How to Plant Cauliflower From Seed


Grown for its crisp, nutty flavor, fresh cauliflower makes a tasty and nutritious snack right from the garden. Separated into florets, this crunchy vegetable is often served raw with wholesome dips to enhance its natural flavor. For finicky kids who avoid vegetables, cauliflower florets served with creamy peanut butter will often entice them to give vegetables a try; but cauliflower isn't just for snacking. This versatile vegetable cooks up well and can be served steamed, creamed in soups and added to stir-fries. Gardeners typically start cauliflower from seed in late winter and set them out in the garden in the spring.

Step 1

Moisten the seed starter by mixing with water in a large bowl or bucket to make it easier to work with.

Step 2

Fill planting trays or cells with moist seed starter.

Step 3

Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in cells or trays six to eight weeks before the last expected frost in your area.

Step 4

Water with a mister to moisten the seeds and cover the flats or cells with plastic wrap.

Step 5

Place in a warm location to germinate. Optimal germination occurs when soil is 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Check seeds daily for any signs of mold or excessive moisture. The plastic wrap should appear foggy, but should not be dripping with water droplets. Open the plastic to allow air circulation if excessive moisture occurs.

Step 7

Keep soil moist, but not soggy.

Step 8

Move to a sunny location, and maintain temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit. Keep soil moist to allow seedlings to develop strong roots.

Step 9

Plant outside once the danger of frost has passed in your area. Space cauliflower plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced 2-1/2 to 3 feet part.

Tips and Warnings

  • Harden off seedlings by setting them outside in a sheltered location during the day and bringing inside at night to acclimate them to their new growing conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed trays/cells
  • Seed starter
  • Bowl/bucket
  • Cauliflower seeds
  • Mister
  • Plastic wrap


  • Iowa State University Extension: Growing Cauliflower
  • NC State University Horticulture Leaflet: Cauliflower

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Cauliflower
Keywords: plant cauliflower seed, germinate cauliflower seed, grow cauliflower

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.