Broccoli leaves growing but no food!

Brampton, Canada

This is a shot of my four broccoli plants. The largest is growing like a weed but has no broccoli on it, while at the rate they are going the ones with stalks will be ready to eat in 2010. What do I do with the plants that seem otherwise healthy but have no broccoli? Will it re-flower? Who/what is eating it? I use bloodmeal to discourage critters and replace it after a rainfall. Any help appreciated thanks

Thumbnail by janet59
Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Your broccoli has gone to seed or "bolted". It went past forming broccoli heads and went straight to bolting.

The weather forecasts for your area indicate high 70's during the day and 60's at night. Rip it up and try again when it's cooler.

Brampton, Canada

Thank you feldon30 and b patient with my ignorance. What is bolted? Do I rip the whole plant out? Is it too hot to try to grow?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Janet, With broccoli, you eat the seedheads before the flowers open. Once it flowers, the seedheads become tough and inedible. Bolting simply means going to seed, ( sending up a seedhead) a bad thing for leafy brassicas but not really applicable to broccoli since you want the seedhead. Stress, cultivar, weather can all have an effect on the size of the seed head. Yours apparently formed small seedheads ( florets) and you let them go too long hoping for larger seedheads. Buttoning ( tiny seedheads forming on small stunted plants) does not appear to be your problem as your plants apppear to have sized up.

Broccoli does not tolerate heat, but that should not be a problem in Canada. Once it has flowered however, the plant is done. You will need to start over.

Pueblo, CO

Also another thing blood meal is high in nitrogen which will encourage massive vegetative growth but discourges flowering. with your next batch try balanced 10-10-10 formula fertilizer for even vegetative and bloom growth or a bloom formula 8-16-16 or 5-10-10 which will encourage thick full florets with compact vegetative growth.


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Broccoli as far as I know has no problem with 0C (32F) at night and 40's and 50's during the day. This fall will be my first time growing it.

This message was edited Jul 9, 2008 11:59 AM

Brampton, Canada

Do I need to rip the whole plant out?

Pueblo, CO

Unless you want to let it go to seed and save the seeds to plant later. There is no point to leaving the plants otherwise because they aren't going to produce any florets. Im not sure if the leaves are good to eat or not.

Glen Ellyn, IL(Zone 5b)

Rip it out, plant new ones for fall.

Brampton, Canada

thanks L.T. that is straightforward! Will try again earlier next year

Glen Ellyn, IL(Zone 5b)

Broccoli makes a good fall crop - often better than the spring crop.

Pueblo, CO

And now is the good time to plant the seeds for the fall crop

Eureka, CA

Seems like you've gotten a lot of good advice already. I'd pull the plants that have bolted, replant with something else that can utilize that space for now, and replant later.

Looks like the 3 plants in the foreground haven't bolted yet so you might want to leave those for now.

I've found a lot of good recipes for broccoli leaves, from treating them like collards to making some Indian recipes or soups:

Might want to take a look at some of those before you pull the plants.

This message was edited Jun 10, 2009 7:33 PM

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

I nibble my broccoli leaves while I'm wandering around in the garden. They're tasty, a bit leathery, but pleasantly green. I started doing this when I read that "they" had tested broccoli leaves along with the part we eat, and the leaves were lots higher in great nutrients. And, broccoli is one or the best veggies you can eat.

I enjoy chewing, I guess.

Pincher Creek, Alber, Canada

I planted a few broccoli plants, and they are growing well- massive leaves, but no sign of broccoli bits yet- neighbouring gardens that went in at similar time, have broccoli that's already going to seed, but I've yet to see any flowery bits forming- just very large healthy leaves- was I supposed to do something to the plant that I didn't?
I'm wondering if I should pull them and use the space for some of the other things I packed in too closely, but don't want to jump the gun if they might still come...

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Get down close, and look inside the growing top. You might find the beginnings of the florets.

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