Broccoli Varieties Explained

Broccoli is a plant that belongs to the cabbage family and typically has flowering heads which branch off of the stem of the plant to form the commonly recognizable, edible broccoli stalks and crowns. 

Common Varieties

There are several varieties of broccoli that grow easily in North America including:

  • Your average broccoli, or calabrese, which is a large-headed deep green variety.
  • Sprouting broccoli, which can be green or purple in color and has thinner stalks with more broccoli heads than calabrese.
  • Romanesco broccoli, which looks like a combination of cauliflower and broccoli and is light green in color.
  • Broccoli raab, which is grown for its spicy tasting leaves rather than its flower heads.

The Best Time to Grow Each Variety

For all varieties of broccoli, cool weather is needed for optimum growth, but you want to be sure that the seeds have sprouted and are strong before winter starts. To accomplish this, plant your broccoli seeds around mid-summer. The seeds will take up to six weeks to sprout and by late fall or early winter you will have broccoli ready to eat, fresh out of the garden!