Brussels Sprouts Plant Care Guide ~ Container Growing Guide
Botanical name: Brassica oleracea
Plant type: Vegetable
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Any
Soil pH: Neutral
Brussels Sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, and an excellent source of protein and vitamins. They have a long growing season, and are generally more successful when grown for a fall harvest, as they only increase in flavor after a light frost or two.
- Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost.
- While starting seeds indoors is recommended, you may also direct sow seeds 4 months before the first fall frost. You may also have luck finding seedlings at a nursery.
- Raised beds are especially recommended for cold season vegetables, especially when seasons are changing and temps are not consistent.
- Work fertilizer into soil a few days before planting or transplanting.
- Plant transplant seedlings 12-24 inches apart.
- If direct sowing seeds, plant ½ inch deep and 2-3 inches apart. Thin plants to 12-24 inches apart when they reach 6 inches tall.
- Water well at time of planting/transplanting.
- Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
- Mulch to retain moisture and keep the soil temperature cool.
- Do not cultivate, roots are shallow and susceptible to damage.
- Harvest sprouts from the bottom of the stalk when they reach about 1 inch in diameter.
- Do not wash the sprouts before storing them, only right before use.
- Keep in plastic for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator.
- Protect the plant by mulching with straw or providing a cover if you plan to harvest into the winter.
- ‘Jade Cross’ is resistant to some diseases.
- ‘Oliver’ is an early variety.
- ‘Valiant’ produces consistent, uniform sprouts.
Brussels sprouts can’t tolerate frost, but they grow best in cool weather. Hot, dry weather results in bitter-tasting sprouts, so the plants are typically grown as fall crops. Planting Brussels sprouts in containers allows you to plant them even if your garden beds are full of summer vegetables. Transplant four-week-old seedlings into pots so the vegetables have a head start on the short fall growing season.
Things You’ll Need
- Potting soil
- Slow-release fertilizer
Mix 1 tablespoon of a 14-14-14 or other balanced fertilizer blend with 3 gallons of well-draining potting soil. Water the soil until it is evenly moist, but not soggy or muddy.
Prepare a 12-inch diameter, 12-inch deep pot in late July or early August, approximately 100 days before the first expected frost. Fill the pot with the moistened potting soil, leaving a 2-inch space between the soil surface and pot rim.
Plant one Brussels sprout seedling in the pot. Set the seedling in the pot at the same depth it was growing in its seedling container.
Place the pot in a location that receives full sunlight. Locate the pot near a water source to ease irrigation.
Water the Brussels sprout every day or two, or when the top inch of soil feels dry. Soil in a pot dries out more quickly than soil in a garden bed. Brussels sprouts become bitter or produce poorly if the soil is allowed to dry out completely.
Fertilize the Brussels sprout plant every two weeks with a soluble fertilizer, beginning six weeks after planting in the pot. Use a high-nitrogen vegetable fertilizer at half the rate recommended on the label
Harvest the sprouts from the plant as they reach an inch in diameter. Continue harvesting from the plant until all the sprouts have matured.
- Brussels sprouts begin maturing near the top of the stalk first, with those near the bottom reaching maturity last.
- Remove the lower six to eight leaves on the stalk to divert the plant’s energy to the maturing sprouts.
Tips & Warnings