Cultivation of Cauliflower

Cultivation of Cauliflower

Cultivation of Cauliflower

Cauliflower ( Brassica oleracea Var. botrytis L) belongs to family Cruciferae is one of the most important winter vegetable crops of is cultivated in Winter Season for its white tender head or curd formed by the shortened flower parts. The name cauliflower has originated from the Latin words “Caulis (meaning Cabbage), Tloris (meaning flower and botrytis (meaning budding). According to Liyar (1975), the cauliflower has originated around the Mediterranean Sea from the Wild Cabbage, Brassica Oleracea: Var. sylvestris, a native of the coastal region of Europe and Africa. It was introduced in India during the Mughal Period.

This is used as vegetables in curries, soups and to pickling. The excess cauliflower can be dried and preserved for use in off-season Cooked cauliflower contains a good amount of Vitamin B and a fair amount of protein in comparison to other vegetables.

Climate Requirement for Cauliflower cultivation

Cauliflower is also a cool-season thermosensitive crop therefore it is very important to choose the correct variety to be sown in the right time. it produce the best curd in a cool and moist climate. It is a delicate crop and gets damaged near harvest by freezing. The foliage of cauliflower can withstand snow, but the curd is damaged. The optimum monthly temperature is 15 to 20°C with an average maximum of 25°C and an average minimum of 8° C. The early varieties required high temperature and longer day length. Cauliflower curd do not develop well in hot weather. Dry hot weather cause the delay in maturity and increase the vegetative growth which may give rise to small and hard heads on the  hand cool temperatures may induce the bolting ( Premature formation of seed stalks)

Soil & its preparation

Cauliflower can be grown on any good soil (i.e. Sandy loams, Silt loams, Clay loams). But fairly deep loamy soil is preferable for growing cauliflower. Sandy loams soil is suitable for early crop and loams and clay loams for late crops. Soil should be rich in organic matter and well-drained. The cauliflower is sensitive to high acidity. The optimum pH of the soil for maximum production should be between 5.5 and 6.5.

Aldrin or Heftaf or Heplachlor or chlorodane 5 per cent @ 10-15 kg per acre should be applied with the last preparatory tillage to cheek the termite or cutworm infestation.

Seed Rate ; 

Early varieties; 600- 750 gms per hectare

Mid Early season varieties; 500 gms per hectare

Mid-late season Varieties; 400 gms per hectare

Late Varietes ; 300 gms per hectare

Cauliflower Varieties;

Cauliflower is a sensitive crop and the varieties are specific to season. Early varieties is sown late produce button head and late varieties is sown early will go on giving leafy growth and will produce curd very late. The cauliflower can be grouped into the following four groups .




Early varieties

Early Kunwari

Recommended for Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi. Very early variety. Curds hemispherical with even surface, ready

for harvesting from mid-September to mid-October. Average yield is 8 t/ha.

Pusa early Synthetic 

Main season variety. Curds somewhat creamy white to white and compact. Ready for harvest from mid-December

to mid-January. Average yield is 11 t/ha.

Pant Gobhi-3 

Early maturing variety. Curds medium-sized and solid white. Curds ready for harvest from October. Average

yield is 10 t/ha.

Pusa Deepali 

Recommended for Northern India particularly Delhi and Punjab. Early maturing

variety, curds compact, self-blanching, white, medium-sized and almost f Curds ready for harvest in late October. Average yield is 12 t/ha

Pant Gobhi-2

Early maturing variety. Curds compact, composite and creamy white. Curds ready for harvesting from November

to December. Average yield is 12 t/ha.

Mid-early varieties

Improved Japanese

An introduction from Israel. Plants erect, leaves bluish green, curds compact and white. Yield potential is 20t/ha.

Pusa Hybrid 2

First F1 hybrid released by public sector organization. Plants semi-erect with bluish-green leaves, resistant to

downy mildew. Curds are creamy white, very compact, yielding 23 t/ha.

Pusa Sharad

A variety released by IARI. Foliage bluish-green, leaf with narrow apex and prominent mid-rib. Semi-dome

shaped white and very compact curd. Average yield 24t/ha.

Pant Gobhi-4

A variety for November maturity. It has medium long stem, semi-erect leaves, hemispherical creamy white,

medium compact, non-ricey curds. Average yield 14t/ha.

Mid-late varieties 

Pusa Synthetic 

A synthetic variety, plants erect, frame narrow to medium, curds creamy white and compact. The yield potential

is 27t/ha.

Pant Shubhra

Recommended for cultivation in Northern India. Early growing variety. Curds are compact, slightly conical and

creamish white. Ready for harvest in November. Average yield is 20 t/ha

Pusa Shubhra

Plants tall, long stalk, leaves light bluish-green twisting backwards from the middle. Curds medium, flat, compact

and white. Field resistant to black rot and curd blight

Pusa Himjyoti

Erect bluish-green leaves with a waxy coating, curds retentive white, self blanched, solid and 500-600gm in

weight.this is only the variety which can be grown from April-July in the hills

Punjab Jiant 35

Main season variety. Curds white, compact medium-sized. Ready for harvesting from mid-November to December.

