Why Holes in Radish Leaves?

Have you been happily waiting for your radishes to reach the perfect size to harvest, and suddenly one day you see holes all over the leaves? You’re not only one.

Everyone knows radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They are so easy to grow that top-shelf gardeners don’t even consider them as main crops. They grow it in between the main crops.

Radishes are indeed a very reliable crop and need little to no care during their growth. This root vegetable takes only 30-50 days to get to the size when you can harvest them easily.

Also Read: Why Radish Leaves Turning Yellow?

Even though they are very easy to grow, they may get affected by some bugs and diseases. So along with some general care, you will have to look out for any symptoms that may indicate some disease.

One day you see a little hole in the foliage and suddenly the majority of leaves are filled with holes and burns. It is very surprising how fast this problem can occur and spread to other plants.

Novice gardeners keep asking this question, why do my radish leaves have holes? In short, the answer is one word – Bugs! But what types of bugs and how to stop them? To know the answers, read till the end.


Whenever we hear the name of radish, we think of round little red root vegetables with green long leaves. But there are many varieties of radishes available in the market that are not that much popular as the red bulbs.

These red bulbs are usually used in salads and are widely available in summers. Although, the best time to grow these root vegetables is mid-spring to early winter.

Radishes are much more versatile than just being salad toppings. They can be julienned and used as filling in burgers and sandwiches. They can also be pickled or used in curries.

Throughout the world, various types of radishes are used as chutney or dips for other snacky foods. While chutney is an Indian preparation, variations of chutney can be found in many parts of the world.

Kids may hate the bitter acidic taste of radish in their salads. But radish chutneys will surely be their favourite as the dippings of chips and nachos. That is how you trick them into eating this great vegetable.

Radish is a root vegetable. So you cannot transfer them by picking them up from the seedbed. If the roots of the seedlings get hurt somehow, your radishes will not grow. That is why radish seeds are directly planted in the garden 1 and a half inches under the topsoil.

The space between radish plants is a crucial factor that manipulates the size of the root. The space between two radish plants should be 4 to 12 inches depending on the soil quality and weather.

Radishes can grow in any type of soil. But, if the space between the plants is not maintained and the soil temperature goes below 45°F, the roots become thin and the leaves become taller than normal.

Radishes thrive in cool temperatures. The minimum temperature should be between 40 to 60 °F approximately. The maximum temperature should not exceed 70°F.

There are many ways in which radishes help our body. Radishes have many minerals and vitamins that are very unique. Now, let’s focus on the problem of the occurrence of holes on radish leaves.

Also Read: Why Are My Radishes Growing Above Ground?

What Can Cause Holes in Radish Leaves?

There are many diseases that can ruin your radish plants before you can harvest them. Diseases like Alternaria blight, Downy mildew, Clubroot, and White rust are very dangerous and complex. It’s advised to regularly keep an eye on your plants.

The problem of holes in radish leaves is easily treatable. In most cases, it is caused by sneaky tiny flea beetles. They are destructive in nature. If given the scope, they can eat up all of the leaves present in your garden.

Various types of flea beetles can be found in nature. They can harm a wide range of vegetables. Radish is one of the vegetables that become food for these beetles.

Here are some facts about flea beetles that can help you identify them –

  • These insects are very small in size.
  • They look like shiny beetles from up close.
  • These insects hop when they are in distress.
  • They spend the winter as larvae in your garden.
  • They reach maturity in spring.
  • They can produce up to two generations of pests in your garden throughout the year.
  • There are many types of flea beetles that can be found in nature. Some have spots, some come with stripes, while some are plain black, brown, or blue.

Now you have the answer to the question – “why do my radish leaves have holes?“. Now, let’s see how we can come out this issue.

You can either prevent the flea beetles or wait for them to mature and then kill them. But let us suggest to you that while preventing can seem like extra work, killing includes using harmful chemicals that you do not want in your body.

So it is always advisable that while planting new radishes you take necessary precautions to control flea beetle infestation, because flea beetles can do a lot of damage to your radish plants that may result in stunted radish growth and undersized roots.

Must Read: How to Grow Beet Microgreens?

Here are three alternative treatments for Flea Beetle:

1. Prevention:

One of the ways by which you can prevent fleas from infesting your radish garden is using row covers. This is a very easy and safe method to control flea beetle infestation in your garden.

