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 T             S T T

(Best months for growing Broccoli in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • 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 7°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 35 - 50 cm 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
    Early stage
  • Nearly ready for harvest
    Nearly ready for harvest
  • Side shoot regrowth after main head cut
    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

02 Jan 17, Tania hodges (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Why does our plants only produce really small main heads of broccoli, the plants appear to be really healthy.
03 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It may be a small headed variety. Many of the large headed varieties are only available from commercial seed growers Contact Egmont Seeds (NZ) they have larger headed varieties.
03 Mar 14, Jacque Cubin (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I am now 65 years old and don't remember broccoli being avaible when I was a chlid. In fact i'm thinking that i only became aware of it in the last 20 years or so. Can anyone answer my query please.
02 Jun 10, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi Les, I haven't heard of anyone getting sick, but the flavour is not so good when broccoli is about to flower. It is very strong and (to me) unpleasant.
30 Aug 09, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Iainie, you may be growing sprouting broccoli which will not produce a compact head but lots of loose ones. When the weather is hot and/or dry broccoli will flower quite quickly.
01 Aug 09, ian todd (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What's the best way to trim sprouting broccoli to keep the plant producing please?
26 May 09, James (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Trish, your broccoli plants need their leaves to grow good size heads. So keep trimming to a minimum. Certainly, you can eat the leaves but you might find them a bit tough.
04 May 09, Dawn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I was so excited to use the egg shells and get rid of the green catapillar. Now, welcome the grey aphid! After much research I have found that native Aust. ladybirds and lacewings do the trick. After even MORE research I've found where to buy them: (I cannot post a web link) bugs for bugs (dot com, dot au)
27 Nov 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Peter, your broccoli seedlings should be fine. Broccoli usually do well when the plants produce plenty of leaf. They produce flower heads later in the growth cycle.
23 Sep 08, Ben (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am new to planting broccoli and have recently cut the main head off one of the broccoli plants. I have several side shoots off the same plant, do they get as big as the main head?. The reason i ask is i dont want to leave them too long and let them go to flower.
Showing 1 - 10 of 12 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Broccoli

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

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support GardenGrow

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on GardenGrow. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About GardenGrow | 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. GardenGrow 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.