Cabbage, (Brassica oleracea), vegetable and fodder plant of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), the various agricultural forms of which have been developed by long cultivation from the wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea). Cabbage is commonly seen as a leafy green vegetable that comes in a densely packed head.

Heading cabbage has been a part of the human culinary story for a very long time and was likely domesticated sometime around 1000 BC where it was developed from wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. oleracea) which is found along the limestone cliffs of western Europe.

Table of Contents


1 - 3 feet

Width-Circumference (Avg)

1 - 2 feet

Approximate pH

6.0 - 7.5

Varieties of Cabbage

Cabbage comes in a lot of varieties of shapes and colors, including red, purple, white, and green, and another fun fact about cabbage is that its leaves can either be wrinkled or smooth depending on the color.

  • 'Drumhead': Produces large, blue-green heads with savory leaves.

  • 'Early Jersey Wakefield': This variety produces a 7-inch head weighing in at 2-3 pounds and is slightly coned shaped with a sweet flavor.

  • 'January King': Is a purple and green cabbage that is extremely frost-hardy. January King cabbage heads weigh between 3-5 pounds, taking 150-200 days to mature.

  • 'Murdoc': Has a pointed head and tender, sweet leaves.

  • 'Blue Vantage': Is known to be a disease-resistant variety.

  • 'Golden Acre': Is a hardy heirloom variety and sweeter than most with a delicate flavor.

  • 'Red Acre': With bright purple-red leaves, ‘Red Acre’ is sure to make a beautiful addition to both your garden and your plate. If provided with full sun, adequate drainage, and sufficient water, heads weighing up to 4 pounds will be ready to harvest in 75-100 days.

  • 'Brunswick': It produces large, bright green heads. Produce a six to nine pound head.

  • 'Red cabbage': Uniform heads, bright green, oblate shape.

  • 'Gonzales Cabbage': This cabbage variety produces mini cabbage heads that measure 4-6 inches across and weigh 1-2 pounds. Gonzales cabbage stands out because they produce deep blue-green, softball-sized heads. They’re dense, firm heads that are resistant to splitting.

  • 'Bok choy': Pale green stalks and leaves.

  • 'Savoy cabbage': Dark green color, tip burn tolerance.

  • 'Napa cabbage': Light green leaves, thick white flower stalks.

  • 'Parel Cabbage': Parel cabbage forms tight, compact, green heads of cabbage that grows well in smaller space. The outer leaves have a bluish-green color that protects a white head. The leaves are juicy and sweeter than some of the other types.

  • 'Charleston Wakefield': This open pollinated heirloom variety. It is heat tolerant and grows compact, dark green, conical heads that weigh 4-6 pounds.

  • 'Earliana': Earliana weighs in at around 2 pounds with a compact head that’s 4-5 inches in diameter.

  • 'Late Flat Dutch': This variety produces large heads that weigh 10-15 pounds with pale green leaves. Due to its large size, this variety takes a little longer to mature. Expect to give it 100 days before it is ready for harvest. Since it is so large, space plants two feet apart.

  • 'Mammoth Red Rock': This red heirloom variety. Its bright purple heads grow up to 8-10 inches in diameter and weigh up to 8 pounds.

  • 'Osaka Red': This is ornamental cabbage. These vigorous plants have compact heads that reach 8 inches across and 1 foot high. Purple and fuchsia leaves really pop against a background of snow.

  • 'Condor': This is also ornamental cabbage. The unusual long stems of the 'Condor' ornamental cabbage make it a florist's favorite. This ornamental cabbage makes a sweet focal point in the winter container garden. The Condor series includes red and white varieties as well as those with white-with-pink centers.

Planting Cabbage

When to Plant

Cabbage can be planted outdoors a few weeks before your area's last spring frost as long as the soil is workable. Or you can start seeds indoors around six to eight weeks prior to your area's projected last spring frost date. For a fall harvest, plant seeds in the garden in the late summer after the hottest weather has passed.

Selecting a Planting Site

Choose a sunny spot in the garden that has good soil drainage for your cabbage. Avoid planting near other Brassica species, such as broccoli, as they can attract the same pests and diseases. Container growth is also an option for cabbage, though it can result in a smaller yield.

Spacing, Depth, and Support

Plant seeds about 1/4 inch deep, and thin seedlings to around 1 to 2 feet apart. More space will generally result in larger heads. No support structure will be necessary.

Growing Cabbage in Pots

If you don’t have the garden space or adequate soil conditions for cabbage, container growth might be a good option. Select a pot that’s at least a foot wide and deep. An unglazed clay container is ideal because it will allow excess soil moisture to evaporate through its walls. And drainage holes in the container are a must. Use a fast-draining organic potting soil made for vegetables.

Propagating Cabbage

Because most people treat cabbage plants as annuals, their plants don’t produce seeds for them to collect and propagate. However, cabbage can be regrown from scraps. This is a very easy way to get more from your harvest. Here’s how:

  1. Take the bottom from your cabbage head, and place it in a shallow dish of water (stem side down). Put the dish in bright, indirect light.

  2. Change the water every few days.

  3. Within a week, you should see new leaves growing, and roots might even start forming on the underside.

  4. Harvest the leaves as needed, as they won't grow very large. You won't get a brand new head from this growing method.

Grow Cabbage From Seed

A heating mat won’t be necessary when starting seeds indoors, as the seeds can germinate in fairly cold temperatures. Gently press the seeds into a seed-starting mix, just barely covering them. Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy, and look for germination in around a week.

