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How to: Growing napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)

This is the first time I'm growing napa cabbage of the variety Scarvita and I have to say I'm very impressed with the result. I just love pink, so harvesting fresh pink cabbages is of course a big thing for me!

Ett lilarosa kålhuvud bredvid ett grönt kålhuvud. How to: Growing Scarvita napa cabbage, pink and purple cabbage head.

My gorgeous pink cabbage, grown in the polytunnel.


It's finally time to start harvesting my pink napa cabbage! The variety is called Scarvita and I just think it's insanely beautiful. It's so fun to see this beautiful, vibrant pink color pop against the many shades of green in my garden.


Quick harvest

My napa cabbage has been growing nicely in my polytunnel all spring without showing signs of bolting so far (even though May and early June has been unseasonably hot for us here.)

My Scarvita cabbages looked really good up until only a few days ago when I forgot to water them. It went downhill fast after that. My plants seemed to suffer from a heatstroke and even though I started watering them immediately, the damage was already done. You don't really need to go looking for signs that your napa cabbage is struggling. It's pretty obvious when it happens. You can for example see that the sepals start to droop. I decided to harvest my cabbages there and then and also noticed that the weakened plants had attracted a slew of snails that were happy to start munching on the leaves. I had to remove parts of the leaves since they looked a bit brown and sad.


Ett blad syns i stående bild i otroliga färger. How to: growing napa cabbage, a cabbage leaf

White in the middle, the rest of the leaves are pink/purple and green.


Salladskål i olika färger ligger bredvid varandra i en back. How to: Growing napa cabbage, napa cabbage in different colors.

I harvested all of my napa cabbage at the same time. We'll be eating a lot of cabbage the next few days!


I removed the brown leaves and then I put the little cabbage heads in a tub of water on my kitchen table. Putting your fresh harvest in water is actually a great idea, the plants will start to absorb the water which will make them extra crispy and fresh. The best option if of course if you can also fit them in your refrigerator. If you're planning on storing them for a few days in the refrigerator, you can simply put them in a plastic bag with some water. Just make sure to remove any brown spots on the leaves.

The napa cabbage I'm starting to harvest in the polytunnel right now won't be as large and tightly packed as it would be later in the season. But I don't mind. I'm very happy with the result and I'm really looking forward to seeing this beautiful pink cabbage on my plate. Growing napa cabbage is so rewarding when the result is this gorgeous!


Winter-sown seeds

I've developed a line of winter-sown seeds together with Nelson Garden. This beautiful napa cabbage will be part of the collection for next year. I bought my seeds from a foreign company before I knew that they were actually available here at home too. It was a pleasant surprise!


Närbild på ett vackert purpurfärgat kålhuvud. How to: growing napa cabbage, close-up on a pink and purple cabbage head.

If you want to start growing napa cabbage in the start of summer, there's a big risk that your cabbage will bolt before it can develop enough leaves for you to eat. That's why you might be better off waiting until late summer.


I'm taking a break with my napa cabbage now until July/August.  I'm planning on sowing a new batch  that will be ready to harvest in fall. I'll definitely go for more Scarvita cabbages in the future! After all, it's not only absolutely gorgeous but also really yummy. Good look growing napa cabbage in your own gardens!

/Sara Bäckmo

22. June 2021