How to Grow Brussels Sprouts from Seed to Harvest
You want to grow brussels sprouts at home? Good news! It’s fairly simple and also quite a lot of fun.
Before you start, make sure to read this article since I provide you with all the information you need to grow brussels sprouts from seed to harvest in a step-by-step approach.
I also included some videos of other gardeners to give you an even more comprehensive picture of how to grow brussels sprouts in an optimal manner. Enough talk, let it grow! 😉
Table of Contents
Brussels Sprout Plant Profile
|Size||1 to 2 feet tall, around 1 square foot spread.|
|Climate||Brussels sprouts grow best in cool to moderate climatic zones with optimal temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Sun Exposure||Brussels sprouts love the sun and you should offer them as much sun as possible.|
|Soil Requirements||Brussels sprouts prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions with an optimal pH between 6.3 and 7.|
|Country of Origin||Belgium.|
|Growing Difficulty||Easy – Intermediate. While there are some tips and tricks you should know, growing brussels sprouts at home is not that difficult and also beginners can do it.|
|Perennial?||No, brussels sprouts are usually harvested in the first year.|
|When should you start?||You should start growing brussels sprouts in late spring or early summer, around 4 to 5 months before you expect the first fall frost in your region.|
|Expected Yield & Harvest||Between 10 and 30 brussels sprouts per plant as a beginner, experts can harvest much more.|
|What to do with it?||You can bake them with cheese, make a nice salad or do many other things with your brussels sprouts. You can even invent your own recipes and share them with your family and friends.|
What Types and Varieties of Brussels Sprouts can you grow?
The first thing to do when it comes to growing brussels sprouts is to select brussels sprout varieties you want to grow. I listed the most common ones for you below:
- Long Island Improved
- Jade Cross
- Tasty Nuggets
I personally like growing Churchill Brussels Sprouts most since they produce quite flavorful crops and also produce pretty decent yields.
However, this is just my preference. You should just grow your favorite brussels sprouts.
If you are not sure which brussels sprout variety you like most, grow a handful of different varieties so you can figure this out and can grow your favorite brussels sprout variety for many years to come.
Moreover, it is also just more interesting to grow more than one type of brussels sprouts since you will get plants with many different shapes and colors.
You could also use a brussels sprouts seed mix if you are the kind of adventurous person 😉.
When should you grow Brussels Sprouts?
The optimal time to start growing brussels sprouts is in late spring or early summer for a fall harvest.
You should start growing brussels sprouts 4 to 5 months before you expect the first fall frost in your region.
In most regions with moderate climatic zones, I suggest you start growing brussels sprouts between May and June so that your plants will have enough time to grow before the first fall freeze hits.
How long does it take to grow Brussels Sprouts from Seed to Harvest?
To grow brussels sprouts from seed to harvest, it usually takes between 80 and 110 days.
Of course, this also depends on many different factors, including the climatic conditions you live in, the soil conditions, the space you provide for your sprouts and also your individual knowledge of growing plants at home.
In fact, while a gardening expert may even be able to grow brussels sprouts in less than 80 days, it might take you many weeks longer since you will likely make more mistakes along the way in case you are still a beginner.
What is the best Climate to grow Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts grow best in cool to moderate climatic zones.
However, seed companies did a great job in developing strains that are also quite resistant against the heat and therefore, you will also be able to grow brussels sprouts in warmer climatic zones.
Yet, still note that your yields will be lower and it will also take you longer to grow brussels sprouts from seed to harvest if you can’t provide those optimal climatic conditions.
What Temperatures do Brussel Sprouts like?
Brussels sprouts grow best with temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, as mentioned before, many brussels sprout varieties are rather tolerant towards different climatic zones and as long as you don’t live in regions with quite extreme temperatures, chances are that you will be just fine with growing brussels sprouts in your garden or on your balcony.
What Plants should you grow next to your Brussel Sprouts?
If you want to know what plants you can grow near your brussels sprouts, make sure to check out the best and worst brussel sprouts companion plants.
What do you need to grow Brussels Sprouts?
