I absolutely adore this perennial Brassica! I introduced it to my garden/allotment last season and it just kept cropping and cropping all summer long. It has fast become a firm favourite in my books. It is a short-lived perennial, but its seed can be easily sourced, or if you are clever and quite savvy, you can easily propagate it in the spring using its side shoots for cuttings.
You may wonder just where the name ‘nine star’ came from? Well, in Spring a small cauliflower will appear centrally in the plant. Cut this off and gobble it up just as you would any other cauliflower. Then miraculously, approximately nine or even more smaller florets will appear around where you harvested the cauliflower, and it’s just like sprouting broccoli (but not purple-see picture above).
Perennial nine star broccoli is quite an oddity, and I love it for this reason. A horticultural misfit if you will, with it presenting as a sprouting broccoli, yet possess the most beautiful cauliflowers, with pale yellow hues. It’s really very possible to harvest up to 50 sprouting florets from one plant per season. What a discovery this has been!
Used just the same as sprouting broccoli, perennial nine star is just even tastier in my opinion. It just gives and gives all season long and keeps your dinners interesting! The leaves are also edible, and are at their very best when young and used just as spring greens.
As mentioned, it’s a short lived vigorous perennial living up to five years and producing successfully and abundantly for maybe three. Its grows to a height of around three feet (90cm) and is exceptionally hardy. It’s important to note that you must not let the plant go to seed. This will inevitably reduce the plants life span. So make sure you’re cropping as regularly as possible and share this plant with all of your family and friends!