Why are my Brussels Sprouts so Loose?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

The tiny heads are flaring out like cabbage leaves, and are not hard and tight.

Could it be our unseasonable heat?

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Savannah, GA

I wonder if that's whats called a "blown sprout". I have been trying to grow them as well but I got them when they were sold in stores, which is not when they really grow here. I saw some in a hardware store a few weeks ago and made an impulse purchase. Hopefully it's the right time of year for them here.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

Usually the problem is caused by weather conditions, planting at the wrong time or transplants that were stressed before your bought them.

Look for a short season variety planted in early fall that will mature while temps are still cool (about 65 degrees) and before weather starts to warm up in the spring. Even in my central TX location which is slightly cooler than your location it's hit and miss for me. The best I ever grew was during a long stretch of cool weather including a snow event!

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

I haven't grown BS for many years because the timing for success is so critical. Getting perfect sprouts id determined by many factors- and they don't like being transplanted.Only once did I ever get really nice sprouts, and the plants take up too much space for me to justify even trying again. They are one of those veggies I settle buying from the market.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Gymgirl your Brussel Sprouts want to bolt.
BS they like very cold weather. Mine are still round ... but I am worry since it is been unusually nice weather ... but I a not complaining.
Or it could be possible that you over fertilize them with nitrogen so they want to make leaves ... or you maybe you planted/transplanted them in "LEAF" days (by the moon) and they are making leaves.

Pul them out or enjoy them flowering. The bees like them.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

The only thing I remember about brussel sprouts is having to brush-off the snow before picking them! That was about 60 years ago! My mother always threw the seeds into the rock pile and walked away.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Did you cut off the lower stems? That way they put their energy into making "sprouts".

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from Gymgirl :
The tiny heads are flaring out like cabbage leaves, and are not hard and tight.

Could it be our unseasonable heat?

90% sure it is your unseasonable heat. That's what's happened every time I let mine grow too long into the spring, and I've seen and heard the same from other gardeners.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, all. I researched and margocstn, gave the correct response, although it probably is a combination of all your suggestions.

But, mainly I'm experiencing "blown" sprouts which are a direct result of planting in soil that is too LOOSE. From what I read (and, I read a lot!), Brussels Sprouts need to be planted in dirt/soil that is practically hard as a rock! Their roots are shallow, and the least little bit of wind will tip them over, or disturb the anchorage in loose soil. And, I'm planting in Tapla's 5-1-1 container mix that's loose enough for me to plunge in up to my elbows.

So, I'll eat the existing leaves and call it a day. I considered a radical experiment of replanting in a 15-gallon tub of old hard dirt, but, not sure the plant would tolerate the disturbance. And, I've gotta move on to the next thing, since I sowed 6 community flats of tomatoes last night!

Thanks for all the input, guys!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! ^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^^^_^^ (Linda and the DG gang)

New Port Richey, FL

linda, if they're already at the production stage and we're just now coming into cool weather i'd try to stake them or set a brick on each side of the stalk, cut the blooms and see if the new sets do better.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I may try to lift an entire plant since it's growing in a 6.5 gallon bucket. I could put it into one of the 15 gallon tubs and back fill with some garden dirt -- the stuff that get's hard as cement.

Glad I finally found out what will grow in that stuff!


Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

my soil is also loose and very soft.
I did check my Brussel Sprouts and they are doing great. Only one has start to make little BS, the others are still growing.
Their flavor is improved also by a freeze and they love cold weather.
When you were asking what is different from zone 8 to zone 9: this is one.
You can compare both my picture and your picture and it is self-explanatory

Thumbnail by drthor
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Drthor.

My Brussels Sprouts started out looking like yours...

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

I'd save that plant, LInda/GG.

Depending on the variety most B-Sprouts will produce over an 8 week period, especially that long during cool weather.

Your "blown sprouts" are the result of stress and, yes, possibly caused by loose soil which has allowed the plant to blow around and break/disturb roots. Most folks (that I know, including me!) tend to hill up B-Sprouts as they grow because they get so tall and top-heavy; it's just a given to support them like one would do lodging corn stalks, peppers, or the like. More often than not the newer-forming sprouts won't open like the early ones if you firm the plant up. Even in your bucket you could do that now.

I sure hate to see you give up on that baby. You've done some great work bringing that plant to fruition. I wish you'd hang in there longer.


This message was edited Jan 3, 2012 11:26 PM

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

drthor, beautiful photo of sprouts-

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ubie, et al, to the rescue.

I DO love a challenge.....

Ok. Game on!

I'll post the outcome.

Thanks again, everyone, for your advice, encouragement, and support!


Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"Ok, game on"!

Hah! Grinnin' here! I hoped that got you going! *grin

If you could, just throw a little extra soil mix around the plant in your bucket, use some fish emulsion to help it with stress (kelp if you're in colder weather), and see what happens. And I wonder if you can gently put a slim stake in the bucket to tie the plant to if need be.

drthor, I agree with Jo, nice pic of your B-sprouts! Looks nice and green, healthy! I can seem them in a pan, gently steamed then rolled in butter! Yummy!


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