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Why Do Brussel Sprouts Turn Purple

Brussel sprouts can be one of the trickier vegetables to grow, but if done correctly can also be one of the most bountiful. If you are planting Brussel sprouts for the first time, there are things you should be on the lookout for to ensure that you will end up with a solid batch when it comes time to harvest. One of the biggest questions many first-time Brussel sprouts growers ask is, “Why do Brussel sprouts turn purple?”

Brussel sprouts turn purple due to potassium deficiency. If the ground is lackluster or too sandy, or oily, it can lead to potassium deficiencies. Another possibility is if the plant has incurred some cooler temperatures.

Now that you know that a lack of potassium is turning your beloved Brussel sprout plant purple, you may be wondering what you can do to help it get back to its natural, luscious green color. First off, you will want to evaluate the soil quality that your plant is growing in. Several vegetable plants, including Brussel sprouts, struggle to absorb potassium when the temperatures drop.

It is worth noting that some strains of Brussel sprouts may turn a purplish hue just because of their strain. Purple does not always mean something horrible has happened to your Brussel sprout plant. However, it is relatively easy to tell whether or not your plant is naturally more purple or if it is hurting. Studying the soil and the weather conditions your plant is experiencing will give strong indicators of whether or not you need to save your plant or let it be.

What is the difference between purple and green Brussel sprouts?

The difference between purple and green Brussel sprouts goes beyond their different shades. First, the flavor is slightly different depending on which kind you eat. Green tends to be the more standard Brussel sprouts that we hear about regularly. They tend to hold a stronger flavor and smell. Purple, on the other hand, features a milder smell and taste. 

If you find that your Brussel sprout plant is producing more purple sprouts and the soil and weather have been okay, you may just be getting the opportunity to try a more subtle version of your veggie. Since it is less intense than standard sprouts, if your family loves green sprouts, they will love the purple ones.

Are my Brussel sprouts bad if they turn purple?

If you are growing Brussel sprouts, and they start to turn purple, you might be wondering if your plant is safe to eat when it comes time to harvest. They are safe to eat. Now, if your sprouts look brown or yellow, that is when you should be concerned. 

Sprouts that appear to be a bit yellowed or browned and also have leaves coming away from the center are clear indicators that your sprout has spoiled and that you should not eat it. Feeling the texture is another easy way to tell if your Brussel sprout has gone bad.

If your sprout is squishy, that is a red flag. You want sprouts that are firm and appear green or purple. Another rule of thumb is to opt for smaller sprouts. When they have grown larger, they have also had the time to grow other things, like mold.

Are Brussel sprouts supposed to be purple inside?

Brussel sprouts can be purple inside. Brussel sprouts that have some purple in them are not a worrisome trait. Even if your green Brussel sprouts have a bit of purple in them, it is completely fine to eat.

In fact, some say that Brussel sprouts that have purple in them that have been appropriately grown are among some of the healthiest foods we can eat. They offer numerous benefits since they are full of antioxidants and other essential nutrients.

How to prevent your Brussel sprouts from turning purple

To help avoid any possible potassium deficiencies, you will want to ensure that your soil is not too sour and that you add a good amount of compost to keep the amount of organic matter in the ground up. If you find that your soil is too sour, you can simply add lime to it to help balance it out. Taking a bit of time to analyze your plant’s surroundings can help ensure that you will have a prosperous garden.

Final Thoughts

If you have experience growing vegetables, you know that everything does not always go according to plan. Some plants never grow or will grow incorrectly, leaving behind a less than desirable vegetable. Gardening is a live-and-learn type of process; with each new vegetable comes a new set of requirements for desirable growth. 

If you are planting Brussel sprouts and start to see them turning purple, you might be wondering what is happening with them. If they are genuinely the standard green Brussel sprouts and they are turning purple, the plant’s growing environment may be to blame. Is the soil it is planted in too oily or sandy? Is the plant getting too little or too much sunlight? 

All these issues can lead to potassium deficiency which can turn your plant purple. However, if you inspect the growing area and find that all of these factors are where they should be, and your plant is still turning purple, you may have simply picked up a purple Brussel sprout plant. These are like standard Brussel sprouts, only they taste and smell a bit lighter.

Overall, if you are scouting out the perfect place to plant a Brussel sprout plant, you will want to find a spot with decent sunlight and soil filled with organic matter, like compost. When you take the time to scope out the perfect place, you will likely be rewarded with the ideal Brussel sprouts.