Growing cabbage in containers (Ultimate Guide for Growing cabbage in water)

Love gardening? Thought of growing cabbage in your garden or indoors or even you want to grow organic? You are at the right place, let us see ultimate tips for Growing cabbage in containers or in pots and growing cabbage in water. Also, it is necessary to know the benefits of growing cabbage in containers and what varieties of cabbage that you choose for pots.


The cabbage plant originated from the Mediterranean region and parts of Western Europe has marked its journey around the world and found its way to the United States of America in the mid-1500s. In those times, the cabbage was used to treat various problems like hangovers, the treatment of gout, as an anti-inflammatory, and for relief from headaches.

Growing cabbage in containers
Growing cabbage in containers

This resourceful vegetable was hence considered a luxury back in the day, as many regarded it better than other leafy vegetables.

Today, the cabbage is a staple vegetable in households globally. China is the largest producer of cabbage today, while Russia is the biggest consumer. However, cabbage is prepared in multiple forms across the globe and while most prefer to consume the cabbage raw, it can also be prepared by being pickled, blanched, steamed or stir-fried.

Growing cabbage in containers at home is quite easy as it is a sturdy no-fuss vegetable and does not require any special care. When provided with the right growing conditions, the cabbage plant can reward you with an amazing vegetable that is not only nutritious but reliable and delicious as well and is known to have numerous health benefits.

The term cabbage is derived from the Latin word caput, which means head. It is often referred to as the head of the Brassica family, which also includes vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, etc.

Can cabbage be grown in pots?

Yes, they can! Growing cabbage in containers is an easy and fast-paced process. The container must be at least 8 to 10 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches wide. A 5-gallon container is ideal for growing cabbage in a pot. Using a basket or a container to grow your cabbage can mean that you can start the process indoors and move the plant outdoors when the weather is more suitable for it.

The container can be made from clay, wire, or plastic. The cabbage plant is not fussy as long it receives plenty of sunlight and has adequate space to grow.

Cabbage is a great companion plant and grows very well in large containers alongside other vegetables and herbs like beetroot, onions, potatoes, celery, rosemary, thyme, and mint.

Check out, How to Keep Rats Out of Your Vegetable Garden.

Growing cabbage in containers or pots (step by step)

Let us explore a few tips to help you grow your own cabbage plant in a container.

First of all, select a container that is relatively deep as cabbage roots can grow at least 1 foot long. The cabbage plant is quite massive and can grow as high as up to 3 feet tall and wide. Drainage holes are of course, imperative. The best seasons to grow your cabbage plant in a container are spring and autumn with the ideal temperatures being anywhere between 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

To put it simply, cabbage plants thrive in moderate climates. To protect your cabbage plant from heat, you can add a thick layer of mulch to the soil and increase the frequency of the watering.

Next, you must decide which type of cabbage you want to plant. The cabbage plant has over 400 different varieties across the world from being round in shape to conical, being flat or round or mini in size, growing in colors of white, green, red, or purple. Some of the most common varieties grown in America are the Chinese cabbage, Napa, Red Acre, Jersey Wakefield, and the Late Flat Dutch.

Use a commercial potting soil that has a pH level between 6.5 and 6.8 for the plant’s optimum growth. Fill your container with a mixture of potting soil and compost.

Your cabbage plant thrives in the sun. Place your potted cabbage plant in a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight in a day.

Watering the cabbage plant might need some extra attention. Water 2 to 3 times a week and during the watering process, avoid the leaves and provide water only to the roots in the soil. This can help keep the mould at bay. All vegetables require an ample amount of water especially when they are grown in containers as it is known that containers don’t retain moisture, as well as a ground garden, would.

Keeping your watering timings consistent and steady can encourage healthy growth. Remember, uneven watering can lead to split heads and split heads don’t taste as good.

The cabbage heads tend to split when they are grown faster than usual or are given too much of water. A great way to avoid cracking heads is to twist the head of the cabbage to turn by a quarter, in order to separate it from a few of its roots interrupting its water consumption. Do this a week prior to the harvest. 

The cabbage plant is a heavy feeder. Use a balanced slow-release fertilizer or a nitrogen fertilizer to give them enough nutrition to grow. A cabbage plant that is growing in a container can be fed compost tea or a diluted solution of fish emulsion.

You can apply mulch over the roots to protect them and help them hold water better, especially in the warmer months.

If you have started your plant with fresh and clean potting soil and a high-quality fertilizer, you need not worry about diseases at all though having said that, flying pests can be a real problem as they tend to lay eggs on the cabbage leaves. You can avoid this by covering your plant with a fairly light mesh or a lace table cloth.

The cabbage plant is at risk of a few plant pests such as aphids and the Cabbage Looper, which is rather common in North America for its uncontrollable appetite and its contaminating qualities. It is a good idea to plant radishes near cabbages as this trick helps repel flies and mosquitoes.

