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BRASSICA oleracea 'Red Express'

Image of Brassica oleracea 'Red Express' (Capitata Group)

Jessie Keith

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea 'Red Express'( Capitata Group)

Plant Common Name

Red Cabbage, Red Express Cabbage

General Description

An early-maturing, "miniature" red cabbage that resists splitting, 'Red Express' bears dense spherical heads of colorful leaves that are decorative and delicious either cooked or raw. Typically grown as an annual, cabbage is a cool season vegetable that traces its ancestry to Brassica oleracea, a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial from coastal areas of western and southern Europe.

Maturing some 65 days after sowing, 'Red Express' forms coconut-sized heads with spreading, leathery outer leaves and relatively thin, tightly packed inner leaves. Flavor is robust and peppery. Vigor and flavor decline with heat. Although cool weather enhances flavor, plants may flower (or "bolt") following extended chilly spells. Somewhat cold-hardy, this cabbage can be grown as a winter vegetable in areas such as the Lower Southeast United States and western California. It is among the best red cabbages for the northern United States and Canada.

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, also plant late-cropping varieties. Plants may a 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

    8"-12" / 20.3cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    8"-12" / 20.3cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • 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, Purple, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Red, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Purple, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Purple, Burgundy

  • 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