Learn how to grow Brussels sprouts in pots. Growing Brussels sprouts in containers is not difficult, and with little efforts, you can have this nutty and sweet vegetable at home.
USDA Zones– 2 – 10, can be grown in almost every climate, planting time varies
Soil pH– Neutral
Choosing a Pot
A standard 5-7 gallon sized planter, at least 12 inches deep and 12-14 inches in diameter is suitable for growing Brussels sprouts in containers. You can grow one plant in such a container. To grow a couple of plants together, choose a minimum 15-gallon pot or in other words, a pot that is at least 18 inches in diameter. In a square foot of area, you can try to grow 2 plants.
Tip: Choose a clay pot to grow this vegetable if you’re growing it in a frost free area. As clay pots remain cool, drains well and provide good air circulation.
Brussels Sprout is picky about the growing conditions. It’s a cool season crop and has the best taste when it matures in the cool air temperature. So, keep that thing in mind when you plan to grow Brussels sprouts.
Planting in early spring and spring is ideal for regions with cool summers. In temperates and moderate climates, start growing Brussel sprouts in mid summer to late summer or even early fall for the fall and early winter harvest. And, if you live in a frost free climate with mild winters, fall (autumn) and the winter is the best time to start growing brussel sprout in pots to get a winter or spring harvest.
Growing Brussels Sprouts from Seeds
Get the seeds of dwarf brussels sprout varieties for containers. Start seeds in the seed pots or directly in the desired containers, either indoors or outdoors, depending on the temperature. For the germination of seeds, the soil temperature should be in the range of 45 – 85 F (7 – 30 C).
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep, wait for a few days for the baby plants to emerge, which usually takes 5 – 20 days. Once the seedlings have shown their first pair of leaves, thin them and save the healthiest one only. And when these seedlings have grown a few inches (4 – 5 inches approximately), transplant them.
You can also look for transplants in the nearby nursery if you missed sowing seeds on time or want readily available plants.
Growing Brussels Sprout Indoors
Growing Brussels sprouts indoors is possible, if you’ve got a spot that receives enough sunlight. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
How to Grow Brussels Sprouts in Pots
Choose a location that is sunny and has good air circulation to have productive plants. Although avoid the windy site for sure, otherwise the plants may fall over as Brussels sprouts are unstable plants due to their thin bases. Also, the windy site affects the productivity of this vegetable.
*In warmer regions, keep this vegetable in a partially shaded spot.
Like other Cabbage family plants, Brussels sprouts do well in the slightly clayey growing medium as this helps in having firm roots and keeping the soil moist. Fill the pot with a quality potting mix that is well-draining, light, deep, humus-rich and slightly clayey. The soil pH should be neutral, additionally, add well-rotted manure to the soil at the time of planting.
Tip: Cabbage family crops like Brussels sprouts are prone to Boron deficiency. You can look for symptoms like hollow stems, small sprouts, low productivity, slow growth, dying growing tip. However, these symptoms are very common, that’s why if soil testing is possible, do that. If you’re sure about Boron deficiency, apply borax. Learn more here!
Growing Brussels sprouts need evenly moist soil, so water regularly. It is important to prevent the drying of the soil in the period when the plant is maturing and at the time of head formation. Also, avoid overwatering.
Staking is important to keep Brussels sprouts growing in containers upright and prevent them from falling over, especially if the planting location is windy as they’re top-heavy plants.
Brussels Sprout Care
Brussels sprouts are heavy feeders; you can mix well-rotted manure at the time of planting in the potting mix and side dress the plants either with compost or manure or with balanced fertilizer 3-4 weeks later after the transplanting time. Again when they’re half grown, apply fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 according to the instructions on the product. Alternatively, you can also feed this vegetable crop with liquid fertilizer instead of time-based every other week.
You can skip mulching when you’re growing Brussels sprouts in containers. But doing this helps in keeping the soil cool and moist.
Prune the lower leaves as you pick the matured sprouts from the bottom to help the plant in concentrating on becoming taller and developing more leaves and sprouts on the top part.
For a home gardener, harvesting Brussels sprouts from the bottom-up is the best way to ensure the steady supply of this nutty and sweet tasting vegetable. But if you want your sprouts all at once, cut off the terminal bud (top part) 3-4 weeks before harvesting time.
Pests and Diseases
Since you’re growing Brussels sprout in a pot and using quality potting soil, don’t worry about the soil-borne diseases like club root and fusarium wilt (yellows). By providing good air circulation around the plant and avoiding overhead watering you can prevent downy mildew and powdery mildew. Keep an eye on pests like aphids, thrips, cabbageworm, and flea beetles.
Usually, to reach the harvesting window, the plant takes around 3 months of time after transplanting, depending more on the variety. Harvest the sprouts from the bottom as they mature earlier than the top ones, when they are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, looking firm and green.
Pick the sprouts by turning and twisting them carefully without damaging your Brussels sprouts growing in containers.
Also Read: Growing Sprouts at Home