Even though growing brussels sprouts is not that difficult, you will still need some equipment for it. I listed everything you need to grow brussels sprouts for you below:
- Flower pots (only necessary if you don’t have a garden to grow your brussels sprouts)
- Brussels sprouts seeds
- Fertilizer (you can also make your own organic fertilizer for which I give you the instructions below)
- Potting soil
- Bamboo sticks and cord
- Slug fence
- Watering can
- Garden shovel
- Compost (optional)
- Passion and patience for growing brussels sprouts 😉
What Yield can you expect when you grow Brussels Sprouts?
You can expect between 30 and 50 brussels sprouts per plant if you provide optimal conditions.
However, please note that those values are rather ambitious if you are still a beginner in growing plants at home.
If I were you, I would be happy to see 10 to 20 brussels sprouts per plant on average for your first year of growing brussels sprouts.
Of course, once you got more experienced, chances are that you will produce much higher yields.
But for your first brussels sprouts growing experience, don’t expect too.
Growing plants at home is not only about the end result, it’s about loving the growing process.
Hence, just enjoy the ride and don’t care about the final yields too much.
Why should you grow your own Brussels Sprouts?
Many people don’t understand why they should bother with growing brussels sprouts at home.
They find it just far more convenient to just get their brussels sprouts from their local store.
And in terms of convenience, they are absolutely right. In fact, it will take you plenty of effort to grow your own brussels sprouts at home.
However, even though it will be more work, there are still many important reasons to do so.
First of all, growing plants at home can just be a pretty nice hobby.
I personally love growing brussels sprouts and other plants at home and I love spending time watching my plants develop and progress every weak.
Moreover, growing plants at home can also significantly lower your overall stress level.
Especially if you work in a demanding office job for long hours every day, chances are that you will just need a break from time to time and gardening is perfect to give you this break and to slow down your hectic daily life.
Hence, if you are currently stressed and going to the gym or other sports don’t seem to work, try gardening and you will be surprised how much it can actually reduce your stress levels and improve your overall quality of life.
Additionally, by growing brussels sprouts at home, you do no longer have to rely on your local grocery store to provide you with brussels sprouts.
In fact, most vegetables that you can buy from conventional stores are contaminated with a certain level of chemicals since pesticides and herbicides had been used in the growth process.
This may be a potential threat for your health in the long run and therefore, it may be a good idea to just grow your brussels sprouts in a fully organic manner at home rather than to get them from the store.
As you can see, even though it will be more effort, growing brussels sprouts at home can still make quite a lot of sense.
Growing Brussels Sprouts: Step-by-Step
1. Select a Site for your Brussels Sprouts
I hope I convinced you that growing brussels sprouts at home is indeed a good idea.
If so, it is now time to get into the planning process for your sprouts growing project.
The first important step in this regard is to figure out the perfect site for growing your brussels sprouts.
Do Brussels Sprouts like Sun or Shade?
Brussels sprouts love the sun and if you can provide a spot with full sun all day long in your garden or on your balcony, this would be perfect.
However, please note that we are talking about perfect conditions here and most things in life are just not perfect 😉.
You will also be able to grow brussels sprouts in half-shady environments in a decent manner as long as your plants get a few hours of direct sunlight every day.
Consequently, just choose the sunniest spot you can provide for your brussels sprouts and you do the best you can.
What are the Soil Requirements of Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts grow best in rich soil with a soil pH between 6.3 and 7. This means that brussels sprouts prefer slightly acidic soil.
Although this may sound complicated to you first, you can easily fulfill those requirements by just getting conventional potting soil from your local garden center.
You can also mix it with compost or soil from your garden if you want to.
If you want to make the soil even richer, you can also add some natural fertilizer.
Just make sure that the soil is rich and also loose enough so that water can run off and the roots of your brussels sprouts will not start to rot.
How much Space do Brussels Sprout Plants need?
You should plan 5 square feet per brussels sprout plant. For instance, if you want to grow 10 brussels sprouts in your garden, you should provide them with a space of around 50 square feet.
While this is only a rough indication, you can of course also provide your plants with more space.
In fact, the more space your brussels sprouts have, the better they will develop and the higher your yields tend to be.
Hence, if you have a big garden and space is not a problem for you at all, feel free to give your plants even more space.
Should you plant Brussels Sprouts in a Pot or in your Garden?
Brussels sprout plants will usually get quite bushy and also need a lot of space and soil.
Therefore, it will be pretty hard to grow them in pots and I highly recommend you to just grow your brussels sprouts in your garden instead.
