Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus
Easy-to-grow radishes are pretty in pink, with some of the most interesting varieties growing to maturity in shades ranging from pale bubblegum pink to deep fuscia, rather than standard red. These radishes, especially the watermelon radish types that have pink flesh, add interest to the table.
Any pink radish is available through a wide variety of seed sources; check print and online catalogs to see the latest hybrids and imports. In addition many heirloom pink radishes go back a century or more in North America.
Some of the most important pink radish types include:
- Watermelon radish types, sometimes grown as Chinese Red Meat or Roseheart. Get ready for a surprise when you cut into a watermelon radish, for the skin may be white or light green, yet the flesh has a strong pink color and a sometimes delightfully sweet flavor. The rounded roots grow best in cool weather, from seeds sown in late summer. About 50-60 days to maturity. The more nutrients and moisture in the soil, the better the interior color develops. Green tops are robust and good for a secondary harvest.
- China Rose. A chunky, oblong and rounded radish growing to five or six inches long, this one also has white or rosy pink skin and a pink interior that’s not too spicy. Similar in growing habit to the watermelon radishes, China rose is called a “winter” radish for its frost-resistant abilities.
- Pink Beauty. This radish is a little charmer, growing round and pastel pink in just 26 days or so. An excellent choice for warmer weather, pink beauty radish resists the tendency to get pithy or tough as temperatures rise. Look for organic seeds.
- Pink Summercicle. Another short-season radish, maturing in 27 days, the summercicle is shaped like a fat icicle about five inches long and has white flesh inside.
- Lady Slipper. Considered one of the shapeliest pink radishes, this short-season variety has a lot of spicy heat. The graceful form, elongated and rounded at the same time, reminds some people of a slipper.
- Misato Rose. A long-season Asian radish, this large round one may have green or white skin, and the flesh is a psychedelic swirl of pink and white. Dramatic! And misato rose is valued for its ability to form bulbs even when the gardener forgets to thin the developing roots.
- Pink Celebration. Add this fast-growing radish in the spring or fall garden. The mature radishes remain small – about an inch diameter – and the white flesh is mild. Valued for its good storage qualities.
- Red Head. Wow, a nearly white radish with gorgeous bright pink “caps” on the top surface. Harvest when they are still small and include this radish in any salad plate.
- Mixes: Valentine’s Day and Easter Egg. Many radish seed mixtures include a pink component.
All radishes do best when planted in deeply worked soil – free from stones and clay formations –that includes a lot of organic material. Whether you plant seeds in spring, summer, or fall, depending on the variety, a good supply of water is crucial for a satisfying harvest.