Learn About Brussel Sprouts Growing Problems

Sprouts are known to be the axillary buds of a biennial cabbage family plant. A long stem is formed by the buds and they culminate in a cabbage-like top.

The sprouts initially form first at the base before progressing up the stem. The sweetness of the sprouts increases with cold weather as their food reserves are converted into sugars in preparation for growth and flowering in spring.

In the spring of the second year, the sprouts develop flowers and become distasteful. Brussels sprouts are easy to grow but can develop some problems in the process which is explained below together with their solutions:

1) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Wilting of Young Plants

Due to lack of water/ insufficient water, plants may begin to wilt after planting. This is because adequate water is required at planting and also, subsequently. You can also make use of a ‘starter fertilizer’. A ‘starter fertilizer’ is a high phosphorus liquid fertilizer used at half strength.

Read also: Are Brussel Sprouts Hard to Grow? 

2) Brussels sprouts growing problems: No Growth/ Low Growth Rate

For Brussels sprouts to have excellent growth, fertile soil is required. You can make use of fertilizers. Organic matter can also be used to replace half the fertilizer. When compared with cauliflowers, Brussel sprouts are much more tolerant of drought.

They however need moist soil in summer for them to grow well. Plants should also be given the space of at least 60cm between plants and rows, while also allowing 90cm between rows which helps eases access for gathering sprouts. Brussels sprouts require watering every 2 weeks in dry spells.

3) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Tasteless Sprouts

Sprouts can turn out to be tasteless until mid-autumn when with the advent of cold weather, they become more palatable and of course, sweeter.

4) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Plants Fall Over

Plants can fall over in high winds and this happens in exposed gardens. This, choose shorter cultivars. This is to avoid the stress of staking plants. Draw soil 15cm up stalks in late summer by making use of a draw hoe. Crowded plants tend to be more vulnerable to lodging.

Read also: Learn How to Grow Brussel Sprouts from Scraps

5) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Tunnels in the Sprouts

Tunneling of the sprouts by Cabbage root fly can affect the roots. No remedy for this but there is a way to go about this which is growing the crops under the insect-proof mesh in gardens where this damage happens again.

6) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Loose-leaved Sprouts

Brussels sprouts require to be firmly planted. Some believe loose planting is a direct cause of fluffy sprouts which it isn’t. The usual cause is lack of growth, poor soil, and also, the use of non-hybrid cultivars.

Hybrid cultivars are known to give strong and firm sprouts. Also, excessive nitrogen fertilizer is not a cause of loose sprout formation. However, also ensure to apply your nitrogen fertilizer in moderation.

7) Brussels sprouts growing problems: Few Sprouts

The number of leaves determines the number of sprouts. To achieve many leaves, early sowing is important. This should be done late winter or perhaps, early spring. Also, ensure to plant carefully into very fertile soil and also water carefully and subsequently.


I hope you find this article helpful. I would like to hear from you. Let me know if you have any questions about Brussel sprouts growing problems. For details about growing successful Brussel sprouts from seeds, check this guide to growing Brussel sprouts from seeds here.


  1. “Scientific Cultivation of Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea L. var. gemmifera)” retrieved from here
  2. “Brussels Sprouts” retrieved from here
  3. “Yield formation in Brussels sprouts” retrieved from here