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Discover the Best 10 Cabbage Varieties for Your Garden

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Cabbage is a versatile cool-season vegetable available in several varieties of growth needs, colors, and shapes and offering a whole spectrum of culinary options.

Taste preferences, visual appeal, local gardening season lengths, and your favorite dishes will all influence your choice of cabbage variety, which can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 12 in temperate conditions.

Table of Contents

Cabbage is a cool-season vegetable that can be grown in spring or fall. Different types of cabbage have been developed to withstand more extreme temperatures, such as frost. 

Cabbage is typically planted in three major seasons: early spring, midseason (fall crop), and winter crops. Early spring varieties can be planted in the garden as early as a few weeks before the last spring frost. 

The choice of cultivar also influences the quality of cabbage. Some cultivars are bred for sweet, tender leaves that are best for fresh recipes, while others have a mild, peppery flavor or dense, low-moisture content ideal for fermenting. 

Some cultivars have unique colors and shapes that add diversity to the garden. The essential quantitative traits desirable in cabbage breeding are head weight, short growing period, maturity, frost hardiness, storage ability, and morphological characteristics related to head development.

Tony O'Neill, a gardening enthusiast, kneels in his lush garden with giant cabbages planted in the ground beside him. He offers helpful tips and guidance on how to properly plant and care for these leafy vegetables.
“Join Tony O’Neill in his bountiful garden as he shares expert advice on growing giant cabbages that will impress you!” #simplifygardening

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group)) is a versatile and nutritious vegetable offering many different types of cabbage that vary in shape, color, size, and flavor. Some of the most popular cabbage varieties are:

  • Green cabbage is the most common type, with a round head and tightly packed leaves. It has a mild, mustardy taste and can be used for salads, coleslaw, soups, or sauerkraut.
  • Red cabbage: This type of cabbage has a deep purple-red color and a similar shape to green cabbage. It has a more earthy and sweet flavor than green cabbage and can be used for salads, braises, pickles, or slaws.
  • Savoy cabbage: This type has a round head with crinkly and loose leaves. It has a tender texture and a mild and slightly nutty flavor. It can be used for salads, wraps, stir-fries, or soups.
  • Napa cabbage: This type of cabbage has an elongated head with pale green leaves that are crisp and ruffled. It has a light and sweet flavor similar to lettuce and can be used for salads, slaws, kimchi, or dumplings.

Green Cabbage Varieties

Green cabbage is the most common variety class, offering mild flavors and crunchy textures, making it suitable for salads, coleslaw, soups, stews, and fermented dishes like sauerkraut. Some popular green cabbage varieties include Early Jersey Wakefield, Golden Acre, Copenhagen Market, and several others, including Tropic Giant, Tendersweet, and Charleston Wakefield.

Early Jersey Wakefield

Close-up photo of a small, green cabbage with tightly packed leaves. The cabbage is a variety known as "Early Jersey Wakefield," and its outer leaves are slightly ruffled.
“Fresh from the garden: Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, with crisp and tightly-packed leaves ready for cooking or salad-making!”

The Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage is an heirloom variety that produces sweet and tender conical heads that weigh about 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 – 1.4kg). It is one of the best-tasting cabbages and can be used raw or cooked, and it is also frost-hardy and resistant to cabbage yellows.

To grow this cabbage, you can sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, about half an inch (12mm) deep. Transplant them outdoors when they have 4 to 6 leaves, spacing them 12 inches (30 cm) apart in full sun and well-drained soil. Cabbage spacing affects plant health and eventual size.

Water them moderately and feed them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Harvest them about two months after transplanting before they start to split.

Golden Acre

The Golden Acre cabbage is a cultivar of Brassica oleracea that produces compact, round heads that weigh about 3 to 5 pounds (1.3 – 2.3 kg.). It is an early maturing variety that can be harvested in about 60 to 65 days. It is suitable for small gardens and containers and has a crisp and crunchy texture, ideal for salads and slaws.

Close-up photo of a Golden Acre cabbage, featuring a round, dense head with tightly packed leaves in shades of light and dark green. The surface of the cabbage is smooth and slightly glossy, with a few small water droplets visible on the leaves.
“Freshly picked and ready for the kitchen! This Golden Acre cabbage is a perfect addition to any salad or stir-fry.”

