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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.

See our list of companion Plants for Cauliflower to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

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

Seed Saving Cauliflower

Seed viability is four years.

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!

Days to Germination How long does it take Cauliflower to germinate?
6 days

Average 6 days | Min 2 days | Max 17 days (252)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Cauliflower?
+ 44 days

Average 44 days | Min 9 days | Max 89 days (43)

Days to Maturity How long until Cauliflower is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 108 days

Average 108 days | Min 25 days | Max 225 days (103)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Cauliflower?
= 158 days

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!

When to sow The number of days to sow Cauliflower before or after your last frost date.
14 days before Last Frost Date

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

Latest Cauliflower Reviews

  • Something different, takes up a bit of space but is worth it for its appearance alone. Cooks up and tastes just fine.

    4 stars

    graibeard about growing Broccoli (Romanesco)

See all Cauliflower reviews and experiences »


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