Growing Cauliflower

A Cauliflower head is made up of small, tightly compact white florets on thick stems. The entire plant is edible, including the leaves.

head of cauliflower
The entire cauliflower plant is edible.

Cauliflower needs two cool months to mature and is planted as a spring or fall crop in most areas. Plant for a winter crop if your winters are mild. For a spring crop, plant transplants four to six weeks before the average date of last frost. Start your own transplants from seed indoors about six weeks before garden planting. Plant leggy and crooked transplants deeply in the garden to prevent them from being top-heavy. Unless the buds are supposed to be green or purple, the color should be untinged creamy-white. To protect the head from discoloring, blanch the head when it gets to the size of an egg by gathering three or four leaves and tying them together to cover the head. Self-blanching cauliflower doesn't need to be covered, but it will not blanch in hot weather.

Harvesting Cauliflower

Time from planting transplants to harvest is 55 to 100 days. The mature head should be compact and about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Cut the whole head from the main stem.

Types of Cauliflower:

There are several types of cauliflower to choose from when planning your home vegetable garden. We've listed the different varieties of cauliflower below.
  • Snow Crown Hybrid, harvest at 52 days, has pure white, 8-inch-diameter heads.
  • Super Snowball is ready to harvest in 55 days.
  • Violet Queen, harvest at 55 days, has royal purple heads.
  • Cheddar, harvest at 68 days, has creamy orange heads.
  • Cassius, harvest at 65 days, is arguably one of the best, with domed heads to 8 inches.
Knowing how to select cauliflower is the key to enjoying this delicious vegetable. Learn how to select and prepare cauliflower in the next section.

Want more information about cauliflower? Try:
  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature cauliflower.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.