Gai lan is commonly known as Chinese broccoli due to its origin in east Asian cuisine, but it is easy to grow and well suited for all vegetable gardens. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Gai Lan from Seeds Guide.

Brassica oleraceae var. albogrlabra
Family: Brassicaceae


Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Full-sun

Direct sow every few weeks starting after the last frost date. On the Coast gai lan can be sown from April through September. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days. Optimal temperature for germination: 10-30°C (50-85°F).

Direct sow gai lan seeds in a shallow trench and bury so they are 5mm (1/4") deep. Water with a mist sprayer. Thin seedlings to stand about 15-30cm (6-12") apart. Gai lan can also be grown densely in containers and treated as a cut-and-come-again crop of baby leaves.

Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. Gai lan is a moderate to heavy feeder that does best in humus-rich soil amended with composted manure. Mix ¼-½ cup complete organic fertilizer into the row before planting. Gai lan does best in cool weather.

Harvest stalks with the leaves and flower buds intact by cutting each stalk near its base. This may result in numerous tender side shoots. Always harvest before the flowers open.

Seed Info
In optimum conditions at least 80% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 170 seeds, per acre: 30M seeds.

Diseases & Pests
Slugs and snails – Slugs are attracted to beer, so place a little beer in a cup dug into the ground. Sprinkle broken eggshells around plants to deter slugs and snails.
Flea beetles – Use row covers to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer. Control weeds.
Cabbage root maggot – White maggots (larvae) attack all plants of the cabbage family. Larvae tunnel in and feed on roots of plants. Damage causes wilting early on, death of plants a little later on.
Cabbage aphids – A hard stream of water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day. Check for evidence of natural enemies such as gray-brown or bloated parasitized aphids and the presence of alligator-like larvae of lady beetles and lacewings.
Cabbageworms – Handpick and destroy. Row covers may be useful on small plantings to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer.
To help reduce disease, do not plant broccoli or other Brassicas in the same location more than once every three or four years.

Companion Planting
All Brassicas benefit from chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage. Avoid planting near eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes.

More on Companion Planting.