Broccoli Varieties and
Types of Broccoli

Broccoli varieties differ mainly in the shape and size of the head, time to maturation, side shoot production, and disease resistance. Home gardeners should look for blends of early and mid-season varieties to extend the season.

Growing Broccoli—'Arcadia' 1
Broccoli Varieties—‘Arcadia’ © Steve Masley
Click IMAGE to Enlarge

When most people think of broccoli, they think of the standard broccoli head seen in supermarkets. These are the main varieties of broccoli grown commercially, but home gardeners can choose from a wide range of broccoli varieties not commonly found in commercial production.

Like most cool-season vegetables, broccoli has early and mid-season varieties. Early varieties mature in 50-60 days, mid-season varieties in 60-75 days. Days to maturity are from transplanting date; add 25-30 days if direct seeded.

Sprouting Broccoli is grown for its long, tender shoots, which are prepared in the same way as asparagus, or used in stir-fries.

Broccoli Raab is a branching, as opposed to heading, type of broccoli. It forms multiple small heads, instead of one large central head. Harvest the tender shoots before the flowers open for best texture and flavor.

Gai-lon, or Chinese broccoli, is a type of Asian green that’s smaller in size, darker green, grows more quickly, and has a stronger flavor than its western cousins. It doesn’t form traditional heads. Instead, the whole plant is eaten.

“OP”=Open Pollinated/Heirloom (saved seeds will produce true to form). “F1”=Hybrid (saved seeds won’t necessarily produce true to form).

Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab  |   Chinese Broccoli
Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli Varieties  |   Growing Broccoli

Early Broccoli Varieties (58-65 days)

‘Gypsy’ (F1, 58 days) is a very early broccoli with a strong root system for good productivity in poor soil. It produces nicely-domed green heads with medium to small bead size. Has good heat tolerance and side-shoot production.

Broccoli Varieties—'Blue Wind' 2
Broccoli Varieties—‘Blue Wind’ 2
© Steve Masley
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‘Blue Wind’ (F1, 49-55 days) is an extra-early variety that produces large, tight heads in about 60 days. Has good side shoot production for a longer harvest, and the tender, bluish-green leaves near the top of the plant are excellent steamed or braised, like kale.

‘De Cicco’ (OP, 48 days) is a multi-cut Italian heirloom variety that’s a good choice for the home gardener, because plants mature at a variable rate. Produces a small, 3-4” (7-10 cm) main head, followed by a large number of tender side shoot spears over a few weeks. Harvest main head at 3” (7 cm) or less to encourage side shoot production.

Broccoli Varieties—'Arcadia' 1
Broccoli Varieties—‘Arcadia’ 2
© Steve Masley
Click IMAGE to Enlarge

‘Amadeus’ (F1, 56 days) is a good early-season choice that produces 4-5” (10-13 cm) diameter, blue-green, tight heads with small beads. Strong side shoot production after main head is harvested. Medium-sized, vigorous plants.

‘Arcadia’ (F1, 63-68 days) produces uniform, small-beaded purplish-green heads, each 5-6” (13-15 cm) across. Strong cold tolerance makes this one of the best types of broccoli for fall and winter production. Resists head rot, downy mildew, and brown bead.

Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab
Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli  |   Growing Broccoli

Mid-Season Broccoli Varieties

Broccoli Varieties—'Marathon' 1
Broccoli Varieties—‘Marathon’
© Steve Masley
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‘Marathon’ (F1, 68 days) is the best choice for fall and winter production in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

‘Belstar’ (F1, 65-75 days) produces beautiful blue-green, tightly packed heads high on the plant. Good heat and cold tolerance, it’s a reliable performer for both spring and fall planting.

Broccoli Varieties—'Diplomat' 1
Broccoli Varieties—‘Diplomat’
© Steve Masley
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‘Diplomat’ (F1, 68 days, resistant to downey mildew) produces dark green, uniform dense heads 4-6” (10-15 cm) across. Great performer in northern gardens with moderately warm summer temperatures.

