Bok choy, Pak choi, Bok choi (Chinese Cabbage) ~ Brassica rapa var. chinensis Plant Care Guide
Vegetable (Cool Season) – Cabbage Family
Also known as Bok choy, Pak choi, Bok choi
Brassica rapa var. chinensis
No matter how you spell it, pak choy’s mild flavor is a must for stir fries. It’s not as finicky about heat and cold as Chinese cabbage, and the striking white petioles and green leaves make it a must for edible landscaping.
- full sun
- part shade
Partial shade can help prevent summer crops from bolting.Soil conditions:
- requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.
Biennial grown as an annual.
Ease-of-care: moderately difficult
Spring crops require good timing and careful pest control. Direct-seeded fall crops are easier to grow.
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Foliage texture: medium
Shape: cushion, mound or clump
- frost – Spring crops may bolt prematurely if young plants are exposed to frost or a week of nighttime temperatures below 50 F. Wait until after last frost date to direct seed or transplant out.
- not native to North America – Not known in the wild. Probably developed from selections of oil seed varieties in China about 2,000 years ago.
- edible landscaping
How to plant:
Propagate by seed
Germination temperature: 50 F to 80 F
Days to emergence: 4 to 7
Seed can be saved 4 years.
Maintenance and care:
While not as sensitive to heat and cold as Chinese cabbage, spring crops may bolt prematurely if young plants are exposed to frost or a week of nighttime temperatures below 50 F. Wait until after last frost date to direct seed or transplant out.Start transplants inside 4 to 6 weeks before last frost date. Transplant 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart. Use the closer spacings for smaller varieties.
Plant direct-seeded spring crops ¼ to ½ inch deep and about 1 inch apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart. Thin to 6- to 12-inch spacings. Use thinnings in salads.
For fall crops, direct seed ¼ to ½ inch deep in rows 18 to 30 inches apart in summer. Thin to 6- to 12- inch spacings. Or set transplants out at 6- to 12-inch spacings 4 to 6 weeks before first frost.
Mulch fall crops heavily and provide adequate moisture to avoid premature bolting.
Browse bok choy/pak choy varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.“Baby” varieties grow just 6 inches tall while others may reach nearly 2 feet. Some are more tolerant of heat and cold than others.
Varieties recommended for New York include:
Mei Qing Choi — hybrid
Tropical Delight — hybrid
Two Seasons — hybrid
China Pride — hybrid
Jade Pagoda — hybrid
Dynasty — hybrid
What the Heck Is Bok Choy?
by Farmers’ Almanac Staff | Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | From: Food and Recipes
Bok choy is one of many names given to a popular variety of Chinese cabbage. Also called Chinensis, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard, and spoon cabbage, among other names, bok choy is a smooth, dark green, leafy vegetable with pale succulent stems.
How to Grow Bok Choy Without Bolting
What Are the Health Benefits of Bok Choy
Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that doesn’t look like the typical cabbage. Instead, it has dark green leaves connected to white stalks. One cup has just 9 calories and barely a trace of fat, yet delivers protein, dietary fiber and almost all the essential vitamins and minerals. This makes bok choy a nutrient-dense food that offers several health benefits.