When to Plant Cauliflower

Cauliflower seedlings

Set cauliflower seedlings in the garden about two or three weeks before the average last frost date, not earlier. Sow cauliflower seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before setting seedlings in the garden. Cauliflower grows best at 57° to 68°F (14°-20°C).

Time cauliflower planting so that plants do not mature in hot, head-stunting summer weather. If summers are hot in your area, you may want to grow cauliflower in autumn. Set cauliflower seedling out in June or July for September to November harvest.

Transplant cauliflower seedlings into the garden when they are 6 to 7 inches (15-18cm) tall. Be sure to firm the soil well over seedling roots. Water seedlings daily for several days after moving them and protect them from direct sun until they are well-rooted.

For the best heads, cauliflower should grow rapidly. Plant in humus-rich soil and keep the soil evenly moist; do not let it go dry. When the head develops, break off a bottom leaf and set it over the curd (the developing head) to keep out the light.

Planting cauliflower seedlings plant grow cauliflower
Planting cauliflower seedlings

Cauliflower seedling planting dates for spring and summer harvest

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan.1-Feb. 1
Feb. 8Jan.1-Feb. 1
Feb. 18Jan.10-Feb. 10
Feb. 28Jan.20-Feb. 20
Mar. 10Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Mar. 20Feb. 10-Mar. 10
Mar. 30Feb. 20-Mar. 20
Apr. 10Mar. 1-Mar. 20
Apr. 20Mar. 15-Apr. 20
Apr. 30Apr. 10-May 10
May 10Apr. 15-May 15
May 20May 10-June 15
May 30May 20-June 1
June 10June 1-June 15
Cauliflower head developing plant grow cauliflower

Cauliflower planting details

  • Sowing depth: ¼ inch (6mm)
  • Space between plant after thinning: 20-24 inches (50-61cm)
  • Days to sprout: 8
  • Days to harvest: 50-85
  • Storage period: 2-3 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: 1 packet
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 60 heads
  • Early to harvest varieties (50-60 days): Extra Early Snowball, Super Snowball
  • Late to harvest varieties (80-110 days): Snowball Y, Snowball No. 84, Perfected Snowball, Snowball 57, Boomerang

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Cauliflower

Cauliflower Seed Starting Tips

Cauliflower Growing Quick Tips

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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