Brassica is a genus member of the mustard family that contains more than 350 flowering species in it. There are many species of Brassicaceae ( also known as the Brassica plant family), which include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, collards, and others. But many people wonder: do Brassica plants flower?
Generally, Brassica is a flowery plant, and most of its parts are edible. Brassica flower bloom time is generally in spring or summer (1). It thrives in various conditions and will perform best when planted in full sun in alkaline nitrogen-rich soil with good drainage. After it flowers, cut out the flowering stems when the flowers show signs of forming seed pods to allow the plant to conserve its energy for additional leafing up.
In addition, many people grow brassica as a vegetable that turns very tasty, spicy, and effective for lots of diseases. This family is not only used as a vegetable but also has many purposes for cultivation.
Whether you want to cultivate this flowery family for its showy flowers or for any other purpose, growing brassica will provide you with tremendous benefits.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about planting and caring for brassica and an easily grown list of brassica vegetables.
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What is Brassica?
Brassica vegetables are a member of the genus Brassicaceae or the mustard family, which includes different vegetables. Brassicas are also classified as cruciferous vegetables (Cruciferae) or part of the cabbage family. Worldwide, Brassicas are one of the most commonly grown vegetables and some of the most nutritious vegetables you can consume.
The Brassica oleracea family of vegetables contains hundreds of subspecies with a range of health benefits, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, and glucosinolates. In addition, Brassica vegetables are an excellent source of soluble fiber.
Do Brassica Plants Really Flower?
Some species of the Brassica family flower while others don’t. The brassica has yellowish (Gold) flowers that have a slightly pungent smell. Spring to summer is the exact time when these plants flower. This flowering season lasts till late winter, up to 2 months.
The flowers of different species of brassica are different. Out of all, yellow, red, pink, and white are the most attractive. Mostly, the flowers are tasteless and are planted just for aesthetic beauty. All kinds of flowers are used worldwide in various forms, like wall hangouts, small pots, vases, and wall planters.
See also: A Step-by-Step Guide To Starting Broccoli Indoors.
How Do You Make Brassica Flowers?
To add the natural beauty of brassica into your garden, you will have to take some measurements that will help in its effective growth. Here are some essentials; without these, one can’t succeed in making the brassica flower.
Essentials for Brassica Flowers
Here are the essentials for making brassica plants flower and thrive.
1- Soil Full of Nutrients
Though possible to grow in various other forms, planting brassica in the soil is a good idea. However, make sure that you have added the essential nutrients to the soil to grow the brassica effectively. Also, maintain the soil temperature to grow this plant.
In addition, brassicas thrive in well-drained, fertile, and without salt buildup. And younger brassicas require deep sandy to loamy soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal, according to the Utah State University.
A well-prepared seedbed promotes uniform planting conditions for seeds or transplants. Prepare your growth site several weeks before planting. And, if your site has drainage issues, you can consider using 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) to raised beds.
Brassica plants grow well in containers, ponds, coastal meadows, patios, and small spaces.
2- Optimal Temperature
For most plants, the optimal soil temperature is 60°F to 70°F, but brassica will germinate at temperatures as low as 40ºF. Whether you are planting them in pots or directly in the soil, make sure that the temperature is not above 90° the maximum limit, or below 40°F that is the minimum limit.
- Brassica seeds grow well in cool soils (below 60 °F) and develop faster, around 75°F.
- Brassica plants thrive in temperatures between 60 to 70 °F and survive at night temperatures below 40 °F, according to Utah State University.
3- Proper Watering
Brassica is one of the thirsty plant species. It requires maximum water for proper growth. To make it look appealing, one should not stop watering the brassica until it gets mature. Brassica needs moist and well-drained soil until it reaches maturity.
However, you can go for dry soil with little gaps but never let it a drought.
4- Proper Light
The Brassica family requires an adequate amount of light to grow effectively. However, a too-hot climate will affect it badly. The optimal time for the proper growth of this plant family is winter. So, summer will affect it badly.
- Brassica grows well in full sun and requires about six or more hours of direct sunlight a day.
- Brassica plants will also do well in partial shade (about 2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight only part of the day).
See also: How To Effectively Remove Aphids From Kale: A Quick Guide.
5- Avoid Pests
As the flowers of all families of brassica are very appealing and attractive, they attract many pests towards them. This will lead to different diseases in the plants. To avoid this, you should take essential preventive measures to save them from pests. Here are some pests that can attack the brassica.
- Diamondback Moth Caterpillar (DBM) is brassica crops’ most problematic and common caterpillar pest, according to the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.
If you manage to cover your crops with row covers, you can prevent them from all these pests. Also, different pesticides and natural preventive methods are there; go for any of them if you think that your brassica crop is exposed to any pests.
