How and when to prune brussel sprouts


Brussels sprouts are a variety of sprouts that are grown in winter. Specifically, these are small buds that sprout from the stem of this horaliza (belonging to the cruciferous family such as broccoli). In good growing conditions it can reach a meter in height and produce about 30 small shoots. In this post we will see what is the technique to follow to perform the trimming or pruning brussel sprouts, something that will help you improve its production.


They are characterized by their high content of vitamins A, C and folic acid. They are used in many dishes, especially boiled and preferably to accompany meats. When they are boiled in water they produce an unpleasant smell, but there are several homemade recipes that avoid this smell, so you should not be afraid to grow them in your garden.

Pruning or trimming brussel sprouts
Interesting fact: as you can imagine its name is due to the capital of Belgium. This since during the 16th century they were one of the most popular crops in that city. Then, in the 18th century, it was introduced in the United States, which is currently the world’s largest producer of this vegetable.

1. Little tips for growing Brussels Sprouts


The correct cultivation of Brussels sprouts is not complicated, however there are some points that are important to know. Let’s see what they are:

  • Soil: they like compact soils, with a certain degree of acidity and rich in nutrients. The richer they are, the less need to fertilize we will have.
  • Irrigation: Watering should be done quite often. You must keep the soil moist, but never cause puddles, which can be harmful due to the possible appearance of fungi.
  • Cold: they are surprisingly resistant to cold, being able to withstand quite strong frosts (down to -9 ° C).
  • Pests and Diseases: The most common pests found on Brussels sprouts are aphids and a white butterfly with black spots (in some places known as the cabbage butterfly). As for diseases, the main one is known as cabbage hernia, which is produced by a fungus.
  • Harvest: cabbages can be harvested for several months, that is, the harvest is quite extensive. The largest buds should be cut (not less than 3 cm in diameter). At harvest time they should be very compact and deep green in color.
  • Pruning: in the following sections we will develop this point in depth.

2. Tools needed for trimming Brussels Sprouts


Usually when in gardening we talk about a task such as pruning, dozens of tools come to mind to carry it out. But in the case of pruning a plant like Brussels sprouts, you can do it with a simple tool.

This tool can be a hand scissor or, if you prefer, a sharp knife. Keep in mind that whenever you prune a plant you must have the cutting blades of your tool properly disinfected. This will help prevent the possible spread of disease from one plant to another.

2.1 How to disinfect pruning tools

There are many ways that you can disinfect your pruning tools. Here we will see three of the most common and easy to do.

  • Method 1: rub the scissors blades with a cloth dipped in alcohol (ethanol). After cleaning, allow the tool to sit for a couple of minutes for maximum disinfection efficiency.
  • Method 2: prepare a mixture 1/9 of chlorine and water (one part of chlorine and 9 of water). Then soak the scissors for half an hour in that mixture. After those 30 minutes you can start pruning.
  • Method 3: this third method is effective but from my point of view not so recommended. Here what you should do is pass the blade for a few seconds through a flame. This will disinfect but also burn the blade.

You already have the three methods to disinfect your scissors before trimming your Brussels sprouts, which one do you choose?

Since you are interested in knowing how to prune a laurel, I have no doubt that it will be useful to know about the pruning of any of these shrubs:

3. Pruning Brussels Sprouts


We have seen some of the basic care that must be taken to grow Brussels sprouts, and then what tool we will need to perform its pruning. It’s time to dive right into the main topic of this post, how and when to prune these vegetables.

3.1 Why to trim yours Brussels Sprouts

There are many reasons why it is necessary to prune a plant. Sometimes we need to prune for a plant to grow healthy, but that is not the case with Brussels sprouts. We are not required to prune them.

The reason why it is good to trim the leaves of this vegetable is to redirect the energy towards the growth of the buds. That is to say that what we seek with pruning is to improve the harvest, lengthening the time of it and improving the quality of the production.

3.1 When to prune Brussels Sprouts

Leaf pruning or trimming should begin when the first shoots appear. You will notice that the first buds are produced near the base and will grow throughout the season, the others rising to the top.

In the northern hemisphere, the harvest of these sprouts begins in mid-October. So a few weeks before we must be careful to observe the appearance of the first shoots near the base. When you have at least one, you can start pruning your Brussels sprouts

3.2 How to trim Brussels Sprouts

To know how to prune it is necessary to understand the reasons why we should do it, but at the same time understand that the plant needs leaves to live. Therefore, when the time is right, no more than eight sheets should be cut, which should be closer to the base.

Trimming these leaves will encourage faster bud growth. So during the growing season, you can keep cutting about three leaves every 7 days. What you should keep in mind is that you should always leave the leaves on top. Don’t make the mistake of cutting all the sheets thinking that this will speed up production. Keep in mind that the plant needs its leaves to feed itself.

If you notice that the plant takes a long time to ripen the sprouts, there is a little secret to tricking the plant into forcing it to mature production. To do this, you must trim the main stem about 5 cm from its top, just above the leaves that you have been leaving. This will eliminate the possibility of the plant continuing to grow in height, making ripening inevitable. Do this when all the buds along the stem are developed.

4. Pruning Brussel Sprouts video


As is the custom of this blog, we like to close the articles with a video material (in this case channel Garden of Enders), where you can review in a more graphic way and practice many of the concepts seen so far. 😉

More information about trimming Brussels sprouts:

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