When a cauliflower plant fails to produce a head, the condition is called “blind” or “blind bud”. Everything else about the plant looks perfectly normal, there is simply no head
Since cauliflower plants take time, water, and real estate to grow, the lack of head production can be very disappointing. There are several causes for blindness in cauliflower, and many of them are preventable.
How do cauliflower heads form?
When a healthy cauliflower plant grows, it starts out by producing significant numbers of large, broad leaves. In the center of all that lush growth is a small nub of a bud. That bud (apical meristem) grows into the dense head of curd we know as cauliflower, except when it doesn’t. Bud blindness can be caused by bad seed, damage, or temperature extremes.
When the growing tip of a cauliflower plant is damaged by animals, birds, disease, insects, or human collisions, a head can fail to form. Common insect pests include aphids, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and slugs and snails. Animals and birds are often attracted to these tender buds. Once they are eaten (the buds, not the birds), it’s too late. Some of these pests can be thwarted by floating row covers.
Too hot (or cold) to handle
Cauliflower heads form best when temperatures are in the 50°F to 60°F range. Temperature spikes in either direction beyond that range may damage the growing tip to the point that a head cannot form. Providing shade or shelter, as needed, can protect that tender growing tip.
You can also prevent blind bud by selecting varieties suitable to your USDA Hardiness Zone, starting plants at the proper time, and spacing plants with mature sizes in mind.
There is simply nothing that compares with a homegrown cauliflower.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
To help The Daily Garden grow, you may see affiliate ads sprouting up in various places. These are not weeds. Pluck one of these offers and, at no extra cost to you, I get a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from these qualifying purchases. You can also get my book, Stop Wasting Your Yard!