How to Grow Bok Choy (6 Quick Tips)

How do you Grow Bok Choy from Seed?

This can be a difficult question to answer for beginner gardeners because of complex factors like weather, soil, and pests.

This article will help solve this problem and give ALL experience levels of gardeners Easy-to-Follow Tips on growing Bok Choy from seed.

And I recommend scrolling to the bottom of this page to find answers to the 5 most frequently asked questions most gardeners have when growing Bok Choy.


Tip #1: Choose THESE 2 Bok Choy Types

bok choy

While there are hundreds of varieties of bok choy you can grow, I am recommending 2 kinds to choose from

These are the easiest types when trying to learn how to grow bok choy from seed.

A) White-Stem Bok Choy

white stem bok choy

White-Stem Bok Choy is the most popular type of Bok Choy in North America. This type of bok choy is also referred to as pak choy, chinese cabbage, and even chinese mustard.

This vegetable is typically eaten raw when young and steamed or sauteed when older.

This is a very easy type of green to grow, but it should be noted that it does not tolerate long times of frost or heat.

This plant can reach 1 foot in height, has cluster of green leaves, and has white stems and white veins.

Finally, this grows best in temperatures between 45 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, requires full sun, and grows best in hardiness zones 4 – 7.

B) Shanghai Bok Choy

shanghai bok choy

Shanghai Bok Choy is the other type of Bok Choy that can be grown as is also incredibly popular in North America and throughout the world.

This vegetable is typically eaten raw when young and steamed or sauteed when older.

This is a very easy type of green to grow, but it should be noted that it does not tolerate long times of frost or heat.

This plant can reach 1 foot in height, has a cluster of green leaves, and has green stems and green veins.

Finally, this grows best in temperatures between 45 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, requires full sun, and grows best in hardiness zones 4 – 7.

Tip #2 Starting Seeds Indoors

starting seeds indoors

Because of its ability to withstand low temperatures, growing bok choy from seed can happen indoors and outdoors. Please read below for instructions on how to grow bok choy from seed both indoors and outdoors.

Step 1 – Begin Planting Seed 6 weeks Before the Last Frost

growing seed

You will want to start your seeds inside approximately 6 weeks before you plan on moving your bok choy into your garden or moving your planter outside.

  • You will first want to start by buying your seed.  I recommend buying from Amazon because it is quick and inexpensive.
  • You will then want to take 3-inch GrowKo Peat Pots and fill them up to approximately 80% full with Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.
  • Next, spray your soil 5 to 8 times with a spray bottle. You will want the soil to be moist, not damp. Damp soil can cause unwanted fungus.

*Find Your Last Frost Date HERE*

Step 2 – Lightly sprinkle 4-5 Seeds Per Pot

planting seed
  • Because of how small bok choy seeds are it is sometimes to grab the1 or 2 seeds and plant them. Instead, sprinkle 4-5 seeds per pot about 1/8 inch deep and then gently brush the soil over the seeds. *Note, it is ok if more than 5 seeds fill a hole.
  • Then spray the soil again 5 to 8 times until it turns a dark color.

The video below also gives a great tutorial on how to plant seeds.

Step 3 – Provide Your Seeds with At Least 8 Hours of Sunlight

sunlight on plant
  • After planting your seeds, provide at least 8 hours of sunlight by placing the pots by a window or a Grow Light if your windows do not receive enough sunlight.

*If you put your seeds closer than 4 inches they will burn and die. If you put them further away than 4 inches there is a chance they won’t get enough sun to germinate.*

You will also want to keep the room temperature between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. With that being said, you can even grow bok choy seeds in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • This is the temperature needed so that your seeds can turn into plants.

If you don’t have an area that will stay consistently around 50-65 degrees, I would recommend investing in a Plant Heating Mat.

  • A Plant Heating Mat is the perfect way to keep your pots and seeds at a consistent temperature that we may not otherwise be able to.

Step 4 – Spray, Spray, Spray

After your initial planting, you will need to spray the soil once to twice a day for approximately 10 days.