If you really want to grow brussels sprouts in pots, make sure that you use pretty big pots so that your plants will have sufficient soil and space to develop in a healthy manner.
2. Plant Brussels Sprouts Seeds
After you selected the perfect location for your brussels sprouts, it is time to get into the actual planting process. I answer all questions that might occur in this regard in the following.
Should you buy Brussels Sprouts Seeds or Seedlings?
There are some garden centers that offer you brussels sprouts seedlings to buy.
However, many don’t and even though you might find a store that does, I still recommend you just grow your own brussels sprout seedlings at home instead of just buying them from a store.
Only then will your growing experience be really complete.
In fact, growing seedlings from seed is the first important step for each growing project and you should not miss out on it.
Especially if you have never grown seedlings before, you can learn a lot from growing brussels sprouts seedlings and you can also use this knowledge later in your life to grow various other seedlings for other growth projects.
And growing seedlings from seed is not difficult at all. In fact, I show you how to do it step-by-step in the following chapters.
Where to get Brussels Sprouts Seeds from?
For growing your own seedlings, you need to get some brussels sprouts seeds. You can either buy them online or get them from your local garden center.
If you are a curious person, you can also choose to grow a few different varieties instead of just growing a single sprout type.
How to plant Brussels Sprouts Seeds
As mentioned earlier in this article, the best time to grow brussels sprouts is around 4 to 5 months before you expect the first autumn frost.
In most moderate climatic zones, this will be between May and June.
When the time has come, you need to prepare your growing site in your garden.
Just dig a big hole in your garden.
For each brussels sprouts plant, plan around 5 square feet of space. For example, if you want to grow 20 brussels sprouts plants, make sure to dig a hole of 100 square feet in your garden.
Also make sure that the hole is around 1 foot deep. After digging this hole, it is time to fill it with a soil mix of potting soil from your store and the soil from your garden.
You can also add some compost or other natural fertilizer to make the soil even richer.
Also make sure that the soil is loose enough so that water can run off quickly and no water puddles occur which could let the roots of your sprouts rot.
After filling your hole with the soil mix, you can now just plant your seeds into the soil.
For each seed, just dig a hole of one inch with your finger into the soil and put one seed into each hole.
Make sure that each seed has at least 2 feet of space into each direction so that your brussels sprout plants will have enough space and soil to develop in a healthy manner.
The most space-efficient way to plant your brussels sprouts is to just plant them in rows.
After you planted all of your seeds, just cover them with a little bit of additional soil and water your growing site.
Now you have to wait a little bit until you will see the first results of your growing efforts.
How long does it take to see the first Brussels Sprouts Seedlings?
It can take up to two weeks until you will see the first brussels sprouts seedlings. However, this doesn’t mean that all seeds will germinate at the same time. In fact, it can take up to one month until you see the full results.
If you still have some empty spots in your growing site after one month, you should just sow additional seeds in these spots since chances are that the original seeds have just not germinated.
What kind of Protection do Brussels Sprouts Seedlings need outdoors?
Since you plant your seeds directly into your garden, your seedlings will be exposed to the harsh outside reality from the first day of their lives.
It is therefore crucial to protect them properly so that slugs and other animals will not be able to feed on your sprout seedlings.
While you could just use chemical substances from the store, I don’t recommend you do so since those substances are quite harmful to our environment and are also not that effective to protect your plants against bigger animals.
Instead, I suggest you just use a slug fence for your plants.
Slug fences are quite a simple but yet effective measure to keep away various attackers and your spout seedlings will be pretty safe if you install them properly.
3. The Brussels Sprouts Growth Process
After protecting your seedlings in a proper manner as mentioned above, most of the manual work is already done.
Now it is time to really enjoy the growth process of your brussels sprouts.
However, there are still some open questions for the further growth process which I want to address in the following.
Should you prune your Brussels Sprouts?
I am personally not a big fan of pruning brussels sprouts. While some people claim that pruning your brussels sprouts is in fact a good idea, I am not convinced of it at all.
If you don’t know what you are doing, you can do more harm than good and if you are still a beginner, just let it grow and you are good to go.
Do you have to pollinate your Brussels Sprouts Plants by Hand?
There is also no need to pollinate your brussels sprouts by hand. Just let it grow and let nature do its work 😉.
Should you stake your Brussels Sprouts?
