Growing Broccoli Rabe in Containers – How to!

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Last Updated on March 21, 2023

If are you interested in growing broccoli rabe in containers, you can do it. This highly productive vegetable can be grown in large containers that are about 24 inches deep and wide if given good soil. Let us find out how to do it.

What is Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini is a green, cruciferous vegetable consisting of leaves, stems, and edible buds. It belongs to the brassica family. The same village has cabbages, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard, and cauliflower and their relatives.

Broccoli rabe is a nutritious vegetable that is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron. It is also commonly believed that broccoli rabe originates from China, however, the Italians believe that it is of Italian origin. Both countries heavily use this vegetable in many of their dishes.

Can You Grow Broccoli Rabe in a Container?

The answer is yes, you can absolutely produce this vegetable in a pot and if given good care will be highly productive. This vegetable is fast growing, meaning that you have to provide it with a pot that has sufficient space for it to grow and reproduce well. You can harvest this plant as soon as 45 days after planting.

Brocoli Rabe in Containers

How to Grow Broccoli Rabe in a Container – Easy Guide!

To get the best growth from broccoli rabe, you need to provide it with the most ideal growing conditions.

Container size

First the container. The ideal container for broccoli rabe is 24 inches or 61 cm wide. This size will allow the plant to spread out with minimal restrictions.

Ideal soil type

You will then need to provide it will fertile, well-draining soil to allow for the easy movement of water and spread of roots. So pick a container that has drainage holes to allow the water to drain out. Also, pick good quality potting soil. You can also make your potting soil mix by adding a lot of good organic material.

Sun exposure

Broccoli rabe grows well in full sun, but be careful to not expose it to too much direct sunlight that may burn the leaves. Give your broccoli rabe at least six hours of direct sunlight. If it is too hot, move it to an area that has a bit of shade.

Growing broccoli rabe from seed

If you choose your broccoli rabe from seed, make sure you get good quality broccoli rabe seeds. You will need to soak your seeds for about 24 hours before planting. This will help speed up the germination process. Plant the seeds about six weeks before the last frost to avoid possible frost damage.

Plant the seeds in your prepared soil in the container with drainage holes. Keep the soil in the container consistently moist but not soaking wet. If you maintain the moisture at the right level and provide the right humidity, your seeds should start to germinate in about 5-7 days.


You can plant your seeds directly in the container in which they will grow or you can start them in a smaller container or a germination chamber. If you start them in a germination chamber, transplant the seedlings after about two weeks, before they start hardening off.

Seedling care

Keep your newly germinated or newly transplanted seedlings indoors for a couple of days for them to establish, as outside weather conditions may be a bit harsh. Even indoors, make sure they get plenty of light to grow well. You can start putting them outside for incremental times each day to help toughen them up as they grow.


Once the plants have been established, you can put the containers outside permanently. Water the plants well as needed, and check if the top 1/2 inch of the soil has dried, if it has then you need to water it. If it is still wet do not water it.


Broccoli rabe needs a lot of nitrogen to grow well. So during its growing season, give it a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. You can also make your own fertilizer at home, such as compost tea, and give it to your plants about once every week.

Overall care

Once you have your plants growing well, continue to give them good care by watering, fertilizing, and weeding around the plants so that they do not compete for nutrients with other plants.

Harvesting Broccoli Rabe

Knowing when to harvest broccoli rabe is also important in your growing process. Harvesting this leafy vegetable is actually very easy. About 34-45 days after germination, the spouts will be about an inch wide and just starting to flower. Simply cut off the leaves and buts as they come out, just a few inches above the soil. Keep a careful eye on your plants as they can bolt quickly.

Trimming Broccoli Rabe

The leaves, stalks, and flowers of broccoli rabe are all edible. You can trim them as needed. Knowing how to trim broccoli rabe properly is important so that you can get the best out of your plant. 

Trim them in such a way that you do not destroy the plant. If more leaves can grow, you want them to do just that. Be careful not to break the stalks but use sharp, clean cutting implements to trim.

Conclusion – Growing Broccoli Rabe in Containers

We hope this article has taught you and answered all of your questions about how to grow broccoli rabe in containers. As long as you have the right size container, good soil, a good watering schedule, and give the plants food, they will grow really well and you will enjoy this delicious and nutritious vegetable in about 45 days.

The good thing about growing vegetables such as broccoli rabe in containers is that you can easily move them around to where they will be exposed to the right environmental conditions. This is especially true when it comes to sunlight exposure. Whether you have a garden or live in an apartment, you can move your vegetables to the best spot in the area.

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Read more about The Best Time To Harvest Broccolini!

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