Grow Your Own

Pak choi

Pak choi can be used in salads or stir-fries as a baby leaf, or used in a variety of Oriental dishes as a cooked vegetable when semi-mature or as fully-grown heads.

Brassica rapa (pak choi)


Sow seed from April to July in a sunny position in fertile soil. Sow seed thinly, 2cm (¾in) deep, in rows 30-38cm (12-15in) apart; the wider distance is best for semi-mature to full-size heads.

Earlier and later sowings for baby leaf can also be made under cloches or fleece in mild areas.


Gradually thin seedlings to 7.5-10cm (3-4in) for baby leaf, to 20cm (8in) for semi-mature plants and to 25-30cm (10-12in) for mature plants. The thinnings can be eaten.

Keep plants well watered throughout the growing period to avoid bolting (running to seed) and lack of flavour.

Common problems

Flea beetle: Leaves are covered in small holes and damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible.

Remedy: Grow plants under horticultural fleece and keep the soil moist. Water in nitrogen-rich fertilser to help the crop outgrow the pest.

More info on Flea beetle

Powdery Mildew: Appears as a white powdery deposit over the leaf surface and leaves become stunted and shrivel.

Remedy: Keep the soil moist, grow in cool locations, and spray using plant and fish oils or sulphur-based controls.

More info on Powdery Mildew

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots. This is usually caused by stress – a cold spell or drought.

Remedy: Sow bolt-resistant varieties and keep the soil moist.

More info on Bolting


It is ready to harvest in 30 days from sowing as baby leaf, or between 45-75 days as semi-mature to full-size heads.

Harvest as and when needed.

Recommended varieties

'Joi Choi': Is slow to bolt and has good frost resistance.

'Canton Dwarf': Is compact with dark green leaves.

Buy pak choi

Do now

  • Weed
  • Harvest baby leaves

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