The Q&A Archives: Bolting Broccoli

Question: We bought broccoli plants and planted them in late May. The plants started to get a head. Soon the heads started flowering. What should we do? Should we cut the head off? If we do cut the head off will another edible broccoli head appear? Are our plants ruined. Please get back to us as soon as possible. It seems like a new flower appears every few hours. Thanks for your time.

Answer: Heat or other stress will cause broccoli to bolt (send up shoots before their time and severe stress will cause those buds to open way too early. Most broccoli varieties will, however, send up new shoots after the first are cut off. But those, too, may go to flower before their time depending on the stress -- if the temps are too high (above 60 at night or 75 day), if the ground is too dry (try mulching), or if the plants were a little overgrown in their packs (not much you can do here).

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