a vital role in the overall success of your beet crop.

Have you tried growing beets in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? Check out my Vegetable Gardening board for more ideas. You can also find me on Facebook.

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

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