Growing Guide
 
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Pak choy

Vegetable (Cool Season) - Cabbage Family

Also known as Bok choy, Pak choi, Bok choi
Brassica rapa var. chinensis
Brassicaceae Family

No matter how you spell it, pak choy’s mild flavor is a must for stir fries. It’s not as finicky about heat and cold as Chinese cabbage, and the striking white petioles and green leaves make it a must for edible landscaping.

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Site Characteristics
Sunlight:
  • full sun
  • part shade
Partial shade can help prevent summer crops from bolting.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Biennial grown as an annual.

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Spring crops require good timing and careful pest control. Direct-seeded fall crops are easier to grow.

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: cushion, mound or clump

Special Considerations
Tolerates:
  • frost - Spring crops may bolt prematurely if young plants are exposed to frost or a week of nighttime temperatures below 50 F. Wait until after last frost date to direct seed or transplant out.
Special characteristics:
  • not native to North America - Not known in the wild. Probably developed from selections of oil seed varieties in China about 2,000 years ago.
Special uses:
  • edible landscaping
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed

Germination temperature: 50 F to 80 F

Days to emergence: 4 to 7

Seed can be saved 4 years.

Maintenance and care:
While not as sensitive to heat and cold as Chinese cabbage, spring crops may bolt prematurely if young plants are exposed to frost or a week of nighttime temperatures below 50 F. Wait until after last frost date to direct seed or transplant out.

Start transplants inside 4 to 6 weeks before last frost date. Transplant 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart. Use the closer spacings for smaller varieties.

Plant direct-seeded spring crops to inch deep and about 1 inch apart in rows 18 to 30 inches apart. Thin to 6- to 12-inch spacings. Use thinnings in salads.

For fall crops, direct seed to inch deep in rows 18 to 30 inches apart in summer. Thin to 6- to 12- inch spacings. Or set transplants out at 6- to 12-inch spacings 4 to 6 weeks before first frost.

Mulch fall crops heavily and provide adequate moisture to avoid premature bolting.

Varieties
Browse bok choy/pak choy varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.

“Baby” varieties grow just 6 inches tall while others may reach nearly 2 feet. Some are more tolerant of heat and cold than others.

Varieties recommended for New York include:

Mei Qing Choi -- hybrid
Tropical Delight -- hybrid
Two Seasons -- hybrid
China Pride -- hybrid
Jade Pagoda -- hybrid
Dynasty -- hybrid