Can you tell me how cabbage plants make seed? Ken C.
Answer: Cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi are all the same species, Brassica oleracea. They all have the same seeding and pollination habit. These plants produce a flower stalk that needs to be cross-pollinated by insects (which means that they won’t accept their own pollen).
The cabbage plant sends this flower/seed stalk directly out of the cabbage core. This process is called “bolting“. Cabbage cannot bolt in the same year they are planted. They must be overwintered, replanted in the spring, and allowed to bolt.
Home growers should plant their cabbage so it will be mature at the end of the season. Then at least three firm, ready-to-eat heads need to be selected. Remove the plants, roots and all, and store in a root cellar, refrigerator or cold basement. Keep the roots damp and cool during the winter.
To get a cabbage plant to make seed, in the early spring you would replant the plants, leaving two to three feet in between them. They will produce the seed stalk directly from the center of the plant. Cabbage seeds ripen slowly and fall off immediately when they are ripe. So you might want to either harvest the whole plant as the pods turn yellow or pick the dry pods when they turn brown.
If you’re planting in an open garden and growing any other members of the Brassica family, it might be surprising what your seeds develop into. Since the plants can be cross-pollinated with broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc. But they might be interesting in flavor!
Good luck if you give this a try, and happy growing!
sparshDecember 10, 2014 at 11:54 am
lovely information, karen
jstutzmanDecember 30, 2014 at 11:09 am
MistermakMay 14, 2016 at 10:06 pm
Are the cabbage heads harvested before the plants are stored in a cool place for the winter?
jstutzmanMay 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm
Mistermak, yes cabbage is harvested. However after harvesting the plants are no longer good for anything.
onyekaOctober 19, 2016 at 6:16 am
I’ve harvested my cabbage heads for almost ten months now. the plants are still in the field growing, when should I expect them to flower? I need the seeds. thanks
jstutzmanOctober 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm
Onyeka, the flower heads grow from within the cabbage head itself, if you have already harvested it, they will not produce seeds.
onyekaOctober 29, 2016 at 9:35 am
I harvested the heads in the first growing season, now I’ve smaller heads growing up from the harvested plants. Won’t these produce seeds? I need the seeds
jstutzmanNovember 7, 2016 at 10:21 am
Onyeka, that is a possibility. Are you sure this is an open-pollinated variety? If its not, the seeds you are able to save will not produce the same type of cabbage. Joe
Ebenezer ArthurMay 3, 2020 at 12:09 am
Please can I store my cabbage head and remove root in about three feet whole, before planting them in the spring time.
I need the seed for planting. Am in Ghana
GrowJoy PlantsSeptember 15, 2020 at 3:23 pm
Ebenezer, you’re on the right track, as you know that the cabbage will make seed in the second year. You could definitely try overwintering it in 3 feet of soil before replanting in the spring. Let us know how it works out!
victor lupaiJuly 22, 2020 at 2:49 pm
how will I get seeds from cabbage
GrowJoy PlantsSeptember 7, 2020 at 4:33 pm
Hi Victor, it is an accomplishment!
The basic fact is that cabbages will set seeds in the second year, under the right conditions.
So the real question is how to get your cabbage to overwinter.
If you’re in a zone where the cabbage can overwinter without a hard frost, it will be easier to get the cabbage to seed. In harsher winter environments, it becomes trickier as you must find a way to help your cabbage survive the winter.
Some suggestions are to dig the heads up before the first frost, trim the outer leaves off, and plant the heads in a container with potting soil. Then you’ll need to find a storage spot that has the right temperature. The ideal temperature will be 34-39 degrees. Once you’ve overwintered, you can replant your cabbages in spring once the danger of frost has passed.
Hope this helps! Keep us posted on your progress!
victor lupaiJuly 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm
am even confused where the agriculturalists get the seeds from cabbages
GrowJoy PlantsSeptember 7, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Victor, it is quite a feat to get a cabbage to go to seed, as they must overwinter properly. That being said, I believe the large commercial farms buy their seed.
mariSeptember 20, 2020 at 6:47 am
Thank you for such great article
GrowJoy PlantsSeptember 23, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Mari, you are so welcome! Hope it helps.
