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How to Grow Pak Choi (Pechay)

Linda's passion for gardening has encouraged her to write about growing different types of organic vegetables and flowers.

This guide will break down how to grow, harvest, and propagate your own delicious pak choi.

This guide will break down how to grow, harvest, and propagate your own delicious pak choi.

Plant Pechay Yourself

As a farmer's daughter, I love growing vegetables and eating them as well. One vegetable that I like growing and eating a lot is called pak choi or pechay (or bok choy in other countries). Since I find that it's often so expensive and sometimes hard to find fresh, I decided to grow my own.

When I visited my home country of the Philippines three years ago, I brought back a few seeds of pak choi. From that packet of seeds, I made more by letting them grow, mature, and flower.

Anyway, one day I was at the pound shop (a shop that sells everything for one pound) here in England, and I found a packet that contained not one but four kinds of vegetable seeds, including pak choi seeds—all for a pound. I was so delighted.

Even a Novice Gardener Can Grow Pak Choi

Pak choi is so easy to grow that even a non-gardener can do it. All you do is scatter the seeds on the plot, cover them lightly with compost, and water them. When they have four or five leaves, transplant them to a plot or a container with at least 4 inches of separation between each plant.

Alternatively, you can just thin them out by removing some of the plants that are too close to each other to give them space to grow bigger. And instead of throwing away the pak choi that you thinned out, you can grow them in containers, raised beds, or anywhere else you like in your garden.

You can also grow pak choi in tubs or any other similar container, especially if you live in a flat. They make beautiful natural decorations for the balcony or patio. Just keep watering them daily and, after five or six weeks, your vegetables are ready to harvest.

Baby Pak Chois

 Baby pak choi or pechay.

Baby pak choi or pechay.

How to Grow Pak Choi: A Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a more detailed breakdown of a simple and easy way to grow pechay:

  1. First, decide where you want to grow the plant in your garden. Find a sunny place or spot in your garden. Pak choi loves the sunshine just like I do.
  2. Dig some plots for the seeds (or you can grow them in containers or troughs). For plots, you dig the soil to make it loose, then flatten the top of the plots and apply some multipurpose compost—or even better, your own organic compost. Mix the compost with the soil very well and flatten the top of the plot.
  3. Once done, take your seeds and sprinkle them evenly on top of the plot that you flattened. Then take some loose soil or compost and cover the seeds lightly, just enough to cover them. Don't put too much cover, as it will take longer for the seeds to germinate.
  4. Water your plant well and watch it grow. It will only take a few days before the pak choi grows, as long as you water it daily.
  5. Once the pak choi grow to about 2 inches in height, you can thin them out (if they are too close to each other) to give them room to grow. Pak choi grow bigger if they have more space to grow.

Note: You can also grow pak choi in a seed tray, then transfer them later to anywhere in the garden, or in containers, or wherever you want to grow them.

You Can Grow Different Kinds of Pak Choi All Year Round

I have been planting pak choi all year round, and I noticed that it survives even during the winter. So there's no problem about when is the best time to grow it. It is even possible to grow it during the winter months in your greenhouse, or if you have poly tunnel. If you want a continuous supply of pak choi, just plant a new batch every week or month.

There are also other varieties and different colours of pak choi. There is one purple variation, which is a bit sour but tastes better when mixed with other vegetables.

My very own homegrown pak choi.

My very own homegrown pak choi.

How to Produce Pak Choi Seeds

When you want to produce some seeds, simply let one or two of the plants flower. After flowering, leave the flowers to finish, until they produce the seeds that will mature for you to gather when they turn yellow or brown. Leave the seeds or flowers to dry before harvesting, but don't leave them too long because all the seeds will pop out.

Pak choi produce hundreds of seeds within just one plant alone, so you will have enough to use the whole year. Seeds can be stored in a jam jar with a tight lid.

This is my 2013 pak choi plant with flowers.

This is my 2013 pak choi plant with flowers.

How to Protect Your Pak Choi From Insects

Pak choi is no different in that, from time to time, you'll likely encounter garden pests that attempt to devour your plants. When I see insects like greenflies, slugs, or snails on my pak choi plants, I get rid of them straight away by using fairy liquid (or any other dishwashing soap) with water in a spray bottle, or by killing them myself.

As much as possible, I try to avoid using insecticides if I can help it. I only use the fairy liquid with water, which works very well. I also use salt to eliminate the slugs and snails. I don't like killing them, but they eat my veggies.

But of course, if you have loads of flies, snails, or slugs that attack your plants, you will likely need stronger pesticides. If you see the photos of my pak choi, they have only a few holes, because I keep an eye on them right from the beginning. Always check at the early stages of planting, because that is when the flies, slugs, and snails start to attack the young leaves.

Pak Choi or Pechay Seeds

When to Harvest Pak Choi

Pak choi does not take long to grow and can be harvested any time from six weeks and onward. Sometimes you can even harvest it after four or five weeks, depending on the weather. If you plant it in a country that is hot all the time, pak choi grows even quicker. Though part of what I like about this vegetable is that it can grow anywhere, even in cold places. It grows well in winter here in England.

Please don't forget to leave your comments down below, and please also share this on your social media like Facebook or Twitter if you have one.

