Broccoli rabe, also known as broccoletto, is a leafy green eaten with its immature flower heads. While it looks a lot like broccoli and shares a name, it is actually more closely related to a turnip, and it has a darker, spicier flavor. It’s a tasty, fast growing vegetable to have on hand for cooking. But can you grow it in a pot? Keep reading to learn more about how to grow broccoli rabe in containers.
About Growing Broccoletto in Pots
Can you grow potted broccoletto? The short answer is: yes, as long as you treat it right. Broccoli rabe is fast growing and relatively compact. And, unlike broccoli, it is eaten very young, usually ready for harvest about 45 days after planting. This means container grown broccoli rabe doesn’t need a lot of space to spread out. It can be harvested even younger and grown as a cut-and-come-again salad green.
How to Grow Broccoli Rabe in Containers
The ideal container size for potted broccoletto is about 24 inches (61 cm.) in diameter. The plants need fertile, well-draining soil, so pick a good quality soilless potting mix and make sure to use a pot with adequate drainage holes.
Broccoli rabe grows best in full sun, but it does not do well in intense heat. It’s best to plant it in spring or fall (winter in very hot climates) and to place it in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If your sunlight is too hot or intense, try moving the container to a spot that gets some protective shade in the afternoon.
Because containers are moveable, you have the advantage of being able to test out different amounts of sunlight. You can also start in direct light in the cooler spring, then move to a shadier spot in the heat of summer to extend the growing season.