How to grow Cabbage

Want to grow cabbage at home? Discover the best soil, planting times, and care techniques with our expert tips for a successful harvest. Start growing cabbage today!

How to grow cabbage

Are you looking for a rewarding and tasty addition to your home garden? Look no further than cabbage! Whether a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing cabbage is a fun and easy way to bring fresh produce to your table. With its vibrant green leaves and deliciously crunchy texture, cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be used in various recipes. Plus, with some care and attention, you can grow cabbage in your backyard and enjoy the satisfaction of producing your own food. So, if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and grow your cabbage, let’s dive in!

What are Cabbage

Cabbage is a leafy vegetable belonging to the Brassica family, including other popular vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It has a round or oblong shape and a firm, dense head of tightly packed leaves. Cabbage has several varieties, including green, red, and savoy, each with a unique flavor and texture. It is a versatile vegetable cooked or eaten raw in various dishes. It is known for its high nutritional value, particularly for its vitamin C and fiber content.

Botanical nameBrassica oleracea var. capitata.
Name (Common)Cabbage
Native toBelieved to have originated in either the eastern Mediterranean region or western Europe. However, it is considered to be a cultivated plant that was derived from wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea), which is native to coastal areas of western Europe and the Mediterranean.
Sun levels6 hours of direct sunlight per day
USDA zonesTypically grown in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. However, some varieties of cabbage are better suited to warmer climates and can be grown in zones 9-10 as well.
SoilSoil pH should be 6.0 and 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
Plant sizeOn average, a mature cabbage plant can grow to be about 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) in height and 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) in diameter.


Cabbage can be propagated through seeds or seedlings. Here’s how to propagate cabbage:

  • Seeds: Cabbage seeds can be sown directly into the garden bed or started indoors in seed trays. Plant seeds about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and moisten the soil. Once the seedlings are about 2-3 inches tall, thin them out so that they are spaced about 12-18 inches apart.
  • Seedlings: Cabbage seedlings can be purchased from a nursery or garden center. When planting seedlings, dig deep enough to accommodate the entire root ball. Space the seedlings about 12-18 inches apart.

Cabbage prefers cool temperatures and moist soil, so it’s essential to keep the soil consistently moist and to provide shade during hot periods. Cabbage also benefits from regular fertilization, so consider applying a balanced fertilizer every few weeks.

Types of Cabbage

Different types of  cabbage

There are several types of cabbage, including:

  • Green cabbage: This is the most common variety of cabbage, and it has a pale green color and a slightly sweet flavor. It’s often used in salads, slaws, stir-fries, and soups.
  • Red cabbage: This type has a deep purple color and a slightly spicy flavor. It’s often used in salads and slaws and is also great for pickling.
  • Savoy cabbage: This variety has crinkled, dark green leaves that are tender and sweeter than other types of cabbage. It’s often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Napa cabbage: Also known as Chinese cabbage, this variety has long, pale green leaves and a mild, sweet flavor. It’s often used in Asian-inspired dishes, such as stir-fries and kimchi.
  • Bok choy: This type of Chinese cabbage has long, white stems and dark green leaves. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and is often used in stir-fries and soups.

Each type of cabbage has its unique flavor and texture, making them great for various dishes.

How to grow Cabbage

Here are the steps to grow cabbage at home:

  • Choose a planting location: Cabbage prefers full sun and well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. If the soil is too acidic, add lime to raise the pH.
  • Prepare the soil: Amend it with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its texture and fertility. If the soil is heavy, add sand or perlite to improve drainage.
  • Plant the seeds or seedlings: Plant cabbage seeds about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and keep the soil consistently moist until the seedlings emerge. If using seedlings, dig a hole that’s deep enough to accommodate the entire root ball and space them about 12-18 inches apart.
  • Water regularly: Cabbage needs consistent moisture to grow well, so water the plants deeply and regularly, especially during dry periods.
  • Fertilize: Cabbage is a heavy feeder and benefits from regular fertilization. Apply a balanced fertilizer every few weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.
  • Control pests and diseases: Cabbage is prone to pests and diseases, such as aphids, cabbage worms, and clubroot. Monitor the plants regularly and use organic methods, such as handpicking or insecticidal soap sprays, to control pests. Rotate cabbage to a different location in the garden every year to prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases.
  • Harvest: Cabbage is ready to harvest when the heads are firm and solid. Cut the heads from the stem and remove any loose outer leaves. Store the heads in a cool, dry place for several weeks.