To grow Golden Acre cabbage, you must start seeds indoors about eight to 10 weeks before the last frost date or direct sow them in early spring or late summer. Transplant seedlings when they are about five inches tall, leaving 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45 cm) of space between them. 

Cabbage plants prefer rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 and full sun exposure—mulch around the plants to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Water regularly, providing about two inches (5 cm) of water per square foot per week. 

Fertilize with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer two weeks after transplanting and again when the heads start forming.

Cabbage plants may be affected by pests such as cabbage worms, aphids, flea beetles, and cutworms. You can prevent or control these pests using row covers, hand picking, organic sprays, or beneficial insects. 

Diseases like clubroot, black rot, and downy mildew may also occur. To avoid these diseases, rotate crops every three years, avoid overhead watering, remove infected plants promptly, and sanitize your tools.

Harvest Golden Acre cabbage when the heads are firm and reach their desired size. Cut the stem just below the head with a sharp knife. You can store fresh cabbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also preserve cabbage by making sauerkraut or freezing it after blanching it for three minutes.

Copenhagen Market

Close-up photo of a Copenhagen market cabbage variety resting on a weathered gray wooden tabletop. The cabbage is dense and leafy, with layers of green and pale yellow leaves tightly packed together. The outer leaves have a slightly crinkled texture, while the innermost leaves form a dense, smooth head.
Fresh from the garden! A beautiful Copenhagen cabbage variety resting on a rustic wooden tabletop.

Copenhagen Market cabbage is a popular heirloom variety that produces large, round heads of blue-green leaves in as little as 65 days. It is ideal for small gardens and can be harvested before summer heat causes bolting. 

To grow this cabbage successfully, I recommended starting seeds indoors at least eight weeks before transplanting the seedlings four weeks before the last frost. 

The plants need sun, fertile, neutral soil, and regular watering. Companion planting with herbs can help repel pests. Copenhagen Market cabbage can be enjoyed raw or cooked in various cuisines.

Red Cabbage Varieties

Red cabbage is a type of cabbage with dark purple-red leaves that belongs to the brassica genus, along with cauliflower and kale. It is also known as purple cabbage or blaukraut. 

Red cabbage has a more peppery taste than green cabbage and is typically smaller and denser. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially a flavonoid called anthocyanin that gives it its color. 

Red cabbage can be prepared in various ways, including braised with apples, sautéed with onions and vinegar, or shredded into salads and slaws. Some popular varieties of red cabbage include Red Acre and Ruby Ball, which are round-headed cabbages with crisp and tender leaves.

Red Acre

Close-up photograph of a Red Acre cabbage, showing the intricate details of the cabbage's leaves, including its veins, texture, and vibrant red color.
“Beauty in the Details: A close-up of the vibrant red leaves and intricate veins of a Red Acre cabbage.”

Red Acre cabbage is a type of cabbage that produces small, round heads with reddish-purple color. It is rich in vitamin A and iron and has a sweet and robust flavor. 

Red Acre cabbage can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 11 and prefers cool weather and partial shade. It can be planted in spring or fall and harvested after 70 days. 

Red Acre cabbage is resistant to splitting and cabbage yellows but may attract pests such as aphids and worms. 

To grow Red Acre cabbage successfully, it is vital to provide well-drained soil enriched with compost or fertilizer, water regularly, mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds, and protect from pests with row covers or organic sprays.

Ruby Ball

Close-up photo of a vibrant red and round cabbage known as the Ruby Ball variety, sliced in half to reveal its intricate layers and texture.
“Behold the beauty of nature’s artistry – the intricate layers and vibrant hue of a Ruby Ball cabbage!”

The Ruby Ball cabbage is a hybrid purple cabbage with a sweet flavor and a compact head. It can tolerate heat and cold well and stand in the garden for weeks without splitting. 

To grow Ruby Ball cabbage, you need to start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost and transplant them to a sunny location with fertile, well-drained soil. 

Space plants 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm) apart in rows 2 to 3 feet 60 – 91cm) apart. Water regularly and avoid fertilizing during head formation. 

You can harvest Ruby Ball cabbage when the heads are firm to the touch, usually between August and October.

Savoy Cabbage Varieties

Savoy cabbages have wrinkly green leaves with a milder flavor and a lighter texture than regular green cabbages. 

