Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group)

Common Name: Brussels sprouts 
Type: Annual
Family: Brassicaceae
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable


Best grown in organically rich, fertile, consistently moist, well-composted, well-drained loams in full sun. Soil pH of 6.5 is recommended. Brussels sprouts is a slow-growing, long-season vegetable crop. In St. Louis, seedlings are typically planted in the ground in June for harvest of sprouts in the cool temperatures of fall. Seed may be started indoors in early May. Seedlings or transplants from local nurseries should be planted outdoors in mid-June (about 4 months prior to the first fall frost date). Plants should be spaced in rows about 18" apart with 3' between each row. Keep soils uniformly moist throughout the summer. Apply nitrogen fertilizer at 2-3 week intervals during July and August. Some leaf removal is often done as the sprouts begin to develop. Sprouts are best harvested after the first fall frost (flavor improves after frost). Apply mulch around plants to protect the shallow roots, reduce weeds and retain soil moisture. Rotate crops to avoid soil borne diseases.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Brassica oleracea (Gemmifera Group), commonly called Brussels sprouts, is a cool weather vegetable that is grown for harvest of miniature cabbage-like buds (1-2" wide) which form in leaf axils along the 2-3' tall stems of this plant. It is grown in St. Louis as an annual. Brussels sprouts is in the same species (Brassica oleracea) as a number of other cool season vegetables including kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kohlrabi. Common name reportedly comes from the popularity of this vegetable in Brussels, Belgium commencing in the 1300s.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.

Specific epithet means of vegetable gardens.


Potential insect problems include cabbageworms, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, caterpillars, thrips, slugs and aphids. Root maggots may be a problem in some areas. Watch for leaf spots, blackleg, black rot and yellows.


Vegetable gardens