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18 Common Broccoli Plant Problems: How to Fix Them, Solutions, and Treatment

High in nutrition and low in calories, Broccoli is a delicious, cold-weather crop, easy to grow under the right conditions. Healthy plants can withstand the light attack of insects and some diseases. Like Radish, Cucumber, and Cabbage, Broccoli is a vegetable that is usually easy to succeed in. Let’s check out 18 common Broccoli plant problems below.

Common Broccoli Plant Problems
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There are two basic types of problems with any vegetable, including Broccoli: pest problems and health problems. Broccoli is no exception. If you are losing plants at any growth stage, it is good to find out whether the problem is a pest or a problem with the plant’s health. A lot of pests visit the Brassicas. Humans have been growing Broccoli, Cabbage, and other members of the Brassicas family for thousands of years.

Some pests have become as attached to these hearty, nutritious vegetables. Some fungi and diseases can destroy the Broccoli crop as well. But if you are paying attention and taking preventive measures, it will be easy to keep your Broccoli crop healthy and grow stronger.

18 common Broccoli plant problems

Bolting Broccoli

Bolting is one of the growing problems in Broccoli that has a lot to do with temperature more than anything else. While cold weather causes buttoning, a steady rise in temperature causes the vegetable to go straight towards seeding. 

Solution – Unfortunately, once the small flowers bloom on top of the vegetable, the head becomes too bitter and chewy to eat. The most temperature-sensitive part of Broccoli is the roots. Once the soil temperature rises, the bolting begins. So mulching is an excellent way to keep the soil and roots cool. Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of straw, leaves, or chipped bark to protect the vegetables.

Keep the soil moist as the temperature rises. Offer shade with row cover from the afternoon sun. It also acts as a defense against pests. Cut the vegetable quickly to avoid Broccoli bolting. One of the reasons your Broccoli plant is headless is because you’re not giving your plant enough sunlight. Give at least six hours of full sunlight to Broccoli per day. 

Leggy Broccoli 

A healthy Broccoli head is thick and wide, with the leaves leaning towards the center. When Broccoli plants start to be leggy, they give fewer heads and more stems. Broccoli is harvested for its nutritious and flavored heads, so when the Broccoli plant gets leggy and starts falling, it’s essential to change your growing ways. 

Solution – This leggy-ness is a relatively easy problem to solve in Broccoli. Since Broccoli is cold weather, a full sunlight plant, leggy-ness is either caused by weather conditions that are very hot or caused by lack of sunlight. Because these are problems that are not easily treated without relocating plants, you have to move your immature Broccoli plants to a better light area.

In case you missed it: Best Fertilizer for Broccoli: Homemade, Liquid, Organic, Compost Manure, NPK, and Schedule

Broccoli Plant
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Broccoli plants are easily transplanted. Once you carefully pluck the entire plant from the ground, please bring it to an area where the sunlight is high. It will be ideal if it is possible to find a place in your garden that is slightly cool but still receives proper sunshine. It will keep your plants from falling and ensure they are large and strong.

Mushy black spots

If the bacteria attack your plants, the leaves and heads will turn yellow-green, and then the slimy rot will start on the stem and engulf the entire plant. Water-soaked, black, mushy spots will appear almost everywhere and seep out the cracks along the stem. 

Solution – When the bacteria rot hits, you can only collect and burn your Broccoli plants. Do not throw these plants into compost. Instead, improve drainage, add healthy compost and wood ash, and leave the place a fallow for a year. Rotate your crops when you replant and avoid planting the brassicas for at least another year.

Broccoli plant leaves are drooping

When the leaves of your Broccoli plant start to droop, it is most likely due to the problem of moisture. As a rule, Broccoli leaves should be firm, crisp, and rich green. If they are not these colors, try to assess why the leaves of the Broccoli plant are changing color.

