Senior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: Central Connecticut

Now what is wrong with my broccoli???

Last Friday, I saw a nice head of broccoli forming - yesterday I went to check it out, and it looked like this!
Broccoli smaller.JPG
Broccoli smaller.JPG (39.33 KiB) Viewed 909 times
What is this? I assume it's there any way to save it?

This is the Sun King Hybrid variety that is supposed to be able to grow in the summer heat - not that CT has had much of a summer this year. :roll:

Susan W
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

Do a close inspection. See if there are small brown with striped caterpillars in the head. They can take over a head of broccoli, -ick factor. If you see a few, can cut off the head, cut into sections, soak in cold salted water. If too far gone, may end up in disposal or compost!

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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Southern California Desert

It looks like aphids. You can blast them off with a strong jet of plain water. Check the leaves, top and bottom, as well as nearby plants. Ladybugs and lacewings are extremely effective controls, but blasting them off will keep them at bay. Keep tabs on them every couple of days at least.

More info on broccoli pests: ... c2203.html

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

In my experience this kind of damage is typical of slugs/or whatever initial damage, it attracts slugs. Once this kind of partial spoilage occurs, it attracts all kinds of pests, damaged area will keep spreading and the entire head will be ruined. I've had better success salvaging the head by harvesting immediately and cutting out any part that I wouldn't want to eat.

In any case, to me, the flower buds look like they are getting ready to open. This can happen, too, due to the damaged cells triggering the "We're dying! Hurry up and mature!" plant hormones.

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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

For me broccoli, and for that matter, all things in the cabbage family are very hard to grow because the bugs so like it. Seems every kind of insect critter known loves to eat it. Not to mention snails and slugs. To be successful you need to do some serious, diligent insect protection. Good luck!

Cool Member
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 11:39 am
Location: Eliot, ME - zone 6a

I usually have the same issue with cabbage family plants......this year is an exception, in the row next to my pole beans, wedged between a row of dill and onions, is where I have my kale kale usually gets decimated by little green caterpillars.....this year, absolutely no damage, I have huge bushes of kale.....wondering if it's due to the proximity to the dill and onions????

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

You have broccoli in August. Wow.

Have you had a lot of rain lately and wet weather? The combination can cause soft rot of the broccoli head. While I would not discount insect feeding, slugs and caterpillars would also be making holes in the leaves. The leaves in your picture don't look so "holey". What do the leaves look like?

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