Cauliflower is an amazing vegetable that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. But for my money, the Snow Crown cauliflower is hands-down the best.
This unique hybrid has a gorgeous, creamy white appearance and a sweet, nutty flavor that can’t be beat.
As a long-time gardener who has grown all sorts of cauliflower varieties over the years, I can honestly say Snow Crown produces the most reliable, gorgeous heads of any cauliflower I’ve cultivated.
The hefty, rounded heads measure up to 8 inches across and retain their smooth, white appearance without any yellowing. This makes for quite the dramatic presentation when served whole!
In this gardening blog, I’m going to highlight everything you need to know about the Snow Crown cauliflower.
I’ll cover its appearance, taste, plant characteristics, how it compares to other cauliflower cultivars, and most importantly – tips for growing bountiful Snow Crown heads in your own garden.
So read on to learn all about this magnificent vegetable and its care requirements. I have no doubt that after reading this, you’ll be eager to grow your own Snow Crown cauliflowers!
Main Features of Snow Crown Cauliflower
The Snow Crown cauliflower stands out for its pristine white heads that measure 6-8 inches across when fully mature.
It has a rounded shape and smooth appearance, with no leaves protruding through to blemish the perfect white color.
In my garden, I’ve harvested Snow Crown heads weighing up to 2 pounds a piece! Talk about massive.
The hefty size translates to an impressive yield. Last season, my 100 square foot Snow Crown patch produced over 25 pounds of cauliflower heads.
Beyond its gorgeous exterior, the Snow Crown cauliflower boasts a delectable sweet and nutty flavor.
Many cauliflower varieties can have bitter or sharp undertones, but Snow Crown offers a pleasant, mellow taste.
One of the reasons Snow Crown performs so well is that it was specially developed as a hybrid variety by Sakata Seed Company in Japan.
Hybrids are created by cross-pollinating two stable parent varieties to produce offspring with the best traits of each.
Snow Crown has an excellent genetic makeup that results in early maturity, heat tolerance, and high yields.
The plants reach maturity quickly, with the hearty white heads ready to harvest just 75 days after transplanting.
This quick maturity allows Snow Crown to thrive as both a spring and fall crop. I’ve had great success planting it in early spring for a summer harvest, and then again in late summer for a fall crop.
The key is sowing seeds or setting transplants out 4-5 weeks before your first expected frost date.
Snow Crown is also able to tolerate summer heat better than many cauliflower varieties. It will thrive in daytime temps up to 80°F.
Once the heads start to form, prolonged hot and humid weather can cause issues, so they do best maturing in cool conditions.
But Snow Crown’s heat resistance gives it flexibility to mature before extreme summer temperatures set in.
With its early maturity, heat tolerance, and vigorous growth habit, Snow Crown delivers reliably bountiful harvests.
It’s an ideal variety for gardeners to grow. Proper care will be rewarded with massive, beautiful cauliflower heads for your kitchen!
Cauliflowers require fertile, well-drained soil to thrive. Snow Crown benefits from soil amended with generous amounts of compost or rotted manure.
Work in 1-2 inches of organic matter before planting. The plants are heavy feeders and also respond well to a balanced organic fertilizer worked into the soil.
Snow Crown thrives when temperatures remain cool, around 60-70°F. It can tolerate frosts but extreme cold will damage the plants.
When growing Snow Crown, space the plants 18-24 inches apart in rows spaced 3 feet apart. This gives them adequate room to grow their large leaves and heads.
These plants need consistent soil moisture, especially when forming heads.
Use a mulch to conserve water and irrigate when the top inch of soil dries out. Avoid overwatering, which can cause rot.
It’s important to monitor for pests like cabbage worms and aphids. Use floating row covers or apply organic pesticides at the first signs of damage.
Be sure to remove row covers once heads start to form to allow for pollination.
Once the central heads feel firm and tight, they are ready for harvesting. Use a sharp knife to cut the heads from the plants. The wrapper leaves should still be closed tightly around the curds.
Harvest promptly once mature to prevent the heads from becoming loose.
The standard Snow Crown cauliflower takes about 2-3 months from transplant to harvest. But they are well worth the wait for their sublime flavor and fantastic yields!
Snow Crown vs. Other Cauliflower Varieties
Now that we’ve covered Snow Crown’s characteristics and care, how does it compare to some other popular cauliflower varieties? Let’s look at some key distinctions.
Compared to Traditional Heirlooms
Heirloom cauliflowers predate the modern hybrids and are treasured for their history and unique traits. However, they often lack the uniformity and reliability of hybrids like Snow Crown.
Heirloom cauliflowers come in a rainbow of colors – from orange to purple to green.
They can have interesting shapes with loose, irregular curds. However, their growth habit tends to be less consistent.
It’s common for heirlooms to produce smaller curds or “buttons” rather than one large head.
