United States Edition

Cauliflower

Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group)

Belonging to the Brassica (Mustard) genus, Cauliflower has a botanical name of Brassica oleracea (Botrytis Group). The botanical name epithet oleracea means 'eaten as a vegetable'.

Large leafed cabbage-like with a white ‘curd’ or flower forming in the centre. It can be tricky to grow successfully, as it is more frost sensitive than most other brassicas, and is also not particularly heat tolerant 1. They tend to fail if stressed when transplanting.

They are often planted to produce two crops – a spring harvest, and a fall harvest 2.

It is an edible vegetable and is treated mainly as an annual, so it grows best over the course of a single year. Normally grows with a erect habit. Popular varieties of Cauliflower with home gardeners are Snowball, All the year round, Early snowball, Purple of Sicily and Snow Crown.

Be aware that Cauliflower typically needs a fair amount of maintenance and care in order to grow successfully. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests. Pay attention to weeding, feed and pruning schedules to ensure your plant remains in peak condition.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Cauliflower have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Cauliflower

  • Full Sun

    +
  • Medium

Cauliflower grows better in cooler temperatures – not suitable for warm areas1. It is important to start cauliflower early enough that it matures before the heat of the summer but not so early that it is injured by the cold 2.

Cauliflower plants should be kept growing vigorously from the seedling stage through harvest. Any interruption (extreme cold, heat, drought or plant damage) can abort development of the edible portion, leading to large plants that never develop a head. 2

Cauliflower needs a consistent and ample supply of soil moisture. Side-dress nitrogen fertilizer when the plants are half grown. 2

Be sure to “blanch” the head once it has reached 2-3 inches 2. To do this, break a leaf over the head and secure with clothespins, or “tie” the outer leaves over the head to keep the curd a crisp white colour and preserve flavour 1 2. Some varieties are self-blanching 2.

Position in a full sun location and remember to water moderately. A soil ph of between 6.5 and 7.0 is ideal for Cauliflower as it does best in weakly acidic soil - neutral soil. Keep in mind when planting that Cauliflower is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

Growing Cauliflower from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 3.12 inches (8.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.58 inches (1.5 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 24°C / 75°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Cauliflower about 14 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Cauliflower

Transplant 4-6 weeks after sowing the seed1.

Use starter fertilizer when transplanting. Always use young, actively growing transplants. Never buy or use stunted plants that have been started in flats and held too long before transplanting; results with inferior plants are almost always disappointing. 2

Space plants 18 inches apart for spring plantings, 24 inches apart in the row for fall plantings 2.

As Cauliflower is hardy, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

Harvesting Cauliflower

15-22 weeks to harvest 1. The curd develops rapidly under the right conditions, growing 6-8 inches in diameter and is ready to harvest within 7 to 12 days after blanching begins 2. The mature heads should be compact, firm and white. Harvest the heads by cutting the main stem. Leave a few green outer leaves attached to protect the heads. Cut the heads before they become overmature and develop a coarse, “ricey” appearance. Once individual florets can be seen, quality deteriorates rapidly. 2

Because cauliflower does not ordinarily develop side shoots, plants may be disposed of or composted after heads are harvested. 2

Companion plants for Cauliflower

These plants have been known to grow well alongside Cauliflower so consider planting:

Cauliflower likes nitrogen fixers such as peas and beans (bush variety)1, as well as celery (which deters cabbage moths). Also beets1, cucumber1, onions1, marigold1, nasturtium1, rhubarb1, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile)1

  • Cauliflower loves Pea

    Peas are good to help fix the nitrogen supply to cauliflowers.

  • Cauliflower loves Bean

    Beans are good to help fix the nitrogen supply to cauliflowers.

  • Cauliflower loves Celery

    Celery attracts away cabbage moths

Repellent plants for Cauliflower

These plants will not grow well with Cauliflower so avoid planting these within close proximity:

Climbing (pole) beans1, tomato1, peppers (chili, capsicum)1, eggplant (aubergine)1, strawberry1, mustard1

Common Cauliflower problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Cauliflower plants:

Black rot 2

Cabbage worms 2

Cauliflower Etymology

*Please note: Botrytis is a horticultural group, and not a variety.

Other names for Cauliflower

Romanesco broccoli, Roman broccoli, Chou-fleur

Brassica oleracea botrytis, Brassica botrytis, Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

Misspellings: Cauliflour, Caulliflower, Coliflower, Caulifower, Coliflor

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Cauliflower care instructions

How long does Cauliflower take to grow?

These estimates for how long Cauliflower takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Cauliflower?

Our when to plant Cauliflower estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

Footnotes

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