How to Grow Broccoli in a pot: Step by step guide

So, you want to grow large head Broccoli in your house.

Answer : Yes

Good, you have landed on a perfect post.

In this post, I have written a step by step how to grow Broccoli in a pot.

If you follow the steps mentioned in the article, then I guarantee you’ll grow healthy broccoli in a pot.

So, let’s dive into.

What is the Broccoli plant

Broccoli is a nutrient rich vegetable plant which has many health benefits.

This plant is eaten freshly, used in stir fry, soup, pasta, and more dishes. No doubt growing a Broccoli plant is worth the time.

Growing broccoli from seeds in your garden is challenging but not difficult.

Types Of Broccoli Seeds To Grow

Surprisingly, Broccoli is not a single vegetable, it has various types. Each type of plant has different characteristics.

Some types have large heads while other types have small heads but are more prolific.

A few of its varieties take less time to grow while other varieties take a long time. So, it’s very essential to be clear which type of broccoli you want to grow.

Some of its variety are:

  • Di Cicco (classic heirloom)
  • Early Heading (early to mature),
  • Long Harvest (a blend of early and late)
  • Summer Purple (larger heads)
  • Santee F1 Purple (small, but abundant)

Whatever you choose, let me make clear that all this can be grown by following the instructions mentioned below.

What Do The Seeds Look Like?

Honestly, the first time I saw the seeds of broccoli I was surprised. Despite being a large green plant they produce very small seeds.

The seeds of broccoli are small with black or brown black shade.

Broccoli Seeds at Bonsallo Ave Urban Garden

They are in circular or even in elliptical shape with a small white dot on the top. As you can guess, from this white dot the germination of the plant starts.

Do you need to soak the seeds?

Many people ask, is it important to soak seed before sowing them?

Answer In one sentence:

It is not required to soak seeds before planting them in soil but soaking may boost their germination. 

Soaking the seeds of Broccoli in warm water for 12-24 hours gives a good head start. Even speeds their germination process.

Where to sow 

If you live in a region where it’s mostly frost, then it’s better to plant them indoors. You will be able to provide proper care.

In the warmer climate, you can directly plant them in your garden or you can try winter sowing them.

When to plant seeds

Those who live in frost they can sow seeds indoors, 4-6 weeks before the last frost.

For warmer regions, you can sow the seeds in early spring. You may start from the pot or directly sow them in your garden.

Although, it’s recommended before sowing you should check the planting date on the plant packet.

How to plant Broccoli the Seeds.

When you start planting the seeds you’ll need some fancy equipment.

Especially growing them indoors. If you grew seeds previously then you can reuse them.

Garden, Round 2

This equipment makes your work easier and provides proper care for germinating seeds.

The list of the tools are:

  1. Seedling flat with a lid
  2. Pre-moistened seed starting soil or peat pellets
  3. Seeds
  4. Water
  5. Heat mat (optional)

The uses of the following tools will be discussed below in the step by step guide to plant seeds.

  • #step 1. Fill the seeds tray– Take a seedling tray and fill with a high-quality seed-starting mixture or pre-moistened pest pellet.
  • #step 2. No.of seed to put – If you have brand new seeds then you can put one seed in each hole. but, for old seeds, you should go with 2-3 seeds in every hole.
  • #step 3. Put seeds in the hole – Either you can make a small hole and put seeds on them or you can gently press the seeds in the soil. I prefer to make holes. It makes things easier.
  • #step 4. Cover the seeds– Put bit soil on the seed and gently press them in the soil. Do not press them too deeply, as they are too small. Something between 1/8 to 1/4 inch is good. 
  • #step 5. Add water – It’s better to water them from the bottom, so that soil soaks from down to up. After 20 minutes you should dump out soil, not get soaked.
  • #step 6. Cover the try– To maintain the moisture of the soil, you should cover the tray with a plastic lid.

After that put the tray at a warmer place if not put it on the heat mat.

Germination Time

The germination of seeds by the above steps is fairly quick. You have to hardly wait for 5-10 days for the germination of the seeds.

Basically, the process depends on how warm the tray is.

You plant them indoors and want germination to speed up. Then you can put the seedling tray on the heat mat.

What Do The Seedlings Look Like?

The sprouts of broccoli are baby small with two big heart shapes left on either side of the stem.

Baby broccoli

Fun Fact: These firstly grown leaves are called “seed leaves” after these other growing leaves called true leaves.

The true leaves start growing a few days after seed leaves.

Broccoli Seedling Care Tips

Light

For the proper growth of the plant, light is very essential. Especially if you are growing indoors.

  • Without the required light, the plant may get stretched or leggy in a few days. 
  • Indoor, the plant should be exposed 14- 16 hours per day.
  • For this, you have to set up a nice lighting system which is quite expensive.
  • To save money, I use fluorescent light fixtures and planted grow light bulbs.
  • Whatever you choose I recommend you to use an outlet timer for your convenience.
  • It’s better to control light automatically then rely on your memory.

You can even read beginner’s guide to grow lights from seedling.

Water

  • Adding water from the bottom is always a good idea.
  • As you might damage delicate seedlings while pouring from the top. 
  • The day you start growing broccoli plants you have to keep check on soil.
  • For healthy growth of the plant, you have to keep the soil moist.

broccoli may 1

Keep in mind that too dry or too wet soil might grow improper plants that nobody wants.

To maintain the perfect balance you can check the moisture level of the soil with a soil moisture gauge.

