Winter Hardy Savoy Cabbage

“Dear Horticulture Talk, I’m looking for a variety of savoy cabbage that I can grow and keep in my garden through winter.  Will Savoy Express be okay? Thanks, John.”


Hi John,

Thank you for contacting us in regards to Savoy Cabbage that is winter hardy.  Savoy Express Hybrid is not a real good keeper in terms of freezing.  While it will survive fall frosts, it is a variety that you want to have in before the cold of winter sets in.

However, there are some open pollination (heirloom) varieties that you may be interested in.  These have a better tolerance of the cold than the Savoy Expess Hybrid:

–Chieftain Savoy (also known as Chieftain Drumhead Savoy or Savoy Chief): 80-105 days, AAS winner in 1938.  This variety is a round, flattened, solid drumhead, about 6-8 pounds, with dark blue-green finely curled leaves.  It has good wrapper leaves and is white inside.  It can withstand the frost of fall and is winterhardy to zone 5.

–Des Vertus:  75-95 days.  This is a French savoy type with 3 pound heads.  The leaves are crinkled and a deep blue-green with a mild, sweet flavor.  It is very adaptable in that it can withstand the heat of summer and overwinter in mild areas (Zone 5 and warmer).

–Holland White (also known as Holland Late Winter):  This variety has solid white heads that are traditionally used for sauerkraut, coleslaw, and salads.  They produce 4-7 pound heads and store well.  If planted in May or June, the heads will be ready in October thru December and can overwinter in the garden.

–January King:  100-160 days.  It is an frost resistant, English ‘semi-savoy’ variety.  It is sown in May-July and then harvested in November-January.  The heads are flat and solid with a light green color.  There are also purple markings on the wrapper leaves.  The heads are 3-5 pounds, resistant to splitting, and are of very fine quality.

–Winter King: 80 days.  Original, dark-green finely crumpled leaves, uniform heads on short stems, can overwinter in mild areas.  Excellent quality.

–Winterfurst: This is an extremely late savoy that has 5-7 pound healds.  The plants are sown early but harvested in late fall or winter.  It is very hardy and stores well.  They can even be harvested in early spring.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.




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