Beet Varieties - What's the Difference?

There are lots of different beet varieties available to the backyard vegetable gardener.  These varieties can vary quite a bit in size, color and shape.  In addition, some varieties are grown more for their tops, while others are grown for their roots.  We suggest planting a couple of different varieties every year until you find some that you really like.  In addition, choose varieties that mature at different times.  That way, you can plant once and enjoy your beets over a few weeks.  You can get beet seeds at most garden centers or order them online.

Here are some common beet varieties and a little bit of info about each one.  Please note, the number of days to maturity is counted after the seeds have germinated and for average-sized roots.  If you want larger roots, you'll need to leave them in the ground another couple of weeks.

Regular Beets - these are regular-sized beets, you can eat the tops and the roots, mainly used for human consumption


  • Detroit Dark Red - Ready in 59 days, beets are round and red throughout, average 3" across, tops average 9", tops and roots are good
  • Burpee's Golden - This heirloom variety of beet has gold skin and dark yellow flesh, beets are round and average 2" across, ready in 55 days, unique
  • Moulin Rouge - This variety is taller with tops averaging 12", beets are small at just 1" across but with plenty of flavor, pinkish-purple, ready in 58 days
  • Albino - This Dutch heirloom variety features white roots that won't stain your hands, mild and sweet, don't get woody even when left to get large, will reach 3" across and sometimes larger, ready in 50 days
  • Chioggia - This beet variety features red skins with white and red swirls of flesh inside, quite unique Italian heirloom, slices of beet resemble a bull's-eye target, tops are great for eating raw, beets average 2", ready in 54 days
  • Cylindra - This beet variety produces long beets that are good for slicing and canning or pickling, beets average 7-8" long and less than 2" across, ready in 64 days, tops average 9"
  • Burpee's Red Ball - averages 3" across, beets are round and red with smooth skin, ready in 60 days, sweet and tender
  • Early Wonder - Tops reach 18" tall and are excellent as greens, roots average 3" across and are round and red, one of the best dual-purpose beets around, ready in 60 days
  • Detroit Supreme - This heirloom variety of beet features tops that reach 12" tall, the roots are slighlty oblong and average 2-3" across, red and sweet, ready in 62 days
  • Bull's Blood - Grown mostly for the tops which are deep purple and red, roots average just 1" across and are sweet and tender but small, tops average 9", ready in 50 days
  • Boldor - These beets feature bright green tops and golden roots,  tops average 9", roots are round and golden yellow and average 2" across, ready in just 51 days
  • Flat of Egypt - These roots are red and in the shape of a flattened globe, roots average 3" across and just 2" deep, tops are good raw and average 10" tall, can be left in ground to overwinter and still won't get woody, ready in 50 days
  • Pacemaker III - Tops average 12" tall and are good raw or cooked, roots are reddish purple and round and average 3" across, sweet flavor, good for canning or pickling, ready in 55 days
  • Merlin - Roots are red and round and average 3-4" across, very sweet, dark green tops are also good raw or cooked, ready in 55 days
  • Red Ace - This variety of beet is ready in 55 days but can be left longer for larger roots, tops average 10" and are green and red and good raw or cooked, round roots average 3-4" across but if left will hit 6" across and still be tender
  • Pablo - Ready in 45 days for baby beets or 65 days for larger roots the size of a baseball, roots are deep red and round, tops average 10" and are tasty, good for storage
  • Boro - This beet variety features really smooth skin on dark red roots, tops are good raw or cooked, ready in 51 days for baby beets, will reach baseball-size with more time in the ground, good choice for pickling or canning
  • Red Cloud - Ready in 60 days, very high sugar content, round and red roots reach 3" across with smooth skin, tops are strong for easy harvest, good for canning
  • Crosby's Extra Early - This variety is ready in just 49 days, roots are dark red and grow fast, small tops average just 6" and are tender and bright green, roots are oblong

Sugar Beets - these are much larger beets that are usually used as livestock feed, they can also be boiled down and used to make sugar or syrup


  • Colossal Long Red Mangel - This beet variety is ready in 100 days and roots average 12 pounds each, roots have red skin and pale red flesh, excellent nutrient levels for livestock
  • Bucklunch - This variety features a 20% sugar content which makes them great for making syrup or sugar, roots average 8 pounds, good choice for game food plots or livestock feed, ready in 110 days
  • Giant Half Sugar - this variety features roots that average 4 pounds, very productive and high in sugar, usually used for animal feed but can also make syrup and sugar, ready in 120 days


Click here to learn about planting beets

Click here for information about fertilizing and watering beets

Click here to learn about harvesting beets

Click here for some beet recipes

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