Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cauliflower
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Brassica (BRAS-ee-ka) (Info)
Species: oleracea var. botrytis

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral sketchkat06 On Aug 30, 2010, sketchkat06 from Lawndale, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This needs a good amount of space. In my container garden it was able to mature to a decent size but it took a long time. Also prone to aphids which kept attacking the forming heads :/ Caterpillars went after the leaves but didn't damage it much, it can handle them well.

Neutral Baa On Nov 6, 2002, Baa wrote:

A cabbage relative that produces tasty curds. It wasn't well known in Europe, except for Italy, until the 1500's, they are thought to originate from Persia and Asia Minor.

Cauliflowers are not particularly easy to grow well. They require a deep, fertile soil that is well drained but doesn't dry out too much in full sun. They can also be sensitive to soil pH. the optimum being about 6.5 and are heavy feeders.

The great thing about Caulis is that you can grow 3 crops a year so you don't get a big glut and then nothing for the rest of the year.

Please bear in mind I'm writing from the UK (USDA zones 7a-9a), you may need to check up on the months you can sow these varieties in your region.

Summer Cropping Varieties

In warmer regions, sow summer cropping varieties under glass in Jan to Feb and transplant to their growing positions in early April (depending on last frost date) for a mid summer crop. Or sow outdoors in mid April for a late summer crop. In cooler regions sow them indoors in mid-April (or about 5 weeks before last frost date) and transplant to final positions in June for a late summer crop.

Autumn Cropping Varieties

Sow in mid April to mid May outside, transplant to cropping position in late June for an October to November crop

Summer and autumn varieties usually take about 15 to 24 weeks from sowing to harvest.

Winter Cropping Varieties

Sow outside throughout May, transplant in late July for a March to May crop the following year.

Winter varieties take about 45 weeks from sowing to harvest.

The seeds germinate in 1 to 2 weeks after sowing.

All cauliflowers need a well prepared bed, dig in plenty of manure several months prior to sowing and/or transplanting. This not only enables the soil to be fertile but also ensures the ground is consolidated enough for the plants.

Sow thinly in seed bed rows about 6 inches apart, set the seed about 3 inches apart and 0.5 inches deep.


When transplanting, dig up the plants with as much soil as possible around the roots and plant in their final positions at the same soil level they grew in previously.

Do not fork or dig the soil just before planting, they dislike loose soil. A light surface rake over is all you need to do.

Firm them in well, this is important, if they aren't firmly in the soil they will not produce good curds (I wasted a whole crop by not firming them in hard).

Transplanted Crop Care

Keep the crop well watered but not waterlogged (too much water will give you tiny, under developed curds). Weed well and keep them free of pests and disease. Also use a good fertiliser in spring.

During the summer, break off a couple of outer leaver to cover the curd with to protect from the sun. Similarly, with winter crops, again cover the curds with leaves to protect them from frosts.


Start to harvest some when they have quite small curds (otherwise you might end up with masses of mature caulis to freeze). Don't wait until the curds begin to separate, they are over mature when that happens. Looks for a tight curd with a good colour (usually cream or white depending on the variety you've sown)

Mini Cauliflowers

Some varieties are suitable for mini crops. These varieties will need the same care but only need to be spaced at 6 inches apart and are ready for harvesting much earlier. They are great for gardens where space is limited.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lawndale, California
Jacksonville, Illinois
Austin, Texas

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