The ‘Brussels sprouts’ is a cool season vegetable crop that is grown for its green edible ‘bud or sprouts’ (small
heads that resemble miniature cabbages). It is a hardy, slow-growing, long-season vegetable belonging to cabbage
family and closely related to cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, etc. The “sprouts” are produced in the leaf
axils, starting at the base of stem and working upward. Brussels sprout contain good amounts of vitamin A
and C, folic acid and dietary fibre. Moreover, it contains sulforaphane, which has anticancer properties.
Likewise, other Brassicas, Brussels sprouts is also a good source of indole-3-carbinol, which boosts DNA repair
in cells and appears to block growth of cancer cells. The cool valleys in mountains have best potential for
commercial production of brussels sprouts followed by coastal areas, where long cool falls offer some
opportunity. Brussels sprouts is grown in many countries including India, China, Netherlands, Germany,
United Kingdoms, United States, Mexico, Canada, etc.
Origin and Distribution
The Brussels sprouts is native to Belgium (hence the name “Brussels” sprouts). Like broccoli, it is ancestors
first grew wild in Low Countries of Europe. It was believed to have been cultivated in Italy during Roman
times and possibly in Belgium during 1200s. Later on it is introduced to US during 1800s (Anonymous, 2012a).
The botanical family to which Brussels sprouts belongs is the ‘Brassicaceae’ (formerly Cruciferae), also known as
the ‘Mustard family or cabbage family’.
Jade Cross E: The sprouts are larger in size, can be removed easily from stalk than with original strain.
It is ready for harvest in about 90 days after transplanting.
Royal Marvel: The sprouts are compactly arranged. It is very productive and resistant to ‘bottom rot’
and ‘tip burn’. The sprouts are ready to harvest after 85 days of transplanting.
Bubbles: It is hardy and able to tolerate warm weather. Moreover, it is resistant to rust and takes about
80-85 days to harvest.
Rubine: It is a novel variety. The sprouts give reddish appearance. It is a late maturing variety and
takes about 105 days to harvest.
Oliver: The sprouts are very attractive in shape and can be remove easily from stalk. It takes 85 days to
Prince Marvel: The sprouts are compact and sweet in taste. It is ready to harvest with in 90 days of
Climate and Soil
The Brussels sprouts is a cool season crop and thrives best in a cool humid climate. It grows best when
exposed to an average daily temperature between 17 and 23 °C. However, it gives maximum yield potential at
temperature range of 15–18°C. Sprouts improve in quality and grow best during cool or even lightly frosty
weather (Anonymous, 2012b; 2013). Brussels sprouts can be grown successfully on a wide range of soils,
however, it perform best in well-drained loamy soil rich in organic matter. Sandy loams are preferred for early
crops. It does well in pH range of 6.0 to 6.8.
Topping as an important operation followed in Brussels sprouts. The fully grown plants are pinch-off from
growing point (topping). This is usually done to stimulate growth of sprouts at the top of plant and to provide
uniform development for once-over harvesting.
Land Preparation and Nursery Raising
Prepare the land to a fine tilth by disc ploughing followed by one or two harrowing. Incorporate well decomposed
FYM @ 20 t ha-1 at the time of land preparation (Anonymous, 2012b). Application of organic manure or
vermicompost improves plant growth, productivity and improves water holding capacity of field soil.
The sterilization of soil by drenching, nursery beds with formalin @ 1:49, about 15-20 days before seed sowing
is beneficial for preventing the attack of the fungal diseases. After drenching, seed beds should be covered
with polythene for a week. Then beds are again dug and left open for 5-6 days to avoid injurious effect of
formalin on seeds. The standard procedure for raising nursery should be followed. The beds should be
covered with a proper mulching material before watering. Apply water with a water cane over the grass
mulch during initial stage i.e.15-20 days of sowing, while during later stage watering should be done through
furrows. The mulch should be removed as soon the emergence of seed sprouts. The beds should be provided
with roof for shading against hot sunshine and rains.
For the cultivation of Brussels sprouts plant the nursery in early April and mid May is right to transplant
seedlings into the field (Anonymous 2012b). Seedlings are ready to transplant in field after month of sowing in
nursery (Anonymous, 2012).
A spacing of 45 × 70 cm between plant to plant as well as row to row should be followed for the successful
cultivation of ‘Brussels sprouts’. However, planting distance vary according to the variety, climate and soil.
A seed rate of 600-700 g is sufficient for the cultivation of ‘Brussels sprouts’ in one hectare area. Seed should be
given a hot water treatment (50°C) for half an hour against black rot and Apron 35 @ 2 g kg-1 seed against
downy mildew before sowing.
Manure and fertilizer requirements in ‘Brussels sprouts’ depend upon fertility status of the soil. Apply 20 tonnes well
rotten FYM during field preparation. Beside that apply 100 kg N, 60 kg P2O5 and 40 kg K2O in Brussels sprouts. The
half dose of N and full doses of P and K should be applied before transplanting. The remaining half dose of N
should be top dressed in two equal splits viz. after one month of transplanting and at the time of sprouts formation.
