How To Grow Chinese Cabbage in Australia

Quick Guide: Growing Chinese Cabbage

  • Optimal Growing Temperatures: Between 10°C and 20°C.
  • Ready to Harvest: 8-10 weeks after planting.
  • Space Between Plants: Plant 30 cm apart.
  • Companion Plants: Cucumber, Onions, Potatoes
  • Non-Companion Plants: Beans, Eggplant (Aubergine), Strawberry
  • Plant Type: Seed.

When to Plant Chinese Cabbage in Australia

Australia Map


Best planting months for Chinese Cabbage in the Tropical regions are April to August. This includes areas like Cairns, Darwin, and Broome.

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For the Subtropical region, Chinese Cabbage can be planted from July to September. Cities in the Subtropical region include Brisbane, Central Coast, and Sydney.

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Chinese Cabbage can be planted in the months of January, February, March, and December in the Temperate regions of Australia. Cities in the Temperate region include Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Perth.

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For the Cool region, Chinese Cabbage can be planted in the months of January, February, March, and December. Cities in the Cool region include alpine regions of Victoria and Tasmania.

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Best planting months for Chinese Cabbage in the Arid region is February to May.

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Getting Started with Chinese Cabbage

If you're interested in growing Chinese cabbage in Australia, you're in for a treat. This versatile and nutritious vegetable is a great addition to any home garden. Let's get started by exploring how to choose the right variety and prepare the soil for Chinese cabbage.

Choosing the Right Variety

When selecting a variety of Chinese cabbage to grow, consider factors such as climate, available space, and personal preferences. Some popular varieties that thrive in Australia include:



Wong Bok

A common variety with large, cylindrical heads and tender leaves.


Known for its long, slender shape and bright green leaves.

Baby Bok Choy

A smaller variety with tender, spoon-shaped leaves.


Characterised by its barrel-shaped heads and crinkled leaves.

It's important to choose a variety that suits your growing conditions and culinary preferences. If you're unsure which variety to go for, consult your local nursery or gardening expert for recommendations. For more information on growing other leafy greens, check out our guides on how to grow mustard greens in Australia and how to grow kale in Australia.

Preparing the Soil for Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. Before planting, it's important to prepare the soil to provide the best growing conditions for your plants. Here's a step-by-step guide to preparing the soil:

  1. Choose the right location: Chinese cabbage prefers a sunny spot with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Ensure the area is sheltered from strong winds.
  2. Clear the area: Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area. Weeds can compete with the Chinese cabbage for nutrients and water.
  3. Amend the soil: Chinese cabbage prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. Test the soil pH and make adjustments if necessary. Incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility and drainage.
  4. Loosen the soil: Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of about 12 inches (30 cm). This will improve root penetration and water absorption.
  5. Add nutrients: Prior to planting, it's beneficial to add a balanced organic fertilizer or a slow-release vegetable fertiliser to provide essential nutrients for plant growth.

By following these steps, you'll create a favorable environment for your Chinese cabbage plants to thrive. For more information on growing other related vegetables, check out our guides on how to grow cauliflower in Australia and how to grow pak choy in Australia.

Now that you've chosen the right variety and prepared the soil, you're ready to move on to the next stage: planting Chinese cabbage. Let's explore the best time to plant and the various methods you can use to start growing this delicious and nutritious vegetable.

Planting Chinese Cabbage

When it comes to planting Chinese cabbage, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. In this section, we will discuss the best time to plant Chinese cabbage and the two main methods of planting: sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings.

Best Time to Plant Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage is a cool-season vegetable that prefers mild temperatures for optimal growth. In Australia, the best time to plant Chinese cabbage is during the autumn and spring seasons. These seasons provide the ideal conditions for the cabbage to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.

For specific planting dates in your region, it's recommended to consult a local gardening guide or check with your nearest agricultural extension service. It's important to note that Chinese cabbage may struggle in extreme heat or cold, so planting during the recommended seasons will give you the best chance of success.

Sowing Seeds or Transplanting Seedlings

When it comes to planting Chinese cabbage, you have two main options: sowing seeds directly into the garden or transplanting seedlings.

Sowing Seeds: If you choose to sow seeds directly into the garden, start by preparing the soil. Ensure that the soil is well-draining and enriched with organic matter. Sow the seeds at a depth of around ¼ to ½ inch, spacing them about 12 to 18 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist during germination. Once the seedlings have grown a few inches tall, thin them out to about 10 to 12 inches apart to allow for proper growth.

Transplanting Seedlings: Alternatively, you can start Chinese cabbage seeds indoors and transplant the seedlings into the garden once they are a few inches tall. Begin by sowing the seeds in seed trays or pots filled with seed-starting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide sufficient light. After the seedlings have developed a few sets of true leaves, usually after 4 to 6 weeks, they are ready to be transplanted outdoors. Choose a cloudy day or transplant in the evening to minimize stress on the seedlings. Dig holes in the garden that are slightly larger than the root ball of the seedlings and gently place them in the holes. Firmly tamp down the soil around the seedlings and water them thoroughly.

