Does Broccoli Grow Back After Cutting?

Broccoli is a fun and relatively easy vegetable to grow in the cool-to-warm months of spring and fall. In fact, in only two months, a seedling can turn into a giant head of broccoli ready to be harvested, prepped, and enjoyed as the perfect, healthy side dish to a delicious meal. And, despite what many gardeners may think, a broccoli plant's first harvest does not signify the end of its growth. It actually means that the plant has matured enough to begin producing shoots with even more vegetables.

Keep an eye on your plant after the first harvest. Once the primary head of broccoli is removed, side shoots will start to grow from beneath that initial cut. Many factors play a part in how many side shoots your plant will produce, from the environment to the type of broccoli you are growing. If conditions hold up and the plant is happy and healthy, many types continue growing side shoots for several weeks following the initial harvest.

Types of broccoli and their environments

Environmental conditions have the most impact on a plant's health and, for broccoli, its ability to continue sprouting new shoots after the main head has been harvested. The cool-season crop should be planted in either the early months of spring or the late months of summer. The main head has typically matured within two to three months, and side shoots should begin sprouting shortly after your initial harvest. In other words, if you plant your broccoli in the spring and have a cool summer, or plant it in the fall and experience a mild winter, your plant could continue producing side shoots for months.

Like any other vegetable, different varieties of broccoli grow differently and do better in more specific environments. For instance, Belstar broccoli is known for its heat tolerance, while Waltham 29 can sustain noticeably colder temperatures than other types of broccoli. Either way, both of these varieties — along with Calabrese, DiCicco, and Sun King — are perfect broccoli plants to choose if you are looking for side shoot growth.

Encouraging side shoot growth

Besides planting the broccoli types that are known for side shoots, there are many other ways to encourage the growth of side shoots and to ensure that you get the most out of your broccoli this season. If you find that your plant is being overrun by pests, check your kitchen for salt and flour. These common ingredients also serve as cheap and easy cabbage worm exterminators.

When it comes to your initial harvest, there is a specific way to remove the broccoli head while maintaining the integrity of the plant. When harvesting, cut the stem at an angle. This will prevent water from pooling and rotting the plant, and it also gives your side shoots the best chance at maturing successfully.

Many people often harvest the leaves of their broccoli plants along with the vegetable head itself. However, because the plant uses the leaves as a source of essential nutrients, removing them greatly impacts secondary shoots. For the best results and an extended, bountiful harvest, keep the leaves on your plant until it is finished producing broccoli heads.