When Do I Plant Brussels Sprouts Up North?

Brussels sprouts are a fall crop. (Photo by Jamain)

“I’d like to grow Brussels sprouts in my garden for the first time this year. When do I plant, and how much water do they need?” Question from Amber of Bay City, Michigan

Answer: Brussels sprouts are a cool-season crop for fall. This means that they need cooler temperatures to grow well and set Brussels sprouts, and they do this best in the long, cool period of fall. In your northern zone, start plants from seed in early summer, and get them in the ground no later than August first. When starting plants from seed, it can take as long as two months to grow seedlings to planting size. You may also be able to purchase starts at your local garden center.

Grow Brussels sprouts in full sun and light, fertile, well-drained soil amended with compost, such as Black Gold Garden Compost Blend. Feed them with an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer at planting time, and give them plenty of water if weather conditions start to become dry. They like soil with light, even moisture. As they grow upward, they may require staking. (Click here to view a few good varieties available from seed.)

White cabbage moths, also called cabbage loopers/worms, are the most common pest (click here to learn how to manage them) iand harlequin cabbage bugs (click here to learn how to manage them) are also a problem, so keep a lookout for both. They must be treated on sight if you want a good harvest.

I hope that you have great success with your Brussels sprouts!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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