How to Grow Bok Choy

Bok Choy, a Chinese cabbage, matures quickly – within a month of sowing, you can usually start harvesting leaves – but it also handles heat better than other leafy green crops. Also spelled Pak Choi.

Botanical Information

Taxonomy

  • Brassica rapa chinensis
  • A smaller Chinese cabbage with looser, dark green leaves
  • Close relative to tatsoi, member of the Asian brassica family

History

Physical Description

wide mid-rib, form a loose head

Varieties & Cultivars

Categories or Types of Bok Choy

  • Cultivars are available in different sizes
  • some are more resistant to bolting

Colors Available

  • white stemmed
  • green stemmed
  • purple-stemmed

Varieties to Grow

Growth Requirements

Climate & Temperature Requirements

Air Temperature

  • cool-weather green, but can also handle heat better than many other salad and cooking greens
  • will stand a light frost

Soil Temperature

  • cool soil temperatures okay
  • minimum soil temperature for germination: 50°F

Humidity

Day Length or Light Requirements

Site Conditions Favored

  • warm, sheltered site
  • light shade tolerated
  • good for interplanting, since it grows quickly and doesn’t mind a little shade

Soil Requirements

Soil Texture

  • moist, fertile soil
  • moisture-retentive

pH

  • 6.5 – 7.0

Nutrient Requirements

  • likes very fertile soil
  • humus rich

Propagation

Methods of propagation

Seed

  • start indoors or direct sow a couple of weeks before the last-frost date
  • succession sow every week for a month
  • seeds sown in cool temps may bolt when the weather warms up; just keep sowing so some will grow to a mature head
  • grow spring sowings as seedling crops, as early sowings run to seed quickly (bolt)
  • start again in late summer for fall crop

Division

Cuttings

Transplanting or Potting Up

Seed Saving

Planting Out

Bed Prep & Soil Amendments

  • dig in some well-rotted compost or manure, perhaps also some fertilizer

Bed Spacing

  • 10″ BG
  • Seedling crop:
    • broadcast sow thinly REOG
  • Leaf crop:
    • 4″ GV
    • 5-6″ REOG
  • Medium-sized heads
    • 7-9″ REOG
  • Large heads:
    • 12″ GV
    • 18″ REOG

Row Spacing

Planting Depth

  • 1/4″ BG
  • 3/4″ GV

Alternative Bed Methods

  • Biointensive: 6″ spacing in all directions

Container Gardening

Routine Cultivation & Maintenance

Water Requirements

  • water plants frequently, since they have shallow roots GV

Fertilization Recommendations

Mulching & Weeding

  • bok choy has shallow roots, so mulching will help keep it from drying out GV
  • weed plants frequently GV

Pinching or Pruning & Dividing

Support

Winterizing

Companion Planting

Helpful Companions

Harmful Companions

Companion to..

Pests, Diseases & Problems

  • Bolting is the most common problem with Bok choy
  • Rotate where brassicas are planted to minimize bug and disease damage
  • susceptible to all of the common pests and diseases that affect all brassicas

Common Pests

  • susceptible to all of the common pests that affect all brassicas GV
  • cabbage root fly
  • flea beetle
  • slugs

Common Diseases

  • susceptible to all of the common diseases that affect all brassicas GV
  • clubroot

Symptoms

Whole Plant

Leaves

Stem/Trunk

Flowers

Fruit

Roots

Harvesting & Storage

Edible Parts of the Plant

  • whole plant, minus the roots and root base
  • flowering shoots can also be eaten

Yield

1 head of bok choy comes from 1 seed

Days to Harvest / Harvest Timing

  • Harvest as soon as the head feels solid, before leaves turn yellow
  • in general, bok choy is ready about 6 weeks after sowing
  • succession sow so that you are harvesting through July; fall-planted bok choy will be harvested through December
  • seed to harvest: 
    • seedling crops: 2-3 weeks
    • mature plants: 5-8 weeks

Harvest Methods

  • pull entire plant
  • cut young leaves as needed
  • cut-and-come-again (young plant): cut about 1″ from the base and leave the base to grow another smaller head

Storage of harvest

Fresh

Canned

Frozen

Pickled

Dried

Cooking

Nutritional Benefits & Values

Toxicity

Cooking

Preparation

Cooking Methods

  • equally tasty raw, in salads, or cooked quickly in stir-fries or braised lightly

Recipes (link to …/category/recipes/tag/BokChoy)

Resources

Information for this article was taken from these sources. (link to …/category/resources/tag/Bok Choy)

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