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Brussels Sprouts Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Brussels sprouts rows
Brussels sprouts growing in cool weather.
Brussels sprouts are a fall vegetable; there is not enough cool spring weather in most regions to bring sprouts to harvest before summer.

Brussels sprouts are a fall vegetable; there is not enough cool spring weather in most regions to bring sprouts to harvest before summer. Brussels sprouts require about 3 months to reach harvest size.

Sprouts–buds or heads that resemble miniature cabbage–form in the axils of leaves. Sprouts appear first at the bottom of the stalk and must be picked as they mature. Remove leaves as buds are picked to make the harvest easier; the top leaves are never disturbed.

Brussels sprouts can easily bear light frosts and they can even take freezing weather if the thaw afterwards is gradual. But it is best to complete the sprout harvest soon after the first frost.

For Brussels sprouts growing tips see Brussels Sprouts Growing Success Tips at the bottom of this post.

Here are common Brussels sprouts growing problems with cures and controls:

• Seedlings fail to emerge from soil; seedlings are eaten; roots are tunneled. Cabbage maggot is a small gray-white, legless worm to ⅓-inch long; adult is the cabbage root fly, looks like a housefly. Flies lay eggs in the soil near the seedling or plant. Maggots will tunnel into roots leaving brown scars; some plants may be honeycombed with slimy tunnels. Exclude flies with floating row covers. Remove and dispose of damaged plants. Apply lime or wood ashes around the base of plants; time planting to avoid insect growth cycle. Plant a bit later when the weather is drier. Companion plant with mint.

• Seeds rot or seedlings collapse with dark water-soaked stems as soon as they appear. Damping off is a fungus that lives in the soil, particularly where humidity is high. Do not plant in cold, moist soil. Make sure soil is well drained.

• Seedlings are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs ½- to ¾-inch long that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves. Place a 3-inch paper collar around the stem of the plant. Keep the garden free of weeds; sprinkle wood ash around base of plants.

• Young seedlings fail to grow or die back; bluish-black spot on leaves and stems. Blackleg is a fungal disease which leaves sprouts girdled and rotting at soil level–“blacklegs.” Blackleg is spread by cutworms and cabbage maggots. Remove and destroy infected plants; keep the garden free of plant debris. Add organic matter to planting bed; make sure soil is well-drained. Rotate crops.

• Young plants flower before they grow much. Cold will cause young plants to flower and produce seed without forming a head. Protect young plants from cold weather with floating row covers; set transplants into the garden no sooner than 1 to 3 weeks before the last average frost date in spring.

• Main stem becomes dark and wiry. Wirestem is caused by the Rhizoctonia fungus which also caused damping off. Infected plant will not produce strong heads. Do not plant in cold, moist soil. Make sure soil is well drained.

• Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces; grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

• Plant wilts; roots are swollen and misshapen, roots rot. Clubroot is a soilborne fungal disease. Fungus interferes with water and nutrient uptake of roots. Keep the garden clean of plant debris and weeds that can harbor the fungus. Remove and destroy infected plants including soil around roots. Clubroot is found in acid soils; add lime if soil pH below 7.2. Rotate crops for at least 2 years. Purchase transplants from disease-free supplier.

• Leaves become dull yellow, curl, and plant may die. Cabbage yellows is caused by the Fusarium soil fungus that infects plants usually where the soil is warm. The disease is spread by leafhoppers. Remove infected plants. Control leafhopper. Keep the garden free of weeds which can harbor disease. Keep soil evenly moist, but not wet. Rotate crops.

Plant resistant varieties: Early Snowball.

• Leaves yellow; plant stunted; small glistening white specks on roots. Root cyst nematode is a microscopic worm-like animal that lives in the film of water that coats soil particles. Rotate cabbage family crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

• Plant stunted; worms tunnel into roots. Plump grayish grub with brown head is the larva of the June beetle, a reddish brown or black hard-shelled beetle to 1 inch long. Wireworms are the soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles; they look like wiry-jointed worms. Check soil before planting; hand pick and destroy pests; flood the soil if wireworms are present. Remove infested plants and surrounding soil. Keep the garden free of refuse that could shelter beetle eggs.

