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Chinese cabbage (photo courtesy of Francesca Yorke/Photolibrary)
Chinese cabbage (photo courtesy of Francesca Yorke/Photolibrary)

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-24, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Chinese Cabbage


Annuals, Vegetables

Biennial grown as an annual. With a looser head and more delicate flavor than ordinary cabbage (a close relative), Chinese cabbage falls into three categories: Michihli types (petsai), with tall, narrow heads; Napa types (wong bok), with short, broad heads; and loosehead varieties.

Favored Michihli varieties are hybrid ‘Greenwich’ and open-pollinated Michihli itself; among Napa varieties, try ‘China Express’ and the miniature ‘Tenderheart’; and to sample loose head, start with ‘Tokyo Bekana’. For Chinese white cabbage (bok choy), see Asian Greens.

This cool-season crop bolts easily in hot weather. In Zones 1–6, 10, 11, plant seeds in midsummer; elsewhere, sow in late summer. Sow seeds thinly in rows spaced 2–2 1/2 ft. apart, and thin plants to 1 1/2–2 ft. apart. Heads should be ready in 70 to 80 days. Subject to same pests as cabbage.

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