A brussels sprout plant takes longer than most vegetables to produce, but it does well in most areas. It should be planted in the late spring. The brussels sprout belongs to the cabbage family, and the sprouts look like mini cabbages. Some of the same pests that affect cabbage also affect brussels sprouts.
The brussels sprout plant grows in various shades of green. The leaves and stem are dark green. The sprouts vary from medium green to dark green.
The plant has a thick stalk--almost like a trunk. The plant grows up to 3 feet in height. The sprouts emerge at the stalk, in the leaf axil (where the leaf grows on the stalk). Depending on the cultivar, a plant may produce up to 100 sprouts.
The sprouts might be bitter if picked too soon, but if they are left on the plant until after the first frost or two, the sprouts become more tender and have a sweet-nutty flavor. The sprouts grow from 1-inch to an 1-1/2 inches in diameter and grow on the stalk just above the leaf.
There are several types of brussels sprouts, including the Oliver, which has a medium green sprout with leaves are not as tightly wrapped as some others; the Capitola, with dark green sprouts and leaves that are lighter than the Oliver's; and the Rowena, which is easy to pick by machine and has dark green sprouts with tightly wrapped leaves.
Brussels sprout leaves are dark green and, though similar to broccoli leaves or cauliflower leaves, have a rounder shape. The leaves also grow in whorls.