Air Circulation

  • Once seedlings grow bigger, it’s a good idea to expose them to the fresh air. This prevents them from mold and strengthens the seedlings.
  • For good air circulation, you can pop lids open for a few days and eventually open them all.
  • Opening the lid can dry soil, so you have to provide the required water to keep the soil moist. 
  • Once the seedlings have their true leaves you can use an oscillating fan on low. For proper flow of air around the plant.
  • Remember, the soil dries more quickly off the lid, especially with the fan.
  • So, you have to check a few times a day to make sure the soil isn’t drying out. 

Fertilizer

Broccoli plants are very good feeders and it’s essential to fertilize them. 

When the plant starts giving true plants, then you can apply fertilizers to maximize their growth. 

I recommend you to fertilize them with organic fertilizer.

Broccoli

Yes! Sometimes you may buy fertilizer from the market but that is not much needed.

  • You can use an organic fertilizer such as tea bags on indoor plants, as they are available.
  • I personally use liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion or liquid kelp for outdoor plants.
  • Fertilizer in liquid form is better to boost the growth of the plant.
  • The plant will stink when liquid fertilizers are used in indoor plants as they are in a closed room.

Thinning

If you plant more than one seed in each cell or pellet or sown them too close outside. Then you’ll need to thin the seedlings.

Planting seedlings too close causes stunts in their roots which eventually hamper their growth.

You can solve this problem easily.

  • After the seedlings grow a few inches tall, choose the healthiest seedling and thin rest.
  • Do not puck the seedlings as it may damage the tender roots of the sprout you want to keep.
  • Instead of plucking, you should use micro-tip snips or bonsai shears to cut them off from soil.

Repotting

Potted broccoli plants need to transplant in another wide container when they grow tall enough.

You can easily identify when the plant needs to transplant.

Just look whether the seedling height grown bigger than the cell or the roots are coming out from the bottom.

I use plantable pots so that I can transplant the Broccoli plant without disturbing their roots.

Starter garden

Peat pot works great. 

But, if you want a more sustainable option then you can use coco coir or cow pots that also works great.

small plastic nursery pots are also good for planting Broccoli plants as they can be reused.

Of course, you can buy small plastic nursery pots instead of potable pots, as they are reusable.

Transplanting your Seedlings into the Garden

You can skip this part if you planted your broccoli plant in the garden. But, if not then you have to go through this part in detail. 

Looking to transplant a plant is a very delicate process, with one mistake you can waste all your efforts. 

To grow a big head broccoli plant in your house which of course you don’t want. 

So, read the section properly. 

When To Transplant

  • Broccoli is frost hardy. You should transplant the plant 2-4 weeks before the average last frost in the spring. 
  • If this makes you nervous then not worry, you can wait until the last frost then transplant.
  • It’s better to transplant the seedlings in your garden after they grow a set of true leaves.

Learn more about when to transplant seedlings here.

Hardening Off

Wait before transplanting the broccoli plant outside, it should be hardening off.

The plant needs to be hardened first, as the seedling grows in a cushy indoor environment.

If you directly transplant them in your garden then your pampered broccoli plant might die.

First, for a few days, you should keep the plant in the shaded spot for a couple of hours.

Everyday expose the potted plant a little longer outside.

Once they get adapted with full sun, you can transplant the seedling outdoors, without any worry.

Where To Plant

You should transplant the Broccoli in high-quality soil to grow a large beautiful head.

Simple mix your garden soil with rich compost, well-composted manure, or worm castings. 

When you’re transplanting, add high nitrogen fertilizer in the Broccoli plant to boost the growth.

Or you can either use slow-release granules, or root-zone feeder packs.

Spacing between plants

While planting you should take care of spacing between the plants.

Planting the seedling too close can stunt their growth which means small heads.

broccoli may 10

You should always sow the seedlings 12-24 inches apart so that it cannot get overcrowded.

In the beginning, it looks funny when you leave lots of space around each seedling.

But believe me ,after a few weeks the broccoli plant fills all the spacing.

Planting Depth

Do not transplant the seedlings of the broccoli too deep, just cover it’s roots.

You should plant the seedlings at the same soil level as they were in the seeds tray or pot.

How Long From Seed To Harvest

The harvesting time depends on the variety you are growing.

There are many varieties of broccoli plants present.

So, before planting them you should check the full growth time on the packet.

cutting broccoli

Generally, the broccoli plant takes nearly 50-90 days from seeds to harvest.

You can regularly fertilize the plant to keep things fast and result in a much more prolific harvest.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

The most frustrating thing about gardening, when your plant has a problem and you don’t know how to solve it.

So, below I have answered a few most common problems people face while growing broccoli.

You can even read more about seedlings problems.

Broccoli seeds never germinate

The seeds never germinate due to some reasons.

Either seeds are too old or not viable, or the soil was too wet or too dry.

The seeds grow better in soil that is 40-80F degrees, you can use a soil thermometer if you’re unsure.

Leggy seedlings

As I previously mentioned, a lack of light can cause Leggy plants. So, it’s very important to provide them with the required light.

Be sure to use a grow light as soon as seedlings start emerging.

Seedlings falling over

If your broccoli seedlings falling over its causes due to something called seedling blight.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to revive them. Just clean the disinfecting tray before reusing it.

Seedlings aren’t growing

This might happen when seedlings are planted too close. To solve the problem you can thin the seedling as we discussed above.

Also, fertilize seedlings and maintain soil moist for continuous growth. 

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

P.S. I myself reply to every comment

Read to grow beautiful flowers in your garden.

How to grow, care and prune Foxgloves

How to Grow and Care Wax Begonias

How to grow and care Torenia Wishbone flower 

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