Why Are My Cauliflower Leaves Turning Yellow?

Growing vegetables in your backyard is damn simple!

Most gardeners say similar thing. You might think if it’s easy, why there are gardeners who’re failing even before starting?

What’s the secret ingredient to grow a successful cauliflower at home?

The secret is to know what your cauliflower plant likes.

In most cases when you fail to fulfill its essential requirements, the plant shows signs of stress. Discolored cauliflower plant leaves are one among them.

Whenever any plant’s chlorophyll components are lost, the foliage becomes yellow.

The leaves may sometimes become yellowish as a result of insect infestations, disease outbreaks, or environmental stressors.

Cauliflower foliage could appear yellow for varied range of factors.

Overwatering, underwatering, low levels of nutrients, pests, diseases or normal process of shedding old leaves can be the reason why your cauliflower leaves are turning yellow.

What to Know about Growing Cauliflower Plant?

Check these essential elements to grow your vegetable plant successfully:

Well-drained moisture retentive soil, consistent watering, full sun exposure for at-least 6 hours and fertilizing at regular intervals. The curd (mounded head of cauliflower) grows when the temperature is between 50F to 70F.

Quick List

  • Growing soil must efficiently drain excess water, yet retain required amount of moisture.
  • Drought stress can impact the quality of cauliflower heads.
  • An inch of water will be able to moisturize 10 inches deep soil. Water your plant 2 inches every week.
  • Full sun exposure for about 6 hours will help to produce rich flavored heads.
  • Fertilize after 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting.

You can jump to: What causes yellow leaves in cauliflower plant?

Also Read: How Often to Water Eggplant?

Know your plant: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable crop produced all over the world for its high nutritional value and great flavor.

The title of this plant originates from the Latin terms caulis, which means cabbage, and floris, which means flower. It’s a native cabbage descendant!

The closely grouped heads of cauliflower, very much like relative broccoli, are joined by a solid base, which is typically surrounded by a couple of light stalks.

Cauliflower comes in a variety of hues, notably purple, yellow, as well as orange, in addition to white.

Check this: Are Eggshells Good for Cucumbers?

The flavor is moderate, mildly sweet, and a bit nutty, regardless of the cauliflower’s color. Cauliflower production is unquestionably challenging due to the plant’s strict climate requirements.

Low temperatures during the planting season, humid soil avoiding excessive moisture, and bug pest-free producing conditions are all crucial characteristics that the cauliflower must meet to produce the required output.

Numerous producers also confront challenges with cauliflower production, such as cauliflower leaves becoming yellow in certain circumstances. In this post, we’ll go through all of the possible causes and their treatments.

Also Read: Holes in Cauliflower Leaves

Why My Cauliflower Leaves are Turning Yellow?

Stress causes plant leaves turn yellow.

Without proper care your plant might experience environmental stress, climatic fluctuation stress, inadequate watering stress, lack of nutrients, pests and diseases can cause stress.

If you’re a new gardener, then check your watering schedule. Most new growers often overwater the plant resulting in root rot.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your growing soil well-drained and can retain moisture?
  • Did you increase or decrease watering frequency according to the climate change?
  • Did you ever check the soil for moisture before watering it?
  • Is your cauliflower plant attacked by any pest or disease?
  • Are you regularly fertilizing the plant?
  • Is the plant getting sufficient amount of sunlight?

These questions will help you diagnose the problem behind yellowing of cauliflower leaves.

#1 Natural Development

The plant’s natural growth cycles are the most visible reason for yellowing foliage.

As it flourishes, its developmental force is centered on faster, more copious production. The older leaflets start to fade rapidly after performing their duty of raising the crop to fruition.

This aging is completely normal, and this will affect all plants of the same variety at the same time and the same rate.

Unless, on the other extreme, fading occurs across the population, with some plants suffering more than others, it’s usually a sign of stress.

Check this: How Much Water Does Radish Need?

#2 Overwatering – this causes root rot & yellow leaves

Excessive moisture is a severe issue in practically all plants. If the vegetable grounds are submerged in water for an extended length of duration, the roots will decay owing to an absence of sufficient airflow.

When the root systems begin to decay, they are unable to provide sufficient moisture to the vegetation, and the foliage begins to lose its chlorophyll component and become yellow.

If you leave the ground moist at all times, this is most likely the cause of the cauliflower foliage becoming yellow.

The below steps may be taken to avoid overwatering.

  • Cauliflower production should be done on a well-draining ground.
  • Since cauliflower prefers slightly damp soil yet not to have its roots swamped in water, add little water on a routine basis and at a small time frame.
  • Incorporate as much natural material into the ground as possible, since it will aid in enhancing the soil’s overall state and drainage.
  • If you’re producing cauliflower outdoors, mulches might help you conserve water.

Also Read: How Long Does it Take for Eggplant to Grow After Flowering?

