How to Grow Collard Greens – A Beginner’s Guide

collard greens plant growing in garden
Collard greens, which are known botanically as Brassica Oleracea, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing collard greens as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Collard Greens

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the collard green seeds spring 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when collard greens are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Collard Greens the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing collard greens in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your collard greens grow. Generally, your soil should be lighter, well-drained, sandy soils. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 6.5.

approximately 8″ apart in rows. roughly 2′ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about .25-.5″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your collard green seedlings 1 plant every 2′ when seedlings are 2″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Collard Greens

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your collard greens. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your collard greens should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Collard Greens

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your collard greens do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your collard greens begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Collard Greens to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your collard greens grow.

It takes approximately 8-12 days to germinate, and a total of 75 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Collard Greens

The best time to harvest your collard greens is when they are up to 10 inches long, dark green, and still young.

Collard greens can grow up to about 20 to 36 in. tall; 24- to 36-in. spread.

What Can Collard Greens Be Used For?

Food Use: sweet foods: yams, baked beans, and potato salad 

Flavor Profile: Mild flavor improves with light frost.

Can Collard Greens Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will ideally need a 12″+ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your collard greens around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Collard Greens Safe for Bees?

Yes, collard greens are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing collard greens is bee-friendly.

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