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How To Grow Brussel Sprouts In Containers – A Complete Guide

Brussel sprouts are a delicious vegetable commonly grown and harvested in cooler weather. It is pretty uncommon to see the everyday gardener growing Brussel sprouts because the general idea is that they aren’t the easiest vegetable to grow. However, I think that should change. Brussel sprouts can be so fun and are easy to grow once you get the hang of it and learn about the things they are picky about. 

Brussel sprouts can easily be grown in containers or pots; they need the proper amount of space. As long as you know the right season, how to water, and how to fertilize your Brussel sprout plants, they are so easy to grow!

To learn all the details about growing Brussel sprouts in pots, you’ve come to the right place! 

Steps to Growing Brussel Sprouts in Containers 

Growing Brussel sprouts in pots are almost the same as growing them. Typically, if you have a five-gallon pot, you can grow one brussel sprout plant. If you have a ten-gallon pot, you can try growing two. Here are the steps to growing Brussel sprouts in pots.

Starting Seeds

Brussel sprouts are a cooler weather plant. You should start your Brussel seeds around four months before the last frost date. They need to be started indoors or in a greenhouse setting because they need temperatures above at least 45 to germinate. 

Pot Placement 

Placing your pot is an important task. Place the pot somewhere protected from things like animals and wind. Brussel sprouts enjoy the full sun but need at the very least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Once the plant is ready, there should be no more frost; however, if a cold front is coming or weather below 40, take your pot (with the plant) inside for the night. 

Preparing the Soil

Brussel sprouts are really like an even mixture of nutrients in their fertilizer. For the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) levels, you can use a fertilizer that is, for example, 10-10-10 or 15-15-15. These are great fertilizers to mix into your regular potting soil before you plant Brussel sprouts.

It helps if it is a slow-release fertilizer as well, meaning the nutrients will slowly feed your plants throughout the length of their growth. Always make sure your pot and soil are well-draining! 

Transplant Seedlings

Once your seedlings are about 5-8 inches tall, with sturdy stems and multiple leaves, you can transplant the seedling(s) into its final destination pot. This goes for seedlings you purchase as well. Again, if you have a five-gallon pot, one brussel sprout seedling will fit comfortably in that pot.

If you are growing Brussel sprouts in pots, a five-gallon pot should be the smallest pot you plant them. Anything smaller, and the plant may not have enough space to grow and produce. Make sure your soil is damp, and carefully place the transplant in a small hole and pat dirt around it once it’s in place. 

Spacing

If you have a larger pot (10 gallons or more), you can choose to plant more than one brussel sprout plant in the pot. Brussel sprouts need at least 18 inches apart, so make sure your pot has enough space to determine how many plants can fit into one pot. Brussel sprout roots usually grow anywhere from 18-36 inches deep, so you will want to have a pot that is around that deep. 

Caring For Potted Brussel Sprouts

Now all that’s left is to keep the brussel sprout plant nice and happy. Brussel sprouts like to have their soil kept fairly moist but not overwatered. Watering Brussel sprouts to get 1-2 inches a week is recommended. As the stalk begins to develop, you should pick the bottom few inches of leaves from the stalk to encourage the stalk growth upwards.

This is one of the more essential parts of growing Brussel sprouts. Also, as the brussel sprout plant grows, it’s good to tie a stake against the plant to keep it from tipping over. Bamboo stakes are the best choice to use. Continue fertilizing your plant using a 5-10-10 or a 10-5-10 liquid fertilizer once a week to help maintain the nutrients getting to the plant.

Harvesting

Brussel sprouts are slow growers and will generally grow for around three months until they are ready to harvest; this is why you should start the seeds so early. When they are no more than 2 inches in diameter and no less than 1 inch in diameter, this is when the sprouts are ready to be harvested.

They will feel slightly and have a lush green color. Lower sprouts are usually ready before the upper ones, and you can harvest them first while you wait for the rest. Do not yank the sprouts off; carefully twist them until they pop off. Brussel sprouts are a one-and-done type of harvest. 

