Did you know that carrots don’t just come in long and orange varieties? You can grow red, purple, white, and yellow carrots. You’ll also find ones that are stubby and wide and some that are slender. Orange carrots might be the old standard, but don’t settle. Grow whatever you want!
When I first started gardening, I had no idea that there were so many different types of carrots. Now, my seed catalog is full of different varieties. There’s nothing better than harvesting multiple colors and sizes.
Here are some of the best carrot varieties if you want a colorful, tasty harvest. Best of all, all carrots are easy to grow and perfect for beginners.
The 18 Best Carrot Varieties
Don’t settle on one type of carrot; try growing several carrot varieties in your garden. It’s easy to mix carrot cultivars together because most reach harvesting size in the same time frame. Everyone loves a harvest of multi-colored carrots!
1. Amarillo Yellow
Yellow carrots are always on the list for the best carrot varieties. Amarillo Yellows are pale lemon-yellow veggies with bright yellow flesh. These carrots measure eight inches long and have the perfect crunch for fresh eating. Expect it to take 75 days for Amarillo carrots to reach full maturity.
2. Atomic Red
Atomic Red carrots are a showstopper. They have bright red skin and measure eight inches long; they’re full of flavor and taste wonderful when cooked. You’ll find that Atomic Red carrots get darker with cooking.
Atomic Red carrots are an heirloom variety that take around 75 days to mature.
3. Chantenay Red Cored
Despite the name, the outside of Chantenay carrots is golden orange, but the inside is red. The carrots measure between five to seven inches at maturity and two inches at the thickest part.
Chantenay carrots take around 70 days to reach harvesting. This is an open-pollinated, heirloom variety that grows best in heavy soil. You don’t need to worry about the carrots splitting and forking because of the soil type they require, though.
4. Cosmic Purple
In the last few years, Cosmic Purple carrots made a huge splash in the gardening world. This is one of the most popular carrot varieties with purple skins and deep orange flesh. The carrots measure up to seven inches long with a sweet flavor and the perfect crunch for fresh eating.
Even though these carrots were released in 2005, they come from an older heirloom carrot, so they have many characteristics that you want to see. Cosmic Purple carrots are open-pollinated and take around 60 days to harvest.
If you want a classic orange carrot, then you need to grow Danvers carrots. You’ll find Danvers 126 and Danvers Half Long; both are wonderful choices. Danvers 126 is an improved version of the Half Long, but both measure seven inches long and adapt well to whatever soil you have and harvestable within 70 days after sowing.
One of the best reasons to grow Danvers is that they’re an excellent storage carrot. They store for several months in cold storage, like a root cellar, and when you grow them in your garden, you don’t have to worry about the carrots cracking. The improved version has stronger tops, making it easier to pull from your garden.
6. Deep Purple Hybrid
Many of the purple carrots sold aren’t purple all the way through (Cosmic Purple, for instance). This is one of the only carrot varieties that is purple all the way through, so it’s beautiful when added to salads or vegetable trays. When cooked, Deep Purple Hybrid loses its bright color, so it’s best fresh.
Deep Purple Hybrid carrots grow to be eight inches long, taking up to 80 days to mature because of the deep color. This unique, deep color is worth the wait.
7. Imperator 58
Imperator carrots have deep orange skin and measure nine inches at maturity, tapering to a blunt point. These carrots are known for having a fantastic flavor for fresh eating. It takes 75 days for Imperator carrots to reach maturity.
Imperator carrots are larger than most, and they’re commonly found in stores. Since most home-grown carrots reach a maximum of seven inches, nine is a big difference!
Can’t decide what color carrot you want to grow? Grow all of the colors! Kaleidoscope is exactly that – a mixture of five beautiful colors of carrots into one seed packet. Seed companies take carrot varieties like Atomic Red, Solar Yellow, and Cosmic Purple and mix them into one packet.
This is perfect for gardeners who can’t make up their mind!
