Brussels sprouts are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing brussels sprouts in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
Brussels sprouts are a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to early spring, and mid to late summer for a fall harvest. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your brussels sprouts with a blanket of straw or cover them with plastic buckets.
If you live in the U.S., check out the Farmer’s Almanac or the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones for more help regarding frost and the best dates for planting in your area.
Plant your brussels sprout seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, brussels sprout seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move brussels sprout plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting brussels sprouts in the garden, it’s best to space them 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
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The key to caring for brussels sprouts in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 577 cubic inches (9,455 cubic centimetres) in size. A typical 10 or 12 inch flower pot is a great container option for brussels sprouts.
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing brussels sprouts in containers.
On average, it takes about 85 - 90 days for planted brussels sprout seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
Typically, brussels sprout plants reach about 2 - 3 feet (or 75 centimetres) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
Brussels sprouts need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
Brussels sprouts like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your brussels sprouts on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your brussels sprouts in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than brussels sprouts planted directly in the garden.
You will know your brussels sprouts are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your brussels sprouts, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
Brussels sprouts are ready to pick when they are 1 - 2 inches (2 - 5 centimetres) in size. Using a sharp knife, remove the sprouts from the bottom of the plant, working your way up.