• Leaves are yellowish and slightly curled with small shiny specks. Aphids are tiny, oval, whitish-green, pink, or black pear-shaped insects that colonize on leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Remove with a blast of water. Use insecticidal soap solution. Mulch with aluminum foil to disorient aphids.

• Leaves have whitish or yellowish spots; leaves are deformed; plant wilts. Harlequin bugs or stink bugs. Harlequin bugs are black with bright red yellow or orange markings. They suck fluids from plant tissue causing white and yellow blotches. Handpick and destroy bugs and egg masses. Keep garden free of crop residue and weeds where bugs breed. Spray plants wit Sevin, pyrethrum and rotenone. Stink bugs are gray or green shield-shaped bugs about ¼-inch long; they feed on fruits. Remove garden debris and weeds where bugs can overwinter. Hand-pick egg masses and bugs and destroy.

• Tiny shot-holes in leaves of seedlings. Flea beetles are tiny bronze or black beetles a sixteenth of an inch long. They eat small holes in the leaves of seedlings and small transplants. The larvae feed on roots of germinating plants. Spread diatomaceous earth around seedling. Handpick off plants, Cultivate often to disrupt life cycle. Keep garden clean. Spade garden soil deeply to destroy larvae in earl spring. Treat plants with Sevin, pyrethrum, or rotenone.

• Leaves partially eaten; leaves webbed together; eggs in rows on undersides of leaves. Cabbage webworms are green with a light stripe to ¾ inches long; the webworm is the larvae of a brownish yellow moth with gray markings. Larvae spin light webs. Clip off and destroy webbed leaves. Destroy caterpillars. Keep garden weed free.

• Leaves are eaten and plants are partially defoliated. Blister beetles are slender gray or metallic black beetles to ¾-inch long; they may have striped spots on their wings. Handpick beetles and destroy. Keep the garden weeds and debris. Cultivate in spring to kill larvae and interrupt the life cycle. Spray or dust with Sevin or use a pyrethrum or rotenone spray.

• Small holes in leaves; loose cocoons about ⅓-inch long on leaves. Pale green caterpillar is the larvae of the gray diamondback moth. Moth has yellow diamondback-shapes on folded wings. Keep garden free of weeds, particularly mustard plants. Handpick and destroy caterpillars. Spray with Bacillus thuringiensis is very effective.

• Large holes in leaves; leaves skeletonized. Cabbage loopers or armyworms. (1) Cabbage looper is a light green caterpillar with yellow stripes running down the back; it loops as it walks. Keep garden clean of debris where adult brownish night-flying moth can lay eggs. Cover plants with spun polyester to exclude moths. Pick loppers off by hand. Use Bacillus thuringiensis. Dust with Sevin or rotenone. (2) Armyworms are dark green caterpillars the larvae of a mottled gray moth with a wingspan of 1½ inches. Armyworms mass and eat leaves, stems, and roots of many crops. Armyworms will live inside webs on leaves. Handpick caterpillars and destroy. Cultivate after harvest to expose the pupae. Use commercial traps with floral lures.

• Leaves are chewed and slimed. Snails and slugs eat leaves. Collect these pests at night. Set beer traps at soil level to attract and drown snails and slugs.

• Leaves chewed; tunnels inside buds. Imported cabbage worm is a pale green caterpillar with yellow stripes to about 1¼ inches long; the adult is a white moth with two or three black spots on the forewing. Use Bacillus thuringiensis. Destroy all remains and weeds after harvest. Companion plant with mint. Encourage the predatory trichogramma wasp.

