Are you craving the freshness of farm-to-table bok choy but don’t have a sprawling garden? No worries! Growing bok choy in a pot is like having a mini farm right at your fingertips.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to successfully cultivate bok choy in a pot. From selecting the right variety to nurturing your plants, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get started!
1. Pick a suitable bok choy variety for the pot
There are several types and varieties of bok choy to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and preferred culinary uses.
- White Stemmed bok choy, also known as Chinese white cabbage, can be cooked or eaten raw.
- Green Stemmed bok choy, famous as Shanghai Pak Choy, tastes best in salads and stir-fries.
- Soup Spoon bok choy, also called Baby or Squat bok choy, is best in soups and salads.
- Joi Choi has white stems, large dark green leaves, and is resistant to bolting and cold temperatures.
- Black Summer has light green stems, slow bolting in heat, and produces a high yield of marketable heads.
- Feng Qing Choi is a hybrid variety with green stems, slow to bolt, and matures within 45 days.
- Mei Qing Choi is a dwarf green-stemmed variety, resistant to cold, heat, and bolting, and matures in 35-40 days.
- Win-Win Choi is a white-stemmed hybrid with a bumper harvest, maturing in 50-55 days.
2. Choose the best time to grow bok choy
The ideal time to grow bok choy is during the cool seasons of spring and fall. Bok choy is a cool-season crop and prefers temperatures between 55°F to 75°F for optimal growth. It can tolerate light frost and heat, but extreme temperatures should be avoided.
When planning your planting time, consider the frost predictions in your area. Start sowing the seeds directly in pots or transplant seedlings when they’re a couple of inches tall.
3. Find out how long it will take to grow bok choy
You can expect bok choy to mature and be ready for harvest within 30 to 55 days. This is influenced by factors such as the variety of bok choy, growing conditions, and climate. Here are three important points to consider:
- Variety Selection: Different varieties of bok choy have varying maturity times. Some dwarf varieties can mature as quickly as 30 days, while others may take up to 55 days to reach full maturity.
- Growing Conditions: Providing optimal growing conditions, such as consistent moisture levels, proper spacing, and adequate sunlight, can help promote faster growth and maturity.
- Climate: The time it takes for bok choy to mature can also be influenced by the climate in your area. Warmer temperatures may result in faster growth, while cooler temperatures may slow down the growth process.
4. Pick the right pot to grow bok choy
Choose a pot with a diameter of at least 8 to 10 inches per plant. Dwarf varieties can be grown in containers with a depth of 6 inches, while standard cultivars need 8 to 10 inches.
Make sure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogged or overly dry soil. Bok choy prefers fertile and well-draining soil, so use sterilized potting mix to avoid importing pests or diseases. Avoid using ordinary garden soil, as it may be too dense and lacking in nutrients.
5. Prepare the pot for planting
To prepare the pot for planting bok choy, ensure that it’s filled with loose potting mix, leaving room at the top for watering. This will provide the bok choy with the necessary nutrients and proper drainage.
Here are three important steps to follow when preparing the pot for planting:
- Select a container with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogged or overly dry soil.
- Use a potting mix that’s well-draining and rich in organic matter to provide the bok choy with the necessary nutrients.
- Fill the container with the potting mix, ensuring that there’s enough space at the top for watering. This will allow for proper hydration of the plants without overflowing the pot.
6. Plant the bok choy seeds in the pot
Fill the container with a well-draining, sterilized potting mix, leaving a gap at the top for watering.
Sow the seeds a quarter-inch deep and keep the soil moist until germination, which typically occurs within 4-8 days.
You can start the seeds indoors and transplant them into the containers once they’re a couple of inches tall.
7. Plant the bok choy seedlings in the pot
Gently remove the seedlings from their nursery pots, being careful not to damage the roots.
Dig a hole in the potting mix that’s deep enough to accommodate the root system of the seedling.
Place the seedling in the hole, making sure that the base of the stem is level with the soil surface.
Fill the hole with potting mix, lightly pressing it around the seedling to secure it in place.
Water the newly planted seedlings thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
8. Provide the required sunlight
Bok choy plants thrive best in partial shade, receiving about three to five hours of sun per day. Position your containers in a location that offers this level of sunlight exposure.
However, it’s important to adjust the sunlight based on the climate. In hotter climates, you may need to provide more shade to protect the plants from extreme heat. On the other hand, in cooler climates, you may need to provide more sunlight to ensure optimal growth.
9. Provide the required water to the plant
Water your bok choy plants regularly, ensuring that the soil remains slightly moist but not overwatered. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
- Consistent Moisture: Bok choy plants require consistent moisture in the soil to thrive. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings.
- Avoid Overwatering: Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. Make sure to water the plants only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
- Prevent Water Stagnation: Ensure that the containers have proper drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. Stagnant water can suffocate the roots and cause damage to the plant.
10. Thin the bok choy seedlings
Maintaining proper spacing is crucial when thinning the bok choy seedlings. This process helps ensure that each plant has enough room to grow and develop properly.
When the seedlings reach a height of 1-2 inches, it is time to thin them out. Use the following table as a guide for the recommended spacing between bok choy seedlings in a pot.
|Number of Seedlings
|Container Size (inches)
Gently remove the unwanted seedlings by carefully pulling them out of the soil. Be cautious not to disturb the roots of the remaining seedlings.
11. Provide nutrients to the bok choy
Here are three key ways to provide nutrients to your bok choy:
- Organic matter: Incorporate well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil before planting. This will enrich the soil with essential nutrients and improve its structure.
- Nitrogen-rich fertilizer: Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable that requires a steady supply of nitrogen for vigorous growth. Use a balanced fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content to promote healthy foliage.
- Foliar feeding: Spray a diluted liquid fertilizer directly onto the leaves of your bok choy. This method allows the plants to quickly absorb nutrients and can help correct nutrient deficiencies.
12. Harvest and store the bok choy
Harvesting bok choy is a simple process that involves cutting the outer leaves or harvesting the whole plant. For a continuous supply of bok choy, you can practice succession planting by sowing seeds every couple of weeks. Harvesting should be done before hot weather to prevent bolting.
To store bok choy, you can refrigerate it in a plastic bag or container for up to a week.