Average yield is 17 t/ha.

Late varieties 

Pusa Snowball

Ideal for cooler climates of North Indian states. Late maturing variety. Curds medium-sized, solid, having attractive

white colour. Ready for harvesting from January to March. Average yield is 25-30t/ha

Pusa Snowball K 1

Late maturing variety. Curds very compact, medium in size and snow-white in colour. Ready for harvesting from

January to April. Average yield is 25-30 t/ha. Susceptible to black rot.

Ooty 1

Suitable for growing in hilly regions of Tamil Nadu above 1,800MSL. It has a potential yield of 46t/ha in 110-120


Hybrids of cauliflower

Several cauliflower hybrids seed in bulk quantity are imported (10-20 tons/year) from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China by the private companies. These hybrids are tropical to temperate types that is why cauliflowers are available round the year in India. Mostly these hybrids are based on CMS and some are extent SI based.

 Sowing of Cauliflower seed

Cauliflower is generally propagated through seeds. Seeds are sown in well-prepared nursery beds. The nursery beds should be sterilized by formaldehyde or some fungicidal treatment. Seeds should also be treated with some mercurial fungicide to save young seedlings from damping off disease,

Sowing of cauliflower seed at proper time is very important. The cauliflower seed is sown according to the varieties in the following way:


Time of Sowing Seeds in Nursery Bed

Time of Transplanting in the Main Field 


Mid – May To End of June

Mid-June to End of July


July – Aug

August to September


Mid-August – First of October 

Mid-September to end of October 

Mid-September to the First of November

Mid of Oct to First of November

Seed Treatment ; 

For better germination dip the seed in hot water (50-degree Celsius) or streptocycline solution 0.01gms per litre of water for 4 to 5 hrs. For sowing in sandy soil treat the seeds with carbendazim 50% WP 3gms per Kg of seeds. Nowadays seeds companies are palletizing the seeds and pelleted seed cover helps in broaden the temperature range of germinating the seeds.


The uprooting and transplanting of seedlings is the same as for cabbage, The planting distance depends on soil fertility, variety, season and market demand. Planting distance according to the variety is given below: 


Row to Row Spacing (cms.)

Plant to Plant SpacingSpacing (cms.)

No. of Plant Per Acre












10 890

Seedlings of early sown crop should be planted on low ridges, otherwise the heavy shower will destroy all the tender plants. According to the field experiments conducted by Singh et al. (1960), at Bichpuri, Agra (U.P.), it! was observed that the yield along with quality of cauliflower curds, was appreciably decreased with an increase in the age of seedlings. The plant produce heads prematurely when kept too long in the nursery bed.


Cauliflower requires very heavy manuring. Because it removes large quantities of major nutrients from the soil. Manuring practices differ in different region. It should be done as per following manner 

(a) F.Y.M. or Compost: 25 to 30 tonnes per hactare. It should be applied during field preparation and mixed well with the soil. 

(b) Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium @ 100-150 kg, 60-80 kg and 80 kg/ acre respectively. All quantity of Phosphatic and Potassium fertilizers and half of the nitrogenous fertilizers should be applied 5-7.5 cm deep on both sides of the line just before transplanting. The remaining half of nitrogenous fertilizers is applied as top dressing. 

A physiological disorder in the cauliflower to boron deficiency which is known as “brown rot’ or ‘red rot’. Water-soaked concentric areas first develop on the stem and curd, resulting in browing, smaller incompletely developed curd which is bitter in taste. Such a disorder can be corrected by two sprays (i.e. first spraying about two weeks after transplanting and second spraying two weeks before head formation) of 0.3 to 0.4 percent solution of boron on the foliage of standing crop or applying 10-12 kg borax per hectare. Another physiological disorder which occurs due to deficiency of molybdenum is known as ‘whiptail’. Affected plant produce strap-like leaves. It occurs in acid soil and it can be corrected by application of about 2.5 to 3 kg of sodium molybdate per hectare or by liming the soil Liming raises the soil pH and increases the availability of molybdenum in the soil 

Intercultural operation

Cauliflower is a shallow-rooted crop. Shallow frequent cultivation should be given to kill weeds and provide soil mulch. Weeding should be started as soon as plants are set in the field. The plant should be earthed up about four to live weeks after transplanting. Cauliflower is a delicious crop, requires good care. Like….

(1) The soil should be good and well manured. 

(ii) Seedlings should not be kept too long in the nursery bed 

(iii) Weeds should be controlled properly. 

(iv) Regular and timely irrigation should be provided

 (v) The only good quality seed of proper variety should be used.

