Red Bok Choy differs slightly from standard green bok choy in taste and texture. It has deep violet oval shaped leaves and pale green stalks. The coloration pigments give it a more mustardy flavor. If you know the difference between red cabbage and standard cabbage the differences between bok choy and red choy [red choi] are similar. It is a non hearting variety of Chinese Cabbage.
USDA Hardiness Zones 4-7
Air Temperature : 50 to 70 F
Germination temperature: 50 to 80 F
Days to germination / emergence: 4 to 7
Maturity: 45 – 60 days
Soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5
Plant Spacing : 6 to 10 inches
Seed Depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
Red Bok Choy
Biennial : Usually harvested before second season when it goes to seed.
Row Spacing : 18 to 30 inches
Partial Shade – Full Sun so long as temperatures are suitable.
Size: baby bok choy 6 – 10 inches tall Standard bok choy 12 – 24 inches tall
Water : Bok choy requires ample moisture to thrive and prevent premature bolting. Keep the soil moist with regular, even watering, usually about an inch weekly. Use heavy mulch which helps moisture retention in the soil, repels some insects and suppresses weeds.
As “Bok Choy” or “Pak choi” translates to white cabbage the term red bok choy is actually a contradiction and it is more correctly called simply Red Choy or Red shen choy. Red shen choy varieties are primarily green with red veins and or a green perimeter, in fact some look similar in coloration anyway, to an African violet.
The entire plant is edible, but the leaves are the most commonly used. The stalks are similar to celery but tender and juicy with a flavor similar to cabbage, although some detect an earthy grass flavor such as in wheat grass.
Growing Red Bok Choy does not differ from standard varieties. It is a cool weather crop the does best in temperatures of 50 to 70 F. They can survive temperatures slightly below 30 F, so can be started in very early spring and harvested before the hot summer weather sets in. They can also be planted in Autumn and harvested again before winter comes.
You can also get multiple harvests from one planting. Cut just above the soil line when harvesting individual stalks. The roots still in the ground will produce a new head initiating from the center.