For acid soils low in Ca and Mg, application of ‘dolomite’ as lime should be followed.
The intercultural operations are similar to that of other cole crops. Shallow frequent hoeing should be done in
field by ‘khurpi or hoe’ to kill young weeds and provide soil mulch. Weeding should be started as soon as
plants are set in the field. Four to five weeks after transplanting, plants should be slightly earthen up in the
field. For chemical weed control, Stomp 30 EC (Pendimethalin) 2.5 litre ha-1 can be applied one day before
transplanting of seedlings under moist soil conditions.
Likewise other cole crops, these crops also require a continuous supply of moisture for uniform growth and
development. First irrigation is done immediately after transplanting and thereafter irrigation is done when needed,
depending on soil and weather conditions. Subsequent irrigation can be given at an interval of 15 days. Heavy
irrigation should be avoided. There should be sufficient moisture in soil at the time of sprouts formation.
The important pests and diseases of are given below:
Aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae): The aphids are generally observed on lower surface of the leaves. The Yellowish
green nymphs and adults suck cell sap and devitalize plants. Affected plant parts become discolored,
malformed and weakened.
Control: Spraying of Monocrotophos (0.05%) or Malathion (0.1%) at 10-15 days interval control aphid
population effectively. To prevent recurrence of the pest granular insecticides like Phorate @ 1.0 kg a.i./ha
should be applied to soil.
Cabbage Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella): It is one of the most serious pests of cole crops including
brussels sprouts. The green or brownish coloured caterpillars feed the inner leaves by making holes, rendering
transparent cuticular patches. Severely affected leaves are completely skletonised.
Control: Spraying of neem based formulations @ 4 ml or Bt product like Delfin 3G @ 1 g per of water gave
good control on pest or spraying crop with Malathion (0.1%) or Profenofos (0.25-0.5 kg a.i./ha) gives excellent
control of the larvae.
Leaf Webber (Crocidolomia binotalis): It is one of the most destructive pests of cole crops. Eggs are laid in
clusters on the undersurface of the leaves. Green caterpillars web up the leaves and live inside the knotted
mass. Flowering and pod formation is adversely affected.
Control: Removal and destruction of webbed bunches of leaf help to check the further spread of the disease.
Dusting the crop with Carbaryl (4%) or spraying with Malathion (0.05%) is effective.
Black Rot (Xanthomonas campestris): It is the most serious disease affecting brussels sprouts. This bacterial disease is
common in areas with warm and humid climate. The typical symptoms of black rot are caused by local infection
that results when bacteria enter leaves through natural openings of leaf margins. The infected tissue turns pale
green-yellow and then turns brown and dies. Affected areas are usually wedge or V-shaped. These areas
enlarge as the disease progresses and severely affected leaves may drop off. The veins in infected leaves, stems
and roots sometimes become black. The heads of the infected plants remains small and its quality is reduced
making it unfit for marketing (Anonymous 2012).
Control: Seed treatment with Agrimycin-100 (100 ppm) or Streptocycline (100 ppm) is effective in controlling
disease. Planting should be done on raised beds to facilitate drainage. Cultivation in the fields where crucifers
have been continuously grown during last 2 years should be avoided. Plants should be thoroughly inspected
for black rot symptoms and the affected plants should be removed and destroyed.
Downy Mildew (Perenospora parasitica): The disease is very serious in nursery and may also appear in field
planting. During periods of high humidity, light grey powdery patches appear on undersurface of the leaves
and shoots. The first symptom observed are small, light green-yellow lesions on the upper leaf surface, later
showing on the undersurface. The spots turn yellow as they enlarge.
Control: All the weeds serving as alternate host to the fungus should be destroyed. Spraying seedlings as well
as transplanted plants with Copper Oxychloride 0.3 and 0.5%, respectively is effective in controlling the
disease. Moreover, spraying of ‘Neem seed kernel’ @ 5 ml per litre after 25 – 30 days of transplanting, control
the disease incidence.
Leaf Spot and Blight (Alternaria brassicae or brassiciola): There is appearance of small dark yellow spots on the
leaf surface during initial stage, which later on enlarged to circular areas with concentric rings, surrounded by
yellow halos. In severe cases, the entire plant defoliates.
Control: Seed treatment with hot water (50OC for 30 minutes) helps to minimize the disease incidence. Crops
grown for seed purpose should be sprayed at full bloom, pod set and pre- harvest stage with Captan (0.2%) or
Copper Oxychloride (0.5%) for the control of disease.
Harvesting and Yield
Two methods of harvesting ‘Brussels sprouts’ include a once over harvest, where the whole stalk/stem is harvested
and all sprouts are stripped or multiple harvests where individual sprouts are picked when they reach market size.
Tender knobs but fully developed knobs should be harvested before they become fibrous. Harvesting is done 1 to 3
times for week. In preparation for the market the root is cut off. Plants are tied together and sold in bulb. Leaves are
also used for green when they are tender.