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Tips on Growing Pechay in Containers

Pechay is one of those leafy vegetables that can easily grow in containers. It  is a very popular vegetable  in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine.  In western countries, they are also known as  “bok choy” or “pak choy”.  The pechay leaves are smooth and dark green in color forming a cluster similar to  mustard greens. In the Philippines,  we usually add pechay leaves to beef or pork broth soups, or on their own, they are best sautéed with garlic. 


Sowing the Pechay Seeds

I usually start by sowing the seeds in a seed tray.  Drop 2 to 3 seeds per slot, then cover them with a thin layer of  potting mix or compost. In just 3-4 days, you can already see the small buds growing out of the soil. Once the third or fourth leaf appears after around 2 weeks, I transfer the seedlings to a bigger pot of about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. I then choose the healthiest seedlings and pull out the others. If you have a bigger container,  you can grow 2 or 3 plants in the pot.  However, you don’t want the plants to be overcrowded as this will limit the growth of the leaves. I made this mistake in my earlier tries which resulted in smaller and leggy leaves.

Pechay Seedling

Pechay seedlings after about 3 weeks


Watering  your Pechay

I use rice wash to water the plants every morning.  Rice wash is very rich in various nutrients that the plants need in order to grow healthy.  In the Philippines, steamed rice is a staple in our  meals so I get my daily supply of rice wash from some kind neighbors. In exchange,  they get a share in my produce  which they appreciate very much.

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Pechay plants do need sunlight

While these plants can grow in partial shade,  they need to get at least 4 hours  of direct sunlight in order to grow faster and healthier. During my first few trials, I placed the pots in my back patio. As a result, the plants would only get a maximum 1 hour of direct sunlight.  After more than a month, I noticed that the seedlings hardly grew taller than an inch. So I decided to move them to my  front yard where they could get more exposure to  direct sunlight. Here the plants started to grow  faster and healthier.


Last summer,  the temperature in the Philippines reached 38 degrees Celsius at peak times. This  scorched the leaves of my plants, and even caused some of them to wilt. So I decided to move the plants under some bamboo trees so they could be protected from the scorching heat while still allowing them to get at least 4 hours of daily morning sun. Pechay leaves wither easily  if they lack water, so I also made sure I water the plants daily during the summer months.

Harvesting the Pechay Leaves




After another  3 weeks, the pechay leaves were ready for harvest.  When planted in   containers, pechay plants do not grow as big as they should when planted in farm lots.  Nevertheless, with a good soil mix conditioned regularly with compost, they can yield a good amount of produce for the gardener.

There are two options for harvesting pechay.  The first option is to cut only the mature leaves around 1 to 2 inches from the root base. The plant will grow new leaves which can be harvested again after a few weeks. The second option is to pull out the entire plant from the soil. If you choose the first option, I suggest that you use the second option for the next round of harvest. From my experience,  the plants yield less and less in succeeding harvests.

Additional tips

Pechay leaves are prone to pest attack, particularly the leaf miner and flea beatle. Fortunately, they are easy to handle using common organic pesticides.   I usually buy organic pesticides from  gardening shops or  use a home-made solution from canola oil, dishwashing soap and water.

Pechay is a good starter plant for beginner gardeners.  They thrive easily in a tropical weather condition and they never fail to give ambitious gardeners like me a  huge feeling of  fulfillment  after every bountiful harvest.

Tags: Vegetables

Comments (18)

Carmelita judith c guarin
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021


jeanne angco
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

i will do this also …thanks a lot and God bless 🙏!

Cessy Certeza
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Hi! This blog is very helpful for my daughter’s show and tell. Wanted to grab the photos included unfortunately it does not show anymore. I’m hoping you still have a copy of the photos. Thanks a lot. :)

14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

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Evelyn lopez
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Y is it that my petchay,the leaves become yellow?

edith valdez
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Thanks for the tips, I’ll apply what I’ve learned in my next try since my first was an epic fail. Planting vegetables like pechay is a stress-reliever for me. Looking forward to more tips in planting other vegetables.

Lucilo Carpio
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Need more info about urban gardening. Thank you for your info about gardening

Ellem Grace Libo-on
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Hi. I just want to ask if did you expose your pechay seedling in a direct sunlight?

lilia saavedra
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

best season to plant pechay

Rent cameros
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Just wondering why my petchay never grow in full it’s almost months now they are beginning to die … What could be the problem ? Hope you can considered my problem … Coz it’s really make me sad … Thanks I’m a beginner plantita…

Vaz Tanasan Templo
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Thank you for sharing about gardening. That’s the explanation I ever needed. I love gardening. It’s a stress reliever. God bless you more with abundant harvest.

Teresita M. Pabilona
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Am a beginner in vegetable gardening. My space so small so use pots. I need tips about home gardening. Your articles will help me a lot.

14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Thank you for this info, really applies to me knowing you are from the Phils. also. They said pechay only grows in Baguio. I have seedlings but some of them wilted, I wonder why.

Josephine S. Montaño
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Amazing experience

14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Nice experienced

Lito Bautista
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Your pechay looks so healthy! How do you prepare your home-made pesticide? Do you apply it at the first sign of leaf miner infestation and how often do you apply it?
Thank you and more power.

Myra Del Rosario
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

Thank you for these clear, encouraging instructions and tips. Will start my urban garden with pechay.

atanacia catangay
14:28 Thursday, 15 April 2021

is it okay when harvest time, to just cut the leaves, and let it regrow for another harvest?
do you also have malunggay in pots? can you share some tips abt growing malunggay in pots?
thank you!

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