Here's a look at part of my garden, with young purple pak choi, mustard greens, and other varieties of pak choi as well.

Here's a look at part of my garden, with young purple pak choi, mustard greens, and other varieties of pak choi as well.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Linda Bryen


Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on July 19, 2018:

You are welcome Audrey.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 19, 2018:

Thanks, Linda for answering my question. It's helpful to know that Pak Choi can be planted any time of the year.

Take care.

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2018:

Thank you so much Audrey for your comment. As for your 2 questions, I know the answer to number 2 but not question number 1 am afraid. I really don't know how to make "Fairy Liquid" but I do know when to plant Pak Choi seeds. Audrey, Pak Choi seeds can be planted any time of the year even during winter. Pak Choi can grow during winter and can survive the cold weather conditions. I find that Pak Choi grows quicker during summertime though. I hope this helps you Audrey.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 18, 2018:

I have two questions. 1. How do I make "Fairy Liquid?"

2. It's summer here in the U.S. Is it time to plant the seeds?

I'm so happy to come across this hub. You've given a wonderful presentation with your personal experience, information, and lovely photos. I'll share this with other folks.

Love your hubs!

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on December 09, 2017:

Hi! Joy thank you for your comments, I hope my article will help you and your niece grow your own pak choi. It is really easy to grow them even if you just scatter them on the ground they will grow as long as you water them of course. Salamat sa comment Joy.

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on November 11, 2015:

Hi! Bernadeth, thank you for reading my hub and I hope it helps you with your pechay seed.

bhernahdeth on November 08, 2015:

Hi liesl,im glad to have landed on your hub. I have pechay seeds at home waiting to be planted that's why i keep searching on how to grow it to make sure it will survive. I'm inspired by your hub. God bless you

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on May 16, 2015:

Hi! Cipriano, musta kabayan, salamat sa comment. Thank you Cipriano for your comment. Sana mabuhay yang tanim mong pechay. Ang daling itanim naman yang pak choi. Wish you luck.

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on February 08, 2015:

Hi! kabayan, sometimes you have to spray it with washing up liquid with water if they got pests on them like caterpillar. But the ones I have as well can have flies and caterpillars but I kill them if I see one.

Ces T. on February 07, 2015:

Hello kabayan . I had planted the regular pechay ( white stalk dark green leaves) but all were destroyed by pests except for one naligaw which apparently is "PAK Choy" ( identical to your picture ). Am puzzled why the regular pechay is so susceptible

to pest and not this 'pak Choi'! Appreciate assistance . Salamuch.

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on February 08, 2014:

I like it too, very much that is why I grow my own. Thanks for your comment.

cey on January 20, 2014:

I really like petchay, its nutritious and easy to cook.

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on July 02, 2013:

Thank you Raitu for liking my mustards, I am glad to find fellow hubbers who like their veg like I do. Me, too I just love my vegetables.

Raitu Disong on July 02, 2013:

As a kid, I just love mustard leaves. Now at 23 I am still crazy about mustard leaves!!!

great tips! thanks

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on June 23, 2013:

Hi! Ronilo, thank you for your lovely comment again. Kahit nandito ako sa England I still want to live like a true Filipina. Grow my own vegies and my flowers.

Ronilo Blanca from Koronadal, South Cotabato on June 22, 2013:

Im okey. and you? parang ang sarap tingnan kabayan. Talagang super green . tama talga yan kabayan. Your hub gives ideas to those who are wanted to plant veges in their backyard. Keep it it up.. Very nice

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on June 21, 2013:

Yun na nga eh, ang mahal ditto kaya nagtanim na lang ako sa backyard garden namin. How are you? Thank you for your comment, Ronilo?

Ronilo Blanca from Koronadal, South Cotabato on June 21, 2013:

Nice hub kabayan! sarap nyan panghalo sa pochero kabayan. lol! nice one kabayan

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on May 23, 2013:

Thank you the girls for your lovely comment and for voting me up. I just love growing my own vegetables and flowers.

Theresa Ventu from Los Angeles, California on May 23, 2013:

Love your garden ideas! Nothing beats fresh vegetable and pesticide-free. Voted up and the buttons beside it :-)

Linda Bryen (author) from United Kingdom on April 27, 2013:

Once again thank you LongTimeMother for your lovely comments about my pak choi hub. I think its my love for pak choi that made me write about it. As you know it is so easy to grow. Funny enough I just come back from transplanting my pak choi and watering them. I am glad you like it too. I think we both love anything to do with plants and veg. Thank you so much for boosting my hub about pak choi. You are so good to me LongTimeMother. I can't thank you enough.

LongTimeMother from Australia on April 27, 2013:

This is a brilliant hub, liesl5858. I love pak choi and in fact have some in my garden going to seed as we speak. (My summer season is over now, so I have lots of plants producing fresh seeds for next year.)

One of the hubs I intend to write one day (when time allows) is on asian vegetables. They are so easy to grow, and so lovely in a stir-fry ... and I have taken lots of photos.

Meanwhile, I am sharing your hub with my HP followers because it is springtime in the Northern Hemisphere and this is the time to plant. Voted up and awesome. :)