• Browning along margins of old leaves; water spots at core of plant; leaves are bitter and tough. Boron deficiency, often found in alkaline soils. Test soil. If deficient, add 2 ounces of borax per 30 square yards. Plant resistant varieties: Plant Wisconsin Ballhead, Wisconsin Hollander No. 8.

• Leaves and head become pale green; leaves wilt; slimy rot develops in stem, leaves, and head. Bacterial soft rot is caused by Erwinia bacteria. Water-soaked spots appear on leaves and roots; spots enlarge and turn dark and mushy. Black ooze develops in cracks in roots and stems. Rot can not be cured. Collect and burn infected plants Promote good drainage by adding aged compost and organic materials to planting beds. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops.

• Leaves are pitted. Blowing soil particles can pit leaves and cause wart-like projections the size of a pinhead. Protect plants from blowing soil and sand with floating row covers or use windbreaks in large gardens.

• Leaf margins turn brown. Tipburn is caused when leaves do not take up enough water. This can happen if there is a calcium deficiency in the soil. Test soil. Maintain consistent and even soil moisture. Mulch and cultivate only shallowly during drought. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0, add limestone which contains calcium if the pH is below 6.0.

• Sprouts are large, loose, and leafy. Temperatures are too warm; Brussels sprouts need temperatures of below 75°F to produce compact sprouts. Plant so that the crop matures in the cool temperatures of autumn.

Brussels Sprouts Growing Success Tips:

Planting. Brussels sprouts grow best in full sun where temperatures do not exceed 80°F. Where temperatures are warmer, grow Brussels sprouts in partial shade. Plant in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to the planting bed before planting. Brussels sprouts can be sown directly in the garden, but for best results you may want to start them indoors.

Planting time. Plant Brussels sprouts so that they come to harvest in the cool of autumn; there is not enough cool weather to bring Brussels sprouts to harvest in spring in most regions. For the best planting date, count back from the average first frost date in autumn the number of days required to reach maturity for the variety you are growing; plant on that date. If you are growing from seed, be sure to include the 30 to 40 days that it will take for plants to get to transplant size. Transplants prefer to go in the garden when daytime temperatures are between 60° and 70°F. Keep young transplants shaded if the weather is warmer.

Care. Water and feed Brussels sprouts throughout the growing season. Keep Brussels sprouts evenly moist; do not allow the soil to dry out. Side dress Brussels sprouts with bloodmeal when sprouts begin to form. Sprouts form in each leaf axil (plants will continue to grow tall until temperatures stay below 40°F). For a large number of sprouts let plants grow tall and continue to produce sprouts. For full, fat sprouts, pinch out the growing point to stop upward leaf growth and allow sprouts to form on the bottom 12 inches of the stem.

Harvest. Brussels sprouts are most flavorful after the first frost in autumn but before freezing weather sets in for winter. Begin harvesting Brussels sprouts as soon as sprouts reach 1 inch in diameter. Do not let sprouts sit on the stem too long or the leaves will begin to open. Sprouts develop from the bottom up, so begin the harvest from the bottom of the plant or remove all of the leaves and harvest the whole stalk, cutting at ground level.

Growing tips at: How to Grow Brussels Sprouts.

 

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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    • To get the best growth and yield from Brussels sprouts try the following: (1) Make sure your plants are getting full sun; (2) Make sure the soil is well-drained; add plenty of organic matter to your planting beds in advance of the season; then add a shoveful of compost to each planting hole; (3) Set out transplants; you can sow Brussels sprouts seeds directly in the garden, but you are likely to grow a stronger plant if you start seed indoors and then set out transplants that are established and strong; (4) Mulch around your plants and make sure the soil stays evenly moist–do not let the soil dry out more than a few inches deep; (5) For strong growth and yield, side-dress plants with bloodmeal (high in phosphorus for strong root growth) and cottonseed meal (high in nitrogen for leaf and bud growth) when the sprouts first form; (6) Keep an eye out for pests; handpick caterpillars that feed on foliage and spray away aphids with a strong stream of water; (7) Plant Brussels sprouts so that they come to harvest in relatively cool weather–60-70F; protect plants from higher temperatures; time your planting so that harvest comes in the chill of autumn.

    • It is normal for lower leaves to turn yellow; simply remove them to expose the sprouts to more sunlight. (The sprouts form in each leaf axil, but the leaves do not need to be present for sprout development.) For optimal sprout development, you can cut off the top few inches of the plant (which includes the growing point); this will allow the plant to put its energy into sprout development. You can cut off the growing point once the plant has reached the height you want the plant to be–if you let the plant grow on it can grow to 5 feet tall and will require staking.

      • My plants grew 10x their size at the time of planting in a container. As my first time growing these, I was so proud of how they were doing. Suddenly the leaves had holes in them, but worse, the stems formed what looked like sores filled with dry nodules. Eventually the sorts burst open exposing blacken stems. It has now affected all 3 plants. I can’t find worms, grubs, etc on the leaves or under the soil. The only bugs I’ve seen are ants. I have pictures, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

        • A couple of things may be going on: first and most seriously, the blackened stems are likely a sign of a bacterial or viral disease, both of which will likely kill the plants. When water-conducting tissues inside the stem become infected, rot sets in–soon the leaves will yellow and turn brown and fall and the plant will fail. There is no cure for bacterial or viral plant diseases. Second, ants are commonly a sign of other insects feeding on the plant–such as aphids; ants farm aphids, and a few other insects to harvest their excrement. Aphids and other sucking insects move bacterial and viral diseases from plant to plant as they feed. Move the healthy plants to a new location; carefully wash the leaves to remove insects; avoid overwatering.

    • Brussels sprouts–all leaves, no sprouts–try this: once the plants reach the height you want, tie them to a sturdy stake and then remove the growing point–the topmost few inches of the plant where new leaves form–just nip or cut it off. This will direct the plant’s energy to growing and feeding sprouts. Once sprouts form on the bottom of the plant, again cut off the top few inches of the plant. Also make sure you are using an even fertilizer–the numbers will be about equal–so that the plants are getting plenty of phosphorus and potassium, not an excessive amount of nitrogen.

    • You may not be able to do much this season. But generally if your Brussels sprouts are small your soil may be lacking in phosphorus–or may be too nitrogen rich. Add plenty of aged compost to your garden twice a year. As for now, try an organic fertilizer rich in phosphorus sprinkled or poured around the base of each plant.

      • I had this same problem in the fall. Time got away from me, and before I knew it, it was winter, and there were six inches of snow on the ground. I was surprised to see that the plants overwintered, and they’re greening up, but the sprouts look like they’re opening up, like leaves. Is there anything I can do, or should I just pull them out and try again this year?

        • You can cut off the sprouts and the plant may produce new sprouts; but you may also want to set out new plants–seedlings–as well.

  1. i have tiny black dots near the sprouts.. they look like little worms or larvae but they are black … there was a green caterpiller in there but we got rid of it … how do i get rid of those little black wormy things

    • Your crop might have flea beetles. If possible use row covers to cover the crop. Sticky traps may help. Garlic spray will repel them. If cabbage loopers appear; your best defense is handpicking.

  2. Hi i have recently taken to growing patio cucumbers brussels and a cantalope melon plant im a complete novice anyone with info i may need your help as dont know much thank you

    • Growing crops in containers on the patio is not much different than growing crops in garden planting beds. Make sure your containers are large enough for root growth–roots supply your crops with the water and nutrients necessary; you have to have good root growth and development to support fruiting crops such as cucumbers and melons. Keep the soil evenly moist, that is not too wet and never dry. Add fertilizer a couple of times during the growing season; this will renew nutrients in the soil; use an organic fertilizer that slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium. And make sure your container garden gets plenty of sunshine.

  3. Hi,can you advise why I do not have any fruit on my pear trees.They are in a group of three with little or no flowers and about 5 years old. Thanks.

