About Purple Tree collards
*UK SHIPPING ONLY, ONE PER CUSTOMER* Purple Tree collards are part of the Brassica Oleracea group. They are long lived perennial brassicas that produce delicious deep purple collard leaves. They seem to be one of the most elusive of all the perennial brassicas, more commonly found in the USA than the UK. They produce the best tasting tender leaves, and once established can be harvested for most of the year. We have read that plants can live for up to 20 years in the right conditions. Our oldest plants are five years old, so we are yet to find out how long they live for. Leaves turn deeper purple as the plants mature.
How to grow Purple Tree collards
When your plant arrives, plant it out 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 will need to stake plants as they become top heavy and a prone to wind damage in exposed sites. They take up more vertical space, than horizontal space and can be grown amongst other plants. They can reach more than 2m tall. They are striking ornamental and edible plants and we underplant ours with all kinds of perennial alliums, herbs and self sowing flowers.
How to propagate from your Purple Tree collards
Purple Tree Collards can flower ( but very rarely) so seed collection is possible, but they will cross with other brassicas. The best way to propagate them to ensure they are true to type is through stem cuttings (a thick side stem with all leaves removed apart from the growing tip). Out of all our perennial brassicas, Purple Tree Collards root the fastest – they practically start rooting just by waving them over a pot of compost! We recommend taking cuttings once or twice a year so you always have more plants as back up.
Purple Tree collards – pests & diseases
Purple Tree Collards can suffer from the same pests as regular brassicas but have 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. However, Purple Tree Collards seem to be better at fending off pests than other perennial brassicas and barely get any damage in our field.
How to harvest and eat Purple Tree Collards
Let your plant get to a reasonable size before you start harvesting. Once mature you can harvest leaves all year round. Use exactly as any other green vegetable or kale. It has the most delicious nutty taste and is tender when cooked.