Following these steps, you can grow fresh, nutritious cabbage in your backyard.


Cabbage requires full sun to grow well, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If cabbage is grown in partial shade, it may not form a solid head or become stunted.

Cabbage may benefit from afternoon shade in hot climates to prevent the leaves from wilting or scorching.

However, it’s essential to ensure that the plants receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If you’re growing cabbage indoors or in a greenhouse, ensure the plants receive adequate artificial light to simulate full sun conditions.

Providing enough sunlight is essential for growing healthy, productive cabbage plants.


Cabbage prefers cool temperatures and can tolerate frost, but it also requires a specific range of temperatures for optimal growth. The ideal temperature range for growing cabbage is between 60-65°F (15.5-18°C) for seed germination and between 60-70°F (15.5-21°C) for vegetative growth.

Cabbage can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.7°C) and as high as 80°F (26.7°C), but extreme temperatures can affect the growth and quality of the plants.

In hot weather, cabbage may bolt or produce a premature flower stalk, making the heads bitter and inedible.

In cold weather, cabbage may develop blackened or mushy spots, which can be caused by frost or freezing temperatures. To ensure optimal growth and quality, it’s crucial to plant cabbage during the appropriate season for your climate.

In most regions, cabbage is typically planted in early spring for a summer harvest or in late summer for a fall harvest. However, cabbage can also be planted in the fall for a winter harvest in areas with mild winters.

Providing consistent temperatures within the optimal range can help you grow healthy, productive cabbage plants.


Cabbage grows best in fertile, well-drained soil and is rich in organic matter. The soil pH should be 6.0 and 6.5, which is slightly acidic.

To create an ideal soil for growing cabbage, add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting. This will improve the soil’s structure and provide nutrients to the growing plants. Additionally, adding lime to the soil can help raise the pH if it is too low.

Keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season is essential. Cabbage also requires regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer to ensure healthy growth and development.


Cabbage requires consistent moisture to grow well, but it’s important not to overwater the plants. Overwatering can lead to root rot, fungal diseases, and stunted growth. Here are some tips for watering cabbage:

  • Water deeply: To ensure moisture reaches the roots, water the plants deeply and thoroughly, especially during dry periods.
  • Water in the morning: Water the plants so the leaves have time to dry before the cooler evening temperatures arrive. Wet leaves in the evening can encourage fungal diseases.
  • Use a drip irrigation system: Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots, reducing the risk of overwatering or waterlogging the soil.
  • Mulch the soil: A layer of organic mulch, such as straw or leaves, can help retain moisture and reduce evaporation.
  • Monitor the soil: Check it regularly to ensure it’s moist but not waterlogged. Stick your finger into the ground about an inch deep – if it feels dry, it’s time to water.

Following these tips ensures that your cabbage plants receive the right amount of moisture to grow healthy and productive.


Cabbage is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization to grow well. Here are some tips for fertilizing cabbage:

  • Use a balanced fertilizer: Cabbage requires nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other micronutrients. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of these nutrients, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formula.
  • Apply fertilizer at planting: Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time to provide a steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season.
  • Apply additional fertilizer: Apply additional fertilizer every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season to replenish the nutrients in the soil. You can use a water-soluble or granular fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.
  • Use organic fertilizer: Organic fertilizers, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can also provide nutrients to cabbage plants. Apply organic fertilizer at planting time and as a side dressing every few weeks.
  • Avoid over-fertilization: Too much fertilizer can lead to excessive vegetative growth and delay the formation of heads. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and avoid applying fertilizer too close to the base of the plants.

