How Far Apart To plant Collards? (Best tips to grow collard greens)

How Far Apart To plant Collards
Collards Plants In An Organic Garden

Collards (AKA collard greens) are a staple vegetable for many families worldwide. They offer tremendous benefits and are particularly popular in the kitchen. Collards are cool-season vegetables but can stand in hot weather more than cabbage or regular kale

You can’t go wrong with collard greens if you are looking for an easy-to-grow crop for your vegetable gardens.

So, how far apart to plant collards? How far apart to plant collards will depend on how the crop will be harvested. If you plan to cut your plants when they are half-grown, it is recommended to space them 10 to 15 inches (25.4 to 38.1 cm) apart. If you want to wait until they fully grow before harvesting, space them 15 to 18 inches (38.1 to 45.72 cm) apart. And, if you want to harvest them while they are still young, I suggest you space your collards plants 2 to 4 inches (5.08 to 10.16 cm) apart. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know to grow collards successfully. If you live in the southern US, read this article about growing collard in South Carolina.

When Should You Plant Collards?

The general recommendation is to prepare for spring planting 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost. And for late summer, it is recommended to grow 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost for fall and winter harvests.

The table below shows the best month to plant collards depending on the USDA hardiness zone.

USDA Hardiness Zone Start seeds outdoorsStart seeds indoorstransplants outdoorRecommended Plant spacing
3a – 3bBetween April 15 to May 1– March 1 to March 15
– June 1 to June 15
– April 15 to April 21
– July 15 to August 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
4a – 4bApril 15 to May 1– March 1 to March 15th
– June 1 to June 15th
– April 15 to August 21
– July 15-August 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
5a – 5bMarch 15 to April 1st– February 1 to February 15th
– July 1st to July 15th
March 7 to March 15
– August 15 to September 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
6a – 6bMarch 15 to April 1st– February 1st to February 15th
– July 1 to July 15th
– March 7 to March 15
– August 15th to September 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
7a – 7bMarch 15 to April 1st– February 1st to February 15th
– July 1st to July 15th
– March 7 to March 15th
– August 15 to September 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
8a – 8bFebruary 15th to March 1st– January 1st to January 15th
– August 1st to August 15th
– February 7 to February 15th
– September 15th October 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
9a – 9bJanuary 15th to January 30th– December 1st to 15th
– August 1st to August 15th
January 7 to January 15th
– September 15th to October 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
10a – 10bJanuary 1st to January 15th– November 15th to December 1st
– August 1st to August 15th
– December 24th to January 1st
– September 15th October 1st
18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
11a – 11bSeptember to MarchSeptember to MarchSeptember to March18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm)
The Table Shows The Best Month To Plant Collards –

How To Grow Collard Green?

As a cool-season crop, you can grow collard during early spring or fall. For direct seed, starting collard in midsummer or early spring is recommended. Starting early spring or late summer is better if you want to plant collard by transplantation. Generally, when they mature, collard plants will withstand frosts and light to medium freezes.

Here is how to grow collard greens:

  •  Select a good site: Unlike other leafy greens, collard greens thrive in full sun rather than partial shade; I suggest you choose a place that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Properly prepare your soil bed: Collard greens do well in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter and a pH of around 6.0. Unlike other vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce, collards’ roots can reach up to two feet in length, so it is a good idea to prepare a garden bed with enough depth. 
  • Seeds planting: It is recommended to sow seeds about one-eighth of an inch deep in rows at least 24 inches apart to provide the plants ample room to grow.
  • Water: After planting, keeping the soil evenly moist while your collard seeds germinate is essential. 

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Collard Greens?

Collard plants thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Using used coffee grounds and lime surrounding your plants as mulch helps add nitrogen to the soil and lower the pH.

So, what is the best fertilizer for collard greens? Nitrogen is necessary for collards to produce high-quality leaves. Expert gardeners from Clemson University suggest applying 5 pounds (2.27 kg) of calcium nitrate (15.5-0-0) for 1000 square feet or about 300 feet of row three to four weeks after you plant your collards.

If you have a smaller garden, use half a pound (0.23 kg) of calcium nitrate fertilizer per 100 square feet or about 30 feet of row.

How Often Should You Water Collard Greens?

Collards thrive with an even supply of water. Ensure you give your collard about 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. You can also add a 3-inch layer of mulch made from organic material to moisten the soil and prevent weeds.

Remember that collard greens require moist soil and do well with around two inches of water per week.

The rule of thumb is to water your collards evenly and consistently to ensure a healthy harvest. If you notice that your soil starts getting dry too quickly, I suggest you mulch around your collard greens to maintain moisture.

What Should You Not Plant Near Collard Greens?

Because collard greens are a member of the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower, it is recommended not to plant them together. If grown in large quantities, they will utilize the same nutrients in the soil, which will result in fewer nutrients needed for healthy growth (Source: UIC Heritage Garden)

What Are The Best Companions To Collard Greens?

Expert gardeners from UIC Heritage Garden recommend planting collard greens with hyssop, thyme, and Artemesia because they will repel cabbage moth repellers. In addition, dill is another beneficial companion plant to collard greens because it draws wasps that prey on cabbage worms.

Potatoes and onions are also known to be good companion vegetables because they attract different nutrients in the soil than collard greens, preventing the need for applying more fertilizer for the collards.

What to read next:

Final Thoughts

Collard greens are among the most beginner-friendly plants as they are easy to care for. With proper care, collards will reward you with delicious and healthy leaves.

It is essential the provide your collard greens with proper spacing. Typically, the recommended plant spacing for collard is between 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm).


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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