    • Most pears need at least two different varieties to cross-pollinate; make sure you have at least two different varieties. Pears can take 4 to 5 years before they flower and produce the first crop. If your trees are older: (1) make sure they are getting enough water; (2) be sure the trees are getting enough nutrients–particularly phosphorus and potassium; (3) be sure to prune and thin your trees each year cutting out crossing branches and inward-facing branches; (4) check for blossom drop each spring–which can be caused by warm temperatures early in spring followed by cold temperatures–if blossoms drop, you are out of luck.

  4. My Brussel sprout leaves and Romaine Lettuce leaves have light beige spots on them, some quite large. Can you help, please.

    • Beige spots on leaves–could it be sunburn. Brussels sprouts and lettuce are cool-weather plants; if temperatures are on the rise and the sun–now tracking higher in the sky–is warm, your plants may be sunburned. Cover your crops with a poly plant blanket or place shade cloth on a frame above the crops.

  5. My Brussels sprouts are tall, leafy and have good sprout development but some of the sprouts are turning blackish with a sort of slimy rot. Could this be from slugs?

    • Brussels sprouts turning blackish and then rotting sounds like Bacterial soft rot. Rots often get started with poor soil drainage. Healthy soil starts with plenty of aged compost. Add an inch of aged compost to your planting beds twice a year–irrigation will take the organic matter into the soil and improve drainage and add nutrients. Water at the base of plants and perhaps next year set your plants a bit further apart to improve air circulation. If this has been an ongoing problem, rotate your crops–locating cabbage family plants to another planting bed for three years. This year, remove rotting sprouts and remove the leaves growing below sprouts to improve air circulation.

  6. Harvested beetroot , some have white rings in beet others are nearly white thru out , are these able to be consumed , and wat is the cause of strange colour

    • White rings inside the beet develop when roots are exposed to high heat or uneven watering. The roots are likely to be unpleasant tasting. To prevent white rings in beets be sure the soil stays evenly moist–don’t let it dry out. Mulch to stem soil moisture evaporation. Time your planting so that beets do not come to harvest in hot weather.

  7. My plants aren’t growing seems to be stunted.. The tallest one is maybe 3 inches tall. They have survived the winter should I leave them or start over with fresh plants?

    • With daylight hours growing longer and the soil warming, your plants should take off and continue their growth towards maturity this spring. The short days of winter and cold temperatures have simply put them in a state of dormancy the past few months.If you want some crop insurance– go ahead and set out a few new seedlings this spring.

  8. I have had my brussel sprout plants from the nursery for 10 days and they looked great when brought home. The leaves are now becoming discoloured (brown ting but not dried out). Could this be a lack of light as it is too cold to put them out every day yet?

    • Brussels sprouts seedlings need 8 hours of sunlight each day. If you have them indoors put them in a bright window and turn the container a bit each day so that the plant gets plenty of light all around. Keep the soil just moist. If you have the plants in the house, keep them away from forced air–such as a heating vent.

  9. Something is eating away at my leaves entirely to the point that they look like a skeleton. Any idea what I can do to keep away pests that are ruining my plants?

    • Cabbage worms and loopers attack all of the cabbage family plants–and they can quickly skeletonize the leaves. Since the damage is already extensive two course of action can be taken: (1) look for the caterpillars on the undersides of leaves (and the eggs) and crush them or handpick them and drop them into a pale of soapy water; (2) spray the plants with neem–both the upper and lower sides of all of the leaves. Spinosad and Bt are two other organic sprays to control these pests–but these would have been more effective earlier–when the caterpillars were small.

  10. My brussel sprout plants are growing lying on the ground rather than straight up. They have a small/skinny trunk on the bottom that lays on the ground for about 10 inches, then it curls up and straightens out towards the sky with a thicker trunk. They are getting large and taking up a lot of ground area. Do you know why they’re doing this and how I can help them?

