Brussels sprouts belong to the Brassica genus of plants and are related to cabbages and cauliflowers. Plants grow to between 100 and 140cm high and are slower growing than other brassicas. The sprouts are the small, cabbage-like buds produced in the axils of the leaves.
Brussels sprouts are produced locally and imported from eastern Australia. Less than half of the Brussels sprouts sold in Western Australia are grown here.
Most Brussels sprouts are marketed from January to October, with peak supply in September.
Climate, varieties and transplanting
Brussels sprouts require a warm climate to develop a good plant frame but low temperatures to produce high quality sprouts. The plant is the most cold tolerant in the brassica family and frost may improve the quality of the sprouts.
Commercial vegetable varieties change constantly with changing consumer preferences; before planting, check with specialist seedling nurseries.
Plants are five to seven weeks old when ready for planting out of cell-packs, which are normally produced by a specialist nursery.
Plant from late December to February in the Perth Hills and January to March in Perth. In the South West, transplant from October to January. Planting too late will not allow sufficient foliage and stem growth to support a high yielding crop of good-sized sprouts.
Space plants 1.2m between the rows and 0.6 to 0.8m within the rows. Wider spacing helps reduce bacterial and fungal infection as air flow between the plants prevents leaves remaining wet for long periods.