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Annual Biennial

Brassica rapa Chinensis Group

Chinese cabbage

This is the subspecies of Brassica rapa from which many oriental greens such as pak choi, bok choi etc have been bred. It has waxy, green leaves with white veins and an upright habit forming a tight clump. If left to flower, they will be white, but are unlikely to set seed.

Other common names
bok choy
buk choy
see morecelery mustard
Chinese white cabbage
choi sum
choy sum
pak choi
Shantung cabbage
Chinese mustard [2]
false pak choi
Synonyms
Brassica chinensis
Brassica parachinensis
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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1 year
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green White
Summer White Green White
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Brassicaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Tufted
Genus

Brassicas can be annual, biennial or perennial plants, most are upright with alternate, often glaucous leaves, long taproots and clusters of cross-shaped, yellow or white flowers. The genus includes a number of species bred to produce food crops, such as cabbages, turnips, mustards and oilseed rape, as well as others grown for their ornamental value

Name status

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Sow seed outdoors in deep, fertile but firm, soil that isn't too acidic. If space is limited, start the seeds in modules or seedtrays and plant outside when big enough to handle easily (about 5 or 6 leaves). Watering through the summer months is very important. For more advice see vegetable cultivation

Propagation

Propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
Pruning

No pruning necessary

Pests

May be susceptible to flea beetle which can prevent seedlings from thriving and attacked by caterpillars when eggs laid by butterflies, hatch and feed. It is very popular food for pigeons which only netting can prevent. It is also eaten by snails, although once plants are established, this damage isn't usually severe. The cabbage root fly can cause failure to thrive and a heavy infestation of mealy cabbage aphid can spoil the harvest

Diseases

May be susceptible to brassica downy mildew and brassica white blister. In areas where brassicas have been grown before, clubroot can build up in the soil

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