They may not all mature at the same time, requiring multiple harvests. Their flavor can also vary from plant to plant.
While heirlooms certainly have novelty appeal, Snow Crown offers vastly improved consistency and yields.
The plants reliably produce dense, white heads maturing simultaneously for easy harvesting.
Snow Crown also has greater disease resistance than most heirlooms.
Its vigorous genetic background fights off fungal issues like downy and powdery mildew. Heirlooms tend to be more susceptible to these problems in warm, humid climates.
So while heirlooms have undeniable charm, Snow Crown is a better option if you’re looking for a hearty harvest with minimal fuss.
Beyond the classic heirlooms, there are a number of other hybrid cauliflowers worth mentioning…
Some hybrid varieties that can stand up to Snow Crown include:
- Graffiti – This early maturing variety produces vivid purple heads with a sweet, nutty taste. The color fades to blue-green when cooked. It matures quickly in just 50-65 days.
- Snowball – This is another classic white cauliflower with dense, medium-sized curds. It has a more compact growth habit than Snow Crown. Snowball is slow to bolt and thrives in cool conditions.
- Veronica – An Italian romanesco type, Veronica forms spiral-shaped lime green heads. It has a mild flavor and takes about 75 days to reach maturity.
- Minuteman – This variety offers club-shaped white heads on compact plants. It matures early in 55-65 days and is suitable for growing in containers.
While all of these hybrids have merits, Snow Crown remains the heavyweight for its huge yields, heat tolerance, and reliability across seasons. Don’t underestimate this white beauty!
How to Grow Snow Crown Cauliflower
Growing your own Snow Crown cauliflower is very rewarding, but does require some patience and care. Here are my top tips for cultivating bountiful heads.
Starting from Seed
Snow Crown can be grown from seed, but it’s crucial to start seeds early indoors.
Sow them 6-8 weeks before your last expected spring frost. I like using a seed starting mix and grow lights to get my seeds off to a vigorous start.
Gradually harden off the seedlings by moving them outdoors for a few hours each day about 1-2 weeks before transplanting.
This helps them adjust to real-world growing conditions.
Transplant on a cloudy day or in the evening to avoid stressing the plants. Space them 18-24 inches apart in rows spaced 3 feet apart. Add a balanced organic fertilizer to give them the nutrition they crave.
If you buy starter plants from a local nursery, transplant them on an overcast, calm spring day. Gently remove from pots, being careful of the root balls. Space them out as described above in rows.
Water the transplants well and add protective mulch around the bases. Monitor soil moisture closely in the following weeks to ensure the roots establish well. Slow, deep watering is best to encourage deep root growth.
Care and Maintenance
Once your Snow Crown plants are happily growing, consistent care will ensure strong heads. Make sure to provide:
- 1-2 inches of water per week, allowing soil to partly dry out between waterings
- Monthly side-dressing with a balanced organic fertilizer
- Mulching to retain moisture and deter weeds
- Support with stakes or trellising if needed
- Pest monitoring for caterpillars, aphids, cabbage worms
- Harvest promptly when heads feel firm and tight!
Follow these tips and you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful Snow Crown cauliflower harvest.
I hope this guide has shown you why Snow Crown cauliflower is so special and how to cultivate it yourself. The massive, flawless white heads are a real showstopper at markets or on the dinner table.
While it does take some patience and care, Snow Crown is ultimately one of the easiest cauliflowers to grow. Its vigorous hybrid genetics offer excellent heat and pest tolerance.
With its early maturity, you can plant successions for both spring and fall harvests. Just be sure to harden off seedlings properly, provide fertile soil, and maintain even moisture.
If you follow my tips above for planting, transplanting, and care, your Snow Crown cauliflowers will thrive.
I guarantee once you taste the sweet, nutty heads, this vegetable will become a staple in your garden for years to come. Every gardener should give Snow Crown a try – you won’t be disappointed!
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to plant Snow Crown?
Snow Crown can be planted in spring for a summer crop or late summer for a fall harvest. Sow seeds or transplant 4-5 weeks before your first expected frost date.
How much space does Snow Crown need?
Allow 18-24 inches between plants and 3 feet between rows. Cauliflowers need adequate space for their full foliage growth.
What type of fertilizer does Snow Crown need?
Snow Crown thrives with a balanced organic fertilizer (like 5-5-5). Side dress monthly and work compost or manure into soil before planting.
How long does Snow Crown take to mature?
Snow Crown reaches maturity quickly, around 75 days from transplanting. This makes it a great early season crop.
When should I harvest Snow Crown?
Monitor heads closely and harvest promptly when they feel very firm and tight. Cut heads before they start to loosen or “rice out.”
What causes loose, small curds in cauliflower?
Factors like heat stress, inconsistent watering, and nutrient deficiencies can cause poor formation of curds. Maintain optimal growing conditions.