Brussels Sprouts

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Botanical name:

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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.

Planting

  • 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.

Care

  • 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.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • 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.
     

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Jade Cross’ is resistant to some diseases.
  • ‘Oliver’ is an early variety.
  • ‘Valiant’ produces consistent, uniform sprouts.

Recipes

Comments

When do I take the lower

By Don Watko on July 8

When do I take the lower leaves of my Brussel Sprouts & should I cut top off to encourage harvesting

Hi, Don, commercial growers

By Almanac Staff on July 9

Hi, Don, commercial growers often remove the leaves the hasten the harvest, but it seems a bit of a gamble in the home gardens (where you're bound to have only a few precious plants). Some gardeners remove the bottom 6 to 8 leaves as the sprouts develop, and then take 2 or 3 more weeks in succeeding weeks—but not so often as to strip the plant. Keep a few large leaves on/near the top of the plant; these will continue to feed the plant.
That said, if you do not pull off the bottom leaves early on, definitely remove them—and harvest the sprouts—when the leaves turn yellow.

We have tried to grow sprouts

By andy cas. on June 29

We have tried to grow sprouts before we live in pa and plant 1st week of June first year nothing pulled it out this year same in June they are bushy ferterlized well watered temps are75 to90 will I get anything in these conditions never grew before any tips can I leave plant in will it grow back next year, site a raised bed hope someone can help

It will take a little while

By Almanac Staff on July 1

It will take a little while for the plants to start growing the stem. Usually you will see the little sprouts start forming at the bottom of the stem about 50 days after planting.

Hi, i planted our brussel

By Bruce Fischer

Hi, i planted our brussel sprouts in may and heres the middle of June.The plants look healty and bushy but no sprouts yet and its in the mid 80s will it be too hot for them ?If not when should we something? Thanks Bruce.

Hi, Bruce: See the Reply

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Bruce: See the Reply below ... sounds like you're a little premature in your concern, as b-sprouts usually need at least 100 days to grow. While you're at it, though, consider planting a second crop to mature in the fall. Sprouts power to you!

Thanks for the come back guys

By Bruce Fischer

Thanks for the come back guys on the brussel sprouts.I keep seeing these little moths flying around them and now i am seeing holes in the leaves .Should i dust them? Thanks Bruce.

I live on the Texas coast and

By C.J. Rome

I live on the Texas coast and planted Brussel Sprouts last fall in a raised garden. It is now June and the plants are 3 plus feet tall, look very healthy, but the sprouts are the size of marbles and don't appear to be getting any larger. I have grown them before in Colorado with great success. Any idea why I have only miniature sprouts? I thought everything was bigger in Texas...grin.

Hi, C.J.: Haha! Actually, a

By Almanac Staff

Hi, C.J.: Haha! Actually, a friend from Oklahoma once told us that the biggest thing in Texas was lack of gardening knowledge, but of course we didn't believe him! Seriously, though -- and assuming that your raised garden is carefully prepared and not too acidic (below 6) -- this sounds like a temperature challenge. As you know, the growing season for b-sprouts is about 90-100 days, and they are a cool-season crop that does best when they mature in cooler temps. Your "cool" season, such as it is (not like Colorado, is it? -- which may explain something right there), should be in December-January, so back up your planting time from there. You can indeed grow good b-sprouts in South Texas -- just research a variety that is "warm"-friendly, make sure your soil is alkaline, and stay on top of watering. Then we're talkin' big, Texas-style!

I live in south west

By Cheryl Ann

I live in south west michigan. Can I plant my brussel sprout seeds directly in my raised be now (first week in June) or should I wait until late summer?

Hi, Cheryl Ann: Sure can!

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Cheryl Ann: Sure can! There are tools right here to help you figure that out. Above, under Planting, you'll see that you can direct-sow 4 months before the first frost. If you click on Gardening, then Frost Dates calculator, you can plug in your zip code to get the date for your area. We used Three Rivers and got October 5, 4 months from ... well, today! Another way to do it is to go to Gardening, then Best Planting Dates, then plug in your zip code (although the software should just carry it over from your previous inquiry), then see brussels sprouts. For Three Rivers, this tool gives April 1 to mid-May as the best direct-sow times, so you are right in the tail end of the direct-sow season for bsprouts -- just in time! These tools are free and apply to many veggies and fruit, so help yourself -- and share knowledge of them with your friends!

Hi, I bought some Brussel

By Tanya Last

Hi, I bought some Brussel Sprouts at Walmart in the garden section. I planted them in May. They still look the same way as I bought them. Just the head of leaves no stem is growing?? Is that normal.. When will it start growing ? I live In Canada. Thanks

Hi Tanya, It will take a

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tanya,
It will take a little while for the plants to start growing the stem. Usually you will see the little sprouts start forming at the bottom of the stem about 50 days after planting.

I planted brussels sprouts

By Ester Seguiti

I planted brussels sprouts last year. They only grew about a foot and produced no sprouts, but this spring they are now 4-5 ft tall and covered with yellow flowers. Will they get any sprouts this year? I did not cut off flowers. Did I make a mistake? They were beautiful in the garden.

