Pak choi can be used in salads or stir-fries as baby leaves, or as a cooked vegetable in various Oriental dishes when semi-mature or fully grown.
Jobs to do now
- Harvest baby leaves
Month by month
Sow outdoors from April to July in a sunny position in fertile soil. Sow seeds thinly, 2cm (¾in) deep, in rows 30–38cm (12–15in) apart – the wider distance is best for growing semi-mature to full-sized plants.
Earlier and later sowings, to produce baby leaves, can also be made under cloches or fleece in mild areas.
Gradually thin out seedlings to prevent overcrowding and give them more room to grow. You can use the thinnings in salads. The final spacings depend on what stage you're going to harvest them:
7.5–10cm (3–4in) apart for baby leaves
20cm (8in) apart for semi-mature plants
25–30cm (10–12in) apart for mature plants
Keep plants well watered throughout the growing period to avoid bolting (flowering) and ensure they have a good flavour.
Leaves are covered in small holes and damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible.
Grow plants under horticultural fleece and keep the soil moist. Water in nitrogen-rich fertilser to help the crop outgrow the pest.
Appears as a white powdery deposit over the leaf surface and leaves become stunted and shrivel.
Keep the soil moist and grow in cooler locations.
Plants flower and set seed prematurely.
Unless growing for seed sow bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist.
Pak choi can be harvested from late spring to late summer, if repeated sowings are made.
Baby leaves are ready to harvest in as little as 30 days, while semi-mature to full-sized heads take 45–75 days.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.