Causes and Solutions for Bok Choy Flowering: Understanding the Reasons behind this Phenomenon


Bok choy is an important vegetable in many cuisines around the world. It is already a popular choice among gardeners due to its versatility and nutritional value. However, sometimes bok choy plants start to flower prematurely, and this can be a cause for concern. So, why does this happen and what can be done to prevent it? In this article, we will explore the causes of bok choy flowering and provide some solutions to help you keep your plants productive and healthy.

One of the main causes of bok choy flowering is a sudden change in temperature. Bok choy is a cool-season crop that prefers temperatures between 50 and 70°F. If the temperature rises too high or drops too low, it can trigger the plants to bolt and produce flowers. Another factor that can contribute to early flowering is the length of daylight. Bok choy is a short-day plant, meaning it requires shorter daylight hours to thrive. If the plants are exposed to long periods of sunlight, it can cause them to flower prematurely.

Another common cause of bok choy flowering is stress. Lack of water, nutrient deficiencies, and poor soil conditions can all contribute to a stressed plant. Additionally, some bok choy varieties are more prone to flowering early than others. For example, the dwarf bok choy variety is known to be more sensitive to heat and can start flowering earlier than other varieties.

So, what can you do to prevent bok choy from flowering too early? One way is to choose the right variety for your location and climate. By selecting varieties that are more heat-resistant or slow to bolt, you can increase your chances of success. Another way is to provide your plants with consistent care throughout their life cycle. This includes planting in well-draining soil, keeping the soil moist but not soggy, and providing regular nutrients. Additionally, you can protect your plants from extreme temperatures by using shade cloths or row covers.

In conclusion, while bok choy flowering can be frustrating, understanding the causes and implementing the appropriate solutions can help you grow productive and healthy plants. By paying attention to factors such as temperature, daylight hours, variety selection, and proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this delicious and nutritious vegetable.

Bok Choy Flowers

Bok choy is a popular vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It comes in different varieties, each with its own unique characteristics. One common issue that many gardeners have encountered is when their bok choy plants start flowering.

There are several causes for bok choy flowers to appear. One reason could be that the plant has passed its prime and is starting to produce seeds. This can happen if the bok choy is not properly harvested at the right stage. Another cause could be a sudden change in weather or temperatures, which can trigger the bok choy to bolt and produce flowers.

Bok choy is an ideal vegetable for cooler seasons. It prefers cool temperatures and can bolt when exposed to too much heat. Slow bolting varieties, which are ideal for warmer climates, may help extend the harvest season and prevent premature flowering. It’s important to note that bok choy is a cool season crop, so if you live in a region with hot summers, it may be more difficult to grow bok choy without it flowering.

To avoid bok choy flowering too early, it’s important to maintain consistent watering and provide adequate shade or partial shade during hotter seasons. Bok choy plants require regular watering to prevent heat stress, which can lead to bolting. Additionally, ensuring proper nutrition and feeding the plants appropriately can prevent the occurrence of flowers.

If your bok choy plants have already flowered, there are a few things you can do. The first is to harvest the flowers promptly to prevent the plant from focusing more energy on producing seeds. The flowers are edible and can be used in cooking, so you can still enjoy them. You can also test to see if the flower stems are woody – if they are, it’s likely time to remove the plant from your garden.

In America, bok choy is well-known for its use in Asian cuisine. However, many gardeners still struggle with the issue of flowering plants. While it can be tough to prevent bok choy from flowering, taking appropriate steps to provide the best growing conditions and addressing any potential causes can help to ensure a good harvest of the prized vegetable.


One of the factors that can cause bok choy to flower prematurely is the current season. Bok choy is a cool-season plant, meaning it thrives in temperatures between 55°F and 75°F (13°C and 24°C). When the central temperature rises above this range, bok choy plants may already start to bolt, meaning they begin flowering and go to seed.

In cooler climates, bok choy may be more likely to bolt towards the end of winter or when the weather transitions from cooler to warmer temperatures. If the temperature is right, the bok choy you’ll be growing may as well bolt early.

