Why purple sprouting broccoli will not sprout | + Solutions

Purple sprouting broccoli will not sprout if planted at the wrong time of year, is overcrowded or has root damage. Plant purple broccoli seedlings in May so they have enough time over winter to mature and you will harvest sprouts in winter. Purple Broccoli will need 6 weeks of cold weather to grow sprouts.

Purple sprouting broccoli will grow one small central head then smaller sprouts around the outside.

Top 3 reasons why purple sprouting broccoli will not sprout

Planting at the wrong time of year

Purple sprouting broccoli is a cool weather plant so plant seedlings in spring so it is ready to harvest in winter. If seedlings are planted too late in the season they will not have enough time to grow sprouts before the warm weather starts. Warm weather can make the plant flower instead of growing sprouts.

Here is an easy guide to planting purple sprouting broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli is a longer growing variety and there are short season broccoli that can be planted in fall and will grow and sprout in the winter so if you are in a hurry, choose a short season broccoli like baby bunching broccoli for a quick harvest. These only grow to around 1 foot tall so are great for small spaces.


Planting purple sprouting broccoli too close together or overcrowding can stop your broccoli from sprouting. They will compete with each other for nutrients and water and they won’t have enough to produce the broccoli sprouts. Make sure you plant them at least 2 feet apart. Purple sprouting broccoli can grow up to 2 feet wide so give them plenty of space.

Seedling root damage

Damage to the root system of seedlings can stop the plant from growing well. It won’t be able to absorb the nutrients it needs which will stop it from sprouting. If seedlings are left for too long in their seed tray, they their roots can become interwoven and can be damaged when you remove them. Damaging the ends of the roots can disturb the plant growth and this will stop them from sprouting.

Be careful when removing seedlings from the pot that you do not damage the roots.

How long purple sprouting broccoli will take to sprout

180 Days

Purple sprouting broccoli will take 180 days before sprouting. Purple sprouting broccoli take around 6 months to grow but once they do, you will have sprouts for many weeks.

I previously planted 6 purple sprouting broccoli which gave our family more than we could eat each night. I would pick at least a full bowl full of broccoli sprouts each day so there was plenty to give to family and friends. I will be planting 4 sprouting broccoli this year because we are in a small space.

When to plant purple sprouting broccoli

Plant purple sprouting broccoli in spring. This will give them time to mature over the cooler months and they will be ready to sprout by the end of the year.

The easy way to grow purple sprouting broccoli

The easiest and most reliable way to grow purple sprouting broccoli in your backyard is to plant seedlings. When choosing your seedlings, make sure the soil is damp, the plants are well spaced apart and the roots are not growing out the bottom of the punnet. If the roots are too interwoven they can be damaged when you remove the plant from the punnet.

Plant purple sprouting broccoli into soil prepared with a handful of pelleted chicken manure, compost or worm castings and you won’t need to add any more fertilizer throughout the season. Keep the seedlings well watered and they are going to be happy plants. If the soil is prepared well, the plant will be more resistant to pests nibbling on their leaves.

Does purple sprouting broccoli need full sun?

Purple sprouting broccoli prefers full sun. They will grow in part shade however they may not give as many sprouts as those planted in full sun. If part shade is the only space you have, then you should give these brassicas a go.

How do I get my purple sprouting broccoli to keep sprouting?

To get your purple sprouting broccoli to keep sprouting, cut the sprouts off of the plant as soon as they are around 5-6 inches long. Your purple sprouting broccoli will grow a larger central head and smaller sprouts around it. You can harvest the central head, and then harvest the sprouts as they grow. This will encourage the plant to keep sprouting.

How long does purple sprouting broccoli take to grow?

Purple sprouting broccoli will take 180 days to mature and start sprouting. If you haven’t got any sprouts on your broccoli yet, you may just need to wait no a little longer. It feels like a long time before you get sprouts, but when they come the plant will keep growing them for many weeks.

Is purple sprouting broccoli easy to grow?

I have found that purple sprouting broccoli is a really easy crop to grow. If you prepare the soil well before planting them out they need very little attention. I don’t add any fertilizer as they grow. Keep them well watered when you first plant them out. If you live in an area that gets consistent winter rain, you may hardly need to water them throughout the winter season.

Why does my purple sprouting broccoli have yellow flowers?

If you leave broccoli sprouts on the plant they will start to grow yellow flowers. This is the plant trying to reproduce. It will stop the plant from sending out more sprouts so it is best to remove sprouts as they grow. This will begin to happen in the warm weather after the broccoli has finished its growing season.

Do I need to stake purple sprouting broccoli?

You can place hardwood or bamboo stakes around your sprouting broccoli if you live in a windy area. I never stake my broccoli and they are quite happy throughout the season.

What are good companion plants for purple sprouting broccoli?

Good companion plants for purple sprouting broccoli are brassicas such as cauliflower and brussels sprouts, kale, beetroot and lettuce. Flowers to plant with purple sprouting broccoli include Nasturtium and geraniums.  Plant fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil and chives to deter pests that might nibble on your broccoli leaves.

Comments are closed.