What Are the Different Types of Carrots?

Learn about the five types of carrots and which ones will work best for your garden.

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December 05, 2019


Fresh orange carrots on a wood table.

Photo by: Shutterstock/5 second Studio

Shutterstock/5 second Studio

Carrots are categorized into types based on their shape and size; within each type, there are several varieties and cultivars. Carrots are best grown from seed, and they do not do well transplanted. They thrive in full sun but do best when seeded in the cool weather of spring or early fall. Most carrot types are ready for harvest between 60 and 80 days after sowing. Here are the five types of carrots:

Danvers – When most people think of a carrot, this is the type that they visualize. They are long and skinny, taper to a point and typically are orange in color, although they are available in other shades. The foliage and taproot are longer than Chantenay type and Danvers are more tolerant of poor soil than other types of carrots. The name comes from where they were developed in Danvers, Massachusetts. Preferred varieties include ‘Yellowstone' and 'Half Longs.'

Nantes – This type is almost perfectly cylindrical; it's round at the tip and top. It has sparse foliage and near-red flesh that is sweet in flavor and has a nice crunch. The name Nantes originates from the Atlantic coast of France which has ideal conditions for growing this type of carrot. Nantes is a quick-growing carrot that matures faster than the other types. There are estimated to be over 40 different varieties of carrots that fall into this type. Preferred varieties include ‘Napoli’, ‘Touchon’, ‘Napa’ and ‘White Satin.’

Imperator – This type is what most commercial growers produce and it is commonly found in grocery stores throughout the US. They are very similar looking to Danvers, but thicker in width and often have a higher sugar content than the other types. The foliage is very fast growing on Imperator carrots. Preferred varieties include ‘Japanese Imperial Long’, ‘Cosmic Red’ and ‘Sugarsnax 54.'

Chantenay – Before Nantes were developed, this type of carrot was the best to plant in heavy or rocky soil due to its size. Chantenay typically grows to 6" to 7" long. They are a great choice for those gardening in containers or less-than-ideal soil. Chantenay carrots have a very vigorous top growth. It is important to harvest at the timeframe mentioned on the seed packet because they do become woody and not tasty if harvested too late in the season. Chantenay carrots store extremely well. Preferred varieties include ‘Red-Cored Chantenay’, ‘Hercules’ and ‘Carson Hybrid.'

Ball or Mini – This grouping includes varieties that are shaped like radishes or are miniature. They grow really well in containers due to their short taproot and need for little space. The miniature forms reach about 3" to 4" long. They are often served whole with the tops attached and the radish-shaped varieties look great cross-sectioned so you can see the beautiful circular pattern inside. Preferred varieties include ‘Babette’, ‘Romeo’ and ‘Paris Market.'

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