Broccoli goes to flower

by Donna

Donna from Wisconsin writes: I'm new to gardening. I planted broccoli seedlings and let them accidently flower. Now what?!

Comments for Broccoli goes to flower

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Jun 04, 2010
(East Greenwich, RI)
by: Tim

What should I do when the broccoli is flowering before I get a floret. Should I cut the flowers?

Jun 04, 2010
Broccoli bolting to seed -Why does broccoli go to flower
by: Megan

Yes unfortunately your broccoli is going to seed if it has yellow flowers on it.
The reason plants flower and go to seed too early is usually because they've been starved. Poor little things!
Either they have not had enough water or not enough food, so they decide that it's no use trying to form nice big broccoli heads and instead they rapidly going into breeding mode and produce flowers, then seeds.

Another possibility, especially with broccoli which is cold loving, is that it's just too darn hot for your plants. Check your seed packet and see if it's a suitable variety for where you live. Most broccoli in hot areas like to be sown or planted in autumn so they can get established and produce during winter or early spring.

Even if gardeners get SOME broccoli growing OK and SOME bolting to flower, remember this. Plants WANT to grow, that's their purpose, like we want to live. Some of us succumb to a cold, some don't – but more likely don't if we look after ourselves!
Often some broccoli seedlings are a tiny bit stronger that the others; maybe get more water, sun or nutrients. Maybe some get their roots damaged, a blast of wind or too high temperatures, just enough for them to be stressed and go to seed, whereas some are a fraction stronger and managed to not get depressed.

It can also be the quality of the seeds or the differences in exactly what's in the soil below each plant.
For a big overview, read the main page on growing broccoli

Jun 12, 2013
Broccoli flowers instead of heads
by: Pamela

I have/had asked several folks with no solutions, but reading other posts here, at least now I know that some do just turn to flowers and seed. Although, I only planted 4 out of the same tray, and only 1 did NOT flower and is still growing a nice broccoli head as i wanted all to do.
Nice to know too, as someone else said here, that the flowers are also tasty and safe to eat by humans :), guess i will just plant some more and hope for the best in more heads to form instead of flowers.

Jul 16, 2013
Gone To Seed Early!!
by: Ron S. Richfield, Ohio

My Broccoli were not formed to a mature 4-6" head and went to seed. Flowers and all. Just goes to show that Northern Ohio weather in July, 90 degree heat and high humidity for a period of time will make you plant them in the fall. Now I know.

Aug 25, 2013
by: Anonymous

Southeast Alaska is perfect for broccoli, had great success

Jul 03, 2014
Ms Beatrice Wiliki
by: Anonymous

I planted mine in June and they came out nicely and I was glad they are doing well.

But all of a sudden the once that came up first with broccoli heads started flowering. Now all the once that has brought broccoli head have all gone into flowering which I am not happy with whether to cut them off and eat them or wait for them to flower and later they will bring broccoli heads as normal.

What do I do now is the big question?

Aug 10, 2014
the yellow flowers are edible
by: Anonymous

The bright yellow broccoli flowers are edible and delicious. If you miss harvesting at the tight bud stage, you can still harvest broccoli, even with the flowers open. Broccoli flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. Use them as an edible garnish or include them as a nutritious and attractive addition to any salad. Completely opened flowers will wilt when steamed, but partially opened buds retain their shape. Broccoli flowers have a pleasant, mild flavor. Some specialty markets sell yellow broccoli flowers in the produce section as a delicacy item.

Read more: What to Do About Flowers on Broccoli Sprouts? | Garden Guides

Jun 02, 2015
Broccoli goes to flower
by: KB4VAY

I planted 12 plants May 8, 2015. They are already starting to flower from small heads that formed. This happened because of the weather here. It has been more like Summer than Spring. Temperatures have been in the mid to high 80's so I guess I will be replanting in Autumn. High soil and heat temperatures will cause the plant to finish out its life cycle early. So much for having some fresh broccoli on the dinner table. I have always planted in the beginning of May and never had any problems till this year. I guess I will be planting earlier around March 1 next year.