For you, green thumbs out there who are short on gardening space, growing your cabbage plant in a container can provide you with the opportunity to nurture it in a confined space like a balcony, a patio or a porch!

Growing cabbage in pots

Can cabbage be grown in water?

A variety of edible plants can be regrown in water by using scraps from the leftover vegetable like parts of its stem where the old leaves were attached or the end of the roots. Some foods easily regrow in water much like the cabbage plant and require only a sturdy container and some clean H2O and old cabbage offcut.

Some of these re-gown vegetables might need to be transplanted into the soil once the roots appear whereas the cabbage does not require this step. You can choose to transplant the cabbage into the soil or continue to leave the plant in water and pick the leaves when needed.

You can start by simply placing the leftover leaves or stem in a shallow vessel or bowl and add some water over it covering the greens halfway. You can place this container in an area that receives sunlight daily. Make sure you clean and replace the water every few days, continuing to do so even after the new plants have grown.

The cabbage plant can take up to 4 days for its roots to start appearing and soon after the new leaves would emerge. You must watch out for leaks in the vessel and ensure water levels are not increased midway as that can cause cracked heads and also fungal infections.

Remember, if you start your hydroponic cabbage by using organic produce, you will continue to grow an organic plant. This is an easy and budget-friendly DIY way to grow your own produce at home.

The process of growing cabbage in containers indoors

The cabbage is a hardy leafy nutritious green that is tolerant of a variety of growing conditions. It is quite an easy-going plant and can be grown both outdoors as well as indoors. Growing cabbage in a pot indoors can be unchallenging however, you must be aware that you would require a larger space compared to other indoor plants. Since cabbage tends to spreads widely, choose a container that is 10 to 12 inches deep and wide.

The length of the planter can vary depending on the amount your space permits. Next, the container needs to be filled with rich but loose soil which is mixed with controlled – release plant food in order to provide your cabbage with continuous nutrients during its growing phase.

Since the cabbage plant thrives in sunlight, it is advised to place your container in the sunniest location of your house. When watering your cabbage, remember to maintain consistent and regular timings. While the cabbage requires the soil to remain moist it faces serious damage when overwatered.

Growing cabbage in pots indoors can be a seamless process provided that the indoor growing environment can replicate the sunlight and temperature required by the cabbage plant. After a wait of about 6 weeks, the cabbage plants’ heads will start to develop. Once you notice the cabbage forming its heads, you can consider adding a multipurpose premium fertilizer that has an equal mix of phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium.

Depending on the type of cabbage you have decided to grow indoors, the cabbage plant will reach its complete maturity in 60 to 100 days. To check if your cabbage is ready to harvest, you can gently squeeze the head to test whether it has hardened. A soft head indicates that your cabbage needs some more time.

What are the benefits of growing cabbage in containers?

The cabbage plant is a very beneficial vegetable that is packed with minerals and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B, folate, fiber, phosphorous, and manganese to name a few. Consuming cabbage can not only provide these benefits but also helps in boosting immunity, helps with weight loss, promotes glowing skin, and maintains overall general health for all age groups. Across the United States, the cabbage plant is known as the champion of leafy vegetables owing to its health benefitting qualities.

Here are a few reasons why growing cabbage in containers at home is a great idea –

Budget-friendly Organic Produce

Growing cabbage in pots at home has never been easier. You can cut short your grocery bills by growing your own produce at home. In this way, you are sure to consume pesticide and chemical-free greens and have a continuous supply throughout the year without ever running out or burning a hole in your pocket.

Hardy vegetable that lasts long

The cabbage plant, if grown correctly without chemicals can last up to 2 months in a refrigerator! That’s more than any other leafy vegetable in the market. Do not remove the top coating of leaves and remember to ensure your cabbage is completely dry before you stick it in storage.

Assists with weight loss and healthy skin

Cabbage contains a lot of fibre and less fat and hence can help with significant weight reduction. It is very low on calories and consuming even as much as an entire cabbage head in one sitting can provide heavy nutrients to the body with no calories.

The anti-oxidants present in the cabbage plant are beneficial for human skin. Cabbages are rich in sulfur and beta-carotene which can be useful in treating skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Detoxifies the body and promotes overall good health

Cabbage is known to remove toxins such as uric acid from our body. The juice of the cabbage plant can help with liver functions and bowel movements. The red variety of cabbage has a high content of betalains which proved remarkable in lowering blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes. Including green cabbage in your daily diet may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and the onset of arthritis.

Versatile plant with multiple culinary uses

Growing cabbage in pots at home can mean inclusion of this delicious and inexpensive vegetable to your daily meals. Cabbage can be eaten raw in salads, or stir-fried with accompanying vegetables. It can be stuffed, rolled, boiled, roasted, fried or grilled.

The most popular way to consume cabbage in the United States is to ferment it into sauerkraut or consume it as coleslaw. Cabbages grow in so many varieties of colors and textures while some are sweet tasting and tender, some can taste bitter and hard. Rest assured, all types of cabbages are healthy and beneficial.