9. Little Fingers
Little Fingers are the closest thing to a baby carrot that you can grow in your home garden. These deep orange carrots measure three inches long and half-inch across with a blunt tip. It takes 55 days to reach maturity, and you want to make sure you harvest these carrots young and tender, so they stay crisp and sweet.
Don’t let their small size fool you. These little carrots pack a serious punch of sweetness, and if you have a small garden, they’re perfect because you can plant these more densely than other varieties and still end up with a sizable harvest.
10. Lunar White
Did you know that you can grow white carrots? You really can! One white carrot variety that you should try is Lunar White. The skins are creamy-white and measure up to eight inches long with a small core. These carrots have a delicious, mild flavor and take up to 75 days to reach maturity.
You might think that Lunar White carrots are a newer heirloom, but they actually originated in Northern Europe in the 1600s. It’s a descendant of an ancient variety of wild carrots that look more like parsnips than carrots. They’ve been around for centuries but didn’t become popular until recently.
11. Parisian Heirloom
Instead of the traditional, long skinny carrots, Parisian Heirloom produces round, stumpy, fat roots, so they’re perfect for gardeners with compact, heavy, or rocky soils. These also grow well in shallow containers.
Aside from their unique shape, Parisian Heirloom carrots are known for being tender, sweet, and having the perfect texture. It matures quickly, between 55-60 days, so if you don’t want to wait too long, this is a great variety to grow.
12. Purple Dragon
Purple Dragon looks similar to Cosmic Purple; both have deep purple skins with a bright orange center. Not only does it taste great, but these carrots look beautiful on your kitchen table. When cooked, the purple loses some of its color, so they’re best served raw.
Purple Dragon carrots take up to 70 days to reach harvesting size. The tops are shorter than other carrot varieties, only reaching up to eight inches tall, and the roots themselves are six inches long.
Red carrots are – you guessed it – a bright red color. They’re also long, measuring up to six inches in length. These carrots thrive in sandy soil and take up to 80 days to reach harvesting size because they need time to develop the red color.
14. Scarlet Nantes
Scarlet Nantes is an heirloom carrot dating back to the mid-19th century. It’s known for being easy to grow and lengthy at seven inches long. These carrots typically require no peeling and are one of the most productive carrot varieties to grow. Once mature, the carrots are bright orange to red and near coreless with the perfect sweet taste.
If you harvest Scarlet Nantes early, they make fantastic baby carrots! Otherwise, this variety works great for freezing or juicing.
15. Short ‘n Sweet
Looking for the perfect carrot varieties that grow in smaller containers or less than ideal soil? Short ‘n Sweet is an excellent candidate. It thrives in heavy or poor soil, like clay soil. They’re compact roots that only measure four inches long and take 68 days to harvest.
16. Solar Yellow
Solar Yellow carrots have a buttery yellow fresh and measure seven inches long. They’re sweet and crispy, an heirloom carrot dating back to ancient times. Some sources say they started in the 900s, while others claim that Solar Yellow carrots appeared in the 14th century. These carrots show that heirloom seeds and plants stand the test of time.
It takes these carrots around 60 days to reach harvest size, so they’re an earlier carrot. This type of carrots grows best in cool-season gardening and grows best in partial shade.
If you’re looking for the perfect carrot for canning, pickle, juicing, and cooking, look no further than Tendersweet. This rich orange carrot is six inches long, sweet, tender, and almost careless. It’s an heirloom variety that takes around 75 days to reach maturity, but it’s worth the extra few days of waiting time. Tendersweet carrots are an all-around multipurpose veggie that tastes good no matter how you use them.
Thumbelina won the All-American Selections award in 1992. This crunchy heirloom carrot never needs to be peeled – they’re ready to go as soon as you remove them from the ground. These plants produce small, round carrots that measure up to two inches in diameter.
Thumbelina is another carrot perfect for anyone with heavy or rocky soils, and they also grow well in shallow containers.