    • Use 3-4 foot garden stakes to support the brussels sprouts stalks; you can tie the stalks into the stakes with elastic garden tape. Feed the plants compost tea or a organic fertilizer. The cause is likely environmental–weather, sun, or water related.

  11. Just wondering why my brussel sprouts don’t brussel….I amend the soil…keep the pH perfect….have no bugs or blight…..beautiful plants nearly 4ft tall…..but no sprouts……have had this problem the past 2years…..again this year I have gorgeous plants but am concerned I won’t get any sprouts….any suggestions?

    • Your brussels sprouts may not be forming buds because the soil is high in nitrogen. Sidedress your plants with an organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium such as 5-10-10. Phosphorus promotes fruit and flowers.

  12. Thank you for your site and the questions and answers – very informative. Unfortunately we have caterpillar eaten leaves and brussels the size of a marble at the moment but the family will ‘enjoy’ them on Christmas Day!

    • Spending an hour or so handpicking caterpillars off the undersides of leaves–and crushing eggs with your thumb–is a good way to get ahead of this pest population. You can also use an organic insecticide with Bt–but again you have to hit the critters with the spray to make an impact.

  13. My brussel sprout plant lived through the winter outside. Then took off great this spring. It grew about three more feet. Then started flowering like crazy. I want Brussels to form. What can I do??

    • The warmth of spring came too soon for your Brussels sprouts; the plant will naturally flower when the weather moves into the high 60sF and 70sF. You can’t fight Mother Nature. Plant Brussels sprouts in mid summer to mature in the cool weather of autumn and early winter–when temps average in the low 60s and 50s. Once sprouts have formed you can harvest through the winter and early spring.

  14. There Has been a hails storm and the leaves on my brussel sprout plants look like Hell. It has been a few weeks since and they still look beat up. Should I remove the leaves and let them regrow?

    • If the leaves are decimated by the hail, you can remove them; however, the leaves are essential for photosynthesis and the production of food for the plant, so it would be best to not remove all of the leaves. If the leaves are a bit shredded but otherwise green you can leave the in place–the damage is likely only cosmetic.

  15. I’m growing my Brussels Sprouts in a container on my patio and I live in Santa Barbara, CA. This is my first attempt at Brussels. I have lots of small pea sized buds but they remain very small. I have not been fertilizing the plant so I think I might need to feed it, but I’m not sure what is best to add to the soil. Can you help?

    • Give your container-growing Brussels sprouts an even organic fertilizer; 5-5-5 is probably best but you can go up to 10-10-10. But be careful to follow the package directions and not over-fertilize. An alternative is compost tea. Keep the soil evenly moist–do not let the soil dry out and do not over-water. The above should allow for even growth. Container gardening can be difficult because it is easy to over or under fertilize and water.

  16. Brussels sprouts. Out of the blue we had three great plants going then the middle one it’s like the top dropped off and the two outside ones have purple dots on it. I don’t want to use anything harsh on it but what did I do now

    • The spots on your Brussels sprouts leaves are likely bacterial leaf spot. A bacterial infection would also account for the middle plant falling over; bacterial infections often clog a plant’s water-conducting tissue resulting in wilt and death. If it is a bacterial infection there is no cure; you will want to remove the plants and not plant cabbage-family crops in that spot for 3 years. But, let’s assume it is not bacterial; spray the plant with compost tea or a solution of 1 part powdered milk mixed with 9 parts water; these are fungicides.

    • The most likely reason your Brussels sprouts are flowering is temperature. Brussels sprouts do best in a cool growing season with day temperatures less than 80F and night temperatures less than 60F. When temperatures are warmer the plant–which thrives in cool weather–flowers and sets seed believing its season of growth has come to an end.