If this is the second year

By Almanac Staff

If this is the second year for the brussels sprout they will flower and produce seed as they are biennials. Sometimes bolting (flowering) also occurs in spring and early summer when cool-season vegetables are subjected to warmer temperatures and longer days. You will probably not get any sprouts this year.

I have already planted my

By keithash61

I have already planted my brussel sprout seeds we are in the last 2 weeks of April is this okay. This is the first time I have ever tried growing the....Michigan gardener

It may help you to explore

By Almanac Staff

It may help you to explore our Best Planting Dates for Veggies page which is customized to your location:

www.almanac.com/plantingtable

I just bough my brussel

By Karen litvinchyk

I just bough my brussel sprouts plants its now mid April, my plants are small I notice you said they do not like temperatures over 70 degrees, should I be growing these at another time. I see everyone purchasing them so sure what to do. I have never grown them and need some advice.

I'm not sure when you planted

By Almanac Staff

I'm not sure when you planted them, but it's early yet. It's best to plant Brussels sprouts in early spring as they like cool weather. Did you add some fertilizer? They are heavy feeders so that would help. 

Our Brussels sprouts are

By JE

Our Brussels sprouts are almost three years old(no sprouts yet). They have what appear to be suckers(new plants growing from a parent's root zone). Do Brussels sprout have suckers?

Brussels sprouts are slow

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts are slow growers, but three years is inordinately long. The suckers may be the plant's way of self-sustaining.
The best recommendation is to start fresh this season. Sprouts are heavy feeders, so plant them in rich composted and well drained soil. Amend the soil before planting to a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Water often to maintain consistent moisture.

I have a brussel sprout that

By Linda Derrick

I have a brussel sprout that grew over the winter and still looks pretty good. I live in Texas by the Oklahoma border, and I am getting ready to plant my garden again this year. I don't want to waste any space, so I am wondering if I should pull up last year's brussel sprout plant, or leave it. Will it continue to produce in year 2?

In places with mild winters,

By Almanac Staff

In places with mild winters, Brussels sprouts can be grown through winter for harvest in early spring. 
As biennials, they will produce yellow flowers and seedpods in Year 2. You could dry the seedpods and save the largest seeds to replant. Under dry storage, the seeds can last up to 3 years.

After planting our garden

By Laurie Metz

After planting our garden which includes brussel sprouts (which I love), we carefully fenced it off because we have chickens, well somehow they found a way to get in and completely nibbled off all the leaves including the center of all our brussel sprouts, swiss chard and broccoli, but left the stems. They look like little skeletons! My question is, will they grow back and produce since they are just wintering over and are not fully developed.

Just an update on the garden.

By Laurie Metz

Just an update on the garden. The brussel sprouts I had to pull up, but the broccoli and swiss chard I left. They grew back healthy and produced a large amount. Especially the swiss chard. As for the chickens getting in the garden. They dug a hole under the fence to get in. We had to surround the fence line with rocks. It's a good thing they don't have hands.

sounds like it's time to

By ray carpenter

sounds like it's time to barbecue some chicken

No, they won't grow back.

By georgewilson

No, they won't grow back. Plant some more and you'll have to fence in your garden!

I live in West Tennessee,and

By lha

I live in West Tennessee,and have raised Brussels Sprouts where I lived before,but now I live on a wooded lot. There is a small area where I plant Tomatoes,Potatoes,and cucumbers. I also sometime plant Sweet Potatoes. My question is: how much sunlight do Brussels Sprouts require?

Brussels sprouts need a

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily, more is better. Good luck!!

Please e-mail me as soon as

By Grace Huston

Please e-mail me as soon as you can. I bought brussel sprouts on the stalk. I've taken a few off to steam, but need to know how to store the rest., take them off the stalk, leave them on the stalk. Please help, and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Usually, one harvests the

By Almanac Staff

Usually, one harvests the sprouts as they grow on the stalk from the bottom up. To pick them, you can either twist them off, or better yet get a sharp knife and cut them off. Put them in a plastic bag in the the crisper part of your fridge and they'll keep for 5 to 10 days. Don't wash until you plan to use.

from Iowa I grew my brussel

By John Ludtke

from Iowa I grew my brussel sprots from seed, planted first part of June in ground, plants are about 3 feet tall with some good size sprouts on lower stem but the leaves have not turned brown, it is now first of Nov. do I go ahead and start picking from lower stem we have had a few heavy frost already?

Hi, John. At three feet tall,

By Almanac Staff

Hi, John. At three feet tall, it should be time to harvest the Brussels Sprouts heads from the lower stem. The sprouts mature best in light frosty weather, ideally sunny days with frosts at night.
Though Brussels Sprouts love light frost, they can not withstand a hard freeze and need to be harvested before a freeze. As winter nears, you can fool the sprouts into maturing all at once by cutting off the top of the plant about 3 weeks before you want to harvest.

