Cabbages need full sun to grow at their very best. 6–8 hours of direct sunlight is ideal. Cabbage plants will grow in indirect sunlight, but at a much slower rate. Cabbage grown in the shade don’t form tight heads. When cabbage plants don’t get enough sunlight, they often lose the ability to grow to their full potential. Too much sunlight doesn’t prove problematic. High temperatures can cause the cabbage to bolt, however.
Table of Contents
How Many Hours of Sun Does Cabbage Need?
Ideally, cabbage plants need 6–8 hours of full sun each day. Ample sunlight lets most cabbage varieties grow to harvestable size in just 60 to 90 days. For the best results, plant your cabbage in the late spring and early fall.
- Cabbages need 6–8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
- With proper lighting, the plants will reach full maturity in 60 to 90 days.
- Always plant cabbage either in the early spring or late fall.
- Crowding can dramatically reduce how much sunlight each cabbage gets.
- Give every cabbage plant 12–24 inches (30–60 cm) inches of space to keep them from getting crowded.
Crowding can reduce the amount of sunlight each cabbage gets. Space your plants out about 12–24 inches (30–60 cm) apart to avoid that. If too many seedlings pop up in one spot, transplant them elsewhere.
Can Cabbage Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
Cabbage can grow fairly well in indirect sunlight. However, they will not grow as fast as they would in full sun conditions. So, you’ll need to plant your cabbage a couple of weeks early to account for the slower growth.
- Cabbage will grow in indirect sunlight, but just at a slower rate than normal.
- Plant your cabbages early to give them more time to grow in the low light conditions.
- Try to find a spot that gives the cabbage plants a few hours of early morning sunshine.
- When planting cabbages in indirect sun, dial back the watering to protect them from wet feet.
If possible, put your cabbage in a spot that gets at least a few hours of the morning sun. Cabbage plants prefer that overexposure to the hot afternoon sun. Indirect sunlight all day is fine, too. Just be sure to dial back the watering since you won’t have bright sunlight helping dry out the soil.
Can Cabbage Grow in Shade?
Cabbage plants will grow in partial or dappled shade. They do not prefer full shade conditions. You can plant your cabbages later in the spring when putting them in shady areas. The shade will protect them from high temperatures through the summer.
- Cabbage will grow in dappled or partial shade only.
- Your cabbage plants will not grow in full shade.
- Shade allows you to plant the cabbage later in the season.
- Just be sure to give shaded cabbage extra time to reach full maturity.
- Cabbage plants grown in the shade will not produce large, tight heads.
Give your shade-grown cabbage extra time to reach maturity. Also, expect the heads to fail to form as expected. They may seem smaller or looser than normal. The loose cabbage heads are still edible, but they’ll work best in salad and coleslaw.
What Happens if Cabbage Doesn’t Get Enough Sun?
Without enough sun, cabbage tends to grow slowly, if at all. Beyond that, their heads may not reach their full size. The heads may even feel a bit loose all the way down to the middle.
- Cabbage often grows slowly when it doesn’t get enough sun.
- The heads of the cabbage may not reach their full size either.
- Sometimes, the heads will develop loose leaves down to the middle.
- Save slow-growing cabbage plants by reflecting light their way.
- Paint nearby walls or fences white for the best results.
Plants that won’t grow can potentially be saved by reflecting the light. Consider painting nearby fences and walls white to send sunshine their way. Or set up a temporary white fence panel if you don’t have any structures nearby.
Can Cabbage Get Too Much Sun?
Cabbage plants can never get too much sun. They thrive when given at least 6–8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Even 12 hours of direct sunlight is not too much for cabbages.
- Cabbage plants cannot get too much sun.
- Your cabbage will even thrive with 12 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Temperatures over 80°F (26°C) can damage cabbage plants though.
- High temperatures cause the plants to bolt, resulting in rapid vegetative growth.
- When cabbages bolt, their leaves get super tough and taste bitter.
High temperatures can prove troublesome for cabbage plants. They only do well in temperatures up to 80°F (26°C). Over that temperature, the plants will bolt and only focus on vegetative growth. Their leaves get tough and develop a bitter taste, too.
How Much Sun Does Cabbage Require?
Cabbage thrives when planted in an area that gets full sun. For best results, give your cabbages six to eight hours of sunlight per day. The plants cannot get too much sun. So, even 12 hours of direct sunlight is fine.
- Cabbage grows best when given full sun.
- Give your cabbage plants 6–8 hours of sunlight daily.
- The plants cannot get too much sun, so 12 hours is fine, too.
- Indirect sunlight and shady areas can work for growing cabbages
- Without enough sunlight, cabbages may grow slowly and not develop large heads.
Cabbage will grow in indirect sunlight and shady areas. But they may experience slow growth and poor head development. If the area is too shady, they may fail to grow past the vegetative stage.
Ample sunlight is key when growing cabbage plants. By placing your plants in the right spot, you’ll have a better chance at getting large, tight heads each harvest. So, watch your garden carefully before planting to see where the cabbages might thrive. Then, space them appropriately to keep overcrowding from limiting their sun exposure.