Cabbage Growing Stages: A Professional Guide to Cultivating Perfect Cabbages

Growing cabbage can be a rewarding experience for gardeners of all levels. Cabbage is a cool-season crop that can be grown in the spring or fall. It is a nutritious vegetable that is packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a great addition to any diet. In this article, I will discuss the stages of cabbage growth and provide a quick guide to cabbage care.

Cabbage goes through several stages of growth, from seed to harvest. The first stage is seed germination, where the seed begins to sprout and grow roots. The second stage is seedling growth, where the plant begins to develop leaves and stems. The third stage is vegetative growth, where the plant continues to grow and develop leaves and stems. The final stage is head formation, where the cabbage plant forms a tight head of leaves. Understanding these stages is essential for successful cabbage growing.

To care for cabbage, it is important to provide it with the right growing conditions. Cabbage needs full sun and well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It also needs regular watering and fertilization. Pests and diseases can be a problem, so it is important to monitor the plants regularly and take action if necessary. With proper care, cabbage can be a productive and delicious addition to your garden.

Key Takeaways

  • Cabbage goes through several stages of growth, from seed germination to head formation.
  • Cabbage needs full sun, well-draining soil, regular watering, and fertilization to thrive.
  • Monitoring for pests and diseases is important for successful cabbage growing.

Stages of Cabbage Growth

Stages of Cabbage Growth
Stages of Cabbage Growth

Seed Germination

When I plant cabbage seeds, it takes around 7 to 10 days for them to germinate. During this stage, the seeds start to sprout and develop roots. I make sure to keep the soil moist and warm to encourage germination.


After the seeds have germinated, they start to grow into seedlings. At this stage, the seedlings are very fragile and need to be protected from strong winds and direct sunlight. I also make sure to water them regularly to keep the soil moist.

Appearance of 6-8 True Leaves

Once the seedlings have grown a few sets of leaves, they enter the next stage of growth. At this point, I thin out the weaker seedlings to give the stronger ones more space to grow. I also start to fertilize the plants to encourage healthy growth.

Appearance of 9-12 True Leaves

As the cabbage plants continue to grow, they develop more leaves and become stronger. At this stage, I start to prepare the soil for transplanting by adding compost and other organic matter.


When the cabbage plants have around 12 to 14 leaves, they enter the pre-cupping stage. At this point, I start to form a small depression in the center of the plant to encourage the formation of a cabbage head.


After the pre-cupping stage, the plants enter the cupping stage. During this stage, the cabbage head starts to form and the leaves begin to curl around it. I make sure to water the plants regularly and provide them with plenty of nutrients to encourage healthy growth.

Early Head Formation

As the cabbage head continues to grow, it enters the early head formation stage. At this point, I start to reduce the amount of water I give the plants to prevent the cabbage head from splitting.

Head Fill

During the head fill stage, the cabbage head continues to grow and fill out. I make sure to keep the plants well-fed and watered to encourage healthy growth and prevent any pests or diseases.


Once the cabbage head has reached its full size, it enters the maturation stage. At this point, I stop watering the plants to encourage the cabbage head to mature and develop a firm texture.

Quick Guide to Cabbage Care

Quick Guide to Cabbage Care
Quick Guide to Cabbage Care

Cabbage is a cool-season crop that requires proper care to grow and produce healthy heads. Here’s a quick guide to cabbage care that will help you grow a bountiful harvest:

1. Soil Preparation: Cabbage grows best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, prepare the soil by adding compost or aged manure. A soil pH level between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal for cabbage.

2. Planting: Plant cabbage seeds or seedlings in early spring or late summer. Space the plants 12 to 18 inches apart in rows that are 24 to 36 inches apart. Cabbage requires full sun exposure to grow properly.

3. Watering: Cabbage needs consistent moisture to grow well. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

4. Fertilizing: Cabbage plants require regular fertilization to produce healthy heads. Apply a balanced fertilizer every three to four weeks throughout the growing season.

5. Pest and Disease Control: Cabbage is susceptible to several pests and diseases, including cabbage worms, aphids, and clubroot. Monitor the plants regularly and treat any infestations promptly. Use organic pest control methods whenever possible.

6. Harvesting: Cabbage heads are ready to harvest when they are firm and solid. Cut the heads from the stem, leaving a few outer leaves intact. Store the heads in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks.

By following these simple steps, you can grow healthy and delicious cabbage in your garden. Remember to be patient and attentive to your plants, and you will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest.

Final Thoughts on Growing Cabbage

As I conclude this article on cabbage growing stages, I hope that you have found it informative and helpful. Growing cabbage can be a rewarding experience, but it requires patience, dedication, and attention to detail.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when growing cabbage is to provide it with the right growing conditions. This includes ensuring that the soil is well-drained, fertile, and has a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. It is also important to maintain consistent moisture levels and to protect the plants from pests and diseases.

Another key factor to consider is the timing of planting and harvesting. Cabbage can be planted in both the spring and fall, but the timing will vary depending on your location and climate. It is also important to harvest the cabbage at the right time to ensure that it is at its peak flavor and texture.

In addition to these factors, there are many other tips and tricks that can help you successfully grow cabbage. For example, using companion planting techniques, such as planting herbs or flowers alongside your cabbage, can help to repel pests and improve soil health.

Overall, growing cabbage can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the proper growing techniques and paying close attention to the needs of your plants, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, nutritious cabbage.


As I conducted my research on cabbage growing stages, I came across several reliable sources that provided valuable insights into the topic. Here are some of the references that I consulted:

  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has a comprehensive guide on cabbage production that covers everything from seed selection to harvest and storage. I found their information on cabbage growth stages particularly helpful.
  • The University of Guelph’s Vegetable Production Recommendations also provided valuable information on cabbage growing stages. Their guide includes a table that outlines the expected growth stages for cabbage at different temperatures.
  • The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture also has a guide on cabbage production that includes information on growth stages, pests, and diseases. I found their section on nutrient management particularly useful.

In addition to these sources, I also consulted several scientific articles and research papers on cabbage growth and development. Overall, these references provided a solid foundation for my understanding of cabbage growing stages and helped me to write a comprehensive article on the topic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the critical growth stages for cabbage?

The critical growth stages for cabbage are seedling, vegetative, and reproductive. During the seedling stage, the cabbage plant develops its roots and first set of leaves. During the vegetative stage, the plant grows larger and produces more leaves. During the reproductive stage, the plant begins to form a head.

How long does it take for cabbage to grow?

The time it takes for cabbage to grow depends on the variety and growing conditions. Typically, it takes between 70 to 100 days from planting to harvest.

When should cabbage form a head?

Cabbage should form a head during the reproductive stage, which typically occurs 50 to 80 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Can cabbage be grown in the winter?

Yes, cabbage can be grown in the winter in some regions. However, it is important to choose a variety that is suited to cold temperatures and to provide adequate protection from frost and other harsh weather conditions.

What is the life cycle of cabbage?

The life cycle of cabbage begins with the seedling stage, during which the plant develops its roots and first set of leaves. The plant then enters the vegetative stage, during which it grows larger and produces more leaves. Finally, the plant enters the reproductive stage, during which it forms a head and prepares to produce seeds.

Is it safe to eat cabbage that does not form a head?

Yes, it is safe to eat cabbage that does not form a head. This type of cabbage is known as Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage and is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It has a milder taste and is more tender than traditional cabbage.

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