Broccoli plants are hardy, cool-season vegetables that grow best in the fall and spring. Starting broccoli is relatively easy, but these plants need a lot of space to grow and produce a plentiful harvest.
So, what is the ideal broccoli plant spacing? Space broccoli plants between 18 to 24 inches apart, leaving at least 36 inches between each row. Spacing broccoli plants closer can affect their growth, reducing the size of the heads and minimizing the entire harvest. You can grow broccoli in containers if you lack space in an outdoor garden.
Keep reading if you’re interested in learning how to plant broccoli in your vegetable garden. This article will tell you how to space plants in your garden and share tips for growing broccoli.
Can Broccoli be Planted Close Together?
Gardeners should space broccoli plants 18 inches apart. If planting broccoli in rows, leave at least 36 inches of space to give yourself enough room to walk between plants without stepping on their foliage.
Broccoli plants are heavy feeders and need nutrients, especially nitrogen, to grow and stay healthy. If planted close together, broccoli plants have to compete for these nutrients and are unlikely to grow to their full size.
Broccoli is also a pretty large plant, growing up to three feet tall and spreading three feet in diameter. These plants need plenty of room to grow proper roots and heads. Knowing the optimal broccoli spacing will increase your harvest and ensure your crop stays healthy.
The Ideal Broccoli Spacing in a Garden
A broccoli plant likes to spread and needs a lot of space to thrive. There are several options for broccoli planting and spacing, depending on whether you want to start broccoli from seeds or transplant young plants.
Broccoli Plant Spacing when Starting Broccoli from Seed
There are two ways to start broccoli from seeds. One option is to sow seeds directly in the soil.
Or, if you live in an area where the temperatures rise quickly in spring and summer, start the broccoli season earlier by planting seeds indoors. Check the last frost date in your area and plant broccoli seeds indoors five or six weeks before that.
If you decide to sow seeds directly in the soil, you’ll need to plant the seeds right where you want the broccoli plant to grow. Space the seeds about three inches apart and sow them ½ inch deep.
When you sow broccoli directly in the soil, you space seeds only a few inches apart because there’s a chance that not all seeds will germinate. Even if only a few seeds germinate, the seedlings will likely be too closely spaced for the broccoli plants to grow and thrive.
Thin the seedlings when they grow around three inches tall. Full-grown broccoli plants need a lot of room, so thin the seedling leaving 18 to 24 inches of space between them.
If you’re planting more than one row of broccoli, leave at least 36 inches between each row.
When you’re Thinning the broccoli patch, leave the healthiest-looking seedlings, and remove plants that look sickly or small.
Broccoli Plant Spacing when Planting Broccoli Seedlings
Broccoli plants started indoors are ready to be planted in an outdoor garden when they grow a few sets of leaves. Plant the transplants in rows, leaving 18 to 24 inches of space between plants.
To plant a broccoli seedling, dig a slightly deeper hole than the one where seedlings were originally grown. Leave 36 inches between rows to encourage healthy growth.
Broccoli Plant Spacing in Containers
You can grow broccoli in containers if you have limited garden space. The same rules for broccoli spacing in a garden apply when planting seedlings in containers.
A broccoli plant will need ample space to grow, whether planted directly in the garden or in a container.
The size of the container you choose will determine how well your broccoli grows. Choose containers that are at least 18 inches wide with enough room to encourage healthy root growth. A 5-gallon bucket or a container is ideal for growing one broccoli plant.
If you want to grow several broccoli plants in a pot, get at least a 15-gallon container that’s around 36 inches wide. A container of this size is big enough for growing two to three broccoli plants.
How Many Heads of Broccoli Do You Get from one Plant?
Most broccoli varieties produce one large central head that weighs around eight ounces. Cut the large broccoli head at an angle, leaving a five to six inches long stalk.
Once the large head is cut, most broccoli plants will produce several small side heads over the next few weeks.
Other Useful Tips for Growing Broccoli
Here are some helpful tips for growing broccoli successfully:
- Broccoli plants do best in temperatures between 65° and 70°F
- Thin broccoli seedlings when they grow two or three inches tall
- Keep the soil moist with regular watering, especially during drought periods. Water your broccoli crop at least 1 to 1 ½ inch per week
- Fertilize broccoli seedlings three weeks after transplanting them into the garden
- Broccoli has very shallow roots, so avoid disturbing the plant. Use mulch to suppress weed growth
- Adding mulch around broccoli plants will also help the soil retain moisture and keep the temperature down
- Maintain active watering and feeding schedule to promote the growth of a second head once the first has been harvested
- Don’t moisten the developing broccoli heads when watering because water encourages rot
Broccoli is a large vegetable that needs ample space to grow and stay healthy. Spacing broccoli plants too close can lead to stunted growth and decreased plant production.
Space broccoli plants between 18 and 24 inches apart and leave 36 inches between rows. Proper spacing will ensure that each plant has enough nutrients and room to grow to its full potential.