How to Grow a Cabbage Plant


Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var.capitata, tuba, and sabauda), a hardy, leafed vegetable, comes in several shapes--rounded, flat and pointed. The leaves can appear crinkled or smooth in texture in shades of green, purple and red. Cabbage grows well in well-drained, fertile soil. The cabbage plant offers many culinary uses, such as a stew, coleslaw or raw in salads. Plant after all danger of frost has passed and the temperature averages 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Work the soil to a depth of 8 inches. Add organic matter such as aged manure, leaf debris, compost or peat moss to the soil until it feels crumbly to the touch. Work 4 to 6 lbs. of general purpose 8-24-24 or 8-8-8 fertilizer into the soil for every 100 feet. The cabbage plant prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Step 2

Space rows 3 feet apart. Plant cabbage plants 12 to 15 inches apart. When planting cabbage seeds space the seeds 3 inches apart, and then thin to 12 to 15 inches apart after germination has occurred. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch under the soil's surface. Planting cabbage to close together results in small head growth.

Step 3

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as leaf debris or bark chips, around the new cabbage seedlings to help prevent weed growth and reduce cultivation requirements. Cabbage roots are shallow and easily damaged by cultivation.

Step 4

Water the cabbage plants often to keep the soil moist. It should not be water-logged, but moist to the touch.

Step 5

Fertilize four weeks after planting with ammonium nitrate. Apply at a rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet of garden space. Water the ammonium nitrate completely into the soil.

Step 6

Harvest cabbage heads when they reach the desired size. Always harvest before the head begins to split for the best cabbage. Split heads attract insect pests.

Step 7

Twist the heads of the cabbage from the plants or severe them using a shovel. Thoroughly rinse the cabbage head in water after harvesting.

Things You'll Need

  • General purpose 8-24-24 or 8-8-8 fertilizer
  • Organic matter (compost, leaf debris, aged manure or peat moss)
  • Shovel
  • Mulch (bark chips or leaf debris)
  • Ammonium nitrate


  • University of Illinois: Cabbage
  • Gardening Know How: Growing Cabbage
  • University of Wisconsin: Growing Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage and other Cole Crops
  • Fort Valley State University: Growing Cabbage

Who Can Help

  • Oklahoma State University: Growing Broccoli, CaulifIower,
Keywords: growing cabbage plants, cabbage plant care, planting cabbage plants

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.