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Growing Cauliflower

How to grow Cauliflowers in containers, garden beds and allotments



Family/Latin Name

Brassicaceae - Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

Type of Plant

Brassica - Crop Rotation Group = Brassicas

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Allotments, Large Containers

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Height

Height up to 45cm/18"  -  Spread up to 45cm/18"

Yield Per Plant 1 Head weighing up to 1kg/2lb

Time between sowing & harvesting

18-24 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed or tray

Sowing time

Late March to early May  - temperature   +10C/50F

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on - in Pots

Once the plants have 5-6 leaves, transplant to final growing positions planting them firmly slightly deeper than they were in the seed bed allowing 1 plant per 20cm/8-inch pot. Certain varieties can also be planted in troughs 20cm/8" apart to produce mini heads.

Growing on -  in open ground

Once the plants have 5-6 leaves, transplant to final growing positions planting them at the same level as they were in the seed bed and spacing the plants 60cm/2ft apart in rows or in groups/ blocks.


Keep well watered, especially in the early stages and feed regularly  with liquid fertiliser once the heads start to mature. Bend the leaves over the developing curds (heads) to protect from the sun.


Begin cutting the heads whilst they are still quick small to prevent having a glut of fully matured heads. Crops over a period of about 12 weeks.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Club Root
Indications Discoloured leaves which wilt in warm weather, swollen, solid galls on roots
Treatment None - lift and burn diseased plants
Prevention Organic
1. Lime plot where you intend growing brassicas
2. Do not grow brassicas in the same place for 2-3 years (crop rotation)
3. Make sure the site is well drained
Indications Holes in leaves or much of the leaf eaten away in severe cases
Treatment Organic
Inspect plants regularly and pick off eggs or caterpillars. The caterpillars like to lie right next to the veins of leaves, sometimes making them difficult to find
Spray with a pesticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention Try growing crops under a net which will prevent the butterflies/moths getting to the plant to lay their eggs
Pick off and destroy eggs as soon as you see them to prevent them from hatching
Cabbage Root Fly
Indications Stunted growth especially seedlings. Discoloured wilted leaves. Roots are black and rotted with maggot damage and tunnelling and white maggots present
Treatment Organic
Prevention 1. Place a 15cm/6" diameter collar around each plant stem as early as possible which will prevent the fly laying eggs on the soil near the plant.
2. Grow crops under a tent of fleece
3. Dispose of affected plants and practice crop rotation in future years

Companion Flower Graphic


Celery, Beetroot, Onion, Shallots, Garlic, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard, Geraniums,   Rosemary, Nasturtium, Borage

Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".  To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage: Store loosely wrapped  for 2-4 days in the refrigerator.  Excess amounts can be frozen. Cut into florets then blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain well and allow to cool before freezing 

Preparing:  Remove any leaves, cut off the thick stalk the cut around the thick core and remove it. Wash well in cold water. Can be cooked whole, halved, quartered of separated into florets.



Halves  or Florets =  must be par-boiled first


Whole (small)  = 20 minutes 
= 6-8 minutes


Whole (small)  =  8-10  minutes 
= 6-8 minutes (450g/1 lb)


Florets = 8-10 minutes


For more preparation and cooking information about Cauliflower plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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