    • Brussels sprouts can withstand some freezing temperatures; overnight without much harm. If your Brussels sprouts are still in the garden and frozen through, cut each sprout from the stalk, remove any spoiled or insect nibbled outer leaves and transfer them directly into freezer bags or containers and place them in the freezer. Brussels sprouts are commonly blanched (pre-cooked) before they are frozen, however, they can be frozen without blanching. When it comes time to cook them, bake them, don’t stem them. If you steam them they will be mushy and not very inviting. To bake Brussels sprouts: place the frozen sprouts on a baking sheet after coating them with olive oil, place them in a preheated oven at 400F and roast for 30 minutes; you can then slice them in half and broil them for another 5 minutes.

  17. My brussel sprout leaves on a few of the smaller plants are turning pink! I think its because of colder weather.Are pink leaves a sign of the weather being to cold? Will it kill my plants?

    • The leaves of many plants turn pinkish or reddish when temperatures drop; the color change is a natural reaction. Cold weather can kill plants. Brussels sprouts can withstand temperatures as cold as 20F, but they will suffer. Snow can actually insulate Brussels sprouts from the cold, but if there is no snow there is no insulation. Drape a plant blanket over your Brussels sprouts if temperatures drop into the 20sF.

  18. My plants havent grown much (still small cabbage head looking plants) but are still green. We had a very warm winter here in north florida and are now already regularly in the 70’s+. Should I just pull the crop and try again next year or is there still hope for something to happen?

    • Your current temperatures in the 70sF would likely indicate that the season for Brussels sprouts is finished where you live. Plant again in late summer for a late autumn and winter harvest. Your temperatures are great for planting warm-season summer crops now.

  19. My Brussel sprout plants are starting to bloom yellow flowers. They have very little Brussels on them and not much of them. Do I need to top these and remove the blooms? Or is it too late for my plants to produce full sized fruit?

    • Blooming Brussels sprouts is an indication that temperatures have warmed to the point that the plant knows its growing season is coming to an end and it’s time to flower and drop seed. (This is the way of Nature.) If you have had a warm spell and you are confident temperatures are going to fall back into the 60s and 50sF then you can trim away the flower heads and new smaller heads will grow from the same stem. If it looks like temperatures are going to warm, then harvest the heads that have not flowered and serve them right away.

  20. My plant is growing beautifully (about 2 1/2 feet tall) with healthy dark green leaves but are starting to flower a bit with broccoli- looking seeds at the top…but no brussels? I live in North Idaho and they made it through the winter…. any help you can offer? Is in inedible now? Do I just need to start over?

    • If you are seeing blooms, your plant is at the end of its life. Brussels sprouts bloom when the weather warms. The best course is to remove the plants and replant new seedlings in mid-summer, about 80-90 days before the first average frost date. Your new Brussels sprouts will mature in cool weather–which is exactly what needs to happen for the plants to produce sprouts (instead of flowers).

    • The leaves of Brussels sprouts and other plants can turn purple if the plant is not drawing enough potassium from the soil. This is a common problem in light or sandy soils and in poor soil. It also can happen when the weather is cold. Feed the plant with a fertilizer that is high in potassium.

  21. My Brussels sprouts leaves are turning yellow/brown/purple it started with the bottom leaves but is now moving through out the rest of the leaves. They are also in containers and it’s been warm and rainy. They get a lot of sun.

    • You must ensure rainwater does not fall into the containers; place plastic around the stem of the plant and drape it off the edges of the container; this will allow you to control watering. Your description could be the start of rot or a bacterial disease related to the soil being too wet. Once you control moisture to the roots–allowing it to dry out, the plant may turn around. If it doesn’t dispose of the plant and soil.

  22. Last evening I watered my garden and my Brussels were nice and perky. Now 2 of the 3 plants are drooping. What would cause this?

    • Water at the base of each plant in the morning; this allow the plants to draw water up during the day and ensure leaves are not wet at nightfall. You can stick a finger in the soil to be sure the soil is most two inches below the soil surface.