Grow time

he time it takes to grow cabbage can vary depending on the variety of cabbage and the growing conditions. On average, cabbage takes about 80-180 days from planting to harvest. Here are some factors that can affect the growth time of cabbage:

  • Variety: Some varieties of cabbage, such as early-season varieties, mature more quickly than others.
  • Growing conditions: Cabbage grows best in cool weather with consistent moisture and good soil fertility. The growth time may be extended if the growing conditions are less than optimal.
  • Planting time: Cabbage planted in the fall may take longer to mature than in the spring due to the cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours.
  • Plant spacing: Overcrowded Cabbage plants may take longer to mature and not form solid heads.
  • Fertilization: Under-fertilization Cabbage may take longer to mature and may not develop properly.

Overall, it’s essential to choose a suitable variety of cabbage for your climate and growing conditions and to provide consistent care and attention throughout the growing season to ensure that your cabbage plants reach maturity promptly.


Harvesting cabbage

Harvesting cabbage at the right time ensures that the heads are firm, solid, and tasty. Here are some tips for harvesting cabbage:

  • Watch for maturity: Cabbage heads are ready to harvest when they feel solid and firm to the touch and the leaves have formed a tight, compact head. Cabbage can be harvested 70-180 days after planting, depending on the variety.
  • Check the size: The size of the cabbage head will depend on the variety, but most mature heads will be 4-10 inches in diameter.
  • Use a sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to cut the head of the cabbage from the stem, leaving a few of the outer leaves attached. Cut the stem close to the ground to prevent damage to the remaining plants.
  • Store properly: Store the cabbage heads in a cool, dry place after harvesting. Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place for several weeks.
  • Harvest before bolting: If you notice a cabbage plant starting to send up a tall flower stalk, called bolting, it’s best to harvest the head immediately, as it will become bitter and woody if left on the plant for too long.


Cabbage can be stored for several weeks under the right conditions. Here are some tips for storing cabbage:

  • Keep it cool: Cabbage should be stored in a cool place between 32-40°F (0-4°C). A refrigerator is the best place to store cabbage.
  • Keep it dry: Cabbage should be kept dry to prevent rot. If it’s damp, pat it dry with a paper towel before storing it.
  • Don’t wash it: Cabbage should not be washed before storing it, as moisture can promote decay.
  • Check it regularly: Check the cabbage regularly for any signs of decay or spoilage. If you notice any soft spots or mold, remove those areas and immediately use the rest of the cabbage.


Cabbage plants are susceptible to various diseases and pests that can damage or kill the plants if left untreated. Here are some tips for controlling common cabbage diseases and pests:

  • Cabbage Worms: These are the larvae of the cabbage white butterfly, and they can cause severe damage to the plant leaves. To control cabbage worms, you can use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or other insecticides labeled for use on cabbage.
  • Aphids: These tiny insects can suck the sap from the leaves of cabbage plants and cause stunted growth and yellowing leaves. To control aphids, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Cabbage Root Maggots: These pests feed on the roots of cabbage plants and can cause stunted growth and wilting. To control cabbage root

Questions and answers

When is the best time to plant cabbage at home?  The best time to plant cabbage at home depends on the climate and location. In most regions, cabbage can be planted in the spring or fall when temperatures are cooler.

What type of soil is best for growing cabbage at home? Cabbage grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 6.5.

How often should cabbage be watered when grown at home? Cabbage should be watered regularly, moistening the soil but not waterlogged. Depending on the climate and growing conditions, this may require watering once or twice a week.

How can I protect my cabbage plants from pests when growing them at home? There are several natural ways to protect cabbage plants from pests at home. These include using row covers to keep pests away, applying neem oil or insecticidal soap, and planting companion plants such as herbs to repel pests.

When is cabbage ready to be harvested when grown at home? Cabbage is typically ready to be harvested when the heads are firm and have reached their full size. This is usually about 70-100 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

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