One way to try and slow down or prevent bolting is to keep the bok choy plants cool. High temperatures can speed up the bolting process, so keeping the plants shaded or providing some sort of protection can help. Watering regularly and ensuring the soil is kept consistently damp between watering can also assist in maintaining cooler soil temperatures.

While there is no foolproof recipe for preventing bolting, there are certain factors that are important to consider. Firstly, choosing bolt-resistant bok choy varieties can be beneficial. Additionally, focusing on providing the plants with enough nutrients while avoiding over-fertilization is crucial. Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family and is generally more heat-resistant than other cabbage varieties, but depending on your geography and history of when the first frost usually occurs, planting in the fall may be the easiest way to avoid the heat of summer and the subsequent flowering.

When bok choy plants begin to flower, their vegetal growth slows down, and the leaves become smaller and less desirable. The flowers themselves can also be quite bitter. If your goal is to harvest bok choy leaves, it’s important to keep the plants watered consistently, extending the harvest period as long as possible. Providing constant water can help prevent bolting and keep the bok choy plants in their vegetative state.

Current Facts

One of the easiest vegetables to grow, bok choy is a nutritional powerhouse that is commonly used in ethnic/cultural cooking. It is a type of cabbage with thick, dark green leaves and crunchy stalks. However, if not properly planted and cared for, bok choy plants will bolt to flower too early, which can reduce their nutritional value.

When bok choy flowers, it is a sign that the plant has passed its prime. The flowers are tiny and yellow and are produced on long stalks. If you want to maintain good-quality bok choy, it’s important to prevent flowering by keeping the plants watered consistently and ensuring they are in an appropriate location with the right temperatures.

Bok choy is most likely grown from seed, although young plants can sometimes be found at farmers markets. If you plant bok choy seed, it is essential to choose a high-quality seed that has been properly tested. Bok choy plants prefer cool weather and should be planted in early spring or late summer for best results.

To prevent flowering, it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist. Water the plants deeply and regularly, especially during dry periods. You can also use mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

If you see your bok choy plants starting to produce flowers, you can try to remove them to redirect the plant’s energy back into leaf production. However, once the plant starts flowering, it is difficult to stop the process.

If you’re focusing on growing bok choy to harvest the leaves, it’s best to harvest them before the plant starts to flower. The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant and will lose some of their nutritional value once the plant starts to bolt.

In summary, bok choy flowering can be prevented by choosing appropriate planting locations, watering correctly, and maintaining consistent temperatures. Harvest the leaves before the plant bolts to ensure the most nutritional value. By following these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy healthy and delicious bok choy throughout the growing season.

Nutritional Value

Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a nutritious leafy green vegetable that is popular in many Asian dishes. It is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthy choice for your diet.

One cup of raw bok choy provides about 9 calories and is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains folate, potassium, calcium, and iron. Bok choy is high in fiber, which aids digestion and can contribute to feelings of fullness.

The nutritional value of bok choy can vary depending on various factors, such as where it is grown and the time of year it is harvested. Sometimes, when bok choy plants are consistently exposed to high temperatures or lack of water, they can flower prematurely. This can mean that the plants are past their prime and may not have as high nutritional content as young and fresh bok choy.

If your bok choy has already flowered, it is still safe to eat, but the taste and texture may be affected. The leaves may become bitter, and the stems may become woody and tough. If you notice flowering in your bok choy plants, it is a good idea to harvest them and use them as soon as possible to benefit from their nutritional value.

To prevent your bok choy from flowering too soon, make sure to provide adequate water and consistent temperatures. Bok choy plants prefer cool weather and temperatures between 55°F and 70°F (12°C to 21°C). If the temperatures are consistently high, consider using shade cloth or planting bok choy varieties that are more heat-tolerant.

Water your bok choy regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil evenly moist. Make sure the soil has good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot and other plant problems.

You can also mulch around your bok choy plants to help retain soil moisture and regulate temperature. Mulching can also prevent weeds from competing with your bok choy for nutrients and water.

In conclusion, bok choy is a nutritionally valuable vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. By providing the right conditions and caring for your bok choy plants, you can ensure a good harvest and enjoy the many health benefits it offers.

✿ Read More About Vegetables.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.