Shadrack kigenDecember 20, 2020 at 5:45 am
I had a similar question on where really do we get cabbage seeds ,but now I have an idea on where to find them though it is somehow
involvess complicated procedures.
GrowJoy PlantsDecember 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Shadrack, it’s definitely a bit complicated. Let us know how it works out!
RichardFebruary 13, 2021 at 9:10 am
My cabbage is about 4 months now but it not forming what should I do to make it form a head
GrowJoyFebruary 13, 2021 at 3:18 pm
Richard, we’ll need a bit more information in order to help. How much sun is it getting? How much are you watering it?
RichardFebruary 13, 2021 at 9:12 am
If you can help me with videos on how to make cabbage seeds
GrowJoyFebruary 13, 2021 at 3:21 pm
Richard this is a great idea. We’ll put it on our list of possible videos to make.
DeeFebruary 15, 2021 at 3:02 am
Since I’m in zone 6a (Ohio), and the winters here get snow and temperatures in the 20’s and below, is it more of a challenge to get seeds from cabbages? And am I correct in reading from the article, don’t cut the cabbage head off, but dig up the entire plant and store over winter in a cool dark place, without watering it?
jstutzmanAugust 4, 2021 at 11:49 am
Dee, cabbage plants will “go to seed” if they are not harvested. Yes, they can be harvested as a whole plant and allowed to dry. Good luck. Joe
KittyApril 3, 2021 at 2:10 pm
I put my cabbage in in October
I built a cold frame around the
garden the temps went to below
zero for 3 weeks when I uncovered
My garden I had cabbage broccoli
And carrots that looked amazing
My cabbage bolted to seed within
Month Tasted delicious
Unfilled now I hadn’t thought of saving
Seed I will with the remaining plants
JoeApril 4, 2021 at 8:56 pm
Hi I was wondering if a cabbage plant that is producing seeds leaves are still edible?
jstutzmanAugust 4, 2021 at 11:43 am
Yes, all parts of the cabbage plant is edible, including the seed heads.
RichardApril 17, 2021 at 1:14 pm
Hi, good evening. Please I am in Ghana and we don’t have anything like winter. Should I leave the cabbage to continue growing. And do I have to remove the leaves of the cabbage or I should leave it to open up on its own.
Does this apply to tiny cabbage to as well?
jstutzmanAugust 4, 2021 at 11:42 am
Richard, cabbage plants only produce one head, then they need pulled from the garden. Leave the leaves open on their own. Happy gardening, Joe
DarcyMay 1, 2021 at 5:12 pm
Our cabbage plants survived the winter outside after harvest, and are now growing into flower / seed stalks. Since there are more than three of them that survived, I am going to see if I wind up with seeds. Cool!
Marie ChenMay 5, 2021 at 5:41 pm
My cabbage plants have flowered and created seed pods, should I keep watering the plants? I am waiting for them to dry out and I can pull the plants out for collecting seeds, but they just keep flowering g and growing new pods. I water them everyday.
jstutzmanAugust 4, 2021 at 11:40 am
Marie, your plant can be pulled anytime for drying. Just do not wait too long or the first heads may open and drop all the seeds. You can cut off the seed heads as you like for drying. Good luck. Joe
Lori GMay 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm
Hello, New to gardening and my cabbage grew into a beautiful plant with yellow flowers. We cut off the stalks, some without roots and they look nice with their wavy fronds as if dancing. I was wondering if they will produce cabbages or do people keep them for decorative purposes in landscaping. Thanks. Lori
jstutzmanAugust 4, 2021 at 11:38 am
Lori, unfortunately this plants has “gone to seed”, meaning it got stressed out and will not produce more than the seed stalk that you have cut off. This happens mostly due to weather conditions. Joe
Acquah SamuelSeptember 21, 2021 at 1:27 pm
This is really interesting.I can’t wait to
start my cabbage planting and see the
seeds for myself
Samuel AcquahSeptember 23, 2021 at 9:48 am
I really love this,it will help me when i
start my cabbage farm.Thank you.
GrowJoySeptember 27, 2021 at 12:59 pm
Samuel, you’re welcome! Happy growing.
do cabbage have seeds - seekanswerMay 26, 2022 at 6:34 am
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