Solution – The best way to know why your Broccoli leaves are bending is to check the soil at the base of the soil around the plant. If the soil is dry, you’ve found the problem: Give your Broccoli a large drink of water and water them more regularly. If you have stuck your finger in the soil and discovered that it is quite moist, you will need to stop the water and accommodate your water schedule. Excessive water can be as harmful as water going underwater and lead to fungal infections. 

Broccoli seedlings fail to emerge from the soil.

This problem usually means that it involves a pest. Seedlings are eaten, and roots are tunneled before plants emerge from the soil. It is a small, gray-white worm about 1/3 inches long. Soil near the seedling’s flies lays eggs. The Maggots originate in the roots and produce tunnels, leaving brown stains or thin tunnels. 

In case you missed it: Broccoli Questions and Answers – Planting FAQs

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Solution – To get rid of these pests, you need to dispose of damaged plants immediately. It is also helpful to plant some lime or wood ash around the base of the plants. Another thing you can do is give time to plants to avoid the pest growth cycle. It is advisable to plant a little later after the weather dries up.  

Chunky holes in leaves

Slugs love Brassicas. They eat leaves and leave the entire plant slimy. 

Solution – Slugs love beer, and if they have to choose between beer and Broccoli, they choose the the beer. Make some beer traps in your garden, especially near your Brassicas, and the slugs will leave your vegetables alone and go for beer instead. Remember to change your beer trap regularly. It can quickly fill up with the slug below, leaving the chance to enjoy some sips of beer before filling in on other slug Broccoli leaves. Traps only work if slugs cannot escape them.

Loose heads on Broccoli

Since Broccoli heads are an essential part of the plant, most of the growing problems of Broccoli revolve around them. As a cool-weather vegetable, Broccoli responds to an unprecedented rise in temperatures. It just opens the leaves and gets ready to bolt. It causes the head to loosen and become almost wobbly. When the temperature rises rapidly above 30°C and finally stays there for several days, the plant becomes stressed.

Solution – Keys to a successful vegetable crop are good planning and good Broccoli maintenance. Choosing the right time to plant it or even the right season can be the difference between healthy heads and heads blown by the wind. For example, if your spring is hot and gets very fast in summer, you should plant Broccoli in the fall. Plant vegetables 55 to 100 days before the first frost in different varieties. 

Broccoli requires soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.9. Plant Broccoli in an area that has full sunshine. Check nitrogen levels in the soil. If it is defective in nitrogen, apply manure to fellow plants that fix nitrogen in the ground, such as beans.

In case you missed it: Growing Hydroponic Broccoli – A Complete Guide

Broccoli Farming
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Broccoli turning yellow

There are four possible reasons for your Broccoli to be yellow. These are nitrogen deficiency, mature Broccoli, and clubroot.

Solution – You can prevent this by preparing the soil before planting; you can only try to control the damage. Broccoli is a heavy-feeding crop; add 2 to 4 inches of manure or a single dose of compost to your garden two to four weeks before planting to provide enough nutrition.

Everyone can do it quickly if your Broccoli has managed to get through nitrogen supplies; you’ll see yellow Broccoli leaves below. If not treated, the yellow Broccoli leaves will move from bottom to top and eventually reach the crown. You can add high nitrogen and low phosphorus fertilizer to the soil to correct it. A blood meal is a go option for him.

Broccoli plant turning brown

Brown beads will brown the Head of Broccoli, often caused by a lack of water or nitrogen. The rot caused by viruses and bacteria will turn Broccoli leaves brown. The stalk of the Broccoli plant will turn brown due to a lack of boron. In a Broccoli plant suffering from the brown beads, the head will often heal.

However, you are looking at the head green buds first start turning yellow, and then they eventually turn brown. When your Broccoli plant leaves turn brown, the culprit most likely rots due to bacteria or viruses. If the stem at your Broccoli plant is turning brown and there are no apparent signs of illness, the problem may be due to boron deficiency.

Solution –Water regularly and feed with nitrogen fertilizers according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Boron is needed in much lower quantities than the three nutrients (NPK, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Use boron fertilizers such as borax or boric acid to treat boron deficiency.  However, test the soil before adding anything to your soil. 


