Growing cauliflower in Perth can be a little tricky as they are particularly sensitive to temperature. This means planting cauliflower at the right time is essential. The Western Australian spring can be too short and warm for a spring planting. I recommend planting in late summer to autumn to enable the flowering heads or curds to ripen in cold weather.
Although not the easiest veggies to grow, they are incredibly rewarding and look great! For first time growers I would start with newer hybrid varieties which are less sensitive to warm weather. I recommend growing cauliflower alongside other closely related plants like broccoli, broccolini turnips and kale.
When to plant cauliflower in Perth:
The main thing to remember is that cauliflower thrives in temperatures around 16-18 Celsius and no higher than 24 degrees celsius. Above 24 degrees celsius and they can button or bolt.
If you are in a warmer part of Western Australia you can plant April to July. However, if you are in a temperate area like Perth or even a cooler area like the South west then the growing season from April to August.
From a commercial point of view the major growing area in Western Australia is the South-West followed by the Swan Coastal Plain.
Types of cauliflower in Australia:
There are a range of wonderful cauliflower varieties available in Australia. Some of my favourite cauliflower varieties are listed below;
- Cauliflower All Year Round Hybrid – This hybrid variety shows excellent vigour to reach maturity early. Large size, tight curd, and excellent taste. Consistent performer.
- Cauliflower Phenomenal Early – A popular early maturing and easily grown variety. Large, firm heads within 4 months.
- Cauliflower Snowball (Organic) – Large firm heads develop within the protection of the outer leafy covering. Yates organic seeds have been grown just as nature intended, under strictly controlled, organic, chemical free conditions.
- Cauliflower Quickheart – An extremely useful variety which produces large pure white heads with a first class flavour. Quickheart has a particular merit that it remains in tip-top condition over long periods. For the very best results, choose a rich, well-dug soil.
- Cauliflower Di Sicilia Violetto – This Sicilian variety has a medium sized, crisp, purple and sweetly flavoured head that turns green when cooked. The purple colouration caused by a high antioxidant content makes it highly nutritious. It is extremely cold hardy and produces many side shoots – delicious raw or cooked.
- Cauliflower Mini White F1 – A compact variety with 10-15cm heads on short plants, perfect for container gardening. Harvest in just 12 weeks. Ideally suited to warmer regions. Cauliflower has a particular merit that it remains in tip-top condition over long periods, perfect for storing to use in meals all year round.
How to plant cauliflower in a garden:
The most common way to grow cauliflower at home is by planting cauliflower directly in the garden.
- Fill starter pots or trays with seed raising mix. Sow seeds, cover, firm down and water well. Keep the soil moist so the seeds don’t dry out.
- While the seedlings are growing, choose a sunny spot in the garden and prepare the planting area well by digging in soil improver and plant fertiliser.
- Once seedlings have emerged, feed weekly with liquid plant food. Allow seedlings to grow to about 6 – 7cm before transplanting.
- When transplanting them into your prepared garden bed, ensure seedlings are well spaced – at least 30 to 40cm apart. Mulch with an organic mulch, such as sugar cane or straw and water in well.
- Feed weekly with liquid plant food to ensure strong root development and a bountiful crop.
How to grow cauliflower in a pot:
Growing cauliflower in a pots is a straightforward exercise.
- Choose a pot that is at least 30 cm wide and 30 cm deep. Position in full sun and protect from strong winds.
- Fill the pot with quality potting mix.
- Sow seeds, cover, firm down and water well.
- Once the seedlings emerge, feed weekly with liquid plant food.
When to harvest cauliflower:
Harvest when the heads have a diameter of around 15 – 20cm. Look for firm, tight, well-formed heads that have not begun to flower. Cut the head off with a sharp knife as required and remove the whole plant from the ground. The discarded part of the plant can go in the compost.
Cauliflower care and common problems:
The caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly are the main problem with cauliflowers, and should be removed by hand or dusted with derris if necessary. They can also suffer aphids, caterpillars and water stress.
Don’t let your cauliflower plants go thirsty. If they feel stressed, they may only produce very small heads. This is known as buttoning.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: