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Cabbage pests and diseases

Published: 09.04.2023
pest/disease type symptoms on cabbage control/prevention
Aphids Pest Small, soft-bodied insects on the leaves, stems, and buds. Use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or introduce natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings. Keep the garden area clean and free of weeds.
Cabbage loopers Pest Small, green caterpillars that chew large holes in the leaves. Use insecticidal soap, neem oil or introduce natural predators like parasitic wasps. Handpick and destroy the caterpillars.
Cabbage maggots Pest Small, white larvae that feed on the roots of the plant. Use a floating row cover to prevent the adult fly from laying eggs in the soil. Rotate crops and keep the garden area free of debris.
Cabbage seedpod weevil Pest Small, gray weevils that feed on the developing buds and pods. Monitor the plants for signs of weevils and use insecticidal soap, neem oil or introduce natural predators like parasitic wasps. Handpick and destroy the weevils.
Cutworms Pest Small, brown larvae that cut through the stem of the plant at ground level. Use collars made of cardboard or plastic around the base of the plant. Use insecticidal soap, neem oil or introduce natural predators like birds and parasitic wasps.
Downy mildew Disease Grayish-white mold on the underside of the leaves. Remove infected leaves and destroy them. Provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering. Use fungicides as a last resort.
Fusarium yellows Disease Yellowing and wilting of the leaves. Remove infected plants and destroy them. Rotate crops and avoid planting in the same location for several years.
Powdery mildew Disease White or gray powdery coating on the leaves. Provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering. Use fungicides as a last resort.
Clubroot Disease Swollen, misshapen roots and stunted growth. Remove infected plants and destroy them. Rotate crops and avoid planting in the same location for several years. Use resistant varieties.


Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from plants. They are a common pest of cabbage plants and can cause significant damage if left untreated.


The first signs of an aphid infestation are small, green or black insects on the underside of leaves. As they feed, aphids secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that can attract other pests and cause fungal diseases. Cabbage plants infested with aphids may also have distorted growth and yellowing leaves.

Control or Prevention

There are several ways to control or prevent an aphid infestation. One way is to encourage natural predators, such as ladybugs or lacewings, to feed on the aphids. Another option is to spray the plants with a mixture of water and dish soap, which can suffocate the aphids.

In addition, practicing good garden hygiene by removing any diseased or infested plants can help prevent the spread of aphids. Finally, regular monitoring of plants for signs of pest activity can help catch an infestation early before it becomes too severe.

In summary, while aphids can be a nuisance for cabbage plants, there are several methods for controlling and preventing their damage. With proper care and attention, gardeners can keep their cabbage plants healthy and thriving.

Cabbage Loopers

Cabbage loopers are common pests that affect cabbage plants, as well as other members of the brassica family such as broccoli and cauliflower. These pests are named after their distinctive looping motion as they move along the leaves of the plant.


Cabbage loopers feed on the foliage of the cabbage plant, causing irregular holes and notches on the leaves. The damage caused by these pests can reduce plant growth and yield. In severe cases, the pests may even consume the entire leaf, leaving only the veins behind.

Control or Prevention

One way to prevent cabbage loopers is to cover your plants with floating row covers or other physical barriers. This will prevent adult moths from laying eggs on the leaves. Another method is to handpick and remove any visible larvae from the plant.

Organic insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can be used to control cabbage loopers. Bt is a naturally occurring bacteria that is harmless to humans, but toxic to many insects including cabbage loopers. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label when using any insecticide.

In conclusion, cabbage loopers can be a nuisance for cabbage growers, but they can be controlled with proper prevention and treatment measures. By taking care of your plants and keeping a close eye on them, you can prevent these pests from causing too much damage.

Cabbage Maggots

Cabbage maggots are one of the most common pests that attack cabbage plants. These pests are the larvae of the cabbage root fly, and they feed on the roots of the cabbage plant, causing stunted growth and wilting.

Symptoms: The first sign of cabbage maggots is usually wilting and yellowing of the leaves, followed by stunted growth. Upon closer inspection, you may notice small, white maggots on the roots of the plant. As the infestation progresses, the plant may die.

Control or Prevention: One of the best ways to prevent cabbage maggots is to use row covers to keep the adult flies from laying their eggs on the plants. You can also apply a layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of each plant, which will help to deter the maggots. If you do notice an infestation, you can try using beneficial nematodes or introducing parasitic wasps to control the population. Additionally, crop rotation is important to prevent a buildup of cabbage maggots in the soil.

In conclusion, it is important to be vigilant for signs of cabbage maggots and take preventative measures to protect your cabbage plants. By taking steps to control or prevent these pests, you can ensure a healthy harvest of delicious cabbage.

Cabbage Seedpod Weevil

The cabbage seedpod weevil, also known as the Ceutorhynchus obstrictus, is a tiny insect that can cause significant damage to cabbage plants. This pest is typically found in the northern United States and Canada.

Symptoms: The cabbage seedpod weevil lays its eggs in the flower buds of the cabbage plant. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the developing seeds, causing them to become misshapen or not develop at all. The adult weevils feed on the leaves and can cause a significant amount of damage to the plant.

Control or Prevention: The best way to prevent cabbage seedpod weevils is to practice good crop rotation. Do not plant cabbage or other cruciferous vegetables in the same spot for at least three years. You can also cover your plants with row covers to prevent adult weevils from laying their eggs.