Staking your brussels sprout plants can make quite a lot of sense. While it is not urgently necessary, your plants will get more stabilization due to that and will also be better able to resist heavy winds.
For staking your plants, just anchor one bamboo stick next to each plant into the ground and tie your plants to them with cord.
I recommend making a tie for every 6 inches in height to stake your plants properly.
4. The Brussels Sprouts Harvest
If you closely followed all the steps in this grower’s guide, you should be able to get pretty decent yields in late fall or early winter.
When should you harvest your Brussels Sprouts?
You can harvest brussels sprouts when the heads reach a size of at least one inch in diameter.
However, you can also wait a little bit longer so that the heads get bigger and your yields get higher. You also don’t have to pick all brussels sprouts at once.
Instead, you can wait until smaller ones get bigger over time and can harvest your plants for many days and weeks to come.
Yet, make sure that you harvest all of them before the first freeze arrives.
How to store your Brussels Sprouts?
You can just store your brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge for a few days or even weeks.
However, please note that brussels sprouts contain the most nutrients and also taste best right after the harvest.
Consequently, make sure that you consume them in time to get the most out of your brussels sprouts.
What should you do with your Brussels Sprouts?
Depending on what you like, you could just roast your brussels sprouts and use them as a nice dish.
You can also bake them with cheese or make a nice salad out of your sprouts.
Opportunities are almost endless and you could even create your own recipes and share them over social media.
Brussels Sprouts Plant Care Tips
After giving you a detailed step-by-step approach on how to grow brussels sprouts from seed to harvest, I also want to share some general information with you in the following to make your growing experience even more successful.
How often should you irrigate Brussels Sprouts?
Since brussels sprouts grow quite bushy, they also need a lot of water.
However, too much of it is also not good and you have to balance your watering efforts accordingly.
You should also adjust it to the outside conditions. For example, when it rains, you will not have to water your brussels sprouts at all since nature will do the work for you 😉.
If you are not sure whether it is time to water your sprouts or not, take a look at the leaves of your plants.
If the leaves of your brussels sprout plants start to hang, this is often an indication that your plants need water.
You can also just dig a small hole with your finger into the soil and see if soil sticks to it when you pull your finger out.
If it does, this means the soil is still sufficiently wet and you don’t need to water it.
If no soil sticks to your finger, this means the soil is dry and you should water your plants pretty soon.
At what Time of the Day should you water your Brussels Sprouts Plants?
The best time to water your brussels sprouts is in the early morning.
However, as long as you provide the right amounts of water to your plants, the exact time of the day to water your plants only plays a minor role and you should not worry too much about it.
How often should you fertilize your Brussels Sprouts Plants?
If you provided a healthy soil mix and also gave each plant enough space to grow, there is no need to add additional fertilizer to your plants.
Using too much fertilizer can in fact do more harm than good and therefore, I don’t recommend using additional fertilizer, especially if you are still a beginner in growing plants at home.
What kind of Fertilizer should you use for your Brussels Sprouts Plants?
If you really think that using additional fertilizer is a good idea, make sure that you use natural fertilizer instead of chemical alternatives.
This is important to protect our environment and also our local flora and fauna. You can just order organic fertilizer online or get it from your local garden center.
Alternatively, if you have a little bit of time, just get some stinging nettles from your local meadow and put them in a bucket full of water. Wait a few days and remove the plant material.
And here you go! You just made your own fully natural fertilizer which you can just add to the water in your watering can.
Of course, you can not only use it for your brussels sprouts, but also for various other plants you might want to grow.
Should you use Pesticides or Herbicides for Growing Brussels Sprouts?
You can also use the stinging nettle liquid as natural pesticides. Just spray it onto your brussels sprouts and you will be surprised how well it works against various types of pests.
There is also no reason to use chemical herbicides. Just take a little bit more manual efforts and remove weeds by hand.
Make sure to also have a look at my article on how to control brussels sprout pests & diseases.
What’s left to say?
First of all, thanks for sticking with me until the end of this brussels sprout grower’s guide. I know it has been quite long.
However, I just wanted to provide you with everything you need to grow brussels sprouts from seed to harvest in the best possible manner.
If you like the article, make sure to share it. Also feel free to check out my growing brussels sprouts FAQ section.
About the author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and always try new things.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants, even if you are still a beginner right now.