How Fast Does Cabbage Grow?

You wish to develop cabbage, however you’re apprehensive about how lengthy it should take. Cabbage could also be a difficult crop to develop within the house backyard, however should you get pleasure from this cool-weather crop’s distinctive colours and flavors, it’s well worth the effort to develop your individual.

The Lowdown on Cabbage

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a gaggle of leafy greens within the mustard household. Chances are you’ll know the spherical inexperienced and purplish-red cabbage heads ceaselessly bought at grocery shops. However cabbage household vegetation additionally embody the next:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Napa cabbage
  • Bok choi
  • A whole bunch of different varieties

All varieties are cool-season crops. They don’t like the most popular summer season months and develop greatest in cooler climate of spring and fall. Along with cool temperatures, these vegetation want full solar, moist soil, and loads of vitamins to maintain them going. You can begin cabbages from seed or purchase younger vegetation to transplant into your backyard.

Cabbage is a biennial plant that wants two years to finish its life cycle:

  • Within the first 12 months, the plant devotes its power to rising a giant leafy head.
  • If the pinnacle isn’t harvested, it should overwinter and develop a flower stalk within the second 12 months.
  • After flowering, the plant will set seeds after which die.

Nonetheless, we sometimes develop backyard brassicas as cool-season annuals. Cabbage heads are harvested earlier than the plant absolutely matures and reaches the flowering stage.

8 Development Phases of Cabbage Vegetation

Stage Key Notes
Deciding on Seeds – For summer season harvest, sow seeds 8 weeks earlier than the final frost
– For fall harvest, sow seeds in mid to late summer season
– Sow in wealthy, moist, well-drained soil
– Cowl with ¼  inch of recent soil
– Maintain seeds moist and considerably heat
Sowing Seeds – For a summer season harvest, sow seeds 8 weeks earlier than the final frost
– For fall harvest, sow seeds in mid to late summer season
– Sow in wealthy, moist, well-drained soil
– Cowl with ¼  inch of recent soil
– Maintain seeds moist and considerably heat
Germination – Roots sprout
– Maintain moist
– Seeds take 4-6 days to germinate
Cotyledons – The plant focuses power on rising bigger
– Requires brilliant daylight and constant soil moisture
– Look ahead to pests and ailments
– Fast vegetative progress from first true leaves till harvest
True Leaves – First true leaves emerge 10-14 days after cotyledons
– Cotyledons flip yellow and drop off
– Plant begins rising quickly
– Skinny outside seedlings to 12-24 inches aside
– Transplant indoor seedlings 12-24 inches aside
Vegetative progress – Plant focuses power on rising bigger
– Requires brilliant daylight and constant soil moisture
– Look ahead to pests and ailments
– Fast vegetative progress from first true leaves till harvest
Harvest – Mature heads are massive, dense, and rounded
– Harvest dense, well-formed heads
– Start harvesting 60 to 100 days after planting
– Use a pointy knife or pruners to take away the pinnacle on the base
– Retailer cabbage in fridge for two weeks
– Eat it uncooked, cooked, or fermented
Flowering – Most gardeners don’t see this stage as we harvest earlier than that!
– Flowers seem in 12 months 2
– Vegetation die after flowering

What does a cabbage plant must thrive? In case you are able to develop cabbage in your backyard, create its excellent rising situations first. It takes 60 to 100 days to develop this crop from seed. Shopping for younger vegetation from a backyard middle can pace up the method.  

Cabbage Rising Fundamentals

Cabbage requires sufficient daylight and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
Mild Full solar, at the least 6 to eight hours of full solar every day
Temperature Splendid temperature for seed germination is round 75°F after which anyplace between 40°F and 75°F for plant progress
Soil kind Wealthy and well-drained, excessive in nutritious natural matter
Soil moisture Persistently moist; cabbages don’t do properly with drought or extraordinarily dry situations
Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0
Fertilizer Cabbages are heavy feeders. Plant your cabbages in wealthy high-quality soil with loads of natural compost. In mid-season, add one other software of natural compost or apply vegetable fertilizer.
Weed management Maintain weeds away. Cabbages is not going to wish to compete with weeds for moisture, mild, or vitamins.

Deciding on Seeds

Close-up of a woman's hands pouring cabbage seeds from a package into her palm, against the backdrop of wet soil in a garden. Seeds are tiny, rounded, blue in color. The packaging shows a variety of cabbage.
Select from many cabbage varieties, together with completely different shapes, colours, and progress levels.

Select your most well-liked selection to develop this brassica in your backyard. This text will deal with cabbage vegetation with agency spherical heads, however there are lots of extra varieties, together with decorative cabbages, Napa cabbage, and bok choi.

