The Brussels sprout is one of several cultivars of wild cabbage native to western Europe and its southern coast. Brussels sprouts come in two main types: tall (2 to 4 feet) and short (up to 2 feet). Plants are either heirloom or hybrid. It’s a biennial plant, but we tend to treat it like an annual, starting over each year with new seed or seedlings. With new varieties replacing the traditional/heirloom Brussels sprouts that have been cultivated for centuries, the general categorization has shifted from their height or origin to their harvest season: early-midseason and midseason-late.
Early-Midseason Brussels sprouts are ready for harvest sometime in September or October. Their days to maturity are in the 100-day range, although some may mature in a slightly shorter time frame. Cultivars in this category include Gladius, Icarus, Dagan, and Early Half Tall.
Midseason-Late Brussels sprouts are more cold-loving plants and are ready for harvest from October well into December. They can take 110 days or more until harvest time. Some varieties don’t mind a little snow; it actually insulates them from a hard frost. Cultivars in this category include Seven Hills, Diablo, and Divino.
Depending on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in and the length of your growing season, you’ll want to plant your Brussels sprouts six to 10 weeks before the first expected frost. Always check your seed or seedling information for exact timing for the variety you’re growing.
What type of Brussels sprouts have you tried growing? Do you prefer to have your sprouts ripen earlier or later? What’s your favorite Brussels sprout to grow? Please share your opinion.