If you have just started to notice flowers appearing on your rocket then you may well be wondering what to do with it. Is there anything you can do or is this plant now done?
When your rocket flowers it is often referred to as bolting and is to be avoided for the most part. You can slow down the process and increased the length of time your rocket takes to flower although it will always try to get there.
If you have had a prolonged dry spell and not kept on top of watering your rocket then this may be one reason why it has gone to seed. You can also remove the flower buds whenever you see them to prolong the growing season.
If you notice flowers on your rocket then you have two options, leave them and let the plant go to seed or cut the plant back.
Rocket flowers are edible in themselves and if you leave the plant to go to seed you can get some new seeds for a fresh crop and start all over again.
Alternatively, you can try and prolong this plant’s growth cycle by chopping it back. Harvest the leaves to eat and remove any signs of flower buds. Going quite hard and aggressive here can help, this will make the plant focus on growing new leaves rather than flowering.
One of the main reasons for rocket bolting is that the weather has just been too warm for it. If it has an extended dry sunny spell then rocket loves to bolt and this can happen very quickly.
So keep it well watered during summer and preferably grow in partial shade. If the weather is particularly nice then keep a close eye on it and pinch out and flower shoots as soon as they appear.
Sometimes you leave it too late and the plant is in full bloom. If this is the case I would just leave it and let the rocket go to seed. It is very hard to get a rocket plant back from this stage and even if you cut it back hard it may just die off.
Why you can’t keep eating the leaves
You may be wondering why you can’t just keep eating the leaves even when the plant has bolted. There is one good reason for this, when salad crops bolt the leaves tend to get very bitter.
This doesn’t happen as badly with rocket and sometimes the leaves are still edible, although they are never as nice as they were pre bolt.