Jun 03, 2015
Broccoli flowering and not forming heads
by: ~ Megan

Sometimes it's the soil heating up the shallow roots of broccoli plants that causes stress. A deep layer of mulch say 5-10cms will help keep the surrounding soil cooler. With no mulch, the sun beats down and can really heat up plants' roots.

Mulch around seedlings needs to be very slightly away from stems if possible as it can cause rot, but once plants have tougher stems, it's not usually a problems if mulch touches the stems.

Jun 03, 2015
broccoli flowering
by: Kathy

I have had problems with my broccoli flowering also. I always plant my broccoli in early May and have had excellent results. I am crediting this to either poor seeds or to the drastic temperature variation we have had here in NW Ohio. One day it is in the 80's and the next it is in the 50's. It has been stressing me out so I can understand why the lil broccoli would be stressed!

Jun 11, 2015
Broccoli bolting
by: Karen H -NE Ohhio

I put in plants in early April, and they have gone bolting into flower rather than heads, I understand that the flowers are edible, but, I am wondering, if I cut off all the flower shoots, mulch over the roots, and water often to help keep the roots cool, will I still get a harvest of heads later on, or is it too late, and do I need to pull these, and start again in the fall? Thoughts?

Jun 11, 2015
Broccoli gone to flower
by: Anonymous

Once they've gone to flower, they are goners definitely. If there is nothing edible left in the leaves or stems, chuck them and start again.

Jun 12, 2015
Broccoli bolting
by: Karen H -NE Ohio

I do some edibles I can add to salad, I'll try again towards the end of August Thanks:(

Jun 21, 2015
1st time broccoli grower
by: Paul SS Md

So I wanted to wait until the heads got as large as in the store and some went straight to flowering and some heads. But some comments talk about eating the greens I am willing but should I only try the smaller leaves? Should I harvest the whole plant and cook the main stalk or try to make my own slaw? I assume I have to peel first for slaw. Thanks for any input>

Jun 22, 2015
Eating broccoli flowers and stems
by: ~ Megan

The green leaves are fine to eat, all part of the brassica family. Some of the older leaves will be a bit tough. I always use the broccoli stems. Yes, peel them first, but leave the very woody bottom bit of stem for the compost. You can grate the stems or matchstick them and eat raw, or cut them into chunks and give them a quick steam or slow roast – always tasty and good for you.

Jul 09, 2015
No Flowers, Seeds dropping off!
by: Teresa

A couple of my broccoli plants look like they have a bunch of seeds scattered under them. The 'seeds' are a goldish/brown color. I am not getting anything close to flowers. Mid-Michigan's weather has been colder than normal & we have had a lot of rain. My garden has flooded 3 times this year with standing water in it for a day or two. Is all the water causing this?

Aug 27, 2015
i want seeds
by: Anonymous

i am growing broccoli to produce seeds for sprouting. i want it to flower quicker but here in ecuador, it seems to take forever for plants to go to seed. my theory is the lack of change in sunlight hours never triggers the reproduce response.
my thought was to make a black plastic cover and start to shorten their sun exposure.
after reading here, it would seem restricting water could also help.
am i on the right track? any tips? thanks

Mar 23, 2016
Broccoli goes to flower...
by: Anonymous

So I planted my broccoli and all went to flower, our winter here in Waco Texas lasted 2/3 weeks its been kind of warm for this vegetable! I am still using the stems and small leaves for eating raw in salads or for grilling with a little bit of olive oil., I am hoping we will have a colder winter next year!; thanks for all the comments ya"ll !!!

Jul 02, 2016
Too much water
by: Ann

In England we have had the wettest summer I can remember.
Most of our vegetables have bolted and gone to seed. Luckily we can still eat the leaves but I am very cautious of eating the flowers, Will try again in Autumn

Apr 28, 2017
Looks like seeds
by: North Alabama

I planted my Broccoli around the middle of February this year. I have gotten one head out of six plants. The other heads are very small but they look like they have seeds on them. They have not flowered yet but it looks like they will soon if I don't cut them. I guess the early heat has gotten to them. Already 89 degree days here. I planted early thinking they would do better. So we will be having just a little home grown broccoli this year.

Jun 11, 2017
Broccoli sprouts for salads
by: C in Michigan

I collected seeds from a flowering broccoli 2016 and planted them in cold soil 2017. Just flowers. The brussell sprouts look fine. (they like cold too). With tons of seeds, I've been planting a lot and pulling up the sprouts. They require some washing but are great for salads.

Jun 16, 2017
Stem growth
by: Anonymous

Planted broccoli from tray 3 grew long stems 3' high with flowers other compact bundle group of leaves with no head showing yet. Should tall plants be removed?

Jun 17, 2017
Tall flowering broccoli
by: Anonymous

Yep, pull out those tall lanky flowering plants, they're taking up space and their roots taking up goodness from soil. And they certainly won't form any heads if they are flowering.

Jun 23, 2017
Ready in june
by: Anonymous

My calabrese sprouting broccoli planted out in spring says on pack harvest in Aug to Oct but appears ready flowers showing
Not right heads like I was expecting but long stems with buds on end..
So I cut them off for the evening meal lamb roast..
Steamed it 5 min put butter and juice of lemon..result. .
Delicious tender..wife approves! !!

Aug 09, 2017
Flowering broccoli
by: SE Alaska

Thanks everyone for your comments. This was the first time in planting a garden in SE Alaska and I think the burst of heat and sun made my broccoli grow like Jack and the beanstalk but the sudden shoot created fireworks of flowers and no head. :( I guess kale it is...again. ha ha ha

Sep 01, 2018
blasted brocolli!!!
by: carolineAnonymous

n e w to vege gardening had 5planter boxes made and went for it!! you guessed it the brocolli went to seed ohh reading everything on this site my plants were starved off everything cept love!!!well ill plant more and water and feed ill try to eat the flowers great site thank you caroline rangiora newzealand

Apr 18, 2019
Broccoli: Late Summer!!!
by: Anonymous

I planted my Broccoli seeds late August. I did however make the mistake of planting them right beside my Brussel Sprouts and both plants have cross paths. However, by the time I started to see florets, the flowers had taken over and I ended up with about a handful of florets. I have read here that I should just pull up my plants and start over but there florets are still growing but a little smaller than the size of a normal stem. I believe I planted in the right time but too close and all through the winter was driving me crazy covering up from the cold weather then uncovering when the sun would be warm enough. Maybe I should have just left them uncovered? Help!!!

May 08, 2019
Eternal broccoli plant
by: Anonymous

I had a broccoli plant that I planted in May in southern AZ last year. Now I know. It's too hot here to do that. So it flowered and all but i just let it live. It's now producing seed pods.
Still looks healthy and happy. It's been alive for a year now. Should I save the seeds? Think it might just keep living ? Then what? Im curious. Didn't want to kill it as it seemed healthy and happy despite no broccoli haha

Apr 04, 2020
cut them down or let them grow?
by: Anonymous

I was fortunate to get a nice head on each of my broccoli plants. They are now all flowering and taste wonderful sauteed in a little garlic olive oil. Now what? Should I leave them alone and expect the thick "trunks" to start growing more heads when the weather turns or do I pull them?

Jul 17, 2021
Philip G Kidderminster U.K.
by: Anonymous

Fantastic site this, It appears that we are all in the same boat,I have several rows of yellow topped broccoli I wonder, has anyone had any success with these plants..
I don’t think I shall bother in the future, may as well purchase from the supermarket and grow Swiss Chard next year instead.

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