Two methods of growing cabbage in a container:  Sowing Seeds or Transplanting?

There are two ways to go about growing cabbage in a container. You can either start the germination of the seeds in a tray or a cup and later opt to transplant the seedlings into a larger pot or simply sow the seeds directly into their final containers.

You can start the seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost in spring to obtain an autumn harvest. If you are looking for a winter crop, you can start the seeds 10 to 12 weeks before the first frost of autumn.

Growing cabbage in a pot using seeds

Choosing this process means you are deciding the final destination for your cabbage before they have even been planted hence, you must ensure adequate space for its growth by choosing a large container. For an ideal germination process, the cabbage seeds must be sowed in their container by filling it with loose and a good quality potting mix (soil-less) that is enriched with compost. This will expedite the germination process of the seeds.

After you have added the seeds, you can cover them with a thin layer of the potting soil. This should be followed by regular watering. The containers can be covered with a mulching sheet in order to retain moisture. Place the container in a location that receives at least 4 hours of sunlight daily.

Although the germination process depends upon the temperature, moisture levels, and the climatic conditions, on a general note the seeds should germinate within 1 to 2 weeks.  

Growing cabbage in a pot by transplants

If you have opted to grow cabbage in a container by using the transplant method, you must ensure your seedlings are ready for this transition. This can take up to 6 weeks after sowing to ensure that the plant has grown at least 3 to 4 adult leaves before they are shifted.

Being aware of when and how to transplant the delicate seedlings is essential for the successful production of abundant cabbage heads. Transplanting should be done either early in the morning or between 4 and 6 pm in the evening.

Choose a large container and dig holes about 20 inches apart. Remember, the cabbage can grow very large in size and needs enough space to spread its wings. You can add a handful of organic manure or a store-bought fertilizer. Adding a layer of mulch can also help retain water and its nutrients.

Plant each seedling in its hole and tightly firm its base. To protect from pests and insects, place your container in a cool and dry area and continue to check your plant regularly. Putting in an extra effort at the time of transplant can give you tremendous results.

When growing cabbage in containers: What varieties can you choose from?

Choosing the right type of cabbage that is best suited to your specific needs is the first step to take when growing cabbage in pots. Enumerated below are a few easy to grow varieties of cabbage that are useful to grow at home –

Savoy Cabbage

Popularly known as The Curly Cabbage, this lacy variety has mildly flavored, tender, and curly leaves. The leaves are packed quite loosely and hence give this cabbage a shorter life span in comparison to its other relatives. The Savoy is popularly used as a substitute for rice papers and tortilla wraps as the leaves are soft and flexible. The same can be used in the preparation of coleslaw.

Common varieties that grow comfortably in containers are the Savoy Ace and Savoy King.

Green Cabbage

It is also known as The Cannonball Cabbage owing to its solid and compact nature. The green cabbage is the most common of its variety and resembles the iceberg lettuce with its tightly packed leaves and dark color. This type of cabbage is perfect for fermentation for sauerkraut and when cooked can produce a rather sweet taste. Varieties include The Blue Boy, Green Boy, Ribbon Golden, and Stove head which can be consumed stir-fried or in soups.

Red Cabbage

growing cabbage in water
red cabbage

This beautiful and colorful type of cabbage has a distinctive appearance with purplish-red leaves. It takes longer to mature than any of its green counterparts. It can lose its color while cooking and adding a form of acid like lemon juice or vinegar might help retain its look. The red cabbage can change color depending on the pH level of the soil that it has grown in.

This variety is smaller than the average cabbage and is best consumed raw or pickled. It is very high in Vitamin A content. The common types of this cabbage are Red Ball, Red Ribbon, Red Acre, and Ruby Perfection.

Napa Cabbage

This type is commonly referred to as The Chinese Cabbage. Its appearance differs from the other cabbage varieties with its long yellowish leaves that sprout out of a thick and crisp stem. It is softer and sweeter than the green cabbage is enjoyed mainly in salads. The best way to prepare the Napa Cabbage is to make Kimchi, a specialized Korean side dish.

White pointed Cabbage

This variety of cabbage has a pointed head and light green leaves. With a mild flavor, it is easy to digest in comparison to other varieties. Being a juicer variation, it is used in multiple forms of cooking and contains more vitamin C than any other type of cabbage and therefore is beneficial in boosting the body’s immune system, regulating blood sugar, and blood pressure.

The cabbage plant has become a common staple in cuisines across the world. Its omnipresence on American dinner tables is probably why the cabbage is one of the most popularly grown vegetables at home, in containers.

You may like following gardening blogs:

So, this gardening blog will be helpful to grow and care cabbage in containers or pots. Also, hope it helps grow cabbage in water and the varieties of cabbage you can grow in containers. Happy Gardening!