Growing Chinese Broccoli: Delicious Gai Lan


The begin of spring is all the time a joyous time! With a couple of months of cool temperatures on the horizon, you’ll wish to contemplate what you’ll be able to harvest that grows properly with out summer time’s traditional warmth. Chinese broccoli is a good addition to your backyard and desk! A scrumptious and versatile brassica, rising Chinese broccoli is a quick and straightforward choice. With a develop time of simply 4-7 weeks, you’ll be harvesting very quickly!

A broccoli that Chinese delicacies has utilized for hundreds of years, this conventional vegetable is now simple to seek out and develop within the US from seeds bought on-line or begins in nurseries. Packed stuffed with antioxidants & vitamin C, this little plant packs a punch. 

Somewhat like bok choy, a bit of like broccoli, it straddles the fence between bitter inexperienced and candy. In a Chinese dish it’s usually mistaken for bok choy, however the texture is rather less juicy-crisp and a bit of extra like conventional broccoli. It could be minimize up and added to stir-fries, or cooked complete in oyster sauce. One of the earliest crops in human cultivation, folks have been fermenting this vegetable for millennia to protect it earlier than the time of refrigeration.  

Good Products For Growing Chinese Broccoli:

Quick Care Guide

Growing Chinese broccoli
goal=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Source: mich.robinson
Common Name(s) Gai lan, Kai lan, Chinese kale, Chinese broccoli
Scientific Name Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra
Days to Harvest 40-70
Light Full solar 
Water: 1 inch per week
Soil Well draining, wealthy; sandy to silty loam
Fertilizer Compost; 10-10-10 fertilizer
Pests Cabbage loopers, snails & slugs
Diseases Downy mildew, damping off

All About Chinese Broccoli

Chinese broccoli in bloom
A rather-wild patch of Chinese kale in bloom. Source: Taekwonweirdo

Chinese broccoli, or Brassica oleracea var. Alboglabra goes by many names. It has been referred to as Chinese kale, gai lan and kai lan. For all its names, this historic Chinese vegetable with a phenomenal white or yellow flower is assured to please your style buds. It’s packed stuffed with vitamins and fiber, and like different members of the cabbage household, is an early-season harvest with excellent taste. 

Chinese broccoli is a brief leafy vegetable with thick stems and inexperienced leaves rising round a thick important stalk. The flat broad leaves can develop 1-3 inches throughout and 3-5 inches lengthy. 

 It produces a flower early in its life, however this doesn’t take away from the flavour in any respect! When the flowers seem, it’s really an indication it’s time to start out harvesting. 

These crops have a comparatively quick life. They germinate rapidly, and inside about 4-7 weeks develop to a few foot in top with totally developed leaves and flowers. Almost your complete above-ground portion of the crops are eaten, from stems to leaves and flowers! 

Planting Chinese Broccoli

A cool-season vegetable, Chinese kale could be grown year-round relying in your common each day temperatures, it prefers temperatures between 50-75 levels. It’s an exquisite fall and winter harvest for growers in zones 9 & 10, and an amazing early spring crop for anybody gardening with a worry of a late frost. In a far northern local weather, or in cool and shaded gardens, this crop may even do properly in the summertime. 

Check your upcoming local weather circumstances; in case you have 5-7 weeks of cool temperatures forecast go forward and sow your seeds! You can sow both in trays and transplant out as soon as the crops attain about 3 inches in top, or you’ll be able to direct sow into your amended backyard soil. Sow seeds 1/4 in deep and area them 4-6 inches aside in rows 18-24 inches aside. Once crops emerge, skinny any seedlings which might be nearer than 4 inches aside, or rising a number of seedlings in a single spot. 

After you sow, you should definitely maintain the soil or trays evenly moist till germination, and proceed misting your crops till they attain three inches in top. 

Chinese broccoli grows properly in containers and raised beds! Since gardeners are higher capable of management the sorts of soil current in these rising areas, your crops have a greater likelihood of thriving. If you’re rising in containers, attempt planting 1 plant per 6” vast pot, or 3 per 1’ vast pot. The deeper the pot the more healthy the basis system will likely be. 


Gai lan
Gai lan, Chinese kale, and Chinese broccoli are only a few of this plant’s names. Source: Pockafwye

Chinese broccoli, generally often called Chinese kale, doesn’t want an entire lot of upkeep to get a pleasant full harvest. You can pop some seeds within the floor and wait till the crops start to flower to reap. 

Sun and Temperature

A cool-season plant, this plant does greatest in cooler temperatures – suppose 50-75 levels. This implies that relying in your zone, you’ll be able to develop this vegetable in fall, winter, spring, and summer time! It all relies on the typical each day temperatures of the zone you’re in. 

During the cool season, you’ll need your crops within the solar for 6-8 hours a day, ensuring that it doesn’t get so sizzling it begins to bolt. Before temperatures attain a gentle 50 or so levels a day, you should utilize a row cowl to assist insulate the crops from the chilly and encourage sooner development. Don’t fear although, they will tolerate a frost or two. 

