Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli Seeds

Early Purple Sprouting broccoli is an interesting heirloom developed centuries ago in southern Italy. First listed in the 1885 French Vilmorin-Andrieux seed catalogue, this unique broccoli remained little known outside of France and Italy for over a century. It was only during the 1980s that two English breeders, Alan Gray and P. Crisp, began work on selecting hardier, better tasting plants that resulted in the popularization of this novelty old-timer. Early Purple Sprouting broccoli is not the easiest crop to grow but it will reward you with high yields of magnificent, unusual-looking purple florets.

Also sometimes referred to as ‘’Winter Sprouting Broccoli,’’ Early Purple Sprouting broccoli is a fall crop that will need at least six weeks of 10°C. temperature to initiate floret development. To get the best results with this very frost-hardy variety, start seeds in late fall and let them grow slowly over the winter with some protection from the cold for a harvest spread out over the first few weeks of spring. The plants grow to 3 feet tall and once the main head is formed, it must be harvested quickly to promote the continuous production of tender side-shoots that are best harvested when 6-8 inches long. And there is A LOT of them!

Early Purple Sprouting broccoli requires patience and takes up more room in the garden than other green broccoli cultivars. It is an extremely cold-hardy variety and a unique fall crop that will be ready earlier than other broccolis in the spring because it is already established. Early Purple Sprouting broccoli will develop in cold conditions when almost nothing else grows, providing your family and your animals with a supply of fresh greens even in the dead of winter.

The florets retain their colour after cooking and the flavour is very similar to green broccolis, but noticeably sweeter because they are grown in cooler temperatures. A good-looking, unusual addition to your gourmet dishes, Early Purple Sprouting broccoli is a great challenge for adventurous gardeners. Very rare at farmer’s markets, you won’t find this uncommon heirloom at grocery stores!  

- Latin Name: Brassica oleracea var. italica
- Days to Maturity: 80-120
- Life Cycle: Annual
- Planting Depth: 1 cm
- Days to Germination: 3-14
- Germination Optimal Soil Temperature: 25-30°C
- Seedlings Optminal Daytime Temperature: 15°C
- Transplant Seedlings: 30-45 cm apart
- Seed Spacing: 3-4 seeds every 30 cm
- Thinning Seedlings: Progressively until 30 cm apart
- Row Spacing: 45-60 cm
- Plant Height: 60-80 cm
- Harvest: Regularly harvest side shoots to encourage continued production. 
- Average Seeds Needed Per 10 m Row: 100
- Average Yield Per 10 m Row: 15-20 lb.


Broccoli is a cold-hardy crop that does very well with spring and fall plantings. It is a nutritional powerhouse that requires attention and space, but the fresh florets are worth every bit of effort.

Start broccoli seeds indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Use a seedling flat and a high-quality seed starting mix. Plant a few rows per flat, a couple seeds every 10 cm. A shallow depth of 1 cm is perfect for the small seeds. Bottom water, but don’t let the trays sit in standing water. Put the seeds in a warm place and provide plenty of light once the sprouts germinate.

Broccoli needs lots of nutrients to grow strong and produce hefty heads. When sprouts show their first true leaves, apply a weak dose of liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion or compost tea.

Thin out sprouts when they start crowding, up to 30 cm. Transplant into a small pot if the flats are outgrown, but don’t be afraid to transplant into the garden 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Broccoli is quite hardy and will tolerate cold temperatures without a problem. After all, the sooner they make it to the garden, the quicker they can get established. But make sure to progressively harden them off first.

Slowly acclimate the young plants to the sun and outdoor elements. When ready to transplant, put them in their permanent places 30-60 cm apart. Allow space for the florets to grow tall and wide.

Broccoli can take anywhere from 50 to 90 days until harvest, depending on the variety. Fertile soil and regular feeding throughout the season will contribute to a faster growth rate, and ultimately improve the quality of the final product.


- Native to the northern Mediterranean, broccoli was first cultivated in 600 BCE in ancient Roman times. The popularity of the vegetable had spread to most of Europe by the 1700s and was cultivated in America beginning in the 1800s.

- Broccoli is a cold-hardy vegetable, the best results are with spring and fall crops. They can still perform well in partial shade during the hot summer months. 

- The majority of broccoli cultivars can withstand frost, making them an ideal crop for colder conditions.

- Broccoli seeds will remain viable for 4 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down. 


You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.

Picked and bagged for 2024 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.

We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.

We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!

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Pamela R.

Am trying the purple sprouting broccoli fo...

Am trying the purple sprouting broccoli for THIS winter. Fingers crossed :-) Great shopping experience!