Growing Cauliflower In Containers
The following article explains about Growing Cauliflower In Containers.
Introduction to Cauliflower
Cauliflower belongs to the family of Brassica oleracea, it is an annual plant reproduces by seed. Only head part of the vegetable is edible. Cauliflowers can be grown in containers, raising beds, and in the field. Cauliflower is a bit difficult to grow compared to other vegetables, but under proper maintenance and taking care of key requirements will make your success is in growing cauliflowers in containers with good yields.
Growing cauliflower in containers with fertile soils, constant watering and recommended temperatures are needed for cauliflower to thrive. Climate is a limiting factor for producing cauliflower, plants thrive well cool daytime temperatures 21-29 C with a good amount of sun in sand soil with high organic matter. High temperatures can harm cauliflower and reduce yields. Cauliflowers are grown from both seeds and transplantation. Cauliflower is rich a source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and proteins.
- Scientific Name: Brassica Oleracea.
- Common Name: Cauliflower.
- Family: Cauliflower belongs to the family of Brassicaceae.
Varieties for Cauliflowers for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
Cauliflowers hybrids are recommended for their short growing seasons. Hybrid varieties have short harvesting periods minimum period is 50 days.
White Cauliflowers: White cauliflowers are the most varieties having a white head surrounded by green leaves.
- Snowball: Snowball variety is a snow-white heirloom variety, this grows well in containers. Harvesting period is 68 days. Needs fertile, well drained soil, slightly acidic in nature with pH level 6.5 and 7.0. thrives well in full sun.
- Snow King: Snow King is a heat tolerant variety with short harvesting period of 50 days. Has produces white heads of diameter 7 to 8 inches. Suitable for growing in containers.
- Snow Crown: Snow crown is diseases resistant variety, with faster harvesting period of 55 days. It has a white color head grown up to 7 to 8 inches. Suitable for growing in containers.
- White Corona: White Corona produces very small white color heads, has very short harvesting period of 30 days. Suitable for growing in containers.
Green Cauliflowers: Green cauliflower come with head shape and with a fractal spiral curd called Romanesco broccoli. Green cauliflowers have 80-100 days of harvesting period. Green headed varieties include Alverda, Green Goddess, and Vitaverde. Suitable for growing in containers.
Purple Cauliflowers: Purple color in cauliflower is caused due to the presence of anthocyanins. Some varieties of purple cauliflowers are Graffiti, Violet Queen and Purple Cape.
- Violet Queen: It is warm weather variety that grows best in warm weather. Harvesting period is 65 to 70 days. Purple cauliflowers are a rich source of beta-carotene. Suitable for growing in containers.
Orange Cauliflowers: Orange Cauliflowers contain beta-carotene as the orange pigment. Varieties of orange cauliflowers include cheddar and orange bouquet.
- Cheddar: Cheddar cauliflowers have an orange color head wrapped in green leaves. Harvesting period is 58 days. Suitable for growing in containers.
Season for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflowers are cool season crops, fall and spring are the best seasons to grow cauliflowers.
- Some varieties are heat resistant, so you can grow in the early summer season.
- Always check frost date, sow seeds before 10 to 12 weeks if frost date.
- Cauliflowers can be grown any time by maintaining temperatures cool.
The Best Soil for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower plants are prone to variety of diseases.
- Commercial high-quality potting is recommended. Gardening soil may contain bacteria that can harm the plant.
- Purchase a good quality potting soil, that is light, deep and humus rich and slightly clayey.
- Cauliflower need more moisture to thrive, so mix the potting soil with perlite to hold the moisture for a long time.
- If you are garden soil, Cauliflower grows well in rich, fertile and compact the soil that holds moisture for long periods.
- Mix it with is some river sand or perlite for proper draining. Make sure the soil is bacteria free.
- The pH levels of the soil should be 6.0 to 7.5. If the soil more acidic, add lime, more acidic soil increases the chances of diseases.
The Best Container for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower need a large growing medium to thrive. the roots of the cauliflower need to enough space to expand.
- Select the container that is minimum 12 inches deep and 10 inches wide. Grow one plant in one container.
- you can grow 2 to 3 plants, if you choose large growing boxes.
- Containers should have 2 to 3 draining holes.
- Cover the draining holes with fine mesh to avoid dripping of soil.
- Cover bottom surface of the container with small or medium sized stones to avoid clogging and improve draining system.
- Choose a plastic/metal/cement containers, as the hold moisture for long periods. Clay containers make the soil dry quickly.
The Ideal Temperature for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower grows well in cool daytime temperatures between 21°C to 29°C.
- The ideal temperature for sowing seeds should be in the range of 10°C to 30°C.
- The ideal temperature for during the maturity of heads should be in the range of 15°C to 20°C.
- High temperature changes the head color and taste as well.
Propagation for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflowers can be propagated from seeds and If you are propagating cauliflowers from seeds, sow them in a seed tray till the germinate. And them transplant into the desired containers.
- OR can get seedlings directly from the nurseries or garden stored and transplant them to the desired containers.
- Growing from seedling is recommended, seed germination is not always successful.
Growing Cauliflower in Containers from Seeds
- Fill the seed trays or small pots with potting soil mixed with organic compost.
