Purple Tree Collard (stem cutting)
BACK IN STOCK SPRING 2021
Purple tree collards are long lived perennial brassicas with spectacular deep purple leaves. They can grow more than 2m tall and have an upright habit with a central stem and bushy loose leaved top growth. Once mature, leaves can be harvested all year round. Plants can go on producing for 5 – 8 years or moreand are hardy down to about -10c. Price is for one unrooted stem cutting. Stem cuttings are thick stems with a growing tip that need to be potted up in deep pots of compost. They will root easily within 4-6 weeks, full instructions given. Once your cutting has rooted it can be planted out. When it has matured into a nice bushy plant, you will be able to take cuttings yourself and endlessly propagate new plants, providing yourself with collards for many years to come.
Out of stock
Purple tree collards are found more commonly in the USA, so are difficult to source here in the UK. These plants grow more than 2m tall. They produce the best tasting tender leaves, and once established can be harvested for most of the year. Some plants are known to have lived for 20 years or more, but 5-8 years is probably more realistic.
How to root a stem cutting
Full instructions are sent with your order, rooting stem cuttings is really easy to do. A stem cutting is a thick section of stem from a mature plant with a growing tip. Place your stem cutting in a deep pot of compost with the growing tip above the surface and the stem below the surface. Make sure there is enough room for roots to form in the pot, you can always trim the stem a little if you need to. Some people like to use an organic rooting hormone, but this is not essential. You can also place a ventilated clear plastic bag over your cutting to help it root faster. After 4-6 weeks you should see a bit of new growth on the cutting and start to see white roots emerging from the bottom of the pot. Let your plant get to a good size before planting out with about 6 true leaves. You can pot it on one more time if you wish to get it to a really large size before planting out.
When you are ready, place it in a deep planting hole and firm it down. It does not need a particularly well cultivated bed, just an area free of weeds and grass. Give plants an occasional mulch of compost and prune off any dead branches to keep them thriving. You can prune plants to stop them becoming too large if you have limited space. Plants will need staking once mature to stop them from being wind damaged.
Propagating more plants
Once your plant has established and has nice bushy growth, you will start to see side stems with ridges. These can be used to make your own stem cuttings and you can endlessly propagate all of your future plants yourself.
Pests & diseases
Purple tree collards do suffer from the same pests as regular brassicas but has far greater resilience to them in our experience. You may need to protect young plants from slugs, cabbage whites and pigeons until they become established.
After a year or two they should be large enough to survive without any protection. We don’t use any crop covers with ours and although purple tree collards can be attacked by cabbage whites, even the most well nibbled plants bounce back completely by autumn. We have also found that interspersed plantings of perennial brassicas make great companions – greatly reducing the damage to regular brassica crops by acting as pest beacons, whilst having the innate capacity to survive them.
Harvest & eating
Let your plant get to a good size before you start harvesting. Once mature you can harvest leaves all year round. Use in the same way as kale. It has the most delicious nutty taste and surprisingly tender considering the size of the plants.