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Can You Move Cabbage Plants – Strategies To Do It Properly!

Cabbage plants are a ton of fun to grow, and its a joy to see them turn into big huge leafy delights. Due to their size, there may be times when you may want to move a cabbage plant. Although it’s best to do something like this in the seedling stage, the mature stage also presents some situations where moving them may seem ideal. But can you really move cabbage plants?

You can move cabbage plants; whether they are the seedling stage or mature stage. You can also gradually move cabbage plants form indoor to outdoor settings. Upon moving them, use plenty of water and a water-soluble fertilizer to help your plant avoid transplant shock.

Although you can move cabbage plants, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Especially in the mature phase, its best to disturb the roots as little as possible. Having successfully grown several cabbage plants, I can assure you, if you move them the right way, things will work out just fine!

Read on to learn more about the best times to move your cabbage plants, a few concerns to look out for, and more tips before you give it a try.

The Best Times To Move Cabbage Plants

As far as the growing season is concerned, cabbages should be moved/transplanted in the early fall months, especially for seedlings. Although they are a cold weather plant, there is such a thing as too much cold!

Moving cabbage plants is a simple task while it’s still in its infant stage. Let’s dive into that process first:


Ideally you want to move cabbage plants when they are about eight weeks into their growth cycle. For most gardeners, this means you sowed the seeds indoors in containers. Upon moving them outside, they’ll at least be around 5 inches tall at this point.

Some gardeners suggest moving cabbage twice in this period though. Just keep in mind that the first transplant the cabbage will be quite small, perhaps a mere 3 inches in height. That’s okay, but smaller cabbage plants are more prone to pests; so its best to do a move indoors first.

I would suggest starting your cabbage in a small peat moss cup. Once its grown over 4 weeks, then transplant it to another indoor container. From there you can do the final transplant and then move it outside.

Because cabbage grows so quickly, it’ll likely need two transplants because those big leafy greens will soak up all of the nutrients in the container faster than other types of plants. If you don’t want to do two transplants and take your chances, then the final move should be in a large container thats large enough to handle those roots.

Mature Plants

Now, if you have an established cabbage plant; one thats well into its cycle, things are a bit different. Moving it is much more complicated because disturbing there roots is always a possibility. You can move mature cabbage plants at anytime really, but its more about how you do the move than when.

The way I like to do transplants is something I call “root bath”. Thats just a funny term I’ve come up with over the years, but it basically involves soaking the entire container that contains the plant with water. After doing this for several minutes I’m able to remove large chunks of soil and reveal a twisted system of roots.

By doing this I’m able to gently lift any plant I want out of the soil without having to damage really anything. You could take this as far as you wanted too. I do mostly container gardening, so this may not work as well with in-ground plants.

If you find you have to snap a few roots, try to do it as deep as you can. Remember, root’s don’t like sunlight, so its best to do your transplants in the evenings or early mornings.

Concerns With Moving Cabbage Plants

Although moving cabbage plants is fairly easy to do than some other plants (I’m looking at you tomatoes!), there are some general concerns:

Transplant Shock

When roots fail to establish themselves in their new soil, they experience transplant shock. This is usually something you can see right way. You’ll likely see the cabbage plant drooping almost immediately. As the days go on, the droop will become worse, the cabbage will begin to brown, and eventually the plant will die.

Transplant shock is no fun, but it’s easily avoidable.

The first thing you should do is keep a well established root ball; especially if you are transplanting an established cabbage plant. It’s important to bring over as much of the root system as possible from its previous location. It’s simple math, the more roots; the less shock.

Next you want to water deeply upon transplant. This helps settle the plant. Over the next few days you’ll need to continue this deep watering routine.

After this, be sure to use some fertilizer, sugar, or rooting powder. Not only are those good ideas for preventing transplant shock, they can actually cure the plant if it ends up in that state in the first place. Rooting hormone is particularly useful because it helps propagation become much easier.

Disease and Pests

All soil is not created equal. And yes, sometimes when you transplant (even to fresh soil that you just bought) you might just be taking your plant from a good situation into a bad one.

No fear’s though, disease and fungus are usually easy to spot. Look for signs of:

  • wilting
  • discoloration
  • leaf spotting
  • browning
  • slow production

There are many topical fungicides you can spray on plants like cabbage. Application is simple, just make sure to apply on the inside, the heart area, and under the leaves too. If you suspect the soil has a problem, then you may need to do another transplant. Your cabbage will be able to handle it.

Now in the case of pests here’s what you may encounter:

  • slowed growth
  • holes in the leaves (worms chewing)
  • eggs laid on the interior and under the leaves

The good thing with more established cabbage plants is that they are more resistant to disease and pests. The heart of the cabbage in particular is a bit harder to chew through, so you’re not likely to see new pests forming in there anytime soon.

With seedlings, it’s a bit of a different story. An insecticide thats organic works well for these cases.

Other Tips To Help Your Cabbage With A Successful Transplant

Below are a few final tips to help your cabbage plant with a successful transplant

Plant Deeply Into The Soil

Cabbage tends to have deep roots, and that large root system helps support the large plant it’ll become. Even after you harvest, your cabbage will keep growing, sprouting additional heads all from the same stem.

So, it’s a good idea to transplant deeply into the soil. Just make sure it’s not so deep that the leaves touch the dirt. Those tend to pick up soil borne diseases, and you may seem some yellowing or leaf spotting as a result.

After planting, mulch over with 3 inches to help keep the soil moist and avoid weeds.

Use Fertilizer

Fertilizing your cabbage is important, no matter what stage in the process you’re at.

Ideally, you should use a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 NPK ratio fertilizer. If you don’t want to use anything synthetic, consider using something high in nitrogen. This includes coffee grounds, fish, and even manure.

When transplanting, I prefer to use something that my cabbages can quickly absorb. So, I opt for fish emulsion or a compost tea.

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