fresh Brussels sprouts
Updated: June 10, 2021

Planting Brussels sprout facts

  • Hardiness: Hardy (can withstand heavy frosts in spring and fall). Biennial (a 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 the garden 90 – 100 days before the first frost date. 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:  High requirement for nutrients, either from soil organic matter or fertilizers. Side-dress 2 to 4 weeks after planting or when plants are 12 inches high. Refer to Fertilizing Vegetables for details.
  • Approximate yield (per 10-foot row): 4 to 6 lbs. per 10-foot row. 

Brussels sprout problems

Bolting
Cabbage looper
Harlequin bug
Imported cabbageworm

Growing and care of Brussels sprouts

  • 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. 
  • WateringKeep 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. Harvest sprouts 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.