‘Express’ (F1, 75 days) is a good mid-season broccoli. Uniform plants produces 6-7” (15-18 cm) diameter, deep blue-green heads with tight beads. Produces lots of side shoots.

Broccoli Varieties—'Fiesta'
Broccoli Varieties—‘Fiesta’
© Steve Masley
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'Fiesta' (F1 hybrid, 65-75 days) produces dense, well-domed heads with thick stems on stout plants. Has limited heat tolerance at maturity, but is ideal for late summer sowing for a fall/winter broccoli crop. Plant on tighter spacing for single harvest–has limited side shoot production.

Broccoli Varieties—'Waltham 29'
Broccoli Varieties—‘Waltham 29’
© Steve Masley
Click IMAGE to Enlarge

‘Waltham 29’ (Open Pollinated, Heirloom, 63-74 days) produces multiple 4-8” (10-20 cm) dense, blue-green heads, followed by multiple side-shoots over a long season. Very cold tolerant, suitable for early spring and late fall production.

‘Beaumont’ (F1, 75-80 days), a choice Dutch variety, produces tight, round domes of blue-green florets. Has good heat and cold resistance.

Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab
Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli  |   Growing Broccoli

Broccoli Raab

Italian Leaf Broccoli—Spigariello Liscia 1
Italian Leaf Broccoli—‘Spigariello Liscia’
© Steve Masley
Click IMAGE to Enlarge

‘Spigariello Liscia’ (45 days), also known as Italian leaf broccoli, is a favorite in southern Italy. This is my favorite broccoli raab. Grows to 14-18” (35-46 cm). Prolific, tender, and delicious sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

‘Zamboni’ (OP, 45 days) is an Italian heirloom raab that has small leaves and long, tender stems with 1” bud clusters. Great in sautéed vegetable dishes.

‘Spring Raab’ (42 days) Large plants produce a heavy yield of tender shoots. Great for spring and summer harvest.

‘Sorrento’ (OP, 40 days) matures faster than other broccoli raab varieties. Large, vigorous plants produce a multitude of 3-4” (7-10 cm) heads. Harvest frequently for continued production.

Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab
Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli  |   Growing Broccoli

Chinese Broccoli (Gai-lon)

To harvest Chinese broccoli, cut off just above the roots before the flowers open. Cut off the young, tender tops of the plants, then split the wider base of the stems in half lengthwise. Stir fry with garlic and oil.

‘Kaillaan’ (OP, 45-65 days) produces deep green, 6-8” (15-20 cm) stalks with white flowers. Bolts in hot weather, so best sown early spring or late summer.

‘Suiho’ (F1, 44 days) is more heat-tolerant than non-hybrid varieties.

Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab
Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli  |   Growing Broccoli

Sprouting and Specialty
Broccoli Varieties

‘Apollo’ (F1, 60-90 days) is one of the best sprouting broccolis available. Plant with extra space between the plants and harvest the main head early to encourage prolific side shoot formation over several weeks. Side shoots are long and tender, and can be prepared like asparagus or used in stir-fries. For spring and fall production—may become bitter in high temperatures.

‘Santee’ (F1, 80-115 days), also called ‘Purple Sprouting Broccoli’. Large plants produce an abundant yield of tender, purple flowers with green stems. (Florets turn green when cooked). Extended 3-5 week harvest period. Suitable for cool-weather production only, shoots turn bitter in hot weather.

‘Veronica’ (F1, 85 days) is a broccoli/cauliflower cross that produces large, 6-7” (15-18 cm) heads with swirling conical light green florets. Beautiful on a vegetable platter.

Top of Page  |   Early  |   Mid-Season  |   Broccoli Raab
Chinese Broccoli  |   Sprouting and Specialty Broccoli Varieties
Growing Broccoli  |   Harvesting Broccoli

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