How to Grow Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) – A Beginner’s Guide

grow nappa cabbageStep into the fascinating world of Chinese cabbages (napa cabbages)—a beautiful addition to your home garden, known scientifically as Brassica rapa Pekinensis. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just dipping your toes into the world of horticulture, this guide provides a comprehensive roadmap to successfully growing Chinese cabbages, including crucial do’s and don’ts that are often overlooked by many. Let’s dive in!

Quick Reference Guide for Growing Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages)

Best Time to Plant Early spring or late summer
Soil PH 6.0 to 7.5
Water Needs Keep soil damp, not soggy or dry
Sunlight Requirements Full sun
Germination to Harvest Time 70-80 days from seed
Harvesting Indicator Firm and tight heads
Usage Great in salads, stir-fries, and soups
Pot/Container Growing Yes, one plant per 18″ container
Bee Friendly Yes

Best Time to Plant Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages)

Your local climate is a key determinant of the best planting window. As a general guideline, sow your Chinese cabbage seeds during early spring or late summer. To identify the optimal timing for your region, refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. For those located outside the US, a quick online search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [your city]’ should do the trick.

How to Plant Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) the Right Way

When it comes to growing Chinese cabbages, your soil can make all the difference. Strive for a fertile, well-drained soil with a Soil PH level of 6.0 to 7.5. Sow your seeds at a depth of 12-18″, placing several seeds per spot to maximize germination chances. Once your seedlings stand 2-3″ tall, thin them out to 12-18″ apart.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages)

Striking the right balance of sunlight is key for your cabbages. Too much sunlight could lead to drying, while too little could stunt growth or even cause death. The perfect amount? Full sun exposure.

How Much to Water Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages)

Watering too is a delicate balancing act. Aim to keep the soil damp to the touch—not soggy, nor dry. Observe your cabbage leaves—if they start to change color or appear wilted, it might be time to adjust your watering regimen.

How Long Does it Take Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) to Germinate and Grow?

It’s time for the anticipation to pay off! Your Chinese cabbage seeds should germinate within 7-10 days, and you can expect to harvest within 70-80 days from sowing.

When to Harvest Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages)

The ideal time to harvest your Chinese cabbages is when the heads feel firm and tight. The plants will likely reach 15-18″ in height.

What Can Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) Be Used For?

Food Use: Prepare to savor the sweet, crisp taste of your Chinese cabbages in salads, stir-fries, and soups.

Can Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes indeed! An 18″ container can comfortably house one Chinese cabbage plant, providing you with a portable, weed-controlled gardening solution.

Are Chinese Cabbages (Napa Cabbages) Safe for Bees?

Yes, Chinese cabbages are safe and beneficial for bees, which according to, are responsible for pollinating human food crops that account for approximately 90% of the world’s nutrition. By growing Chinese cabbages, you’re also supporting our precious bee populations and their critical role in our ecosystem.

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