Brussels Sprout Problems: What To Do For Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads

Poorly Formed Brussel Sprout Heads
brussles sprouts loose
(Image credit: lensblur)

Even under the best conditions, growing Brussels sprouts is a tricky challenge for a gardener. Because the time needed to grow Brussels sprouts is so long and the temperatures needed for proper growth are so narrow, there are often problems with growing Brussels sprouts correctly. One of these issues is when the plant has loose leafed, poorly formed heads. This problem can be addressed with proper Brussels sprouts care.

What Causes Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads?

Loose leafed, poorly formed heads is directly related to when the heads form. If the heads form in the appropriate weather, which is cool weather, the heads will be firm. If the heads form in weather that is too warm, the plant will produce loose leafed, poorly formed heads.

Brussels Sprouts Care to Prevent Loose Leafed, Poorly Formed Heads

Since this issue is related to warm weather, if possible try to plant your Brussels sprouts earlier. The use of a cold frame or hoop house can help in areas that are prone to late frosts. If planting earlier is not an option, you may want to switch the kind of Brussels sprouts. Grow Brussels sprouts with a shorter maturity time. These varieties mature weeks ahead of normal Brussels sprouts and will develop heads during a cooler time in the season. Making sure that the plant has plenty of nutrients can also help the plant fight producing loose leafed, poorly formed heads in warm weather. Work in fertilizer or manure into the soil you plan on planting your Brussels sprouts in. You can also trim the top of the plant once it reaches 2-3 feet (60-90 cm.) tall. This will help it redirect energy back into the heads. With a little bit of change to your Brussels sprouts care, growing Brussels sprouts that do not have loose leafed, poorly formed heads will be possible.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.