These all have related rising necessities and the identical development of progress levels, however the progress levels will occur on a barely completely different timeline. Bok choi, for instance, matures in a short time and is able to harvest in round 45 days.

There may be fairly a variety to select from. You may develop inexperienced or purple-colored heads. Many could have rounded shapes, however some shall be pointier or extra oval-shaped.

Most leaves shall be smooth-edged, whereas others shall be extra textured or ruffled. And you will see that early-season varieties, late-season varieties, and disease-resistant varieties.

Botanical Pursuits gives a stunning assortment of distinctive and heirloom cabbage seeds.

Cabbage seeds are small, spherical, and arduous. They’re reddish brown to darkish brown, and the colour will seemingly fluctuate inside a single seed pack. This shade variation is completely regular.

Seeds are viable for as much as 4 years if saved in a cool, dry place. You probably have seed packs older than 4 years or discover that any seeds are delicate and moldy, it’s time to spend money on a recent seed packet.

Sowing Seeds

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a handful of cabbage seeds over a tray of soil mix for sowing seeds. The seeds are tiny, rounded, dark orange and brown in color.
Beginning seeds indoors gives higher management over the rising atmosphere, whereas outside seeding requires additional care.

Cabbage seeds are best to begin indoors, the place you might have extra management over their rising atmosphere. It’s doable to begin seeds open air, however you should be additional cautious to maintain them each heat and moist to maximise germination charges.

  • Begin seeds 8 to 10 weeks earlier than the final frost for spring planting with a summer season harvest.
  • For summer season planting with a fall harvest, begin seeds in mid-summer.

Whereas it’s doable to begin cabbage seeds open air, it may be difficult. The seeds are small and should stay moist to germinate. It is probably not doable to begin the seeds exterior in early spring due to the chance of frost.

The sprouting seeds are susceptible to frost, however extra mature vegetation are frost-tolerant. Attempting to germinate seeds open air throughout the hottest summer season months can be a problem, however doable you probably have a protected, shady website you could maintain cool and moist.

The optimum temperature for cabbage seed germination is round 75 levels, no matter the place you begin your seeds. Sow the seeds in wealthy, moist, well-drained soil. Sow them ¼ inch deep or lay them on the floor and canopy them with ¼ inch of recent soil.

There are two principal choices for seeding:

  1. Place 2 or 3 seeds in a small particular person pot and skinny them after they sprout to 1 plant per pot
  2. Begin a number of seeds collectively in a tray.

If utilizing the tray methodology, fill a shallow tray with high-quality seed-starting soil. Place roughly 1 seed each 2 or 3 inches and canopy them with ¼ inch of recent soil. After the seeds sprout and develop true leaves, you may transplant the healthiest seedlings to particular person pots to proceed their progress.


Close-up of young cabbage sprouts germinating in potting mix. The sprouts are small, have thin white stems and slightly formed green shoots - cotyledons. The soil is black and wet.
Preserve heat and moisture for germinating cabbage seeds, as they’re delicate to chilly and drying out.

Germination happens when the arduous outer layer of the seed cracks open, and the primary tender roots push by means of into the soil. Maintain the soil heat and moist throughout this time as a result of these tender sprouts are very delicate to chilly and to drying out.

You gained’t sometimes see this stage as a result of the seeds shall be below the soil floor. The primary stage you will notice by informal commentary is the subsequent stage, cotyledons.

Viable cabbage seeds sometimes have a very excessive germination fee, so a lot of the seeds you sow might germinate. Relying on the variability and rising situations, it could actually take a seed anyplace from 4-6 days to germinate.


Close-up of young cabbage sprouts in the starter tray. The tray has deep cells filled with soil mixture. Cabbage sprouts have vertical thin stems and a couple of cotyledons. The cotyledons are small, smooth, heart-shaped, pale green in color.
Cabbage seedlings present cotyledons inside 6-10 days.

The cotyledon stage is thrilling as a result of that is the primary time you will notice your new plant. Shortly after germination, roughly 6-10 days after you planted the seed, you will notice the primary tiny leaves seem. As these first leaves, known as cotyledons, emerge from the soil, they are going to be very small and delicate.

They unfurl right into a pair of reverse double-lobed leaves. Chances are you’ll marvel, “Is that this actually cabbage?” They don’t seem like mature cabbage vegetation but; that may take longer!

Throughout the cotyledon stage, maintain the soil moist and guarantee your seedlings have loads of brilliant mild, which is able to assist them keep wholesome and compact.

Seedlings grown with inadequate mild could have lengthy stems and develop weak and leggy. You may count on to see the cotyledons for about 14 days, however typically the primary true leaves will emerge earlier than the cotyledons fall.

