Despite being one of the more divisive vegetables, Brussels sprouts have a strong following. Knowing how to grow Brussels sprouts on a balcony takes a bit more work than other crops, but it’s entirely possible.
So, let’s go over everything you need to know about growing Brussels sprouts on a balcony.
Brussels Sprouts Requirements
Brussels sprouts are a cool-season crop, meaning you harvest them from mid-fall onwards. They grow best in USDA Zones 2-9, although cooler climates will benefit from planting (and harvesting) them earlier in the year.
Another thing to note about Brussels sprouts is that, while they can be grown in pots, they need quite a bit of room. The plants get fairly tall and wide at the top when fully grown. As such, they won’t be the best choice for small balconies.
Important Things to Know
Sunlight: Indirect sunlight with wind shelter
Grow in pots: Yes – 12” in diameter or larger (ideally 5-7 gallon pots)
Grow indoors: Yes but difficult because of their love of cool weather
Soil type: Well-draining soil with clay-like consistency
When to plant: Late winter/early spring (February) to late spring (April)
Growing Brussels Sprouts
While Brussels sprouts are hardy plants, they’re picky about weather conditions. You’ll get the best-tasting sprouts if they’re allowed to mature in cold weather. So, while warmer climates can grow them, you won’t get the best results.
Also, you can grow them from seed or buy seedlings. The seeds are easy to germinate indoors, but obviously buying seedlings means you don’t need to do this. You’ll fit 1 plant in about 1sq. ft. of space.
For this, you’ll need:
- 5 gallon pot
- Potting soil
- Watering can
1. If using seeds, germinate them indoors using your preferred method. Seedling trays are fine because they’re pretty hardy seedlings.
2. Once they have their first leaves, thin them out to leave the strongest ones.
3. When they’re about 4 inches tall, transplant them into their bigger pots. If you’re using store-bought seedlings, the rest of the method applies to you.
4. Fill the pot with soil, dig a hole, and put the seedling in.
5. Push a stake into the soil and tie up the sprout plant as it grows.
Maintenance and Care
Brussels sprouts need plenty of watering and feeding. Use a balanced fertilizer every other week. Also, keep the mature plant well supported, as they get very top-heavy.
It takes about 3 months for the sprouts to be ready to harvest. The bottom ones will be ripe first – they should be 1-2 inches in diameter and firm and green. Simply twist and pull. If you want them all to be ready at the same time, cut off the top inch of the plant about a month before harvest. This’ll divert energy away from growing taller.
Growing Brussels sprouts in containers on a balcony is doable, but you need several plants if you plan on eating them at Christmas! If you’re serious about growing sprouts, though, you can squeeze plenty onto your balcony with some careful planning.