Hand weeding is uneconomical, laborious and tedious. But the use of herbicides is more economical to control the weed. One day before transplanting of seedlings, the application of Pendimethalin (0.56 kg a.i./ha in 600-750 litres of water) followed by a hand weeding 40-60 days after transplanting effectively checks the weed population


Cauliflower needs very heavy irrigation. Irrigation should be given twice a week to early crops and once a week to late crops. At the time of head formation, the crop should be watered frequently. Irrigation at seven to ten days interval between December and January is highly recommended

Irrigation at the wrong time may cause problems like as head rot of cauliflower. Sprinkler, big gun, furrow and drip irrigation are used in cauliflower


Blanching is an essential operation to protect the heads from sun burning and yellowing, so that they may not lose part of the flavour and attractive appearance While the head is small, it is protected by inner leaves but later the head. exposed. The common practice is to bring the outer leaves up over the head and ties the tips of leaves with a twine or rubber band. This can also be done by breaking one of the outer leaves and covering the heads lightly with it for 2-3 days before harvesting to protect it from sun. This will induce milky white colour to the curd. This process is called Blanching and it should be done when heads has grown fully. The leaves should not left tied over for more than 4-5 days.

Pest and Diseases of Cauliflower

Diseases of cauliflower




Damping-off (Pythium spp.)

The invasion of the host plant by the fungus before the emergence of the seedling from soil causes pre-emergence damping-off

Soil solarisation or soil treatment with formaldehyde in nursery beds.

Drenching the soil in nursery bed with Thiram and Dithane M-45 (0.2%) or bavistin (0.1%).

Seed treatment with fungicides like Thiram, Captan, Ceresan or Bavistin 3gm per kg of seeds before


Crop rotation with cereals

avoid excess soil moisture

Leaf spot and Blight or Blackspot (Alternaria brassicae)

cauliflower become

brown and later the entire curd is discoloured and unmarketable. The fungus also causes damage to pods and

seeds with brown to black spots at seed production stage and the harvested seeds are contaminated resulting in

poor germination

Apply the Mancozeb at 2 g/lit or Carbendazim 1 g/lit.

Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae)

small to large swellings and other malformations of the roots. As a result

of these swellings, water and nutrient flow are restricted within the plant, which causes the above-ground parts

to wilt, turn colour and look stunted. Wilting is most common on warm, sunny days; plants may show little

wilting early in the morning or late at night.

Dip the seedlings in Carbendazim solution 2 g/l for 20 minutes. Drench the soil around the seedlings in the main field with Carbendazim @ 1 g/l of water. Follow crop rotation. Crucifers should be avoided for three years.

Stalk Rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)

The infections begin as water-soaked,

circular areas, which soon become covered by white, cottony fungal growth. The affected tissue becomes soft

and watery as the disease progresses.

Maintain the free flow of the air in the field

Apply 1.5 gms Bavistin 50%


Downey mildew (Peronospora parasitica)

white, fuzzy  masses in  patches on  the

the underside of leaves, stems and heads. The top of the leaves turn purple, then later turn yellow or brown. It may

cause browning and black streaking on stems below the curd and black, brown or grey spotting on the curds of


Good air and water drainage is critical in controlling this disease, along with avoiding water on the crop

in the afternoon and evenings. Crop rotation with non-brassica plants and incorporating plant debris will also

aid in controlling this disease

Pest of Cauliflower;




armyworm Spodoptera exigua

closely grouped circular to irregularly shaped holes in the foliage

Apply the imidacloprid /Borate complex@ 0.4% solution

aphid ( Brevicoryne brassicaea)

Large populations can cause stunted growth or even plant death; insects may be visible on the plant leaves and are small, grey-green in color and soft bodied and are covered with a white waxy coating

Apply phorate 10 % G @ 20 kg /ha or spray neem oil 3 % with 0.5ml teepol/lit or spray any one of the following insecticides

Set up a light trap in summer months. 

Cutworms (Agrotis spp.)

Stems of young transplants or seedlings may be severed at soil line; if infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten into the surface of fruits; larvae causing the damage are usually active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of the plants or in plant debris of toppled plant

Set up light trap in summer months. Spray Chlorpyriphos 2 ml/lit in the collar region during evening hours.


High-grade cauliflower has a solid and compact head and is white in colour. Cauliflower should be harvested when the curd reaches a proper size and bright in colour. The head should be compact, but has not broken into segments. Harvesting is done as and when curds are well developed. The plant is cut off well below the head and leaves are timed with a knife. The leaves should be cut off about an inch above the head. The stubs thus left protect the curds from injury during transporting to the market. As the whole crop does not mature at a time, several cutting is necessary. Harvesting should be done either in the evening or early in morning so that the produce is not damage before it reaches to the market.

The harvesting time after transplanting varies according to the variety. Viz.

 Early variety: 60-70 days 

Midseason variety: 90-100

 Late variety: 110-120 

The yield of Cauliflower ;

The per acre yield of cauliflower varies according to the variety as follows: 

Early Variety; 10-15 tonnes per hectare 

Midseason variety; 20-25 tonnes per hectare

 Late variety; 30- 35 tonnes per hectare


Cauliflower may be stored ordinarily in open for 2-3 days in winter, Cauliflower can be stored in cold storage for three to four weeks at 0° to 0.5°C with 90 -95 per cent relative humidity 


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