Brassica juncea
Common Name: Chinese mustard
Type: Annual
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: Russia to central Asia
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable


Needs warm, fertile soil with ample water while young, but can tolerate cooler temperatures when mature. If too cold or dry while young, will rapidly go to seed. Sow seeds directly every inch with 2’ between rows. Thin to 4” to 6” apart. Floating row covers are useful. Begin taking leaves 30 to 40 days after germination. Smaller and younger leaves are usually milder than larger and more mature leaves. Leaves are stronger-flavored as plant begins to bolt, or if grown too dry or in soil that is not fertile enough.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Just as the European wild cabbage radiated into headed cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale, the Far East mustard has radiated into mustards with cabbage-like heads, with knobby swollen stems, enlarged leaf stalks, enlarged roots, and myriad leaf form options.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.

Specific epithet means rush-like.


Flea beetles, caterpillars, aphids, snails and slugs are the most frequent pests.

Garden Uses

Young plants or leaves can be used raw in salads or steamed or stir-fried when more mature.