Pests and Disease Known to Attack Brussel Sprouts 

The nice thing about growing your Brussel sprouts in pots is that they are removed from the rest of the garden, meaning they aren’t as vulnerable to getting pests or disease damage. However, there still is a chance of things sneaking in and causing damage. These are the top five pests and diseases known for attacking Brussel sprouts. 

PestsDiseases
Aphids- Luckily, if properly treated, 
aphids can be eliminated from your garden.
Sometimes if the outbreak is small, you 
can simply try spraying the aphids off with water.
For worse cases, try spraying your plants with 
a vinegar and water mixture, or with neem oil. 
Aphids are very visible and look like clumps of 
white little bugs gathering everywhere on your plant. 
Alternaria Leaf Spot- A common disease for members of 
the brassica family. This disease looks like round gray, black, and yellow spots, around the size of a 
quarter covering the leaves 
of your plants. For the most part, 
it is just a cosmetic issue that will affect 
the leaves first, however, 
if your Brussel sprouts have started forming, the disease will
carry onto them as well. 
It is a fungus and can be treated as such with fungicide, or go left untreated if it is late 
in your brussel sprout plant life. 
Earwigs- Earwigs are a nuisance to a lot of gardens. 
When talking about Brussel sprouts, they really only
do damage to seedlings, which they will eat the entire
seedling. The only way to prevent this is by keeping 
your seedlings indoors until they are hardy enough to
be outside. Otherwise, earwigs are actually really good
for gardens and will eat other bugs like aphids and small 
annoyances. 
Black Rot- Black rot is a bacterial disease that affects brassica family members as well.
Black rot is a pretty bad one to get in terms of 
diseases. It will kill your entire plant 
and, even worse, it’s untreatable. It will first show
itself by leaving the leaves 
looking yellow and dry. You can try using a copper-based
fungicide to help slow the disease down, but 
eventually, the plant will get killed by the disease. 
Armyworms- Small green caterpillar-looking bugs that 
will chew through leaves and even the stems, doing a 
lot of damage if left to go wild. They will go away if you 
spray your plants with insecticide, or you can try making
a vinegar/water mixture with a dash of dish soap
and spraying it on your plants. Alternatively, if there are
only a few worms, you can even just pick them off as 
you see them. 
Clubroot- Clubroot is exactly how it sounds. 
The roots of the plant will club and bind together. 
Of course, unless you dig up the plant,
it is impossible to tell it’s happening.
The plant from the top will start to look yellow 
and pale and stop growing or only grow slightly. 
The plant may also appear to look like
it needs water, although it has been watered. 
It can’t really be treated, but adding
lime to raise the pH levels in the soil may 
manage the disease. 
Flea Beetle- Flea beetles are extremely small and
very hard to see from the naked eye. They usually attack
the leaves on the bottom of the plant and they chew through
the leaves, leaving holes. You can get rid of these the same 
way you would aphids, you can also try insecticide 
if the attack is very intense. 
Powdery Mildew- Powdery mildew looks 
basically, like mildew or mold growing over
the leaves of your plant. 
It occurs when the leaves get wet and don’t 
dry. Powdery mildew
is basically just cosmetic as well, though
it will spread quickly to other plants. Sulfur is
an effective way to treat powdery mildew.
Cabbage Looper- Very similar to the armyworm, with a 
few differences. The cabbage looper is a bit lighter in color
and rather than leaving trails of damage, they chew separate
holes through the leaves. They also make loops as they walk.
You can treat these exactly how you would armyworms. 
Bacterial Leaf Spot- This disease leaves brown and yellow halo-looking spots on the leaves
of brussel sprout plants. This disease
generally only occurs in damp, moist climates. 
This disease is not treatable. 

Final Thoughts

Although Brussel sprouts are not a very common plant to be grown in the everyday garden, they don’t have to be hard to grow and are very fun to watch expand and thrive. Brussel sprouts grow great in pots which is especially helpful if you work with limited space. As long as you have big enough pots to hold the Brussel sprouts, ensuring they have ample space to grow, you’re all set. Happy gardening!