Remember that brassica vegetables may be sensitive to residual herbicides from the previous crop, so consider choosing a site that has not been contaminated or rotates your crops every season. More importantly, all types of brassicas are closely related, and insects and diseases are common.
6- Nutrient Addition
No matter how fertile the soil you’re using to grow your brassica crops, the addition of some essential nutrients will help in fast and effective growth. So, check the various nutrients in the soil so that you may diagnose which element needs to be added to the soil.
Manage to add some additional nutrients to the soil you’re using to cultivate the brassica crops. If you can manage to fulfill the above-mentioned requirements, you can effectively grow the brassica for multipurpose.
Brassica Vegetables List
The following vegetables fall under the family Brassica.
- Kale (AKA Brassica oleracea Acephala). Generally, people grow kale for its health benefits. It is often referred to as supercharged with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, kaempferol, and quercetin. There are several types of kale, including curly, flat, bumpy, or feathery. Often, people enjoy kale in a salad or tossed into a smoothie, sautéed, or sometimes roasted into crispy kale chips.
- Collard greens (Brassica oleracea, variety acephala): Collard greens do best in zone 6. Like most Brassica vegetables, collard greens thrive in moist, fertile soil in full sun. The plant is also more frost tolerant than other leafy greens and can improve the plant’s flavor. For mature leaves, allow 60-75 days until harvest; however, you can consume their leaves or harvest them at any time throughout their growth cycle, according to the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Heritage Garden.
- Cabbage (AKA Brassica oleracea, variety capitata). There are a few varieties, including Purple Cabbage (AKA Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra) and Savoy Cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group). Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, generally leafy green, red, or white.
- Brussel sprouts (AKA Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) look like mini-cabbages. It is also known for its fantastic health benefits. Brussell sprouts are excellent when served roasted, steamed, or even sautéed.
- Cauliflower (AKA Brassica oleracea, variety botrytis) is best known for its edible white head. Even though white is the most common color of cauliflower, there are purple, yellow, green, and brown colors of cauliflower.
- Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is a cool-season vegetable. It thrives in full sun and moist, rich, well-drained soil and requires loamy soil at a pH of about 6 to 7, according to the North Carolina State University. In addition, generally, people grow broccoli in the spring or fall.
- Brown mustard (Brassica juncea) is an annual herb in the cruciferous family. It thrives in full sun to partly shaded with well-drained, rich, consistently moist soil, according to experts from the North Carolina State University. Sow seeds in the spring, three weeks before the last frost, or in late summer as the weather starts to cool.
- Bok choy (Brassica rapa, variety Chinensis) is an annual biennial and grows as a loosehead of leaves on a pale stalk. It also thrives in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. The optimal soil pH is generally between 6.0 to 7.5.
- Arugula (brassica Eruca vesicaria) looks like tall lettuce and is an annual cool-season vegetable cultivated for its peppery-tasting leaves. Arugula plants mature fast, within 40 to 50 days, and you can harvest them after six weeks. Arugula grows best in full sun to part shade and rich, moist soil like most brassica vegetables.
- Turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) thrives in zones 3-10 and in full sunlight or partial shade. Generally, turnips are suited to the cool weather, so you should plant them in early spring or late summer. Turnips thrive in well-drained loamy, and fertile soil, with a pH level of about 6.5 to 7.0, according to the UIC Heritage Garden.
- Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) is an annual or biennial plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), grown for its sizeable succulent taproot. Generally, radishes roots are low in calories, and you can consume them raw or sautéed.
- Horseradish and wasabi (also known as Japanese Horseradish) are both members of the Brassica family. Horseradish is grown for its large roots, which are brown-skinned and pure white inside. In contrast, wasabi is extremely hard to grow outside of its native Japan.
- Rutabaga (Brassica napus, variety napobrassica) is a cross between turnips and cabbage. Rutabaga is not a widely cultivated vegetable in the United States because of the length of time it needs to mature. It can take around 3 to 4 months to reach maturity, according to North Carolina State University.
- Kohlrabi (Brassica olearcea var. gongylodes), contrary to rutabaga, kohlrabi is relatively easy to grow and do well in full sun in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is a hardy biennial member of the Brassica vegetable family. They grow well in cool weather but tolerate heat better than most cabbage family members.
- Watercress (Nasturtium officinale): Cress is a general name for a plant consumed as a sharp-tasting salad garnish or potherb. There are three principal cresses—watercress (Nasturtium officinale), garden cress (Lepidium sativum), and Upland cress, according to the University of Florida. Watercress is an aquatic flowering plant member of the cabbage family Brassicaceae.
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Brassica is a plant family that includes many plants. Some of them are true flowery, while others are used just for vegetable purposes.
This family includes all those plants that feature odorless but attractive flowers. In addition, brassica vegetables are known to be one of the healthiest vegetables.