Categories: Vegetable Garden

How to Plant, Grow, Harvest and Benefits of the Cabbage

Cabbage-Brassica Oleracea

Cabbage is a green leafy biennial plant that grows as an annual vegetable crop for its white flower heads. Heads may weight about 0.5 kg to 2 kgs and are available in white, green and purple colors. Leaves are smooth and may appear in crinkle shape.

It is actually a multi-layered vegetable which needs good growing conditions of long sunny days (mostly in summer season) to grow much larger.

“Cabbage is a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable as large and wise as a  man’s head. “

As cabbage is an annual crop, farmers are much benefitted with high yield and pocket full of money when they implement in their acres of land. They can be pickled, boiled, steamed, eaten raw or fermented for cooking tasty recipes and in soups.

Here in this article, we provide the complete information about how to grow and care for cabbage heads from being attacked by pests and diseases.

Cabbage Plant Information

Scientific Name                        :        Brassica oleracea

Origin                                         :         Europe

Soil                                              :         Well-drain soil with pH 6.5-6.8

Sunlight                                      :        Full sun

Plant Height                              :        12-24 inches

Flowers                                       :        White, red and savoy

Temperature                              :       80F

Fertilizers                                   :       Organic matter

Harvesting Time                       :       70 days

Cabbage Plant Companions

There are few combination plants that you can grow with cabbage plants works together for a better growth.  These plants mutually benefit each other by deterring the pests like cabbage loopers, cabbage moths & flea beetles, improves the soil fertility and makes a high yield crop gain.

Cabbage plant grows well with beans, celery, thyme, Cucumbers, Dill, Lettuce, Kale, Onions, Sage, Potatoes, and Spinach. Do not plant cabbage with Tomatoes, Nasturtium, Cauliflower, Broccoli and Strawberries as they damage the cabbage plant crop by absorbing the nutrients from the soil and utilizes them for its self-growth.

Cabbage plant with yellow flowers can be a good companion. If you wish, you can also plant cabbage with flowering companion plants like Chamomile, Hyssop, Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Yarrows, and Marigolds.

Cabbage Plant Varieties

Cabbage plant classification is based on its structure, growing season and harvesting time.  Most of the cabbage varieties are available in white, cream, red, purple, savoy and green colors that are a wonderful source of vitamins and fiber. There are many cabbage varieties available in your backyard garden which may vary in size, taste and color. Smaller varieties mature quicker than the bigger varieties.Here is the table that completely illustrates the types of cabbages and its specification.

S. No Variety Harvesting Time Specification 
1 Red Cabbage 80-115days Uniform heads, bright green, oblate shape
2 Savoy Cabbage 80-85days Dark green color, tip burn tolerance
3 Green Cabbage 70days Light green leaves, greenish-white heads
4 Rubikon Cabbage 50days Resistant to bolting disease
5 Summer Cabbage 75days Tightly compressed leaves into the ball
6 Winter Cabbage 70-80days Very hardy, drum headed or ball
7 Chinese Cabbage 75days Appears more like lettuce than cabbage
8 Bok Choy Cabbage 90days Pale green stalks and leaves
9 Brussels Sprouts Cabbage 85days Dark green leaves
10 Autumn Queen Cabbage 60-75days Light green leaves, creamy white heads
11 Napa Cabbage 80days Light green leaves, thick white flower stalks
12 Stonehead Cabbage 50days Light green leaves, dense-heads
13 Tropic Giant Cabbage 80-90days Resistant to black rot, cracking, heat and head deformation
14 Spring Crisp Cabbage 63days Hybrid Chinese cabbage, resistance to clubroot disease
15 Golden Cross Cabbage 45days Creamy white center, light green outer leaves, heads weighs about 2 pounds

How to Grow Cabbage at Home

Cabbage plant growing is very easy which is a highly nutritious, versatile vegetable with dense green color leaves. Cabbage plants like cool weather but with a plenty of sunlight to thrive. As long as you provide the right growing conditions, cabbages are ready to harvest in spring and fall seasons.

