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Bok choy, Pak choi, Bok choi (Chinese Cabbage) ~ Brassica rapa var. chinensis Plant Care Guide





Growing Guide

Pak choy

Vegetable (Cool Season) – Cabbage Family

Also known as Bok choy, Pak choi, Bok choi
Brassica rapa var. chinensis 
Brassicaceae Family

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.

Site Characteristics


  • 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.

Plant Traits
Lifecycle: annual

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

Special Considerations

  • 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.

Special characteristics:

  • 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.

Special uses:

  • edible landscaping

Growing Information
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.


4 responses

  1. I love all things broccoli and cauliflower and Brussels sprouts but I have a problem with Asian greens unless they are surrounded by lots of other veggies. They have very little flavour. A pity really as they are SOOO easy to grow! Maybe I just need to expand my Asian green recipe stockpile? 😉

    April 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    • i was actually thinking i will stick with brussels sprouts shhh lol, this seems to be all the new health craze so if it gets people to eat veggies home grown so be it 🙂

      April 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      • It won’t for long…they are VERY easy to grow (could grow them in a shoe WHILE you are wearing it!) but they are watery and limp when you cook them. Not my sort of thing. I love good “solid” veggies that are still there on your fork when you go to chew them! 😉

        April 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      • 😀

        April 11, 2014 at 9:52 pm

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