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Why Is My Broccoli Plant Turning a Different Color? Helpful Tips

One of the best characteristics of a broccoli plant is its bright green color. The stems, leaves, and heads of broccoli plants all have the vibrant hue. However, sometimes you can encounter unhealthy color changes in your broccoli plants. 

Your broccoli plant might be turning a different color because of bacterial rot, a lack of nitrogen in soil, excess sun exposure, lack of water, overexposure to heat, a fungal infection, or a dip in temperature. 

While it can be frustrating to deal with sick plants, these issues are actually quite easy to solve with a little dedication and time. Read on to learn more about why your broccoli plants are turning different colors and how to solve each of these issues. 

Broccoli Turning Black

If you’ve ever left a head of broccoli in the fridge for too long, you’ll be able to recognize the nasty smell and texture that goes along with broccoli that’s turned black and gone bad. What’s interesting is that the same sort of “mush” that happens to picked broccoli can also happen on broccoli plants that are still growing.

If the head of your growing broccoli plant is turning black, you’ll need to solve the issue as quickly as possible, because your plant is most likely experiencing bacterial head rot. Head rot is caused by bacteria taking advantage of a broccoli plant exposed to too much moisture and too little sun. If you’ve planted your broccoli in a shady place or if you’ve had a spell of heavy rain, your plants are going to be susceptible to turning black.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remedy the head rot other than to cut off the infected head, so it doesn’t spread. However, there’s no need to worry – the rest of the plant can still be saved. To prevent head rot from occurring in the future, you’ll need to replant your broccoli in an area with more sun and better drainage.

Broccoli Turning Brown

When you’re harvesting your broccoli, you want to look for the best heads. These will be the ones that are fully grown and have the brightest shade of green. However, sometimes our plants just don’t grow the way we want them to, and they start to turn an unsightly dirt color.

If your broccoli plant is starting to turn brown, it probably has a case of “brown bead.” Brown bead is diagnosed by the little buds on the head of your broccoli plant turning brown. It’s usually caused by poor growing conditions, much like bacterial head rot. The difference between the two is that, while bacterial head rot just turns healthy heads to mush, brown bead stunts the growth of the plant and turns the buds dry and brown.

A study from NC State University shows that increasing the amount of nitrogen in the soil helps to prevent brown bead from recurring. It also shows that steady watering helps prevent the ailment. An easy way to add nitrogen to your broccoli plants is to add fertilizer to your garden. An easy-to-use fertilizer is Burpee Organic Blood Meal.

Broccoli Turning Purple

Broccoli plants are easy to recognize because of their tree-like structure and bright green color. But, what happens if the heads of your broccoli start to turn purple? Rest assured – purple broccoli is perfectly healthy. According to the master gardeners at the University of California, purple coloring is caused by a release of anthocyanin, which is a naturally occurring blueish purple pigment.

This release of anthocyanin is caused by too much sun exposure in plants that are designed for cooler weather. In this case, broccoli is the perfect victim for purple-ization. Since broccoli is a cool-weather plant, it’s easy for them to turn purple if your local climate is hot and sunny.

Purple broccoli is perfectly fine to eat but to prevent it from happening in the future, you can plant your broccoli earlier in the season. Another way to prevent purple sprouts is to plant your broccoli in a shadier location. 

Broccoli Turning Yellow

It’s important to keep an eye on the texture and color of all parts of your broccoli plants, including the stems, heads, and leaves. The leaves on broccoli plants are supposed to be a soft green color with a thick, crunchy feel. However, when they start to turn yellow, there’s an underlying issue that needs to be resolved.

One of the most likely issues underlying yellow leaves on broccoli plants is stress from poor watering and high heat. When plants aren’t watered regularly and are overexposed to heat, they can actually suffer stress, much like humans do.

To remedy this problem, you’ll need to be conscientious about keeping your plants out of the heat and watering them properly. Keep an eye out for soil dryness and make sure that the soil always stays slightly damp.

Broccoli Turning Light Green/White

If the heads of your broccoli plants are turning light green or white, you’ve likely got yourself a case of a fungal infection. However, fear not – this is a relatively easy issue to solve. White broccoli heads are most likely suffering from powdery mildew, an easily-cured fungus that creates a snow-like layer on top of the plants.

Cases of powdery mildew most commonly occur in gardens with poor circulation. To prevent this from happening, you may have to re-space your garden. Make sure there is enough place between each plant from them to “breathe,” allowing fresh warm air to flow between each broccoli plant. Remember that broccoli is a wide plant, growing in all directions with big leaves that create shade.

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Another way to solve powdery mildew is to use a fungicide. What you’ll need to do to get rid of the fungus is to target the plants with the worst of it, then spray them down with a vegetable-safe fungicide. One example of an easy-to-use and affordable fungicide for veggies is Fung-onil Spray from Bonide.   

Broccoli Turning Red/Orange

We’ve covered purple, black, and brown broccoli, but what’s wrong with your plant if it starts turning red or orange? Though it most commonly occurs in decorative outdoor plants, it’s possible that the leaves on your broccoli plant might turn a bright rusty hue.

A crimson hue can pop up on your broccoli if the temperature is too cold. If you’ve been experiencing a series of cold nights, your broccoli might become a victim of reddening.

To prevent orange-tinted broccoli from growing in your garden, make sure that you’re not planting too early. It’s important to schedule your gardening properly according to your local climate. If you live in New England, you’ll want to plant broccoli a little later in the season than someone would in the South.

Final Thoughts

Even though it’s frustrating, you can easily solve problems when your broccoli plants turn different colors. When your plant heads start to turn black or white, you’ll need to combat an infection. When your broccoli turns purple, yellow, brown, or reddish-orange, you’ll just need to either adjust your watering schedule or move your plants.

ReadyToDiy is the owner of this article. This post was published on 2020-06-06..

Some of these solutions will take longer than others, but even the most beginner home-gardeners have the ability to fix them with these simple tips. All you’ll need is a trowel, a watering can, maybe a bit of natural fungicide or fertilizer, and patience. I hope these tips help you grow your most beautiful garden ever.