Cabbage worms 

These pests are the larvae of moths and butterflies. You can see white or grey moths flapping around the plant, a sure sign that you will soon have problems with their offspring. Cabbage worms cause severe damage by feeding Broccoli leaves. 

Solution – Pick as many as possible. Young larvae are easily controlled with pesticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad. 

In case you missed it: Broccoli Gardening Techniques, Ideas and Tips

Broccoli Plant
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Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that eat under Broccoli leaves, making them discolored and wrinkled. 

Solution – A strong spray of water from a hose knocks them off the plant. Treat serious diseases with insect soap or neem oil. 

Flea beetle 

These small, black insects leave numerous small holes in the leaves. Continuous feeding can eliminate seedlings and reduce the production of mature plants. 

Solution– Use a pesticide labeled for use against flea beetles. They can reduce their number in winter in the soil, and good clean-up at the end of the season. 


Cutworms cut young seedlings on the ground level. 

Solution – Plant vigorous seedlings instead of seeds, and wrap the stem area on the soil surface with a collar made of cardboard or cloth. They sometimes got bored in the heads of mature plants. Then, protect plants by treating them with Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad.



Clubroot is a fungal infection that causes the root system to grow into poorly developed misshapen knots, which will eventually rupture and allow secondary rot diseases to begin. It will kill young plants or prevent mature plants from producing healthy heads. Gardeners will notice the wilting of Broccoli leaves on the first hot days but bounce back at night. The daytime wilting will worsen, and the leaves will likely start turning yellow. To confirm club root evaluation, pull a suspected plant and review the root system for particular defects.

Solution – Once your plot is affected by the clubroot, avoid planting any crop of Brassica, including Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Kale, until the disease is eliminated. Also, be careful not to transfer seeds to new plots through tools or irrigation water. Fortunately, clubroot can be prevented from regularly modifying its soil with crop rotation and lime to keep pH slightly above 7.2, which is usually very alkaline for clubroot.

Alternaria leaf spot

The disease is more likely to emerge during the hot, rainy season. Alternaria causes small spots to form on Broccoli leaves. These spots will turn brown or grey and can be round with connected rings.

Solution – Use crop rotation to avoid this disease and avoid planting members of the Brassica family at the same place in the garden every year.

In case you missed it: 20 Common Cabbage Plant Problems: How to Fix Them, Solutions, and Treatment

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The disease emerges in cold, humid conditions and is expected in the fall. The ringspot begins as purple spots on Broccoli leaves.  Later, the spots turn brown with olive green borders. The leaves can also dry and become crispy.

Solution – Avoid wetting leaves by watering from the bottom to avoid disease. In addition, you should use crop rotation and avoid planting members of the Brassica family at the same place in the garden every year.

Downy mildew

A common problem with Broccoli, the outward symptoms of the downy mildew include a gray mold at the lower level of the leaves, while the upper leaves will often show signs of yellowing and turn brown and die back. Unfortunately, the internal damage is not visible until harvesting when you find dark florets.

The best way to stop downy mildew is to grow a Broccoli cultivar that resists downy mildew, such as Green Magic or Windsor. Provide a proper distance between plants to encourage good airflow. Remove all affected plant debris after harvesting. Rotate crops regularly to reduce the incidence of downy mildew. 

Diamondback worms, Cabbage loopers

These are gray moth larvae. After they leave, they start feeding on the young leaves of Broccoli. They are small light green crawlers with diamond-shaped patterns on their backs. Cabbage Looper bodies are smooth and light green.

Solution – Place a bucket full of soapy water with you and collect all the worms at once. It may take a few hours to clean an entire patch, but it will preserve your Broccoli and garden. Another option is to spray vegetables with Bacillus thuringiensis. You can also use row covers to protect vegetables from white butterflies, grey moths, black moths, and other pests. That way, they can’t lay eggs on the plant.


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