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Why Is My Cabbage Leggy – 5 Causes To Know!

If you are unfamiliar with the term leggy cabbage, it is a condition where young cabbage seeds grow to be too tall shortly after sprouting, making them weak and fragile. The name comes from the idea that the little cabbage sprouts look like long legs, which is not how you would want your cabbage to grow!

Healthy cabbage plants do not sprout tall and thin, as they grow more horizontally than vertically. A cabbage plant that is too tall is likely to topple over and break before maturation. It is also unlikely to produce fruit, which can be a disappointment if you invest a lot of time and effort into planting a cabbage crop.

Your cabbage may end up being leggy if you plant them in a place where the plants will not be able to receive the correct amount of light and moisture. There are also a whole host of other very subtle elements that can significantly alter the growing conditions of a cabbage.

Cabbage plants are susceptible to environmental changes, especially during the first few weeks of their life. They must be planted in the right environment if you are hoping your cabbage plant will produce fruit. 

Overall having leggy cabbage sprouts is not a good scenario for your plant, and it is likely that your cabbage plant will not grow to produce full-grown cabbages when this happens and may die before it grows much further.

However, if your cabbage does grow leggy, do not immediately think that all hope is lost for your cabbage sprouts. You can take action to save your cabbage, even if they are leggy at the beginning of its life. 

Five Reasons Your Cabbage is Leggy: 

  1. The spot you planted your cabbage did not receive enough natural light. 
  2. You planted your cabbage in a space that was too warm. 
  3. The soil you planted your cabbage had club rot or was missing essential nutrients. 
  4. Your cabbage was grown indoors in the wrong environment.
  5. It was too muggy and humid for your cabbage plant. 

As seen from the list above, cabbage seeds are quite sensitive to light and heat. Those are the most predominant factors leading to a cabbage plant growing incorrectly.

Cabbage plants will not thrive in climates that are too warm and muggy and will not thrive if they do not receive enough light during the day. Typically it is much more common to experience leggy cabbage if you are trying to grow your plants indoors, as they often miss the natural elements they can get outside. 

If you have already confirmed that the water and temperature are not the problems for your cabbage plant, the next step is to evaluate the soil. Club rot can set in if cabbage is planted in alkaline soil (Gardening Know How).

Another factor that can impact how a cabbage grows is the environment where you plant the seeds. Poor cultivation in the early days of the growing period can have more of an impact on the overall life of your cabbage plant than you may think. 

If leggy cabbage is something you continually struggle with, try implementing some best practices to ensure your cabbage grows correctly during your next harvest. For one, if you are going to plant your cabbage in a planter or pot, make sure to use pots with holes to allow for adequate drainage.

You can try replanting the cabbage to fix the leggy stem problem. It helps to cover at least half of the leggy part in the soil when you replant it, but be careful not to tear or break the cabbage seedlings as you transport them.

Getting them replanted in deeper soil gives them a second opportunity to grow correctly. It doesn’t always guarantee that it will salvage leggy cabbage, but it is the best option to try. 

It can also be helpful to use a different type of soil, starting soil, when you first plant your seeds to optimize their growth. Make sure you do not plant the seeds in your soil too close together, as this can mess up the plants after they start growing.

Thoroughly water your cabbage plant after putting the seeds in the soil to get the hydration they need to grow. 

Once your leggy cabbage sprouts are replanted, ensure they receive at least six hours of direct light every day. The seedlings may require even more light at the beginning after replantation to help them regulate and stop growing so tall. 

Something to know is the plants can get leggy very quickly, and the initial days while the seeds are germinating are the most crucial.

One day of insufficient light or living in a too-hot setting can quickly alter your plant’s growth form. If your cabbage seeds are planted outside, it is hard to entirely control their environment, but take note of the variables you can control for your plants. 

If you grow your cabbage inside, you will be able to control more of the essential growth factors for your cabbage, but there is also more potential for error. When growing cabbage inside, it is a good idea to invest in growing lights that are activated by a timer so that there is no element of human error. This guarantees that your cabbage plants get the exact amount of light they need.