The genus Brassica encompasses 30 or so species of annuals, biennials, perennials, and subshrubs from the Mediterranean region to Asia. Most have taproots and lobed, hairless, glaucous leaves. Flowers are borne in racemes and are cross-shaped. They are followed by long, narrow fruits with beaks. Most Brassica species are grown in the vegetable garden, but others are very decorative, such as the ornamental cabbages, and are used in bedding or in a border.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsThis genus includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and turnip.
CareGrow in full sun in a fertile, well-drained soil that is preferably rich in lime.
PropagationSow seeds where they are to grow in spring or start indoors in early spring.
ProblemsLeaf miners, caterpillars, aphids, harlequin bugs, root maggots, nematodes, cabbage white butterfly, flea beetles. Brassica are also susceptible to black leg, white rust, black leaf spot, downy and powdery mildews, damping off, white mold, club root, and root knot nematodes. Soils deficient in magnesium, boron, or potassium can affect plants.