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Cauliflower Growing Quick Tips

Cauliflower in garden

Cauliflower can be finicky in the garden. Follower these cauliflower growing tips for a good harvest.

Sowing and Transplanting Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower requires slow, steady growth in cool weather. Hot weather will cause cauliflower to bolt or button up (cold weather will also cause cauliflower to button—not form full-sized heads).
  • Start cauliflower in early spring 4-6 weeks before the last frost then transplant seedlings after the last frost.
  • In mild-winter regions start cauliflower in autumn to mature in the mild winter.
  • Sow cauliflower seeds ¼-½” (6-13 mm) deep.
  • Cauliflower seeds will germinate in 4-10 days at 65°F (18°C). If you sow seed indoors to start, choose a warm, well-lighted location—in a bright window or under grow lights.
Planting cauliflower seedlings
Planting cauliflower seedlings

Growing Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower seedlings can be transplanted into the garden when they are 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) tall after the last frost.
  • Move seedlings to a sheltered place outdoors to “harden off” 1 week before transplanting.
  • Thin plants to 15” (37.5 cm) apart in a staggered pattern.
  • Grow cauliflower in rich, well-drained soil, in full sun.
  • Give cauliflower regular water keeping the soil evenly moist.
  • Feed cauliflower every 3-4 weeks with fish emulsion or compost tea.
  • Blanch curds to improve flavor; fold the outer leaves over the head and tie or pin them at the top with a rubber band

 Harvesting Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower matures 70-120 days after sowing; 55-80 days after transplanting.
  • Cut cauliflower when the heads are firm and tight and reach 4-8” (10-20 cm) in diameter and curds are still tight.
  • Cut the stalk just below the head. In warm weather, harvest about 4 days after tying the leaves for blanching.
  • Store head unwashed and wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator.

Get more cauliflower growing details at: How to Grow Cauliflower

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.


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  1. After harvesting cauliflower, can you leave plants and willtheyproduce again? The old plants grew several little heads but tasted bitter raw

    • Yes, the plants will produce new heads, but they will be much smaller–as well the plant’s natural sugars may be depleted resulting in the bitter flavor. Planting a succession crop–3 to 4 weeks after the first– next season to prolong the harvest may be the solution.

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