If you have an infestation, you can handpick the adult weevils off of your plants and dispose of them. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control the population. It is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully and only use these products when necessary.

By being vigilant and practicing good gardening techniques, you can prevent or control cabbage seedpod weevils and protect your cabbage plants from damage.


Cutworms are a common pest that can cause significant damage to cabbage plants. These pests are the larvae of several species of moths, and they feed on the stems and leaves of young cabbage plants.

Symptoms of cutworm damage include plants that have been cut off at the base, wilting or yellowing leaves, and holes in the leaves or stems. Cutworms are most active at night, so it can be challenging to spot them in action.

Preventing cutworm damage is the best approach. One way to do this is to use physical barriers like cardboard collars around the base of plants or floating row covers. These barriers can prevent cutworms from reaching the plants. It's also helpful to remove any weeds or other debris around the cabbage plants, as these can provide hiding places for cutworms.

If cutworms are already present, handpicking them off the plants can be effective. Another option is to use an insecticide specifically labeled for cutworm control, being sure to follow all safety precautions and instructions on the label.

By taking preventive measures and staying vigilant for signs of cutworm damage, gardeners can protect their cabbage plants from this pesky pest.

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is a fungal disease that can affect a variety of plants, including cabbage. It can cause significant damage to your crops if not detected and managed quickly.


The first signs of downy mildew on cabbage are yellow spots on the upper surface of leaves. As the disease progresses, the spots turn brown and develop a fuzzy appearance on the undersides of leaves. The leaves may also start to curl, wilt, and eventually die. In severe cases, entire plants may be affected.

Control or Prevention

The key to preventing downy mildew is to maintain proper garden hygiene. Avoid overhead watering as much as possible and water the soil directly instead. Also, try to provide good air circulation by spacing plants appropriately. In case you notice any symptoms of downy mildew, remove and destroy the affected leaves immediately. If the problem persists, use a fungicide specifically labeled for downy mildew on cabbage.

Overall, preventing and controlling downy mildew requires proper sanitation practices, good air circulation, and timely intervention in case of any symptoms.

Fusarium Yellows

Fusarium Yellows is a common disease that affects cabbage plants, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. This disease is known to cause wilting, yellowing, and stunting of the cabbage plants.

Symptoms of Fusarium Yellows include leaves that turn yellow and wilt from the bottom up, often accompanied by brown streaks on the stem. The roots may also appear discolored and stunted. The fungus can survive in the soil for several years, making it difficult to control once it has established.

Preventing the disease is the best strategy for controlling Fusarium Yellows. Practice crop rotation, avoid planting cabbage in areas where other brassicas have grown within the last three years, and sanitize any tools used around infected plants. It is also recommended to use resistant varieties of cabbage.

If Fusarium Yellows does occur in your garden, remove infected plants immediately and dispose of them. Do not compost them as this can spread the disease. Solarization, which involves covering the soil with clear plastic during hot summer months, can also help to reduce the fungal population in the soil.

In summary, preventing Fusarium Yellows through proper crop rotation and using resistant varieties is key to avoiding this disease in your cabbage plants.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that affects many plants, including cabbage. It is a type of fungus that grows on the surface of plant leaves and stems, producing a powdery, white or gray substance.


The symptoms of powdery mildew on cabbage include the appearance of white or gray powdery spots on the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant. As the disease progresses, these spots can grow and merge together, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Severe infections can stunt the growth of the plant and reduce the yield of the crop.

Prevention and Control

To prevent powdery mildew from affecting your cabbage crop, it is important to keep your plants healthy by providing them with adequate water and nutrients. Avoid planting cabbage in areas with poor air circulation as this can increase the likelihood of powdery mildew development.

If your cabbage plants become infected with powdery mildew, remove any affected leaves immediately and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag. You can also use fungicides to help control the spread of the disease. Organic options include sulfur and neem oil, while chemical options include chlorothalonil and myclobutanil. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully when applying any fungicides.


Clubroot is a serious disease that affects cabbages, as well as other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. It is caused by the soil-borne pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae, which infects the roots and causes them to form swollen, distorted growths known as clubs.

Symptoms of clubroot usually appear several weeks after transplanting or sowing. Infected plants may show stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and wilting in hot weather. As the disease progresses, the roots become increasingly swollen and deformed, making it difficult for the plant to take up water and nutrients.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for clubroot once a plant is infected. However, there are several steps gardeners can take to prevent it from spreading. The best way to control clubroot is to practice crop rotation and avoid planting cruciferous vegetables in the same spot for at least three years. Gardeners can also improve soil drainage and add lime to reduce soil acidity, which may help slow the spread of the disease.

In addition to these preventative measures, gardeners can also use resistant varieties of cabbage that have been specifically bred to resist clubroot. These varieties may not be completely immune to the disease, but they are much less likely to be affected by it. By taking these steps, gardeners can help protect their cabbage crops from this devastating disease.

Author: Michael Chen
Bio: I'm gardening specialist with a mission to empower people to grow their own fruits and vegetables. With my background in Plant Science from the University of California and experience working with farmers and community gardens, I'm dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture practices and helping individuals achieve bountiful harvests. Let's get growing!