9 Star Perennial Broccoli (Brassica oleracea subsp. botrytis asparagoides)

9 Star Perennial Broccoli (Brassica oleracea subsp. botrytis asparagoides)


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9 Star Perennial Broccoli, is an excellent, frost-hardy, perennial vegetable. It is also something of a misnomer, as it has fused inflorescences, making it more of a multi-headed cauliflower. Whatever you call it though, it is a plant well worth growing, as the flavour is very good, falling somewhere between cauliflower and broccoli. Our plants are grown from seed, so there is likely to be some genetic variability in the mix, but typically plants produce a larger, central head, accompanied by several side shoots of varying size, sometimes maturing as early as March, but more commonly between April and May.

It seems to have been originally developed by a Mr William Crisp, around 1907, and by 1914 it was being offered by seed companies as far away as Australia, one of whom described it as ‘the Greatest Vegetable Novelty Ever Introduced’. Although sprouting cauliflowers aren’t as common as single heading ones or as sprouting broccolis, what makes this plant particularly worth growing is that they can be kept productive for 5-7 years – they can live longer than this, but yield are likely to decline. There is a caveat to that, however, which is that the florets should all be harvested, thereby stopping the plants from going to seed, as plants sometimes succumb after doing so. As those are the parts you want, we feel that this isn’t too much of a chore.

They prefer a rich, free-draining soil in full sun. Plants can get quite big (about 1m high and wide), and therefore perform best when given plenty of space. However, they survive cutting back much better than many other Brassicas. And although they prefer open grown, we have also grown them in containers.

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