How Long Do Broccoli Side Shoots Take To Grow? And How Big Do They Get?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 04/29/22 •  5 min read

How Long Do Broccoli Side Shoots Take To Grow? And How Big Do They Get? Broccoli is one of the most popular winter vegetables grown at home. Most varieties of broccoli will produce a head that can be harvested but after this period how long does it take for side shoots on the broccoli to appear? And how big will they get?

Broccoli side shoots will usually only appear after the primary flowerhead has been harvested. This typically will be after approximately 2 to 3 weeks at which point you will get several side shoots that can be harvested again. The head of these side shoots will reach a diameter of only 2 to 3 inches depending upon the particular variety. However, if you collect enough of them they will certainly produce a meal.

However, it is important to note that side shoots do not appear on all types of broccoli. The calabrese broccoli varieties, which are the broccoli types that look like miniature trees and a most commonly sold in grocery stores, will produce side shoots, however, the degree of this does depend upon the specific variety.

However, if you are growing romanesco varieties which are the types that are lime green in color and produced a geometric spiral pattern, they will not produce secondary side shoots. It is also important to note that if you were growing this type of variety they do take significantly more space to grow that the calabrese type which is one of the reasons why they are not sold commercially in major supermarket stores.

When Should You Remove Broccoli Plants From The Garden?

It is a good idea to leave the broccoli plants in the ground for a few weeks after the primary head has been harvested to get a secondary harvest of side shoots. However, after this point in time, it is generally recommended that you remove the plant from the garden as it will continue to produce side shoots but they do diminish in quality and quantity over time, particularly if the weather is going to warm up.

The reason for this is that usually, you have other crops that you want to put into the garden that are likely to produce more produce than what the broccoli plant is currently doing. However, if you are approaching winter and the weather is really starting to cool down there is no harm in leaving the plant in the garden to see what else you can get out of it because other crops will not grow very much anyway.

How To Extend The Harvest Season For Broccoli

Broccoli is a plant that generally doesn’t like to be grown in the warmer months and therefore performed best when being grown in autumn, winter, and spring. However, if you were living in regions where the temperature gets below approximately 10F in winter then growing broccoli in your open garden is not an option.

To maximise the period over which you have broccoli it is important to do several sowing throughout the season. The first sowing of the season should be done in mid to late winter indoors to ensure that you can get the seedlings going before the weather starts to warm up. To do this you will need a warm location with plenty of light. We recommend using a heated propagation tray as they are far better at controlling the temperature consistently.

If you were considering purchasing a unit the product that we would recommend is the iPower germination kit which features a removable seed tray and a humidity dome. These are both important  features as the seed tray is the component of the unit that will deteriorate first so being able to remove it and replace will extend the life of the unit substantially.

The humidity dome is also an important feature as it will ensure that any heat and moisture given to the seedlings is retained around them. To see the latest price on this item click on the link below.

Get Off To An Early Start With A Heated Propagation Tray

The second sowing of the season typically should occur in early spring as this will allow for a late spring harvest after which the conditions will get too hot for growing broccoli in most locations.  The third sowing is generally recommended in mid to late summer as the seedlings will only begin to develop fully as the weather is starting to cool down which should give you a late harvest in Autumn or Winter depending on the region in which you live.

The last sowing we recommend that you do is in early autumn in regions that have relatively mild winters as this will ensure that the plant is able to develop throughout autumn but is not in a position to produce a head of broccoli before winter sets in.

The advantage of sowing at this point of time is that the broccoli will sit throughout the winter and then immediately produce a head as the weather starts to warm up giving you an early spring harvest. This is particularly useful as there will not be many other things producing a crop at that point of the year.

I hope you found this article useful and have great success growing your broccoli at home, if you have any additional comments or questions please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart