How to Care for Your Cabbage Plant

Growing cabbage is fun and rewarding. What can you do to ensure a good harvest?

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable that is easy to grow and ideal for spring and fall planting. The key to the successful cultivation of this crop is to provide it with the right growing conditions.

Today, we will look into the growth requirements of this versatile crop.

Why You Should Consider Growing It

Cabbage is a simple vegetable with a lot to offer. The peppery flavor of raw cabbage becomes sweeter as it is cooked. It is the main ingredient of cole slaw and cabbage rolls and is a beautiful addition to soups. 

Cabbage is very high in nutrients, making it one of the cheapest superfoods. It is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin B6. 

Cabbage is a short plant with a shallow root system and matures early enough so as not to interfere with other crops grown near it.

fresh cabbage ready to harvest

When To Plant It

Cabbage takes between 60 and 100 days to mature. Start your cabbage indoors in the spring for a summer harvest. You can also sow seeds straight in the garden early in the summer or 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop. Cabbage seedlings are susceptible to frost even though the seeds will germinate in cold soil.

Cabbage grown in cooler climates has a deliciously sweet flavor. The cold weather promotes sugars and antifreeze proteins in the cabbage, which helps them become more frost-resistant. As a result, the crop’s flavor also changes and improves.

young cabbage plant in the garden

General Care

Water Needs

Apply 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly if it doesn’t rain. Consistent moisture is required for cabbage to grow healthy heads. If plants don’t get enough water, they will be bitter and have poor texture. Mulch with compost, finely ground leaves, or finely ground bark to keep the soil cool and moist and to suppress weed growth. 

Amount of Sun

Cabbage needs full sun to develop big, healthy heads. Cabbage should be planted in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Although they can thrive in the shade, the lack of sunlight will cause them to develop loose, unhealthy heads.


Cabbage is considered a heavy feeder, which means it needs a steady supply of nutrients to grow properly. Add compost or old manure to the soil to prepare it before sowing seeds. After three weeks, use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for the growing seedlings. Apply liquid fertilizer again as the head is starting to develop.

a wet cabbage after the rain

Other Maintenance

Pruning isn’t required for cabbages, but you can remove pest-infested outer leaves to prevent further problems. Cabbage leaves can grow so large that they touch the ground, causing rot. The best way to remedy this problem is to prune the cabbage leaves.

Unhealthy or limp leaves can be removed by tearing them off or trimming them with pruning shears or scissors. Sometimes you need to pluck healthy-looking leaves that are crowding on other plants.

Leila Haynes
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