Broccoli Raab Growing Guide


An Italian favorite with a somewhat bitter taste, this fast-growing,
cool-season annual forms loose flower heads similar to broccoli in
the axils of lower leaves.

Broccoli rabe is the common name for the vegetable rapini, a close relative of the turnip, which closely resembles broccoli and broccolini. Is commonly used in Italian, Italian-American, and other cuisines. The entire plant is edible and requires thorough washing and blanching before cooking.

Site Characteristics

„ full sun
Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity.
Soil conditions:
„ requires well-drained soil
Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual
Biennial grown as an annual.
Ease-of-care: moderately difficult
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom time:
„ early summer
„ mid-summer
„ late summer
„ early fall
„ mid-fall
Flower color: yellow
Foliage color: medium green
Foliage texture: medium
Shape: upright
„ frost

Growing Information

How to plant:
Propagate by seed
Germination temperature: 45 F to 85 F
Days to emergence: 4 to 7

Maintenance and care

Grow similar to broccoli. Direct seed from early spring to late summer, about 1 inch apart and ¼ to ½ inch deep in rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin to 4 to 6 inches apart.
Use floating row cover to protect from insects.


Cabbageworms - Handpick and destroy. Row covers may be useful on small plantings to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer.
Flea beetles - Use row covers to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer. Control weeds.
Cabbage root maggot - White maggots (larvae) attack all plants of the cabbage family. Larvae tunnel in and feed on roots of plants. Damage causes wilting early on, death of plants a little later on.
Cabbage aphids - A hard stream of water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day. Check for evidence of natural enemies such as gray-brown or bloated parasitized aphids and the presence of alligator-like larvae of lady beetles and lacewings.
Other pests:
Slugs and snails


Clubroot - Locate new plants in a part of the garden different from previous year's location. If that is not possible, remove infested soil and replace with fresh soil. Purchase healthy transplants or start seed in sterile potting soil or fresh ground. Rogue plants. Remove and discard or destroy entire infested plant along with immediately surrounding soil and soil clinging to roots. If soil is infested, add lime to raise pH to 7.2.


Check out the extensive list of Broccoli Raab Varieties here. You may find a new variety you will love to grow and become your families new favorite or re-discover an old one.