True Leaves

Close-up of young cabbage seedlings in plastic starter trays with potting mix. The seedlings have a pair of heart-shaped, pale green cotyledons and a pair of true leaves. The leaves are small, rounded, with wavy edges.
After the cotyledons, the primary true leaf will seem, bigger and oval-shaped with barely wavy edges.

The cotyledons will cling round for some time, after which you’ll discover the primary true leaf. It will likely be a bit bigger than the cotyledons and shall be oval-shaped with barely wavy edges. When you begin seeing true leaves, the vegetation will develop extra rapidly.

True leaves develop 10 to 14 days after the cotyledons and can final for the remainder of the plant’s life. The cotyledons will quickly flip yellow and drop off.

Thinning Seedlings 

Close-up of a woman's hands planting a young cabbage seedling into the soil in a garden. The seedling has upright pale green stems with oval green leaves with wavy edges. Many seedlings lie on the soil on a blurred background.
Transplant younger vegetation, spacing them 12 to 24 inches aside in rows at the least 3 ft aside.

As soon as your vegetation have developed 3 or 4 true leaves, it’s time to skinny your seedlings. They are going to want loads of house to develop the place they gained’t be in direct competitors with any shut neighbors.

If you happen to began seeds inside – For clusters of seeds in particular person pots, skinny the seedlings to at least one plant per pot. For seeds planted in a tray, now’s the time to transplant the healthiest seedlings to particular person pots.

If you happen to began seeds exterior – Skinny seedlings to at least one plant per 12 to 24 inches alongside every row. If you happen to use an intensive gardening methodology, like square-foot gardening or rising a dense planting in a container, skinny the seedlings to at least one plant per sq. foot.  

Transplanting younger vegetation – If you happen to began seedlings inside or bought younger plant begins, you need to transplant the younger vegetation into the backyard. Vegetation ought to have a number of true leaves and be between 3 to six inches tall. Area transplants 12 to 24 inches aside. Rows needs to be at the least 3 ft aside. For a summer season harvest, transplant exterior in early to mid-spring. For fall harvest, transplant exterior in mid to late summer season.

Vegetative Development

Close-up of watering a cabbage plant from a green watering can in the garden. The plant forms a beautiful large rosette of large wide blue-green leaves with wavy edges. The leaves have distinct white veins.
Guarantee ample daylight and water recurrently to forestall drying out and splitting.

Throughout this part, the plant focuses its power on rising bigger. Whereas the primary a number of leaves have been small and loosely organized, your plant will quickly develop bigger leaves that may kind a pleasant basal rosette.

When you might have a considerable cluster of enormous leaves in a rosette, you’ll discover the start of a head forming within the center. At first, the pinnacle shall be pretty small however distinctly completely different from the outer leaves, like a tennis ball surrounded by bigger leaves.

This is a wonderful time to add some fertilizer round your vegetation. Espoma Backyard-tone is a good natural choice. Cabbages are heavy feeders and can profit from the additional vitamins. You can too work in wealthy natural compost or well-aged manure across the vegetation.

Throughout this stage of progress, the plant wants loads of brilliant daylight. Maintain the soil moist and irrigate your vegetation manually in the event that they don’t obtain at the least 1 to 2 inches of weekly rainfall. Attempt to maintain the watering common.

A plant that has been allowed to dry out after which receives a giant drink is vulnerable to splitting open. This ruins the look of the cabbage and is an invite for pests and ailments.

Maintain an in depth eye on any issues your plant might have. Take away weeds promptly to scale back competitors with fast-growing weeds. Be watchful for insect pests as a result of loads of bugs like to eat cabbage.

There are a couple of completely different issues to be careful for when rising cabbage.

Pests and Illnesses

Close-up on the leaves of a cabbage plant infested with cabbage worms, in a sunny garden. Cabbage worms are small green caterpillars with a soft cylindrical body. They have distinct longitudinal stripes running along their body, in shades of green and yellow. Cabbage leaves are large, wide, blue-green in color, with white veins. The leaves have many holes due to worms.
Cabbage worms are frequent pests that may injury this crop.
Flea Beetles – Small black beetles
– Chew quite a few holes in leaves
– These might be significantly devastating to seedlings
Cabbage Worms, Cabbage Loopers – Butterfly and moth larvae
– Caterpillars feed extensively on cabbage leaves
– Trigger many holes within the plant leaves
Cabbage Maggots – White larvae of a fly
– Feed on roots
– Vegetation are injured and typically die
Thrips – Lengthy, skinny bugs, solely about 2 mm lengthy
– Eat holes in leaves, each outer and internal
– In massive numbers, they trigger in depth injury
– Destroy (don’t compost) severely infested vegetation
Rot and Black Spot – Bacterial and fungal infestations
– Causes useless spots on leaves
– Can kill vegetation rapidly
Cut up Heads – Attributable to uneven watering
– Cabbage heads break up open
– Elevated threat of pests and ailments to broken heads

