Broccoli varieties - types and varieties of broccoli plants and seeds

Types of Broccoli plants in the UK are many and varied with colours from purple to green to white, with varying sowing and cropping times, but the one thing they all have in common is their attraction to predators. These precious plants need to be covered with either a fine net or fleece or they will be covered in caterpillars and eaten before you know it.

The best varieties of Broccoli available in the UK are:

* The Extra early Rudolph which is most often sown in March/April with the best cropping period between November and February though you may be able to harvest some around September. The Rudolph produces good sized, exceptionally tender spears jam packed full of vitamin C. You receive 200 seeds per packet.

* Spring Rapini: This variety crops within just 60 days, making it a very early cropping broccoli. Used worldwide for its superior flavour, all parts of this variety are edible; including the thinnings for baby-leaf salads and green-budded florets for sautéing - around 500 seeds per packet.

* Summer Purple: This broccoli variety has been specially bred for Summer cropping from a Spring sowing. It is a very high yielding type producing high quality, well coloured spears with a good heat tolerance.

* Brokali Apollo: This is a unique plant created by crossing Chinese Kale with Sprouting Broccoli. Apollo is a prolific and fast growing variety full of vitamin A,C, E and calcium. Sow March to June and harvest June to April.

* Brokali Endeavour : An exciting variety of broccoli for Autumn and Winter harvesting. It has a sweeter flavour than standard broccoli and is ideal for stir fries or tempura.

* Early Purple Sprouting Blend : In warmer winters this is one of the best varieties maturing from January to April. A top quality blend and a huge improvement on other older strains.

* Burbank White Sprouting : A disease resistant white sprouting variety of broccoli producing high yields of succulent and creamy white spears. This is a British bred broccoli which is ready to harvest when other vegetables are scarce.

* Claret F1 hybrid: A superb broccoli variety which provides a very crop from March to April. The spears are extra large and can be harvested for up to 4 weeks.