#3 Underwatering – this causes drooping & yellow foliage

If the crop is stressed by not getting enough water, the color of the leaflets will shift.

Crop root systems are failing to take enough moisture from the ground and transfer that to the leaflets owing to a shortage of moisture in the soil.

As a consequence, the plants are forced to use less moisture to perform photosynthesis.

Thus, undesirable chlorophyll molecules that aren’t engaged in photosynthesis get discarded. The leaves grow drier, crunchier, and yellow in appearance.

#4 Low Levels of Nutrients in the Soil

Crops can appear yellow if there is a lack of nitrogen, iron, potassium, and magnesium in the soil, along with other common nutrient deficiencies.

When crops develop brown spots across their edges, along with yellowing or a general decrease of color, it’s a solid sign that nutrients are an issue.

A basic testing kit might confirm your suspicion if you feel the soil is low in vital components.

You can then address the deficiency with a suitable fertilizer and concentrate on organic soils improvement to prevent future problems.

Epsom salt could be spread on the soil to boost magnesium levels and enhance chlorophyll pigment formation.

Potassium is required by the majority of such agricultural plants.

You can buy and utilize potassium fertilizers to overcome a potassium deficit. This should put a stop to the issue.

#5 Pests

Aphids, root cyst nematode and stink bug are common pests that can cause yellowing of cauliflower leaves.

  • If you see leaves are curled and yellow, then check for small insects under the leaves. They are aphids, use insecticide soap solution to get rid of them
  • Stink bug feed on plant tissues and leave white to yellow patches on the foliage. Handpick them or use harlequin bug insecticide.
  • Root cyst nematode is a small microscopic insect that attack plant root. To prevent you must rotate crop by planting other family vegetable in your garden.

Must read: How Long After Flowering Do Tomatoes Appear?

#6 Diseases

Verticillium wilt

This fungus commonly infects cauliflower, particularly in humid, coastal regions. It usually affects crops in the summer months and early fall as they approach maturation.

Verticillium wilt usually attacks the bottom leaves, causing them to fade and appear yellow.

Starting afresh with vigorous, disease-resistant crops is the safest alternative. Because the fungus resides in the ground, transplants should be placed in a region of the field that is devoid of illness.


Clubroot is a dangerous fungal infection that damages cruciferous crops including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Yellowing or pallid leaflets, as well as withering in hot weather, are the earliest signs of clubroot. Initial warning symptoms of fading cauliflower might be hard to spot.

The crop would acquire deformed, club-shaped lumps on the base as the illness spreads.

The fungus that thrives in the ground can swiftly propagate to other crops, thus infected crops must be destroyed as early as possible.


Cauliflower is a winter plant that is susceptible to wilting in hot weather. The plant thrives in daytime temperatures of 18-26 degrees Celsius.

Crops typically awaken in the nights or when the temperature cools.

If there isn’t enough rain, provide 1 to 12 inches of water weekly and don’t let the land dry up completely.

Cauliflower, on the other hand, may fade owing to moist, soggy soil if it is overwatered. In hot weather, a layer of bark chips or any other mulch keeps the ground cool and wet.

Also Read: Lettuce Leaves Turning Yellow

Guidelines for Producing Cauliflowers with Excellence:


Cauliflower should be grown in well-drained, organic-rich soil. In mild climates, grow cauliflower in bright sunlight; in hot climates, grow it in the afternoon shadow.

Cauliflower may be started indoors and transplanted into the yard for 4 to 5 weeks when seeds sprout.

Harden off seeds planted inside in springtime before transferring them to the yard; put plants outdoors for a couple of hours every day over a week or two before transferring them outdoors.


Cauliflower thrives in cooler climates.

Put cauliflower in the yard after the ground level has risen to 55°F while day readings range in the 50F – 60F. Transplants could be placed in the yard as soon as 1 to 2 weeks before the usual final frost period in springtime.

Cauliflower sown in the springtime can leap and blossom early if the temperature heats up very rapidly.

A fall produce sown in the summertime is a wiser choice: seed cauliflower in the yard 75 days before the typical early frost time in the autumn.

Mulch cauliflower is grown in the summertime to maintain the ground uniformly wet and cold.

Cauliflower may be sown in the fall and cultivated over the cold season for a springtime yield where wind chills are tolerable.

Also read: How to Save Tulsi Plant from Dying?


Chop cauliflower tops once they are approximately 6 inches around, a little bigger than like a softball before they become too huge.


With an image for being a picky, difficult-to-grow crop, it’s vital to note that having the appropriate growth circumstances; you will escape the majority of the issues listed previously.

Cooler conditions, consistent moisture, sufficient ventilation, and nutrient-rich ground, go a fair way towards guaranteeing optimal plant growth.

You may prevent problems by taking proactive steps and recognizing problems early enough to act immediately.

Next time instead of worrying about the cause of cauliflower leaves turning yellow, diagnose it and you can revive the plant.

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