Cabbage Plant Care


Full sun, meaning around six hours of direct sunlight on most days, is best for cabbage. But it also can tolerate light shade, especially in warm climates.


Cabbage prefers a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Mixing some compost into the soil prior to planting is ideal. In addition, a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH is best.


Cabbage needs consistent soil moisture to produce crisp and juicy heads. Irregular watering can result in a bitter taste or misshapen heads. So water as needed to keep the soil lightly moist but never soggy. About an inch of water per week should be sufficient, though you might need more if you have very fast-draining soil. Adding a layer of mulch around your cabbage will help to retain soil moisture.

Temperature and Humidity

Cabbage prefers mild temperatures and grows best at around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, cover your plants to protect them. Cabbage also will start to struggle once the temperatures regularly reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Humidity generally isn’t an issue for cabbage as long as its soil moisture needs are met.


Cabbage is a heavy feeder. After planting, side-dress with compost every few weeks to keep the soil rich. Or use a balanced organic vegetable fertilizer, following label instructions.


Bees and other pollinators help to pollinate the flowers of cabbage plants. However, if you are growing cabbage as an annual, your plants won't produce the flower spikes that require pollinating. Those come in the plant's second year.


Cabbage generally does not need pruning. However, if you spot any broken leaves that are dragging on the ground, you can remove those. Otherwise, they can introduce pests and diseases to the plant.


Because cabbage is generally grown as an annual, you won't need to worry about overwintering your plants. But if you're expecting a cold snap before your plants are ready to harvest, protect them by covering them with row covers.

Harvesting Cabbage

How long it takes for cabbage to be ready to harvest depends on the variety. But in general it requires about 70 days from the time of planting. Once the heads are fully formed and firm to the touch, they are ready to be harvested. If you leave heads for too long, you run the risk of them splitting.

You can either pull up the entire plant or use a sharp knife to cut the head at its base. If you go with the second method, you might get a second harvest from your plant—but with much smaller heads.

Put the harvested head in the shade, and bring it indoors as soon as possible. The head can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for around two weeks. It also can be stored in a root cellar where the temperature is between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and freezing for around three months. Cabbage can be used fresh or cooked; just make sure to wash it well prior to eating.

Pests and Plant Diseases

Unfortunately, there are many problems that can plague cabbage. Cabbage worms and cabbage loopers are the main pest threats. They will munch holes throughout the leaves. Their coloring allows them to blend in with the cabbage, but they can be handpicked easily if you can see them. Slugs and cutworms also might attack your cabbage.

Several fungal diseases, including clubroot, downy mildew, and black rot, can affect cabbage. Once your cabbage is infected, there's not much you can do besides removing the affected plants. But you can help prevent problems by choosing disease-resistant varieties and by not growing cabbage in the same spot each year, as fungal spores can remain in the soil.

Benefits of Cabbage

Helps indigestion

This crunch low-carb vegetable, cabbage is rich in insoluble fiber which keeps your gastrointestinal system healthy and promotes a better bowel movement. Also, these insoluble fiber present in cabbage contains gut-friendly microscopic organisms. The high fiber content likewise helps in easing out constipation and can give you a happy and healthy gut.

Good for our heart

Cabbage is incredibly rich in polyphenols. They help in diminishing the danger of cardiovascular illnesses and prevent platelet development. Cabbage can also be helpful in controlling your cholesterol levels.

Good for skin

Cabbage is a rich source of Vitamin C, a water-dissolvable nutrient that aids in collagen in the skin expanding the elasticity and tenderness of our skin. It is a protein that gives your skin its construction and adaptability, cabbage can make your skin healthy and can return the natural glow that it might be missing.

Helps in weight reduction

Being low in calories, cabbage can be your ideal weight reduction help. Additionally, its high-fiber content causes you to feel full for longer even in low calories. This can reduce your constant craving for more food and can eventually be beneficial in reducing weight and inches.

Prevents cataract

Cabbage helps in preventing cataracts and is great for the eyes. It is a rich source of beta-carotene, which advances great eye wellbeing and postpones cataract development. If you are going through this issue then do try consuming cabbage on a regular basis.

Boosts brain activities

Cabbage is indeed an incredible vegetable for our brain. It contains vitamin K which helps nerves from getting blocked and damaged. Hence, devouring cabbage can really help in boosting your brain’s wellbeing. Cabbage can also increase brain activities and can make your memory sharp, all green vegetables are great but cabbage is the best.

Strengthens your bones

Cabbage is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium and is exceptionally fundamental for our bones and as it shields them from breaking. The nutrients in cabbage help our bones to become stronger and to work better.

Can maintain your blood pressure levels

Cabbage, particularly the red-colored one, is supposed to be a rich source of anthocyanins, a sort of flavonoid. It is related to focal pulse and lowers blood pressure levels in the body. Because of this, cabbage additionally is known to reduce or delay any heart-related problems.


  • It is mostly used in various salads.

  • Cabbage is primarily grown for consumption as a vegetable, eaten after boiling or steaming.

  • Some cultivars are grown as fodder for animals.

  • Red cabbage is commonly pickled.

  • People also use the leaves for medicine.

  • Cabbage is used for stomach pain, excess stomach acid, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and a stomach condition called Roemheld syndrome.

  • Cabbage is also used to treat asthma and morning sickness.

  • Raw cabbage can be used to make juice.

  • Chilled cabbage leaves are traditionally used by breastfeeding women to relieve breast engorgement and pain.

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