Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Broccoli

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S P P                

(Best months for growing Broccoli in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 45°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-16 weeks. Cut flowerhead off with a knife..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile, oregano)
  • Avoid growing close to: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chilli, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Early stage
  • Nearly ready for harvest
  • Side shoot regrowth after main head cut

Keep well-watered as seedlings. If left without water they will bolt to seed and be inedible. The plants should grow to develop plenty of large healthy leaves, then the green flowerheads follow, which are cut for eating. Leave the plant growing after cutting the main flowerhead, and get additional crops from the sideshoots which will develop.

Watch for cabbage white butterflies and remove the eggs and caterpillars as soon as possible.

There are two main types of broccoli. The purple sprouting is hardier. The heading varieties cope well with warmer weather.

Once a plant opens its yellow flowers then it is generally past eating as the flavour gets a bit overpowering and the plant gets very woody. Harvest them sooner rather than later.

'Broccolini' is a variety grown for the edible stalks. Grow fast with plenty of water and food, and pick as soon as possible.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Broccoli

The stem (peeled), leaves, and flowerhead are all edible.

Steam for best flavour. Peel large stalks, slice and steam.
Goes well with blue cheese sauce.

Your comments and tips

25 Apr 20, Jos (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What is the name of the broccoli with a tight head please We live just north of Auckland.
27 Apr 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I suggest you look on an internet seed selling site and look through the different varieties. Try Eden seeds or Boondie seeds (in Australia) or look up NZ websites.
23 Apr 20, Michael (Australia - temperate climate)
Is late April to late to seed broccoli in Adelaide?
25 Apr 20, Steve (Australia - temperate climate)
Yes it is to late now, plant out seedlings if you can get hold of them.
24 Apr 20, Anon (Australia - temperate climate)
It takes about 4 weeks to grow a seed to seedling stage to transplant. And it is time consuming - watering 2-3 times a day. Miss a day or so and the seedlings could be dead. Plant seeds now and it takes about 12-16 weeks to grow to pick. You are looking at July Aug for harvest. I live sub tropical and most vegies do not grow much in July Aug. You are temperate so they will grow less probably. SO you plant SEEDLING this time of the year. A general rule sub tropical and probably temperate (no frosts) is for winter veg you plant late summer and for summer veg you plant late winter/very early spring. I will be picking my first broccoli next week.
20 Apr 20, Greg Cave (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Is it advisable to fold leaves over the broccoli head as you do with cauliflower? The heads are still quite small but parts seem to be yellowing.
21 Apr 20, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Putting the leaves over the broccoli head won't achieve anything. It is natural with caulies. If the heads are not growing and turning yellow and you have small plants then I would say you didn't fertilise them enough. The heads should fully develop in about 7-10 days.
15 Sep 19, Kathleen Foxwell (Australia - tropical climate)
I live in Hervey Bay. I have planted Broccoli seeds. They never form a head for me to harvest. They are just leaves. How can I get them to grow the edible broccoli head?
16 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Broccoli is best grow in your/my area, autumn into the winter - plant seedlings or seeds early March to May. DO NOT have super rich soil. SOIL high in N will just produce a lot of leaf. I had this problem last year with cabbage and broccoli coming out of winter into spring. I won't do that again. I have tried seeds the last 2 years. For broccoli I think the best is to just buy seedlings from Bunnings.
14 Jun 19, Patricia Foster (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Here in central Florida, we grew enormous broccoli plants but they never produced anything, even after six months growing. We put the seedlings in the ground in October in a marl soil that retains moisture and also used plenty of compost and some 10-10-10. Any ideas what went wrong or what we should do to amend the soil?
Showing 1 - 10 of 273 comments

i live in hanmer springs, i have grown broccoli under greenhouse to protect from harsh frosts we get here. they have grown all through winter and i harvested the heads few weeks ago, and have been eating the side shoots ever since. june july they stopped growing hibernated, but last month has seen warmish temps so evrything has shot away. greenhouses are great.

- hayden

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join our 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.