Last updated: November 17, 2021

What Does Bolting Mean?

In horticulture, bolting refers to the premature production of flowering stems, especially on horticultural and agricultural crops. A natural attempt to boost seed production, bolting affects different types of plants including onions, celery, spinach, brassicas, beetroot, basil, and lettuce.

During bolting, most of a plant's resources are diverted, which affects the overall harvest quality.

Bolting also affects parts of the plant that are normally considered edible, such as the roots or leaves.


Maximum Yield Explains Bolting

According to botanists, bolting is normally induced by hormones belonging to the gibberellin family. It can also be triggered by other external issues such as a lack of minerals or water, stress, the plant’s growth cycle, as well as an overly high or low temperature.

Bolting has also been known to be a survival mechanism whereby the plant protects itself against these external factors by reproducing and ensuring the survival of its seeds.

The downside to bolting is that the plants remain inedible, which can cause a heavy financial loss to commercial crops.

In some cases, gardeners can snip off the flower buds and flowers to reverse the effects of bolting.


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