I had great luck growing

By Phannie Mae

I had great luck growing broccoli here in Md, my 1st year as a gardener some time ago. I am interested in trying a fall crop of Broccoli and Brussel sprouts. My soil is somewhat naturally acid but amending an area for the Brussels to get it on the neutral side may be asking alot, any suggestions for a small raised bed (5x12)garden.

Brussels sprouts do not like

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts do not like acidic soil. Before deciding to raise or lower your soil's pH, you should first conduct a soil test. This is required to guide all of your planting. Contact your local county Extension office as they often conduct free soil tests or can point you in the right direction. They'll probably recommend that you add lime to your soil. In the meantime, if you want to go for fall planting ,we'd just add plenty of organic matter and most veggies should do fine. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans and onions will all grow in acidic soil.

my brussel sprouts are leafy

By audrey boe

my brussel sprouts are leafy and loose. not solid as they should be. like they arent forming completely. what do i need to do to get them to grow right?

This is a common problem if

By Almanac Staff

This is a common problem if the sprouts develop in hot weather. It might just be too warm in your areal; they do not like temps above 70 degrees. We are not sure where you live but you may need to plant them later in the summer/early fall or earlier in the spring.

Can you freeze brusell

By cindy barker

Can you freeze
brusell spouts?

Yes, you can certainly freeze

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can certainly freeze Brussels sprouts. Just take off some of the courser outer leaves, wash, blanch (in boiling water) for a few minutes depending on size of head, then immediately emerge in cold water to stop the cooking. Dry, seal in baggies that leave no room for air, and put in freezer!

this is my first year of

By Helene Paulin

this is my first year of having a garden and I have big brussel sprouts. When you talk about harvesting do you cut the entire plant or can you cut a few sprouts at a time?
and it seems that I have some in the middle that are larger than ones closer to the ground

I have what I think are

By Michelle Yocum

I have what I think are brussel spouts growing in my garden (at least I planted from seed what I thought are Brussels). I have several very good looking plants but they aren't growing upward stalk style....instead vine like and have little curly tentacles that grab to hold onto whatever is close. Beautiful big leaves that look cabbage like but again very tender looking not at all like what I see in pictures. Any idea what these plants might be or are the very young plants and do I need to stake them to keep stanble.

It sounds like cucumbers to

By christy stills

It sounds like cucumbers to me. Their vines grab on to everything.

You definitely have cucumbers

By Dave B

You definitely have cucumbers growing it is best if you try and put up a fence 5 to 6 feet tall as the vines will climb the fence and you will have lots of cucumbers growing off the vines

Interesting! We've never seen

By Almanac Staff

Interesting! We've never seen this and can only advise that Brussels sprouts grow well when it's cool and are not typically grown this time of year. We're not sure where you live, but folks generally put in transplants around late March or April for spring crops and in late August or September for fall crops. 

Our Brussels sprouts have a

By sylvia Parker

Our Brussels sprouts have a large green bush almost like a collard plant. There are little sprouts above the leaf. Should I take the leaf off or allow the sprout to grow with the leaf.

We generally do not remove

By Almanac Staff

We generally do not remove leaves because they create the energy for the plant. However, as you harvest the maturing sprouts--which should happen from the bottom of the plant to the top of the plant--you can remove the leaves along the way. The leaves are edible, too! If you get tiny bunches of leaves that look as if they're going to sprout but do not, it may be getting too warm and your plant may be getting ready to go to seed.

I want to know if brussel

By Becky Leaf

I want to know if brussel sprouts come back after winter? I have some new growth. Some looks like it is flowering and some look like baby plants.

Brussels sprouts are a

By Almanac Staff

Brussels sprouts are a biennial (treated as an annual); the plant requires parts of two growing seasons with a cool rest period (winter) in between in order to produce seed. It is possible that yours did not have a long enough growing season last year to allow the sprouts to develop so, after resting in the winter, the plant is entering its second year of growth.

Brussel sprouts

By Anonymous

I live in Southern MN. Could I plant my seeds directly in the ground soon and have a harvest by the first fall frost? (that's if it doesnt snow again)

According to your MN

By Almanac Staff

According to your MN cooperative extension: "For fall crops, start seeds in June for Brussels sprouts. Cole crops are generally transplanted for a summer crop. Start seeds indoors in early April or 4-6 weeks before transplanting. "

collards

By Anonymous

when do they plant collards in in georgia

Collards like cool weather so

By Almanac Staff

Collards like cool weather so early spring plantings are best.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

brussel sprouts

By Gina Suttles

We have beautiful brussel sptout plants big and healthy but no sprouts. What can we do to make them produce sprouts?

Brussels sprouts tips

By Catherine Boeckmann

If you had big plants but no sprouts, did you notice any green worms? The cabbage worms or cabbage loopers? Use BT and floating row covers all season to get ahead of them. Otherwise, was it cool enough during the full 100-day growing period? And did you water a lot?

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