Romanesco cauliflower head

How to grow romanesco

Find out how to grow romanesco with the help of our Grow Guide to sowing, growing and harvesting.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do not Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do not Harvest in June

Do not Harvest in July

Do not Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    5-6 per 3m row

  • Spacing

    50cm apart

Cauliflower or broccoli ‘Romanesco’ is the glamorous cousin of the humble cabbage family.

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It’s Italian in origin, with distinctive lime green heads made up of numerous geometric florets. It’s a beautiful and unusual vegetable in its own right and is becoming increasingly popular. The flavour is similar to that of cauliflower, but is milder, nuttier and has a crunchier texture. It can be eaten hot or cold in salads.

More Grow Guides:

Follow the advice in our practical Grow Guide for a delicious crop of romanesco.


Where to grow romanesco

Planting young romanesco plants
Planting young romanesco plants

Like other brassicas, romanesco thrives in a fairly heavy, alkaline soil – if your soil is acidic, add lime. Choose a sheltered sunny spot in soil that has been prepared in advance by digging in well rotted farmyard manure. Tread the soil down to firm it in. Plant young romanesco plants deeply, and very firmly, to give each plant stability and protect against rocking on windy days. Water well after planting.

Video:  Monty Don demonstrates how to plant romanesco


Growing romanesco from seed

Sowing romanesco seeds in a modular tray
Sowing romanesco seeds in a modular tray

Sow seeds in late spring either in a prepared seedbed in early summer, or in pots or seed trays in free-draining compost. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to approximately 7cm apart. When they have grown to 10cm, transplant them to their spot in the vegetable patch, planting 45cm apart in rows 60cm apart.

More advice on sowing seeds


Caring for romanesco

Mulching romanesco with crushed oyster shells
Mulching romanesco with crushed oyster shells

Water plants regularly, particularly in dry weather. Feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser when plants are established and growing well. This will boost growth and help the formation of the intricate green heads.


Harvesting romanesco

Romanesco heads are ready to harvest in the Autumn, from September onwards. You can wait until you have larger flower heads, or harvest smaller flowerheads, as with sprouting broccoli, and get a second crop.


Storing and cooking romanesco

Romanesco is best eaten freshly harvested. However you can store for up to two weeks in a refrigerator or cool larder. Not sure how to cook romanesco? Try this tasty romanesco freekeh recipe from our friends at Olive Magazine. It can also be roasted, blanched or sautéed.


Romanesco: problem-solving

Splitting and potting on romanesco seedlings
Splitting and potting on romanesco seedlings

Protect young seedlings and plants from slugs and snails and when you transplant them, make sure you net plants against pigeon damage. Club root can also be a problem, as for all members of the Brassica family.

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Romanesco varieties to grow

  • Brassica oleracea var. botrytis ‘Romanesco’ – the classic Italian romanesco, with typical pointed, patterned lime-green heads