Virtues: We love bok choy for its large, lush, deep green leaves that rest on top of creamy white stalks; these leafy veggies are full of mild flavor, perfect for stir-fry.
Common name: Bok choy; bok choi; pak choy
Botanical name: Brassica rapa var. chinensis
Flowers: In a process often referred to as “bolting,” bok choy can produce delicate yellow flowers, usually during spikes of warmer weather. Many growers of bok choy try to avoid bolting by harvesting before this process occurs, to avoid any chances of the edible plant turning bitter. Some actually prefer the sweet taste of the flowers, and will add them into dishes like salads.
Foliage: Long, ovate, dark green leaves flare out from crisp, white stalks; this entire plant, from the thick stalks to the large, ellipsoid leaves are full of light flavor that complement recipes, whether cooked or prepared raw.
Habit: With a rounded habit, bok choy can reach a height between 1 to 2 feet, with a similar spread.
Season: Depending on climate, these tasty veggies can bring bursts of flavor through any season; in most areas they are usually grown in early spring or late fall because they prefer cool weather.
How to grow bok choy: These fast-growing plants thrive in cool weather and typically should be planted in early spring or late fall, in fertile, rich, well-drained soil. Harvest in cooler weather, to avoid wilting; warm weather can cause the plant to rot, or unwanted bolting. Thrives in full sun to part shade.
Image: Jeremy Keith
Grow a spectacular vegetable garden with the Vegetable Garden Value Pack.
Produce bountiful harvests with tips from The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible.
Get inspired with valuable tips for fruit and vegetable growing in the Smart Gardening Techniques: Edible Gardening.
Learn about eight easy-to-grow vegetables that will maximize your space and minimize your work in Horticulture’s 8 Great Vegetables for the Edible Garden Online Workshop.
Create tasty and satisfying meals with your homegrown vegetables with The Everything Vegetarian CookBook.