Suggestions for a Wholesome Crop

Top view of weeding a garden bed with cabbage using a hoe. The soil is loose, clean, dark brown. Cabbage is a leafy vegetable with a rosette of broad, smooth, dark green leaves with white veins. The leaves are large with wavy edges.
To maintain your brassicas wholesome, rotate crops yearly and take away leafy particles from the backyard space.
Crop rotation Rotate your crops so that you don’t develop cabbage-family vegetation in the identical spot in successive years.
Soil moisture Don’t let your plant sit in saturated soil. This invitations mould and decay.
Be proactive Verify your vegetation recurrently for pests and ailments. It’s a lot simpler to manage an infestation early than wait till the plant is already badly broken and pests are uncontrolled.
Maintain space clear Destroy contaminated vegetation slightly than compost them. Clear up leafy particles in your backyard space to scale back locations the place pests like to cover.
Pesticides Many cabbage pests might be managed with pesticides, however watch out with pesticide software as they will additionally hurt helpful bugs and pollinators.

Companion vegetation are one other means gardeners can create wholesome combos of vegetation. Companion planting makes use of two or extra plant species that, when grown close by, profit one another.

Companion vegetation might help one another by offering structural assist, shade, enhancing soil high quality, attracting pollinators, or repelling pests.

Some good companion vegetation for cabbages embody beans, borage, chives, marigold, mint, onions, and thyme.


Close-up of a female gardener picking cabbages in a sunny garden. Several cabbage plants grow in rows in the garden. Cabbage is a leafy vegetable characterized by large, densely packed heads. The heads are rounded and consist of densely packed pale green broad leaves with a waxy texture. Cabbage leaves are broad, smooth, slightly textured, blue-green in color, with wavy edges. They grow in a rosette, forming layers around the head. A wire basket with a head of cabbage and blue secateurs stands on the soil in the garden.
Harvest mature heads, measuring 6 to 12 inches throughout, once they really feel agency and stable.

There’s no true fruiting stage of cabbages as a result of they don’t bear fruits. We harvest a rounded and typically colourful cluster of densely packed leaves. In contrast to fruiting vegetation, like tomatoes and cucumbers, that may bear many fruits all through the rising season, one cabbage plant sometimes yields one cabbage head.

You’ve spent the previous 2 to three months watching your cabbages sprout, develop leaves, and begin to develop heads. You’ve watched the heads develop bigger and bigger. Lastly, it’s time to reap them.

A mature head, prepared for harvest, shall be anyplace from 6 to 12 inches throughout, relying on the variability. It’ll really feel agency and stable and look… properly… like a head of cabbage.  If you happen to’ve been watching fastidiously, you’ll discover that the leaves appear to have stopped rising at this level.

You may count on to reap your cabbage anyplace from 60 to 100 days after sowing the seeds. When prepared, reduce the pinnacle from the bottom leaves with a pointy knife. You may take away the bottom and roots or strive your luck for a second, however smaller, harvest.

If you wish to strive for extra cabbages, go away the bottom and roots in place. Typically they are going to develop a couple of smaller heads earlier than the top of the season.

If the bottom and roots are diseased, it’s greatest to take away them from the backyard and destroy them; don’t compost diseased plant tissues. Insect-infected bases may also be eliminated or handled to get rid of insect infestation.

You may wrap the freshly harvested heads in an hermetic plastic bag and retailer them within the fridge for as much as 2 weeks. You may shred it and eat it uncooked as a slaw or in a salad, cook dinner it with stir-fries and soups, or ferment it to get pleasure from as sauerkraut or kimchi.


Close-up of flowering cabbage in the garden. Cabbage has large, densely packed blue-green leaves. The leaves are broad, oval in shape, with wavy edges and distinct pale green veins. The plant has upright stems with small yellow 4-petal flowers. Small white butterflies with black dots on their wings sit on the flowers.
Brassica crops are normally harvested earlier than reaching the flowering stage.

Most gardeners don’t see the flowering stage of cabbage vegetation as a result of we sometimes harvest them earlier than they will flower. Cabbages are biennial vegetation. Their whole life cycle takes two years to finish. The primary 12 months is devoted to vegetative progress, and we sometimes harvest cabbage heads within the first 12 months.

If you happen to maintain your cabbage vegetation rising into their second 12 months, they are going to sometimes overwinter simply superb. Within the second 12 months, throughout the spring, when the climate begins to heat into summer season, cabbage sends up a flower stalk.

The flowers are small however showy and yellow. You’ll usually see the white or yellow cabbage butterflies flitting round. These bugs are interested in each the flowers and the plant leaves as a result of that is their host plant, the place they are going to lay eggs, creating the subsequent era of cabbage-eating caterpillars.

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