It will take approximately 10 days for your seeds to germinate or “pop” through the soil.

Once your seeds have germinated and sprouted through the soil, you will want to continue to spray them twice a day for 4 more months until they are ready to transplant outside.

Step 5- Prune & Transplant your Bok Choy Plant into a Larger Pot

prune and transplantbok choy

Once your bok choy grows for about 3-4 weeks you can either begin to thin it to allow only one plant to grow or keep all plants in the pots. If you keep all plants there is a chance that they will not grow as full as just one bok choy.

You can do this by taking scissors and snipping the smaller of the plants right at the soil line.  This will allow the healthier bok choy plant to grow to its full potential.  

Next, you can transplant your bok choy plant to a 5 Gallon Nursery Pot.

Again, you will want to fill these pots about 80% full with your potting mix.

Next, you will want to make a hole approximately 3 inches deep (about the size of your bok choy plant at this point).

Then turn your existing small pot upside down, pinch the bottom of it, and then gently pull the soil and your plant out.

You will then place it in your 5-gallon pot and fill it with soil.

Immediately after you do this, spray the soil about 5 to 10 times.

You will then want to leave your bok choy in this pot until it is ready to transplant outside.

Step 6 – Introduce your Bok Choy to Outside Weather

This next step is what most beginner gardeners miss, but is critical to your success.

For about two weeks, you will want to slowly introduce your bok choy to outside.

On the first day, you will want to place your Bok Choy (still in its pot) outside in direct sunlight for approximately 2 hours.

Each day thereafter, place the Bok Choy outside for an additional hour until you build up to 6 straight hours.

Tip #3: Transplant Bok Choy Outside

growing bok choy

Once the last frost of the year has happened you can transplant your Bok Choy outside. If you transplant your bok choy before the last frost it may die. To help prevent this I recommend planting it in a raised garden bed.

Below, is a 2 step process for transplanting your Bok Choy outside into your garden.

Step 1 – Do THIS if you will be keeping your Bok Choy in its container all summer!

If you decide to keep your Bok Choy in the pots then there is no need to transplant. You will only need to apply compost or Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

  • Apply approximately 1/4 inch of potting mix to your planter
  • As soon as you apply your fertilizer make sure to water the Bok Choyapproximately 15 to 30 seconds
  • Every week until harvest water your Bok Choy twice a day and keep it in full sun to promote fruit growth.

If you want to learn more about growing Bok Choy in containers, I recommend watching the below video:

Step 2 – Do THIS to Transplant your Bok Choy into your Garden!

  • About 1 month before you plan on transplanting your bok choy into a garden dig holes about 8 inches deep and filling it with compost.  Space holes 12-18 inches apart.
  • Dig your holes in an area that will receive partial shade.
  • Then after the last frost transplant your bok choy into the garden exactly the same way you transplanted it into the larger pots.
  • Immediately after you transplant your bok choy outside add
    Miracle-Gro Plant Food and water the soil for about 30 seconds. 
  • Finally, water your bok choy once a day for about 30 seconds. Continue doing this until you harvest your bok choy mid-summer.

Tip #4: Starting Bok Choy Seeds in a Garden

bok choy growing from seed

Bok Choy is one of the easiest vegetables to grow outside, no matter where you live.

Whether you do not have the ability to start your seeds indoors or just want to start your seeds directly in a garden then I recommend following the below directions:

Step 1: Start Your Seeds After the Last Frost

You should always start your bok choy seeds after the last frost. Bok Choy seeds will germinate best at temperatures between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

With that being said, they can even grow in weather as low as 40 degrees!

If you want to know your last frost date then I recommend Clicking HERE.

Step 2: Plant Your Seeds This Way!

Once you decide to start seeds outside you will want to do the following simple steps:

  1. Find a location that is partial shade and cooler and has a pH level between 6.0-7.0.
  2. Dig 1/8 inch holes with the tip of your finger or a pencil.
  3. Keep holes approximately 2 feet apart to allow for the most bok choy grow.
  4. Lightly sprinkle 4-5 bok choy seeds in each spot. It should be noted that not all seeds will germinate and you can always thin your plants out after they grow.
  5. Lightly cover your seeds and spray 8-10 times until the soil turns a dark brown color.