  23. Hey, my Brussels have just sprouted from their seeds and they all have 2-4 leave each and are doing well. The only problem is there are loads of small clear jelly like spheres under every single leaf, it doesn’t seem to be causing the plants any harm but I’m concerned and was wondering if you knew what they were.

  24. My first year growing sprouts (i live in UK) the plants are doing really well, size wise, but the leaves have holes in them and i noticed today some caterpillars on the leaves…will the plants still produce sprouts when they are supposed to or am i better off to take the plants out and try again next year? is there anything i can do? Was looking forward to home grown sprouts through the winter, especially with Christmas dinner. Thanks for any help

    • If caterpillars are present then insect eggs are likely present as well; caterpillars are often the larvae of flying insects–flies or moths. Controlling the insects will be a goal for next season. You can spray the plants with insecticidal soap; this may help control the pest population. Sprouts germinate quickly; you can likely get a new crop started for holiday sprouts.

  25. Hello. I am growing Brussels sprouts and having problems with burnt margin leaves. It starts with soft margin on the young leaves, then becomes necrosis. I read and think due to the deficiency of Boron and Magie. I did supply additionally in the Nutrigation system, but the situation is not getting better. Thanks for your help.

    • A quick solution to both a magnesium and boron deficiency is a foliar spray of liquid kelp or seaweed extract every 2 weeks until the symptoms disappear. A long-term solution for magnesium deficiency is the application of dolomitic limestone to the soil; dolomitic limestone is a slow-release source of magnesium. A long-term solution to a boron deficiency is the addition of granite dust to the soil–usually in the fall, or plant cover crops of vetch or clover in the fall.

  26. Good Afternoon,

    I am a small grower in Sonora, Mexico. I planted and harvested brussels sprouts that look good outside, but once I cut them in halves, there are big holes and the leaves are not compacted. I do not have any pest in my plants, so I am thinking about the weather or nutrients. I need advice, my customers are rejecting them.

    Thanks a lot.

    • There are a few possible reasons for the sprouts not being tight and compact: (1) too much nitrogen in the soil; use nitrogen in moderation; use fish emulsion or a low nitrogen fertilizer; avoid heavy manure in the off-season; (2) inconsistent moisture–do not let the soil go dry; (3) growing temperature is too warm; the best average temperature range for Brussels sprouts growth is 60° to 65°F (15-18°C); temperatures in the high 70sF will cause the right heads to open.

  27. Hi,

    I planted brussels sprouts last fall (transplants). The plants never got very big and didn’t produce any sprouts. I covered them with row covers during the coldest of the winter, and all the plants are still alive and look healthy (albeit small). I want to transplant them into a new raised bed I made for springs crops. My question is: (1) will the sprouts be ok to transplant; and (2) will the plants produce sprouts this spring if given the right conditions (adequate moisture, sun, nitrogen)? Thank you for your help.

    • Overwintered brussels sprouts should resume growth as the soil warms and days grow longer. Transplanting them may cause some root damage or transplant shock, but plants commonly resume growth after new feeder roots are established–usually in a few weeks.

  28. Our brussel sprouts produced very small heads last year so we just left the plants in the garden. We live in zone 5 but they survived the winter and are now flowering. Should we just pull them out, take off the flowers, or just let them go and see what happens.

    • Once the plant flowers it is time to start with new seedlings. Set the seedlings in the garden so that they mature in cool weather. You may want to wait until mid-summer to plant sprouts again.

  29. We planted our brussel sprouts in November. We live in Tucson Arizona. We have gotten brussel sprouts all the way up the stock about a month or so ago I removed most of the leaves that left the top part to help the plant put the energy into making the brussel sprouts grow. It just seems that it’s taking them a very long time to grow for Harvest. I have been able to harvest some of the lower brussel sprouts any tips or tricks? Or have I completely lost my crop the plants seem to be doing very well aside from not being ready to fully Harvest

    • If the weather is warming, the plants may run out of cool-season growing time. Feed the plants with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal every 10 days to support growth.

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