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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

leaf and heading mustards

Other Common Names Include:  Leaf mustard, heading mustard, mustard greens, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, Japanese mustard, Gai Choy.  Varieties include: Chinese Mustard, Mizuna, Tendergreen Mustard, Da Ping Pu

Latin Name:  Brassica juncea and Brassica rapa subsp. nipposinica

Plant Family: Brassicaceae

Close Relatives: Canola, rutabaga, radish, cabbage

Uses and Markets: Culinary (used in Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine e.g. raw in salads, cooked alone or in soups and stir fries or pickled).

Leaf and heading mustard, variety Da Ping PuLeaf and heading mustard, variety Southern GiantLeaf and heading mustard, variety Mizuna
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Brassica crops are cool-season vegetables. They perform best at moderate temperatures and can withstand mild frosts.  Low temperatures early in the growing season may cause premature seedstalk development (bolting).  Extreme changes in temperature, poor soil conditions or low nutrient levels also induce bolting.  Leaf and heading mustards are also sensitive to daylength and will bolt if exposed to long-day photoperiods.  Increased temperatures or sustained dry periods will result in undesirable spicy or pungent flavours in the leaves. These plants can also be grown in winter greenhouses with temperatures between 12-14°C.  Young ‘baby’ mustards can be broadcast seeded and harvested when 10-15 cm tall.  Otherwise grow in rows and harvest when vegetation is 15-20 cm tall.

Propagation method

Direct seeding.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Mid April-mid September.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

10-20 cm

Between row spacing

30-60 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Experience from Ontario field trials suggests that Flowering Edible Rape, a close relative of leaf and heading mustards, requires 80-120 kg N/ha for each planting through the growing season and would be a starting point for determining nitrogen requirements when growing leaf and heading mustards.   Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

All soil types, growing best on sandy-loam soils.

Soil pH

5.5-7.5, lower pH may cause the prevalence of clubroot to increase (and warm temperatures).

Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

20-65 days depending on cultivar or species.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest.  Successive plantings.  Multi-cropping possible.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95-100%

Temperature:  0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 10-14 days

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Cabbage maggot (Delia radicum), flea beetles, swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii), diamondback moth larvae (Plutella xylostella), imported cabbage worm (Artogeia rapae), cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni), cutworms, aphids

Diseases: Club root (Plasmidiophora brassicae), downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica), Alternaria leaf spot, turnip mosaic virus (TuMV), bacterial soft rots (Erwinia cartovera, Pseudomonas spp.)

Other: none

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Earwigs, slugs,  thrips, tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris), leafminers (Liriomyza spp.) , seedcorn maggot (Delia platura)

Diseases: Bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas syringae), black rot (Xanthomonas campestris), damping off (Pythium, Rhizoctonia spp.), Fusarium wilt (cabbage yellows)

Other: none

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario:  flea beetles, club root. Flea beetles tend to prefer specialty crops (e.g. Chinese cabbage, bok choy, daikon) over traditional brassica crops.  Club root damage will be less when grown during cooler times of the year (e.g. April and Aug/Sept. plantings).  Many specialty Brassica crops are included in Crop Group 5:  Brassica (Cole) Leafy Vegetables.   A complete list of all crops included in Crop Group 5 can be found on Health Canada’s website  .  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For pest control products registered on Brassicas, refer to OMAFRA Publication 838, Vegetable Crop Protection Guide.  For more information on pests of Brassica crops, refer to the Brassica module of Ontario CropIPM on the OMAFRA website.

Downy mildew on specialty brassica Flea beetle and damage on specialty brassicaDiamond back moth on specialty brassicaImported cabbageworm and damage on specialty brassicaAlternaria on specialty brassicaSpecialty brassica showing symptoms of severe clubroot on the roots (Photo credit: Thomas Gludovacz, University of Guelph)Swede midge larvae on brassica plantSwede midge damage to broccoliCabbage maggot on brassicaCabbage looper larvae
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Allen, J., Fraser, H. and R. Hallett.  2008.  The Swede Midge – A Pest of Crucifer Crops.  Factsheet 08-007, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Queen’s Printer for Ontario.    
  2. Chaput, J. 1998. Asian Vegetables Grown in Ontario, Factsheet 98-033, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. 
  3. Chaput, J. and R. Cerkauskas. 2000. Insects, Diseases and Disorders of Asian Vegetables, Factsheet 00-095, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  Queen’s Printer for Ontario.
  4. Munro, D. B., and E. Small.  1997.  Vegetables of Canada.  NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  5. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  1998.  Publication 3346 Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook, Second Edition.  University of California, Oakland.