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BRASSICA oleracea (Capitata Group)

Image of Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group)

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea( Capitata Group)

Plant Common Name

Cabbage

General Description

Available in many shapes and colors, cabbage forms large, dense heads of thick, fleshy leaves that are delicious eaten cooked or raw. Typically grown as an annual, this cool season vegetable is a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial that originates from the coastal areas of western and southern Europe. Chinese or napa cabbage belongs to another species, B. rapa.

Cabbages are categorized by their texture and color. Most have smooth, ribbed, somewhat leathery leaves with a strong pungent flavor. These can be green (from pale grassy to deep emerald, often with blue overtones) or red (with burgundy-purple hues predominant). Savoy cabbages are distinct in having heavily crinkled, thin, mildly flavored leaves. Most cabbages have an outer layer of larger, spreading, more deeply hued "wrapper" leaves. Cabbages also vary markedly in size and days to harvest, with early-maturing varieties bearing much smaller heads than later ones. Vigor and flavor decline with heat. Although cool weather enhances flavor, plants may flower (or "bolt") in extended chilly spells. Cabbage heads may split if not harvested promptly. Somewhat cold-hardy, cabbages can be grown as a winter vegetable in areas such as the Lower Southeast United States and western California.

This cool weather crop prefers full sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. Plant seed or transplants in early spring, or in summer for fall or winter harvest. For an extended harvest, plant both early- and late-cropping varieties. Plants may produce a second crop of side sprouts from the "stumps" of the harvested heads.

Cabbages are rewarding to grow and well worth the effort. As with all members of Brassica oleracea, they are susceptible to a number of pests, including cabbage loopers and several other types of caterpillars.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10"-24" / 25.4cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    12"-30" / 30.5cm - 76.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Red, Green, Purple, Light Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Red, Green, Purple, Light Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Green, Purple, Light Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Green, Purple, Light Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes