University of Maryland Extension

Brussels sprouts

 Brussels sprouts Oregon State Extension 
Photo: Oregon State Extension

  • Hardiness: Hardy biennial (plant that requires two growing seasons to complete its life-cycle) but treated as an annual.
  • Planting: Grow 4-6 week old transplants to plant in garden 90 – 100 days before the first frost date (the end of July in Central MD). Add 20 days if direct seeding. Full sun, requires direct light at least 6 hours/day; prefers 8 - 10 hours/day.
  • Days to maturity: 80 - 100 from transplant. 
  • Spacing: 18” - 24" in-row x 30" - 36” between rows.
  • Fertilizer needs
  • Approximate yield (per 10-foot row): 4 to 6 lbs. per 10 foot row. 
  • Common problems:

Growing and Care of Brussels Sprouts

  • Brussels sprouts are grown for harvest in the fall because cool weather during maturity is essential for good flavor and quality.
  • Plants are tall (sometimes 2 to 3 feet) and erect.
  • The sprouts develop in the leaf axils and mature along the stalk. Top the plants when bottom sprouts are 1/2 in. in diameter. The lowest leaves can be removed to hasten sprout development. 
  • Like their cousins in the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea) are a long-season, cool weather crop.
  • They are grown for fall harvest because cool weather during maturity is essential for good flavor and quality. 
  • Watering - Keep watered during the heat of summer; needs ample soil moisture.
  • Plants maturing in hot and dry conditions may develop bitterness or fail to form compact sprouts.

Harvesting Brussels Sprouts

  • Harvest when sprouts are hard, compact, deep green, and about 1 to 1½ inches in diameter. Pick after frosty weather for best flavor. Twist or snap them off at the stalk. The lowest sprouts mature first. Harvest before leaves turn yellow. The lowest leaves can be removed to hasten sprout development.

Storage and Preservation 

  • Very cold (32 degrees F), moist (95% RH) conditions. For best flavor, refrigerator storage should not exceed a day or two, but they will keep 3 to 5 weeks. Can be blanched and frozen to keep up to one year.
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