You can easily put the row covers on your garden when you plant the seeds. This stops the flea beetles from putting their eggs on your soil right at the beginning. Even if the flea beetles try to hop on your garden from some other plant they will be stopped by the cover.

Another way of stopping the flea beetles from putting their egg in your garden is by applying a heavy layer of mulch around the plants. It stops the eggs and the larvaé from going near the plant.

These two methods give your garden security from flea beetles before you start to grow radishes. These preventive methods do not use any chemicals so it is best for your plant’s health.

Another method of preventing flea beetles from infesting your garden would be using insecticidal dust. This is certainly the most reliable way to stop the flea beetles. The control agents used in this dust are derived naturally.

Permethrin and spinosad are two compounds used in insecticidal dust. This method needs regular application of the compound to stop beetles from re-entering your garden. If applied in a consistent manner, this will surely become very successful at keeping the flea beetles at bay.

You have to keep in mind that insecticidal products can contain carbaryl or bifenthrin. So you have to keep yourself from applying it more than the manufacturer recommends.

2. Using Natural Repellents:

None of us wants to use harmful chemicals to kill flea beetles, because what is harmful to the beetles can also be harmful to us. Especially if you have pets or children in your house then you better keep your garden toxin-free.

But putting on the covers and maintaining the mulches can be a lot of hard work for you. This is why going for natural repellents can do you a major favour. Even if your garden cannot afford row covers, you can still prevent the flea beetles from infesting your garden by using natural repellents.

If you have heard of Diatomaceous Earth, you know what we are talking about. This miraculous powder is extremely effective against insects. But they are also harmless to pets and children.

You can also opt for Neem oil or some other horticultural oil that creates an atmosphere not preferable by beetles or insects. These two natural insecticides will keep the flea beetles away from your garden.

3. Killing The Beetles:

Sometimes all efforts to prevent flea beetles from infesting go to waste for some reason. This is when you see thousands of larvae in your garden maturing into thousands of flea beetles.

But even without applying harmful chemicals and pesticides, you can kill the larvae of the flea beetles. The fact that the larvae of flea beetle mature overwinter in the soil helps the cause. Flea beetle larvae are very vulnerable when they overwinter in the soil.

They can be easily destroyed by extensive cultivating and hoeing. You should always remove the old topsoil debris and sterilize them. Another effective method is preventing weeds in your garden.

Weeds and unnecessary debris provide food for flea beetle larvae. When these are removed the larvae starve and die in the early season. Thus making a flea beetle free garden becomes a possibility. You can also use sticky traps and other types of physical barriers to taking care of this insect.

Some Tips for A Healthy Radish Garden

#1 Right, Condition For Radish Farming- Radish plants need a lot of sun to grow. But they also thrive in cool temperatures. Temperature between 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for good growth. Use shades if necessary.

The soil temperature should be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be loose, well-fertilized, and well-drained. If you don’t want your radishes to come out of soil then bury them in 12-inch holes.

#2 From Seed to Seedlings – Plant your radish seeds 5 weeks before the last frost. It is very crucial to start farming in the spring. If you want to harvest radish every now and then continuously during the season then keep sowing it every 7 to 10 days.

When the temperature goes above 80 degrees Fahrenheit stop planting seeds. When the required temperature is mentioned in this article, what we mean is daytime temperature. Do not count the night time temperature in your preparation.

Hot weather is a general foe of radishes. So if you are planning to grow radishes during fall, plant them 30 to 50 days before the first average frost date in autumn. Radishes grown in hotter weather may taste exceptionally bitter and pungent.

#3 Taking Care of The Plant: Radishes thrive in moist soil. So consistent humidity in the soil is very important for the seedlings to grow without a problem. Water them regularly but do not try to compensate if you miss a day by overwatering.

Radish plants need space between them so that they can have the nutrients from the soil to grow without competition. Try applying aged compost as food for your plants. Also, keep weeding your garden.

Now you know what is causing the holes in your radish leaves. As we have discussed the problem in detail, you must be well prepared for the battle with the beetles. Always remember preventing the beetles is the healthiest option for you and your family. Use chemical insecticides only if necessary. Keep your plants healthy and your body clean.

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