The plant cannot tolerate extreme hot conditions. So it is better to plant cabbages in the fall season.

Choose the right time to plant cabbages

Select a location to plant cabbage seeds at right time. Mostly cabbages prefer to grow in cold areas exposed to frost conditions. To determine the best time for planting cabbage, check for the frost forecast for your area.

Planting cabbage seeds

Prepare seed starters by filling them with potting mix soil in a tray. Make a hole about (1/2) inch with your finger gently in the center of each seed starter cell. Now insert 2-3 cabbage seeds in each hole and cover the hole with soil.  Potting soil is good for your cabbage seeds as it is fertile and drains well.

To plant the cabbage seeds in a pot or container, it should be of size 12 inches deep, 18 inches wide and has holes at the bottom for better air circulation.


Once you have planted the seeds in a small tray, add enough water to keep the soil moist. As long as the seeds germinate, keep the soil moisture levels constant by adding more amount of water before it dries out. Usually, cabbage seeds will germinate within 2 weeks.

When you grow cabbage seeds indoors, maintain the room temperature between 65-75F. Store the cabbage seedlings in a room or garden shelter where there is a moderate climatic condition. When they grow to a height of few inches forming young leaves and roots. Seedlings may take 4-6 weeks time to reach this stage and then you can shift to the window location to receive plenty of sunlight.

Cabbage Plant Diseases and Pests

Pests Diseases
Cabbage hopper Powdery mildew
Diamondback moth Root rot
Cabbage worms Fusarium wilt
Flea beetles Black rot
Cutworms Wire Stem
Cabbage aphids Damping off
Maggots Tip burns
Larvae Downey mildew

To deal with pests and disease problem in cabbage plants, cover the plant with a plastic bag so that the pests cannot enter and damage the crop plants. You can also spray the organic solution of Baking Soda on plant leaves and flower heads. As the compounds used in organic insect repellent solution are hated by the pests like cabbage worm, tapeworm, and head borer, do not come over the crop and spoil.

Nutrient deficiencies in cabbage plant

If you are a beginner for growing cabbages, then you may face difficulties in identifying nutrient deficiencies. Here is the table that gives you a clear idea about the element that is responsible for the growth of cabbage plants and its deficiency symptom results.

S. No Element Deficiency Symptom
1 Boron Leaf curling, dull foliage
2 Magnesium Chlorotic leaves, slow growth
3 Nitrogen Pink color leaf margins
4 Phosphorus Purple or reddish color leaves
5 Calcium Yellow discoloration of leaf margins, young leaf burning

Cabbage Plant Fertilizers

Apply fertilizer and lime if necessary for your homegrown cabbage plants. In the absence of fertile soil to the cabbages, add nitrogen-rich fertilizers like blood meal, cottonseed meal or composted manure to the soil.

Before planting the baby cabbage plants or seeds you can add N-P-K fertilizer to the ratio of 14-14-14. For better and quick growth, mix the soil with organic matter, Eggshells, Epsom salt to thrive. You can fertilize the cabbage plants only once in every 3 weeks after transplanting it to outdoors.

Harvesting white head cabbages

Harvesting a cabbage depends on the growing conditions and its varieties. Harvest cabbage heads when they are firm and reach a desired shape. It may take around 70 days to reach the harvest stage from seed sowing for most green cabbage varieties. The cabbage flower heads may weigh about 3 pounds. Now you can cut them at its base with a sharp knife or cutters. After harvesting store the fresh cabbage heads in a shady location or fridge until you are ready to use them for making tasty recipes.

How to Grow Cabbage from Kitchen Scraps

If you are too bored of growing cabbages from the seeds. Here I have shared some interesting and fun way to grow cabbage om kitchen scraps. If you think that you are not doing with this, Hold on! Because you are wasting precious resources that can be used to regrow from cabbage bottoms. It just takes less time (about 40-50days) and inexpensive way to produce white flower heads than you grow from seeds. Here we discussed how to propagate cabbage in water….

