Vegetable Science


Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris L.

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Chromosome No.: 2n=18

Origin: Europe (Mediterranean region)

Inflorescence type:  Spike

Important Point

  • Origin of Beetroot Beta vulgaris L. subspecies of maritime from the hybridization with Beta patula.
  • It is very popular in the United States.
  • The reddish purple color of beetroot is due to the presence of β-cyanin pigment and the yellow color is due to the presence of β-xanthine pigment.
  • Citric acid is present in beetroot.
  • Beetroot is a long-day plant.
  • Beet is a dioecious plant
  • It is the second most important crop for making sugar.
  • Beetroot is a rich source of folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women to reduce the risk of spina bifida.
  • Thinning is essential in sugar beet.
  • One gram seed ball contains about 50 seeds.

Nutritive value (per 100 g of edible portion) and use

Beetroot is used as fleshy roots which are used as cooked vegetables, salad, and for pickling and canning.


87.6 g

Vitamin A

0 IU


1.7 g

Vitamin C

10 mg


0.1 g


1 mg


8.8 g


18 mg


43 kcal


55 mg


Beetroot requires low temperatures and a cool climate. High temperature causes the zoning appearance of alternating light and dark red rings in the root. Extremely low temperatures of 4.5–10°C for 15 days result in bolting.

Soil and its preparation

Deep loam or sandy loam soil with good drainage is best for beetroot cultivation. Beetroot is highly sensitive to soil acidity and the ideal pH is 6.0-7.0. It can be successfully grown in saline soil. The land is well-ploughed to make it loose and friable. Lumps should be completely removed.


Beetroot cultivars are usually classified on the basis of the shape of their roots.

  1. Flat: Flat-Egyptian
  2. Short-top shape: Flattened at top and bottom with rounded sides and conical or tapered base, e.g. Crosby Egyptian, Early Wonder, Asgrow Wonder
  3. Round or globular: Roots are round or globular in shape, e.g. Detroit Dark Red, Crimson Globe.
  4. Half-long: Length is short than long types, e.g. Half-Long Blood, Winter Keeper.
  5. Long: Roots are long, can grow up to 40 cm, very popular in Europe, e.g., Long Dark Blood.


Special features

Detroit Dark Red

Developed from IARI New Delhi, Roots are perfectly round with smooth uniform deep red skin; Deep blood red flesh with light red zoning.

Crimson Globe

It produces round to flattened round roots. The outer skin is red without zonation and the flesh is crimson red.

Early Wonder

Roots flattened round with deep red skin and dark red flesh and light red zoning.

Crosby Egyptian

Flat globe roots with deep purple-red flesh forming white zoning in warm climates.


Developed from TNAU Coimbatore, this variety has round-shaped roots with blood-red flesh colour. It sets seeds in Nilgiris conditions.

Time of sowing

  • In the plains: September-November
  • In hilly areas: March-April

Seed rate

7-9 kg/ha

Sowing method

Flate beds or ridges and furrows are prepared. Soaked seed balls containing 2-6 seeds are sown 2.5 cm deep in rows.


45-60cm x 8-10cm

Manure and Fertilizers

Application of well-rotten FYM @ 25 t/ha is recommended. For average soils, 60-70 kg Nitrogen, 100-120 kg Phosphorus, 60-70 kg/ha potash, and 15-20 kg Boron/ha are recommended. Half the dose of N and a full dose of P, K, and B should be applied basally at the time of land preparation before sowing, and the remaining half dose of N should be applied 30-45 days after sowing.


Moist soil is essential for seed germination and growth. Generally, 5-7 irrigations are given in summer and 3 irrigations in winter in the plains of North India.

Interculture operations

The field is usually kept weed-free by light hoeing at the initial stage of the crop and earthing up is also done. Thinning is an essential operation as more than one germination is produced from each seed.


Digging is done 8-10 weeks after sowing when the diameter of tubers is 3-5 cm. For digging the leaves are held by hand and pulling them upwards.


25-30 t/ha


Beetroot is stored at 0°C with a relative humidity of 90%.

Physiological disorder

1. Internal black spot: It is also called heart rot or crown rot. Boron-deficient plants usually remain weak and stunted. Leaves are smaller than normal. This disorder occurs mostly in alkaline soils due to the deficiency of Boron.


  • Avoid sowing sugar beet in alkaline soil,
  • Avoid drought conditions by supplying less irrigation, and
  • Spray borax (10-15 kg/ha) or boric acid 0.2% in the soil 2-3 times.

2. Speckled yellows: Yellow-green chlorotic mottled areas appear on the leaves of affected plants. It is caused by to deficiency of manganese.


Soil application of Manganese Sulphate at the rate of 5-10 kg/ha or 0.25% foliar spray should be done.

Pest control

  1. Aphid (Myzus persicae, Brevicoryne brassicae): The insects suck the sap from the tender parts of the plant. Infected leaves curl, turn yellow, and eventually die.


Spray Imidacloprid 17.8 SL @ 0.5-0.6 ml/Litre.

  1. Beet leaf miner (Pegoniyia hyocyami): Affected plants are stunted, and leaves blister, wilt, and die.


Spray Malathion 50 EC @ 1.5-2.0 ml/lit of water.

  1. Semi looper (Plusia nigrisigna): The pest eats the leaves and damages the crop.


Spray Malathion 50 EC @ 1.5-2.0 ml/lit of water on the crop.


  1. Leaf Spot (Cercospora beticola): Appearance of small brown spots with a reddish-purple color and the spots enlarge and turn brown.


  • Seed treatment with 50°C hot water for 15 minutes, and
  • Spray Indofil M-45 @ 2 gm/lit of water.
  1. Downy mildew (Peronospora schachtii): Yellow spots on the upper surface of the leaves and white growth on the lower surface, appear with irregularity. Flowering shoots remain stunted and deformed.


  • Treat the seed with Carbendazim or Thiram or Captan @ 2 g/kg of seed, and
  • Spray Indofil M-45 @ 2 gm/lit of water at an interval of 15 days.
  1. Mosaic: The virus is spread by aphids. Necrotic, striated ring spots are characteristic.


Spray Imidacloprid 17.8 SL @ 0.5-0.6 ml/litre to control aphids.

  1. Curly Top: It is spread by the beet leaf hoppers. The leaves of the affected plant remain small and curled.


  • Use disease-free seed
  • Remove affected plants from the field, and
  • Spray Imidacloprid 17.8 SL @ 0.5-0.6 ml/lit of water.