Why Holes in Radish Leaves – What is Eating?

If you notice irregular holes in radish leaves, flea beetles are probably chewing the vegetable plant leaves. Larvae feed on plant roots, resulting in reduced yield.

Severe radish flea beetle can result in stunted plant growth and transmission of bacterial infection.

In case of large holes in radish leaves, you may have other pests, such as cabbage maggots or weevils.

Monitoring is essential to know what is eating your radish leaves.

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

Radishes are 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 you can harvest 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 general care, you must look 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 surprising how fast this problem can occur and spread to other plants.

Black bugs and flea beetles can be the reason behind tiny holes in radish leaves. However, you must monitor carefully to determine the pest.

Seeing radish leaves with small holes can be heart-wrenching for novice gardeners. Though it may seem simple, it can transmit to other vegetable plants if not stopped.

In this write-up, you’ll know why your radish leaves have holes, what bugs eat them, and how to stop them.

Key Notes

  • The most common cause of holes in radish leaves is flea beetles.
  • They are small, black and fast-moving.
  • Flea beetle larvae feed on plant roots and reduce yield.
  • Radish seedlings are vulnerable to this pest as it is most active in spring.
  • Flea beetles can transmit several plant diseases that can kill the plant.
  • Using organic insecticides like neem oil spray can get rid of flea beetles.
  • Preventing is the best way to combat this pest.

Radish is a Root Vegetable – Know about the plant

holes in radish leaves

Whenever we hear the name radish, we think of round little red root vegetables with long green leaves. But many varieties of radishes are available in the market that are less popular than the red bulbs.

These red bulbs are usually used in salads and are widely available in the summer. 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 radishes are used as chutney or dips for other snack foods. While chutney is an Indian preparation, variations 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 well as the dipping 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 soil. But, if the space between the plants is not maintained and the soil temperature is 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 and 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 holes in radish leaves.

Also Read: Why Are My Radishes Growing Above Ground?

What Causes Holes in Radish Leaves?

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

Many diseases can ruin your radish plants before you can harvest them.

Diseases like Alternaria blight, Downy mildew, Clubroot, and White rust are dangerous and complex. It’s advised to keep an eye on your plants regularly.

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 yearly.
  • Many types of flea beetles can be found in nature. Some have spots, some come with stripes, and some are plain black, brown, or blue.

Now that you know the answer to the question – “What is eating my radish leaves?” let’s see how we can stop these small black bugs.

How to Get Rid of Flea Beetles on Radishes?

Regular monitoring to prevent flea beetles is the most effective way to stop the infestation.

You can use organic insecticides like neem soil spray or cover young radish plants with row covers to combat these black bugs.

Remember, these small pests are extremely mobile and can reinvade your radish plants. (Source)

You can either prevent the flea beetles, wait for them to mature, or 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 to take necessary precautions while planting new radishes to control flea beetle infestation because flea beetles can damage your plants, resulting 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 by 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 another plant, the cover will stop them.

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 chemicals which are best for your plant’s health.

Another method of preventing flea beetles from infesting your garden is 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 consistently, this will surely become successful at keeping the flea beetles at bay.

You must remember that insecticidal products can contain carbaryl or bifenthrin.

So, you must 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 harm us.

You better keep your garden toxin-free, especially if you have pets or children.

But putting on the covers and maintaining the mulches can be hard work. 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 flea beetles from infesting your garden using natural repellents.

You know what we are discussing if you have heard of Diatomaceous Earth. 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 that is not preferable to 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 flea beetle larvae 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 physical barriers to care for this insect.

Important Tips for a Healthy Radish Plant

1. Right Condition For Radish Farming

Radish plants need much 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 from the soil, 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 now and then continuously during the season, 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 nighttime temperature in your preparation.

Hot weather is a general foe of radishes. So, if you plan 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 to 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, 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.


Are you wondering what is eating your radish leaves?

Small holes in radish leaves are likely due to flea beetles. However, there can be other pests too.

But flea beetles are the most common cause of irregular holes in radish plant leaves.

You can eliminate them using organic insecticide. Still, regular monitoring is needed, as these tiny black bugs can reinvade your garden.

Ignoring holes in your radish leaves can spread the infestation to other vegetable plants and reduce yield.

Preventing is a powerful weapon in your arsenal. Regularly monitor and get weeds around the garden that can attract flea beetles.

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