Water and Humidity

While spring and summer time could convey rainstorms, it’s greatest to water your backyard each week particularly if there isn’t rain within the forecast. In order to forestall illness, water mid to late morning on a drip line. Your Chinese broccoli wants one inch of water every week, extra if it’s speculated to get sizzling out. Be certain to guard your crops as properly, by mulching across the base of the stalk. This mulch helps to retain water and may stop bolting from sizzling climate. 


This early producing spring crop loves wealthy soil, good drainage, and a pH of 6.0-6.8. A loamy-sand to silty soil is greatest for this fast-producing Asian vegetable. Work wealthy compost or manure into the highest 6 inches of soil earlier than beginning seeds or transplanting. Well-drained natural humus is what works greatest for these tender greens. Gai lan can survive in poor high quality soil if compost is labored into it. A heavy feeder, natural compost, or thick mulch could make up for poor filth.  


A quick grower, Chinese broccoli, also referred to as Chinese kale wants a great deal of vitamins to develop. Before sowing seeds or transplanting seedlings into your backyard, ensure that your soil has had wealthy compost labored into the highest six inches. Additionally, on the time of planting, apply an excellent 10-10-10 fertilizer round your vegetable patch. 

After the seeds germinate and are 4 weeks previous, apply a fertilizer excessive in nitrogen across the base of the stalks. Nitrogen aids in leaf improvement, which is vital! 


Chinese broccoli is such a quick-growing plant, that the one approach to propagate it’s by seed. This is fairly simple to do because the seeds have a really excessive germination fee. You also can develop your individual seed by letting the plant full its life cycle. After it flowers, the flower stalks produce seeds and prepare for the subsequent yr! 

Harvesting and Storing

Cooked Chinese broccoli
When cooked, Chinese broccoli is an actual deal with to eat. Source: Jun Seita

Chinese broccoli is a good cut-and-come-again crop. It can be utilized in stir-fries over the course of some days, or fermented to make conventional Chinese vegetable facet dishes! 


Gai lan is greatest harvested when the few first flowers start to poke out from the middle of the stalk. Cut the leaves and the stems about 8 inches from the highest of the plant leaving a couple of leaves nonetheless connected to the stalk. This helps to encourage development! You may have one other harvest in 1-3 weeks!  


Immediately after harvesting your Chinese broccoli, use or refrigerate your leaves. These skinny crops are inclined to wilt considerably rapidly because the moisture leaves their leaves. In order to increase their shelf life, put your harvest within the fridge in excessive humidity in an unsealed plastic or paper bag. 

Alternatively, for long-term storage, Chinese broccoli could be pickled or fermented to make a standard vegetable facet dish in Chinese delicacies often called fermented mustard greens. 


Gai lan bundles
This beautiful vegetable could be discovered bundled at Asian markets. Source: World to Table

Growing Chinese broccoli is pretty simple. With a brief rising season, it may possibly usually be comparatively pest and disease-free. 

Growing Problems

Chinese broccoli wants a cool season with a purpose to thrive. It’s simple to plant whereas it’s cool out, however make certain that harvest time (5-7 weeks down the highway) can also be within the cool season. If not, you’ll discover your crops bolting. This is a traditional a part of the Chinese broccoli life cycle, nevertheless, you wish to keep away from rushing up the life cycle as this implies you’ll be able to’t get pleasure from your harvest! To keep away from this, sow your seeds after checking to ensure there are 5-7 weeks of cool climate forward. 


Slugs and snails love the nutritious leaves of those crops and can usually eat the tender components of the plant whereas avoiding stalks. They’re extra more likely to begin close to the bottom of a stem and eat outwards. To kill, attempt placing down bait or setting out beer traps to catch these pesky guys!

Alternatively, cabbage loopers like to snack on the scrumptious leaves of this plant. Small little lime-colored caterpillars, these pests mix in with the colour of the leaves and may kill younger crops or maim older ones earlier than they develop into moths. Try spraying Bacillus thuringiensis in case you have a big inhabitants. For smaller infestations, you’ll be able to simply decide the caterpillar off the leaf. 


Damping off is a severe illness that may assault your Chinese broccoli whereas it’s nonetheless only a few inches tall. This soil-borne fungal illness will trigger your stem to rot and shrink and can assault a plant’s root system as properly. Damping off is definitely a collection of fungi and may kill complete trays of seedlings. Once your crops develop into contaminated, there isn’t any approach to remedy it. However, it may be prevented with good soil drainage, air circulation, and utilizing the organic fungicide Mycostop. 

Downy mildew also can assault your Chinese broccoli. This fungus assaults by wounds within the leaves and thrives in cool moist circumstances. It seems as white or brownish spots on the higher parts of the leaf earlier than turning a darkish brown and killing the leaf and plant. While it’s difficult to get rid of, take away any broken foliage out of your plant. Spray the rest with both a liquid copper fungicide or a product that makes use of mono and di-potassium salts of phosphoric acid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese broccoli flowers
The white flowers of gai lan are literally fairly fairly. Source: Pockafwye

Q: How lengthy does it take to develop Chinese broccoli?

A: Depending on the number of Chinese broccoli being grown, from seed to reap takes 5-8 weeks. 

Q: Where is Chinese broccoli grown?

A: Chinese broccoli is grown all around the world. It grows wherever there are cool intervals 5-7 weeks lengthy with full solar within the temperature vary of 50-75 levels.

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