Whether you choose to sow seeds or transplant seedlings, it's important to provide your Chinese cabbage with the right conditions for growth. This includes regular watering, proper fertilization, and protection against pests and diseases. For more information on caring for Chinese cabbage, refer to the section on Caring for Chinese Cabbage.

By planting Chinese cabbage at the right time and using the appropriate method, you can enjoy a successful harvest of this delicious and nutritious vegetable. Experiment with different varieties and techniques to find what works best for your garden. Happy planting!

For information on growing other vegetables and herbs in Australia, check out our full articles in our A-Z Growing Guides. 

Caring for Chinese Cabbage

Once you've successfully planted your Chinese cabbage, it's important to provide proper care to ensure healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. Here are the key aspects to consider when caring for your Chinese cabbage: watering and moisture needs, fertilizing, and protecting against pests and diseases.

Watering and Moisture Needs

Chinese cabbage requires consistent moisture to thrive. The soil should be kept evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry periods. Aim to water your Chinese cabbage plants deeply, ensuring that the water reaches the root zone. It's best to water in the early morning or late afternoon to minimise evaporation.

To maintain proper moisture levels and prevent weed growth, consider applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants. This will help retain moisture in the soil and reduce water evaporation. Regularly monitor the soil moisture and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Fertilising Chinese Cabbage

To support the healthy growth of Chinese cabbage, it's important to provide adequate nutrients. Before planting, enrich the soil with well-rotted compost or aged manure to improve its fertility. This will help provide a good foundation of nutrients for the growing plants.

During the growing season, you can further support your Chinese cabbage by applying a balanced organic fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and frequency. Generally, it's recommended to apply the fertiliser every few weeks to ensure a steady supply of nutrients.

Remember to avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth rather than the formation of compact heads. Regularly monitor the plants for signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as yellowing leaves, and adjust your fertiliser application accordingly.

Protecting Against Pests and Diseases

Chinese cabbage can be susceptible to various pests and diseases, so it's important to take preventive measures to protect your plants. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pest infestations or disease symptoms. If you notice any issues, take action promptly to prevent further damage.

To deter common pests such as aphids and cabbage worms, consider using natural pest control methods such as introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or using organic insecticidal soaps. You can also create physical barriers, such as floating row covers, to prevent pests from reaching your plants.

In terms of diseases, common ones that affect Chinese cabbage include clubroot and black rot. To prevent these diseases, practice crop rotation and avoid planting Chinese cabbage in the same location year after year. Ensure good air circulation around the plants by spacing them adequately, as this can help minimize the risk of fungal diseases.

By providing proper care and attention to your Chinese cabbage plants, you can enjoy a successful and rewarding harvest. Remember to monitor the watering needs, provide appropriate fertilization, and take preventive measures against pests and diseases. For more information on growing other vegetables and herbs in Australia, check out our articles and full guides in our A-Z guides.

Harvesting and Storing Chinese Cabbage

Once your Chinese cabbage has grown to maturity, it's time to harvest and store it properly to ensure the best flavour and freshness. This section will guide you through knowing when to harvest, proper harvesting techniques, and storing Chinese cabbage.

Knowing When to Harvest

Chinese cabbage is ready to be harvested when the heads have formed tightly and feel firm to the touch. The outer leaves should be dark green and crisp. The specific harvesting time can vary depending on the variety you are growing, so it's essential to refer to the seed packet or plant label for guidance.

Generally, Chinese cabbage takes about 50 to 85 days to reach maturity, depending on the variety and growing conditions. It's crucial to monitor the growth of your cabbage regularly and look for visual cues that indicate it is ready to be harvested.

Proper Harvesting Techniques

To harvest Chinese cabbage, use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut the cabbage head at the base, just above the soil surface. Take care not to damage the surrounding leaves or nearby plants during the process. If you are growing multiple heads of Chinese cabbage, harvest them one at a time as they reach maturity, allowing the remaining heads to continue growing.

Storing Chinese Cabbage

After harvesting, it's important to store Chinese cabbage properly to maintain its freshness and quality. Here are a few tips for storing Chinese cabbage:

  1. Remove outer leaves: Before storing, remove any damaged or wilted outer leaves. This helps to prevent the spread of disease or rot.
  2. Rinse and dry: Gently rinse the cabbage head under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat it dry with a clean towel or allow it to air dry.
  3. Refrigerate: Place the whole cabbage head in a plastic bag or wrap it in a damp paper towel. Store it in the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The ideal temperature for storing Chinese cabbage is around 32°F to 40°F (0°C to 4°C).
  4. Use within a week: Chinese cabbage is best consumed within a week of harvesting for optimal taste and texture. As time passes, the quality may deteriorate, and the leaves may become limp.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the fresh and crispy taste of Chinese cabbage from your own garden. Remember that the information provided here is a general guideline, and it's important to adjust the harvesting and storage techniques based on the specific variety of Chinese cabbage you are growing. 

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