Step 3: Continue Watering your Seeds

After you initially plant your bok choy seeds you will want to water them 2-3 times a day until the soil is dark brown.

You will do this until the seeds germinate and then continue doing this until they become at least 3 inches tall.

*If the weather is hotter than usual for your garden then you may need to water several more times a day then described above.

Tip #5: Effectively Care for your Bok Choy THIS Way!

bok choy care

Below are caring tips for your Bok Choy throughout the summer:

  • Keep Your Soil Healthy – Quickly inspect your soil for fungus, harmful insects, and weeds before you plant and throughout the summer.  Remove and replace it with new soil as needed.
  • Water the soil, not the plants. By watering leaves, you increase the risk of spreading fungus and other diseases. Do not overwater as it will increase the likelihood of disease.
  • Remove diseased and dead plants. This is the easiest way to prevent the spread of deadly diseases. If you notice yellow spots on leaves it means you may have blight fungus and will want to remove the leaves.
  • Plant your bok choy at a new spot yearly.  This is key to preventing seasonal diseases and insects from attacking the same plants year in and year out.  
  • Prevent Insects.  The best way to prevent them is through an insecticide.  If you don’t want aphids, slugs, or cabbage worms ruining all your hard work I recommend purchasing Garden Safe Pesticide

Tip #6: Effectively Harvest Bok Choy THIS Way!

Below are several tips to remember when harvesting bok choy:

  • Harvest your Bok Choy 3 to 10 weeks after planting.
  • Harvest your bok choy frequently. This will help thin it out, ensure the best flavor possible, and helps to prevent seeding.
  • Always pick your bok choy where it meets the stalk. 
  • Pick your bok choy from the outside to the inside.

Frequently Asked Questions (5 Questions)

1. What are the best ways to store bok choy?

storing bok choy

Below, will give you several guidelines to store bok choy longer:

  • Once you harvest your bok choy it will store at room temperature for only 1-day maximum.
  • If you wash your bok choy and place it in a zip-lock bag your bok choy can last 2-3 days.
  • If you wash your bok choy and place it in a zip lock bag with several layers of damp paper towels your bok choy can store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

2. What are the Best Uses for Bok Choy?

bok choy uses

There are numerous uses for bok choy in food. Below, are some of the best ways to use bok choy:

3. What type of Bok Choy Seeds should I Use?

bok choy seeds

There are four types of seeds that can be used to grow bok choy; heirloom, organic, hybrid, and GMO.

I recommend using Heirloom or Hybrid seeds. Gardeners do not have access to GMO seeds and organic seeds is a marketing term and not truly a type of seed.

A. Heirloom

  • These seeds contain all the bok choy original traits and produce some of the most beautiful and best-tasting bok choy out there.
  • The downside of this seed is that it is the costliest (due to its rarity).
  • In addition, expect the least amount of yield from this type of seed due to susception of disease and other elements. 

B. Hybrid 

  • Hybrid seeds were made from combining the genes of the same group of plants.  This is not a bad thing.
  • This type of seed is what most gardeners use when learning how to grow bok choy from seed.
  • The goal with hybrids is to produce a plant that contains the best features of both parent plants. 
  • This seed is critical if you want the most resistant plant against mother nature’s elements, insects, and diseases or want the most yield!

4. What Type of Fertilizer Should I Use for My Bok Choy?

The best type of fertilizer for bok choy is compost.

And if you don’t have the time or ability to create compost then I recommend buying Miracle-Gro Plant Food for your bok choy.

5. What Type of Soil Should I Use for My Bok Choy Plants?

If you will be keeping your bok choy plants in containers all year then you will want a well-draining potting mix that provides the correct amount of nutrients like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.

If you will be planting your bok choy into a garden then you will want to add a nutritious garden soil mix into the ground, such as Miracle-Gro Expand N Gro

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