Also called baby broccoli, broccoletti, sprouting broccoli, or broccolette, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli.
Thanks to the influence of the Chinese broccoli, broccolini is much more heat tolerant than regular broccoli and has a longer growing window.
Not only does broccolini taste delicious, but it’s also high in vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre.
When to plant broccolini in Australia
Broccolini is a vegetable that can be sown in Australia in the spring, summer, or autumn. It is an easy-to-grow plant that will thrive in a variety of conditions.
For most Australian climates, the best time to plant broccolini is at the start of spring (after the last frost), so you can harvest before the heat of summer.
Alternatively, you could sow at the start of autumn to harvest before winter.
How to grow broccolini from seeds
Broccolini is a vegetable that can easily be grown from seed. It is best to plant broccolini indoors on seed trays and then transplant them as seedlings (after 4-6 weeks). Plant the seedlings in the soil 15cm apart.
To grow broccolini, you need rich soil that drains well and is rich in nutrients. You should amend your soil with compost or aged manure before planting.
The ideal pH range for Broccolini is 6 to 7. You can test your soil pH level using a soil test kit. The ideal soil temperature for growing Broccolini is between 7°C and 30°C and they should germinate in 7 to 10 days.
How to care for broccolini
Broccolini likes full sun and should be watered every few days or when the soil looks dry.
It also needs some feeding. We recommend using a balanced organic liquid fertiliser when planting.
Mulch is an important part of caring for your broccolini plants. It regulates soil temperature and helps prevent weeds from growing up around the base of the plant, which can interfere with its ability to get nutrients from the ground.
How long does broccolini take to grow?
Your broccolini should be ready for harvest around 8 to 12 weeks after planting.
However, be sure to check the plant itself as you don’t want to harvest too late (when the leaves start turning yellow) as the stalks will become woody and the plant will lose its flavour.
When to harvest broccolini
Harvest broccolini when the leaves are dark green and the heads begin to form.
You want the florets to be compact and tight before the flowers start to open up.
If your broccolini starts to bolt (quickly grows vertically), this is a good indication that your plant is getting ready to go to flower.
The stalks should be firm, but not hard or woody.
How to harvest broccolini
Using a sharp set of pruners, cut each stalk at the base. Include the leaves on each harvest as these are edible.
After harvesting, your broccolini should grow side shoots so you’ll be able to continually harvest until temperatures start to warm up.
Broccolini pests and diseases
Broccolini can be affected by the same pests as other cruciferous vegetables, including aphids, caterpillars, mites, and whitefly.
They are also subject to diseases like bacterial leaf spot, bacterial soft rot, damping off, downy mildew and powdery mildew.
To minimise the risk of disease, avoid planting broccolini in the same spot where other brassicas have recently grown.
To avoid powdery mildew, try to only water the roots of the plant, not the foliage. Also, give the plants enough breathing room so they receive adequate airflow.