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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:


Latin Name: Daucus carota

Plant Family:  Apiaceae

Close Relatives: Dill, parsley, celery, cilantro, anise, chervil

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. raw or cooked vegetable, soups, stews).  Coloured carrots are specialty varieties of carrot grown either for ethnic markets or for various antioxidant profiles. 

The range of carrot colours (Photo credit: M.R. McDonald, University of Guelph)Various shapes and colours of carrot (Photo credit: M.R. McDonald, University of Guelph)Some coloured carrot cultivars have different coloured cores
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Commercial varieties are available for white, yellow, deep orange, red, purple, and multi-coloured carrots, each with specific pigments and antioxidant profiles.

Propagation method


Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

April to July (Late carrots may “burn off” if they emerge during hot, dry weather. Seed into moisture 1.2-2 cm deep).

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

Typically seeded in 10 cm wide bands with 3 or 4 rows, often on top of raised beds (see Special Requirement for Growth Habit) with a total of 26 seeds/m for processing and 120-140 seeds/m for fresh market over the whole band.

Between row spacing

85 cm (raised beds).

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



The recommended nitrogen rate for carrots on mineral soil is 110 kg/ha split 70 kg/ha preplant and 40 kg/ha sidedress. Broadcast and incorporate the recommended preplant nitrogen with all the required phosphate and potash. On mineral soils, apply side-dress nitrogen when plants are 10 cm tall. Ontario research has shown that carrots grown on established muck soils receive adequate nitrogen from the soil, and there is no yield response to added nitrogen. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Muck, sandy, loam, well-drained soils.

Soil pH

5.5 (muck); 6.5 (mineral)

Special requirements for growth habit

Carrot quality may be improved by using raised beds, 15-20 cm high. Beds that are 85 cm wide at the bottom and 50 cm wide at the top have yielded good results.

Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

120-180 days

Specialized equipment

Specialized equipment is available for forming beds, undercutting roots for harvest, and harvest.

Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest

Quality parameters/grades

Grades have been established by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Click here for specific grades.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-98%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 4-6 months

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Carrot rust fly, carrot weevil, aster leafhopper, cutworms, striped flea beetles, white grubs, wireworms, millipedes

Diseases: Leaf blights (bacterial, Alternaria, Cercospora), bacterial soft rot, crown gall, scab, black root rot (black mold), black rot, cavity spot, crater rot, crown rot (rhizoctonia canker), Fusarium dry rot, pythium root dieback, rubbery brown rot, sclerotinia white mold, violet root rot, aster yellows, root-knot nematodes, root lesion nematodes

Other: Rodents

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates:



*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: carrot rust fly, carrot weevil, leaf blights, sclerotinia white mold, aster yellows, cavity spot, root-knot nematodes. All pests of conventional carrots will also affect coloured carrots. This crop is in Crop Group 1: Root and Tuber Vegetables and subgroup 1A: Root Vegetables and 1B: Root Vegetables except Sugarbeet. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. Pest control products registered on conventional carrots can also be applied to coloured carrots. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Cavity spot on a red carrot (Photo credit: M.R. McDonald, University of Guelph)Cercospora leaf spot on coloured carrots
Additional Notes

The production requirements and pests of coloured carrots are the same as that of conventional carrots.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Bilal, A., McDonald, M.R. and M. Brownbridge. 2012. World crops variety trials and demonstration. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre/University of Guelph Muck Crops Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, New crops: old challenges: tips and tricks for managing new crops!
  3. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., Westerveld, S., Bilal, A., and M. Brownbridge. 2011. World crops variety trials and demonstration. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre/OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  4. Hu, C.L., Tsao, R., and M.R. McDonald. 2010. Evaluation of different coloured carrots for total phenolic content and antioxidant activity. Muck Vegetable Cultivar Trial and Research Report: .
  5. Hu, C. 2012. Factors affecting phytochemical composition and antioxidant activity of Ontario vegetable crops. M.Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph.
  6. McDonald, M.R., Vander Kooi, K. and L. Riches. 2002-2012. Evaluation of different coloured carrots for susceptibility to cavity spot. Muck Vegetable Cultivar Trial and Research Report: .
  1. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 2010. Vegetable Production Recommendations. Publication 363, Queen’s Printer for Ontario, Toronto.