They are named after the historical Savoy region of the Western Alps. Some popular varieties of savoy cabbages include Savoy King and Savoy Perfection. 

Savoy King is a hybrid cultivar that produces large, round heads that weigh up to 10 pounds and have excellent cold tolerance. Savoy Perfection is an heirloom cultivar that produces sweet, medium-sized heads five to seven inches across and has finely wrinkled leaves.

Savoy King

Close-up photo of a green and leafy Savoy King cabbage, with its deeply crinkled and textured leaves visible in detail.
“Behold the majestic Savoy King cabbage, with its intricately crinkled leaves fit for royalty 👑🥬 #SavoyCabbage #KingOfCabbages”

Savoy King cabbage offers crinkled, emerald green leaves with a mild flavor and a crisp texture. It is an All-America Selections winner that can grow well in different climates and resist tip burn. 

Savoy King cabbage produces large heads that weigh about four pounds each and have a short core. To grow Savoy King cabbage, plant it in full sun and water it regularly. 

For a fall harvest, you can start seeds indoors for five or six weeks before transplanting them outside after the last frost in spring or late summer. You can also direct seed them in the garden, but you must thin them later. 

Savoy King cabbage takes about 80 days to mature. Harvest the cabbages when the heads are firm and cut them at the base of the stem. You can use Savoy King cabbage raw or cooked in salads, wraps, soups, stews, and more.

Savoy Perfection

Close-up photo of a halved Savoy Perfection cabbage, showcasing its dense, crinkly green leaves and the inner core.
“Get your greens on! 🌿 A closer look at the beautiful and delicious Savoy Perfection cabbage 🥬🤤”

The Savoy Perfection cabbage is an heirloom variety that produces large, round heads with blue-green, wrinkled leaves. The heads weigh 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 – 3.6kg) and have a sweet and mild flavor. 

Unlike other cabbages, the Savoy Perfection does not emit a sulfur-like smell when cooked. This cabbage is suitable for stuffing, steaming, stir-frying, and making soups.

To grow Savoy Perfection cabbage, you must start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date for a spring crop or in midsummer for a fall crop. Transplant the seedlings into well-amended and weed-free garden beds when they have 4-6 true leaves. 

Space them 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm) apart in rows 24 to 36 inches (60 – 91cm). Water them regularly and fertilize them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks. 

Protect them from pests such as loopers, cabbage worms, and aphids with row covers or organic sprays. Harvest the heads when they are firm and before they split. Savoy Perfection cabbage can tolerate light to hard frost and has good heat tolerance.

Napa Cabbage Varieties

Napa cabbage is a type of Chinese cabbage with large, pale green leaves with thick white stalks, and it is also known as celery cabbage or Peking cabbage. Napa cabbage has a mild and sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. 

It can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled, or fermented. Some common varieties of napa cabbage are:

  • One Kilo Slow Bolt: a mini variety that weighs about 2 pounds and has good resistance to bolting and disease.
  • Blues: a standard-size variety weighing about 4 pounds, dark green leaves, and good uniformity.
  • Rubicon: a standard-size variety that weighs about 6 pounds and is excellent for kimchi and other uses.
  • Scarlette: a standard-size variety that weighs about 5 pounds and has purple leaves that resemble radicchio.

One Kilo Slow Bolt

Close-up photo of a large cabbage, specifically the one-kilo Slow Bolt variety, with green leaves tightly wrapped around the head.
“Fresh from the garden! Behold the impressive one-kilo Slow Bolt cabbage, ready to add a burst of flavor and nutrients to your meals.”

One Kilo Slow Bolt is a napa cabbage variety with a delicate flavor and a soft texture. It is easy to digest and has a creamy yellow interior with green and white outer leaves. 

This cabbage grows best at 60°F – 65°F and is slow to bolt, meaning it does not produce flowers prematurely. 

Gardeners can sow it in spring or fall but should protect spring-sown plants from temperatures below 50°F, which may cause them to bolt. 

One Kilo Slow Bolt matures in 50 to 55 days and produces heads that weigh 2 to 2.5 pounds. It can be used in salads, stir-fries, wraps, or kimchi.


Close-up photograph of a Blues cabbage, showing its tightly packed leaves and intricate vein patterns.
“Beauty in the Details: A close-up of the mesmerizing vein patterns and tightly packed leaves of a Blues cabbage.”

