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Growing Brussels Sprouts

How to grow Brussels Sprouts in containers garden beds and allotments


Brrussels Sprouts

Family/Latin Name

Brassicaceae - Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera

Type of Plant

Brassica - Crop Rotation Group = Brassicas

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Allotments, Large Containers

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Dimensions

Height - up to 90cm/3ft  -  Spread about 45cm/18"

Yield Per Plant 1kg/2lb

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 28-36 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late March-April  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on - 

in Pots

Only grow 1 plant per 30cm/12" diameter container which should also be around 30cm/12" deep

Growing on -

in open ground

Once the plants are 7.3cm/3" tall, transplant to final growing positions planting them firmly with the lowest leaves just above soil level. and spacing the plants 60cm/2ft  apart in rows or groups/ blocks.


Water in dry weather and foliar feed in early summer. Pull  surround earth up around the base of each plant during the growing season and stake plants.


Cropping starts in about September and can continue over a period of up to 20  weeks. Begin picking sprouts from the base of the stem when they are the size of a small walnut. Remove any open "blown" sprouts and discard. Only pick a few sprouts from each plant at any one time, working upwards. Once all the sprouts have been harvested, cut off the green leafy tops and cook like cabbage.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Club Root
Indications Discoloured leaves which wilt in warm weather, swollen, solid galls on roots
Treatment None - lift and burn diseased plants
Prevention Organic
1. Lime plot where you intend growing brassicas
2. Do not grow brassicas in the same place for 2-3 years (crop rotation)
3. Make sure the site is well drained
Indications Holes in leaves or much of the leaf eaten away in severe cases
Treatment Organic
Inspect plants regularly and pick off eggs or caterpillars. The caterpillars like to lie right next to the veins of leaves, sometimes making them difficult to find
Spray with a pesticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention Try growing crops under a net which will prevent the butterflies/moths getting to the plant to lay their eggs
Pick off and destroy eggs as soon as you see them to prevent them from hatching
Cabbage Root Fly
Indications Stunted growth especially seedlings. Discoloured wilted leaves. Roots are black and rotted with maggot damage and tunnelling and white maggots present
Treatment Organic
Prevention 1. Place a 15cm/6" diameter collar around each plant stem as early as possible which will prevent the fly laying eggs on the soil near the plant.
2. Grow crops under a tent of fleece
3. Dispose of affected plants and practice crop rotation in future years


Companion Flower Graphic


Celery, Beetroot, Onion, Shallots, Garlic, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard, Geraniums,   Rosemary, Nasturtium, Borage

Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".  To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  In the refrigerator for 5 days. Up to 10 days if still attached to the stalk in a very cool dark place. Excess amounts can be frozen. Prepare as below then blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain well and allow to cool before freezing 

Preparing:  Wash in  cold water. Cut off the base and any remaining stem then pull away and discard any leaves which have been  loosened or which are yellowing. When boiling or steaming larger specimens,  cut a cross in the base of the stem. This is not necessary for small button varieties.

When using the leafy tops, simply wash well and cook as cabbage.



Whole   30-35 minutes. Drizzle with oil and seasoning


Whole   5-10 minutes depending on the size


Quarter Stir-fried for 2-3 minutes


Whole   3-5 minutes


Whole  7- 12 minutes  depending on the size

For more preparation and cooking information about Brussels Sprouts plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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