4 Different Broccoli Growth Stages (Explained)

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You can improve your broccoli gardening by understanding the life cycle of the plant. In other words, before you grow a new broccoli plant in your yard, consider its growing stages, as planting broccoli can be tricky, especially if you are a beginner gardener. 

Again, broccoli is more challenging to grow than other vegetables, such as tomatoes. So, understanding the various growing stages of broccoli plants will help you to give it the best possible care and enable it to stay healthy and strong.

This article will briefly highlight the different broccoli growth stages!

What Is Broccoli?

Broccoli is a fresh green vegetable from the cabbage family with a huge blooming head stalk and small associated leaves that can be consumed as a vegetable. It comes from the italica cultivar group of the Brassica oleracea specie.

This plant looks like a miniature tree and is related to cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower – every edible plant collectively known as cruciferous vegetables.

Broccoli has three basic types: calabrese, sprouting, and purple cauliflower. This plant is nutritious, with enough vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

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Different Broccoli Growth Stages

Broccoli has four main growth stages in its life cycle: germinating, seedling, vegetative, and flowering. We’ll be highlighting all four of these stages below:

Stage 1: Germination Stage

Since broccoli is an annual plant, you can sow and harvest them in only one year. As far as its growth stages are concerned, the germination stage is a period of the first developmental stage of the broccoli life cycle.

Germination is when the seeds start their life thanks to adequate moisture, nutrients, sunlight, and temperature.

Broccoli seeds need to be started in-house for six weeks before the arrival of the final spring frost. There’s a need to use a seed-starting tray to grow the seeds.

Besides a seed tray, a well-drained pot is also suitable for broccoli seeds, as it is the perfect option for starting seeds in-house.

Always remember that the most suitable temperature for growing broccoli plants should be around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In normal conditions and with proper maintenance, these seeds should start germinating between 5 to 10 days.

Stage 2: Seedling Stage

After the germination period comes the seedling stage, which is the second part of the broccoli growth stage; here, broccoli seedlings are often small and possess few adult leaves. Within a few weeks, broccoli will develop a primary stalk and branches around them. 

Immediately this plant grew to a juvenile stage, which spells the end of the seedling stage. At this point, it will grow a root system and some leaves, giving way to the vegetative growth stage.

Stage 3: Vegetative Stage

Another important stage in the broccoli life cycle is the vegetative stage, which arrives at the end of the seedling stage. Each broccoli seed will begin to differentiate, elongate, and expand to produce a new set of leaves, roots, and stems. 

At this stage, the broccoli plant is old enough to absorb nutrients and water from the soil and synthesize food thanks greatly to sunlight via photosynthesis.

However, this particular stage usually lasts briefly before the flowering routine starts. At this point, you can start feeding them with fertilizer that contains a low nitrogen amount.

You should avoid giving them fertilizer with high nitrogen content because it can prevent your plant from producing heads. Apart from low nitrogenous fertilizer, compost that contains a high amount of carbon components will be ideal.

Stage 4: Maturation Stage

The maturation stage is where the broccoli channels its energy towards producing its blooms, referred to as your head of broccoli. This broccoli head begins to emerge as just a quarter size but will gradually grow and becomes established with time.

Once it gets to this established stage, you can now think about the possibility of harvesting your broccoli because, at this point, you will have a large broccoli head in the center of the plant’s primary stalk.

Now, there’s some important information you must know about broccoli’s total growing period and germination time.

Read on to find out in our frequently asked questions:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the total growing time of the broccoli plant?

Quite simply! It will take about 80 to 100 days for broccoli to go from seed to be ready for harvest. In other words, the total growth stages in broccoli’s life cycle will take approximately 80 to 100 days.

However, the amount of time may differ based on the broccoli variety and your local climate. Once you begin seeds indoors and transplant them, the transplant’s growing period to when it is due for harvest will take between 55 to 85 days.

What is the total germination time of the broccoli plant?

Before a broccoli seed starts sprouting, it can take between 10 to 14 days. You can measure this germination season from initial planting to forming its first set of actual leaves rather than displaying a radicle.

You can start broccoli seeds indoors, where they can also germinate. On the other hand, you can transplant it outdoors once it sprouts.

How long does it take for broccoli to grow a head?

Standard hybrid broccolis like Green Comet generally take about 70 days from seed to grow a head during the fall. It is very important to grow large, robust transplants in your garden in early to late October to give your broccoli a great chance of producing head.

What does broccoli look like before it blooms?

The first sign of a broccoli bloom is that the head gets loose, and the small green buds start swelling. They can even start showing yellow flower color. Immediately, this situation shows that it will only take some days for the plant to flower completely.

How many heads do you get from one broccoli plant?

You can harvest a broccoli plant two to three times for about three months. The plant will first produce a large head in the center of the plant. Once you have harvested this main head, it will grow several smaller side heads for the following weeks.

How big should broccoli be before harvesting?

Generally, it will take up to 100 days for the broccoli plant to reach full maturity. Even though sizes can differ widely, the general rule is that the best harvest time should be when the heads have grown to around 4 to 8 inches in diameter.


Broccoli is one of the popular edible green vegetable plants from the cabbage family and can be eaten as a vegetable.

It is not difficult as you think it is, as you only need to know its growth stages, enabling you to grow them in the right conditions and give you a great chance of a good harvest.

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