- Buy good quality disease resistant, seeds are available in all the nursery /garden stored. Even you can get them online.
- Sow 1 to 2 seeds in each hole, and cover with a thin layer of compost. Pat the soil lightly.
- Maintain the moisture levels of the soil. the temperature of the soil should be around 4 to 5 C for seed to germinate.
- Provide 5 to 6 hours of sunlight for seed trays. Idea temperature of seeds to germinate is 7 C to 30 C.
- Seeds take 5 to 6 days for sprouting. After sprouting the temperature should be around 15C for good growth.
- Once the seedling emerges with 4 to 5 sets of true leaves, transplant them into desired containers.
Growing Cauliflower in Containers from Transplants
- Fill the 1/3rd container with prepared potting soil and pat down soil smoothly. And again, fill the soil, leaving, 2 inches surface and mouth of the container.
- Pull out the seedling gentle from seedling from seedling tray or nursery pots.
- Ding hole in middle of the containers, depth hole depends on seedling height.
- Plant the seedling into the soil and cover the roots and lower stem with the potting mix.
- Water the plant gently with a water can and place the container in a sunny place where it gets 6 to 7 hours of sunlight.
Water for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflowers require moist soil, so regular watering is required.
- Water the plant till the water drains out of the drainage holes.
- Maintain the adequate moisture levels should be maintained during the germination period and head formation time.
- Water the plants daily during summer. Water the checking moisture levels in with fingers.
- Overwatering may lead to button heads and fungal diseases.
Sunlight for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower plants need 6 to 7 hours of the sunlight.
- Cauliflower thrives well in the good sunlight.
The Best Location for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower container should be placed in a location, where it receives a good amount of sunlight and water provision.
- you can place the containers on balconies/backyards/ indoors/terrace gardens.
- If growing in indoors, place the container under grow lights.
Fertilizers for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflowers are heavy, so feed the cauliflowers with balanced, water soluble fertilizers. NPK levels of the fertilizers should 10:10:10.
- Mixing organic compost or well-rotted manure during plantation will supply necessary nutrients to the plants.
- Feed the plants for every four weeks.
- Top dressing the organic compost to the soil, once in a month will support good growth of the plant.
Blanching for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Blanching: Is a technique to cover a head of cauliflower with its leaves, to preserve the color of the heads and their taste flavor.
- If cauliflowers are not blanched, curds will be in a greenish-brown color rather than white color and flavor turns bitter.
- Cover the Heads when they become 2-3 inches diameter, with the inner leaves by breaking or tying them over the head with a rubber band.
Mulching for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Mulching is not compulsory for growing cauliflowers in containers.
- During high temperature, mulching keeps soil moist for long periods.
- In winters, mulching will keep the soil warm and protects roots from cold.
Button Heads in Growing Cauliflower in Containers
Irregular temperatures and stress in cauliflower plant leads to no heads or small heads (button). Follow the following steps to protect the plant from headless or button head problems.
- Maintain the moisture levels in the soil till bottom the soil. Constant temperature is necessary for head development.
- Cauliflower doesn’t tolerate warm temperature, so plant them early before the hot season.
- Nutrients also play key role in head development. No head in plants can due to lack of nutrients. Provide 5-10-10 fertilizer for best results.
Pests and Diseases of Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Using good quality diseases resistant seeds will protect plants from diseases and pests.
- Cabbageworm, cabbage root maggots, aphids, white flies, harlequin bugs, etc. are the pests that attack cauliflower.
- Clubroot, powdery mildew and Black rot are the diseases that affect cauliflowers.
- Pests damage the leaves of plants and enter the head if not taken necessary steps.
- Club root can be prevented by avoiding wetting of the foliage.
- Use natural and organic fertilizers like horticultural oil, neem oil or garlic oil spray to protect from pests.
Harvesting for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Cauliflower can be Harvested throughout the year. Harvesting period depends upon the variety of cauliflower and sowing period.
- Minimum harvesting period of cabbage will be from 55 to 80 days.
- Cauliflower can be harvested once the head is completely developed (diameter of the head should be 6 to 12 inches).
- Cauliflower should be harvested within 7 to 12 days after blanching.
- Cut the heads off the plant with a large knife and leave some leaves around the head to keep it protected.
- Some heads will be too small but have already started to open. Harvest small heads, because they won’t grow once the start to open.
- Cauliflower can be wrapped in a plastic cover and stored in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for more than a week.
Tips for Growing Cauliflower in Containers
- Snowball variety of cauliflower is recommended to grow in containers. They give more yields throughout the growing season.
- Maintain the uniform temperature to avoid buttoning of the heads.
- And sudden change of temperatures can lead to buttoning heads.
- High amounts of nitrogen can lead to button heads.
- Organic mulch protects to hold moisture and protects the roots from heat.
- Mulching keeps plant away from the weeds.
- In early spring, cover the plants with plastic covers to protect plants from cold temperatures.
- In summer, provide shade for the plant to protect from heat.
- In winters, mulching will keep the soil warm and protects roots from cold.
- Too high or too cold temperatures leads to premature heading in cauliflowers.
- Watering is a key requirement for growing cauliflowers in containers.
- Fertilize the plants as per labeled instructions on the fertilizer package.