Growing Cabbage in Water

To regrow cabbage in water, simply place the leftover leaves in a small container or shallow bowl added with water in required amounts. Now place the bowl in a sunny location to receive light for a minimum of 6 hours a day. Placing the container in sunlight helps to gain nutrients and increase energy levels of the cabbage plant.

Change the water in a jar for every 3-4 days to prevent from rotting. Within a week you may see new roots and leaves emerging vigorously from it. If you wish, transplant it to outdoors or continue to grow in the container by replacing water at regular intervals. Harvest the beautiful cabbage white flower heads and use them for cooking purposes.

Cabbage Plant Care

  • Cabbage plant spacing should be at least 4-6 inches apart between each seed in a tray when planted indoors.
  • If you are a person who affects with frequent allergic reactions, then wear gloves and face masks to protect yourself from infections.
  • After transplanting the cabbages may need 60-80 days time to mature completely.
  • Before you make a wonderful recipe with cabbage clean them with warm running water to remove dirt and insects.
  • After harvesting cabbage flower heads, leave the stems to continue the growth. Many cabbages regrow from the leftover stems provided with new small heads in several weeks.
  • When you prefer to grow from cabbage seeds indoors, start planting 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost.
  • Add mulch (dead or dried leaves, stems) or kitchen scraps at the base of the cabbage plant to regulate soil temperature and maintain even moisture levels.
  • Though cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are closely related they should not be planted together because all of them are heavy feeders and also attracts same insects.

How often do you water cabbage plants?

Cabbage needs consistently moist soil to grow. It can also tolerate wet, soggy soil and needs regular watering to produce leafy whiteheads. Water your cabbage plants about 2 inches per week. During the summer season, you can increase the amount of water (4 inches per week) supplied to the plants very frequently. You can also water the plant early morning time, to avoid water settling on leaves which encourages the pests and diseases.

How to prune cabbage plants?

Cabbages are cool-season vegetables that can withstand in cool climatic conditions for few more weeks. Prune the cabbage leaves to encourage the new cabbage plant growth. Remove the unhealthy leaves by using shears, pruners or cutter or simply by tearing with your hands. It allows the space for the plant to mature and thrive.

Why do cabbage leaves turn yellow?

Cabbage leaves may curl, dull, turn a yellow color and may even die.  Yellow cabbage leaves are mainly due to the Fusarium fungus that usually infects plants when the soil is too warm to handle. This disease is spread by leafhoppers. Sometimes it can also be due to the lack of nutrients, sunlight and over watering the plants.  Simply remove the infected leaves or crop plants to generate a healthy cabbage plant.

For more information refer: Why are my plants turning yellow?

Cabbage Plant Benefits

Cabbage is a vegetable that helps to balance your diet provided with beneficial nutrients. Many studies say that increasing the consumption of vegetables like cabbage and its closely related family members decreases the risk of diabetes, heart, obesity, body complexions and overall health.

Cabbage Nutrition

Cabbage is an excellent source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and fats. It is naturally available as cholesterol free and contains the compounds like dietary fiber, copper, potassium, choline, phosphorus, pantothenic acid and niacin. 100 grams of cabbage contains 25 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of sugar.

Here is the list of some possible health benefits of cabbages when you make them as a part of your regular diet.

  • According to the researchers, bitter taste of Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage is due to the presence of sulfur compound.
  • Red cabbage contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin, is responsible for the vibrant colors and also suppress the inflammation which leads to cardiovascular disease.
  • When you make cabbage as a part of your diet, the sulforaphane compound may help to fight against the cancer cells.
  • Fermented foods are the best things to consume for your immune and digestive systems. The enzymes produced in fermentation makes vitamins and minerals easy to absorb and develops flavor.

Starting growing cabbages from seeds or kitchen scraps in your home and garden that benefits your overall health and makes outdoor garden looks amazing. If you have wonderful ideas about growing cabbage plants, please share your experience with us in the comment section given below…

Swetha Datti

Published by
Swetha Datti

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