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BRASSICA oleracea 'Early Purple'

Image of Brassica oleracea 'Early Purple' (Italica Group)

Jessie Keith



Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea 'Early Purple'( Italica Group)

Plant Common Name


General Description

The beautiful purple heads of 'Early Purple' broccoli develop very quickly--as fast as 60 days from transplant. As long as temperatures remain cool, plants will continue to produce broccoli heads from offshoots. The beautiful color of this vegetable makes it highly prized for market.

One of the most familiar green vegetables, broccoli (also known as Italian or sprouting broccoli) is an excellent choice for the garden. Typically grown as an annual, this cool season vegetable traces its ancestry to Brassica oleracea, a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial from coastal areas of western and southern Europe. It is grown for its fleshy heads of flower buds, which are harvested and eaten before the flowers open.

Some broccoli varieties produce a large central head with relatively few side shoots; others produce an abundance of smaller heads. The heads are borne on thick erect stalks above whorls of long leathery blue-green leaves. Broccoli varieties usually have green heads, although purple-headed cultivars are available. Hybrids between cauliflower and broccoli are also available; they typically have yellow-green or purple heads. Plants do poorly in hot weather, becoming lanky and flowering ("bolting") rather than remaining in bud. Depending on the variety, broccoli takes 55 to 100 days from sowing to harvest.

This cool weather crop prefers full sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. Broccoli should be planted as seed or transplants in early spring before temperatures heat up, or in summer for fall harvest. It makes an excellent winter or early spring crop for areas with mild winters. Harvest heads promptly to prevent bolting and to initiate development of side shoots.

Broccoli is rewarding to grow and well worth the effort. As with all members of Brassica oleracea, it is susceptible to cabbage loopers and several other types of caterpillars.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm (24)

  • Width

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm (18)

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Northern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing