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BRASSICA oleracea (Gemmifera Group)

Image of Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group)

Mark A. Miller

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea( Gemmifera Group)

Plant Common Name

Brussels Sprouts

General Description

The Brussels sprout is a cool season vegetable first cultivated in late medieval or renaissance Europe in what is now Belgium, then called Flanders. It was brought to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and began to be heavily cultivated there in the mid-twentieth century. Typically grown as an annual, it traces its ancestry to Brassica oleracea, a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial from coastal areas of western and southern Europe.

Brussels sprout plants have strong upright central stems lined with long, stalked, fleshy cabbage-like leaves. Tight rosettes of leaves resembling miniature cabbages develop in the leaf axils, maturing from the base of the plant upwards. Similar to cabbage in flavor, these "buds" do not fully develop until late in the season, and become most delectable after light frost. Hot weather causes flaccid, loose, bitter-tasting buds. Although cool weather enhances flavor, plants may flower (or "bolt") following extended chilly spells.

This cool weather crop prefers full sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. In areas with short growing seasons it is sown in early spring, but in regions with long hot summers it is best planted in summer for winter harvest. It makes a good winter crop for mild climates. Days to harvest vary from cultivar to cultivar but most mature in 80 to 110 days. As with all members of Brassica oleracea, it is susceptible to a number of pests, including cabbage loopers and several other types of caterpillars.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 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

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray 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

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes