All About Growing Cauliflower

Use this guide to learn about different types of cauliflower, when the best time to plant them would be, and tips for getting a great harvest.

| December 20, 2013

  • Grow a fall crop of cauliflower and culinary delights such as oven-roasted cauliflower and creamy cauliflower soup await you.
    Illustration by Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The most temperamental member of cabbage family crops, cauliflower grows into a large, broad plant before producing a crisp central head. Growing cauliflower is not recommended in spring unless you live in a climate with consistently cool summers, because temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during head formation causes the heads to become small and of poor texture.

In most areas cauliflower is best grown as a fall crop, with seeds started indoors in early summer. If you live where winter temperatures stay above 20 degrees, you can grow selected cauliflower varieties through winter for harvest in spring.

Types of Cauliflower

Cauliflower varieties vary in growth rate and color. Almost all common varieties are hybrids.



Early cauliflower varieties such as ‘Snow Crown,’ ‘Denali’ and green-headed ‘Panther’ mature about 70 to 80 days after planting, so they are a good choice for climates where fall weather does not last long. However, the heads of early cauliflower varieties are not as large, dense and sweet as those that mature later.

Main-season cauliflower varieties need more than 80 days after transplanting to mature, but the large heads are worth the wait. In addition to growing cauliflower varieties with white heads such as ‘Candid Charm’ and ‘Skywalker,’ try purple cauliflower such as ‘Graffiti’ or ‘Orange Burst’ orange cauliflower, which has more vitamin A than other types of cauliflower.





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