Blues F1 is a hybrid Chinese cabbage variety with blue-green leaves and a fresh green color. It is suitable for planting in spring or early fall, as it has good resistance to bolting, virus, downy mildew, and bacterial soft rot. 

It takes about 57 days to mature and produces 10-inch tall heads with bright white ribs. Blues F1’s relatively spicy flavor makes it ideal for making kimchi or stir-fries.

To grow Blues F1 cabbage, sow seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep in moist soil about four weeks before the last frost date. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart when they have two true leaves. 

Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks. Harvest the heads when firm and compact, cutting them at the base with a sharp knife.

Unusual and Heirloom Cabbage Varieties

Cabbage is a versatile vegetable in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the most unusual and heirloom cabbage varieties include:

  • January King: A hardy winter cabbage with purple-tinged leaves and a mild flavor. It can be harvested from November to March.
  • Chieftain Savoy: A savoy cabbage with crinkled green leaves and a sweet taste. It is resistant to frost and clubroot disease.
  • Red Drumhead: A red cabbage with a round, compact head and a spicy flavor. It is suitable for making sauerkraut or salads.
  • Purple Cape: A cauliflower-like cabbage with purple florets and a nutty flavor. It can be eaten raw or cooked like broccoli.
  • Walking Stick: A kale-like cabbage with long, slender stems that can grow up to six feet tall. It is also known as Jersey Cow or Cow Cabbage.

January King

Close-up photo of a January King cabbage, showing the textured green leaves with purple veins and a pale yellow core in the center.
“January King cabbage: a regal and flavorful addition to winter meals 🌿👑”

January King cabbage is a winter-hardy variety that can survive cold temperatures, frosts, and snow. It has a savoy-like texture and a purple-green color that intensifies with the cold. 

It produces medium-sized heads weighing around 3 to 5 pounds (1.4 – 2.3 kg) with a strong and sweet flavor. January King cabbage is an heirloom variety grown in England and other countries for hundreds of years.

To grow January King cabbage, you need to sow the seeds in early summer, as it takes about 200 days to mature. You can plant them in rows or blocks, leaving about 24 inches (60 cm) of space between each plant. 

They prefer rich, moist, and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. You can mulch them with organic matter to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Using companion plants like nasturtiums and mint, you also protect them from pests such as white cabbage butterflies, flea beetles, and slugs using companion plants like nasturtiums and mint.

Depending on your climate, you can harvest January King cabbage from January to March. It would be best to wait until they thaw out after a freeze before picking them, as they will have a better texture and taste. 

You can cut them at the base with a sharp knife, leaving some outer leaves attached to the stem to encourage new growth. You can store them in a cool and dry place for several weeks or use them fresh in salads, soups, casseroles, or stuffed dishes.

Chieftain Savoy

Close-up photograph of a green Savoy cabbage, known as Chieftain Savoy, with wrinkled and curly leaves.
“Get your greens in with this beautiful Chieftain Savoy cabbage!”

Chieftain Savoy cabbage is a variety of cabbage that has dark green, crinkly leaves, and a round, firm head. It was introduced in 1938 and won an All-American Selections award. 

It is known for its sweet and tender flavor and cold hardiness. Use Chieftain Savoy to make stuffed cabbage, coleslaw, or sauerkraut.

To grow Chieftain Savoy cabbage, sow seeds indoors in flats with good potting soil from February to July and transplant them into the garden about 3 to 4 weeks after sprouting. 

Alternatively, you can direct sow seeds in the garden. Cabbage prefers rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and full sun exposure. Water regularly and mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. 

Protect the plants from cabbage butterflies and other pests with row covers or organic insecticides. Harvest when the heads are firm and about 4 to 6 lbs each.

FAQs on Top 10 Cabbage Varieties for Your Garden


Cabbages offer great diversity, with Cornell University’s VegVariety listing 210 cabbage variety reviews. The main categories are green, red (purple), and Savoy, with Napa cabbages generally categorized under Chinese cabbages.

Your choice should be motivated by your flavor profile preference but should take note of your soil quality (cabbages need good draining, fertile soil) and local climate (cabbages do best between 59 to 68°F (15 – 20°C)). 

Different varieties offer alternative growing, taste, and utility profiles, so check catalogs and forums for advice on which of the hundred cabbage varieties will suit your garden for you to enjoy.

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