Tree collards came to the U.S. during the the early years of slavery. It provided valuable nutrition and was probably the first perennial vegetable in the south. The plant was normally propagated from cuttings using stem cuttings. All the leaves were removed and then the stem or stalk was stuck into the soil. This is how it is still propagated today.
We were extremely fortunate to get seeds and began a permanent polyhouse planting as well as an outdoor planting to develop perennial northern versions. This is how we grow them. This has allowed us to create hardier and more robust forms. Tree collards are considered a perennial Brassica but if it hits much below 25 F the plant will unlikely survive the winter. However with selection many of our plants have survived in our polyhouses without supplemental heat during the winter with lows reaching minus 17 F. In our taste trials we did notice that even the hybrids tasted like a collard. The flavor seems to hold true but the leaf shapes are different and they are considered a hybrid in many cases.
The flavor of the leaves is very mild and just delicious to eat fresh or cooked. Gardeners in mild climates will find the plant reaching 4-6 ft. tall in one season which can be trimmed to look like a thick Scotch pine Christmas tree if you prune it vigorously. Tree collard stems can be kept in your refrigerator crisper section and stored that way through winter. Just make sure to remove the leaves. Plants can be brought indoors during winter too and can be kept in a sort of a dormancy by putting them on a cool window sill.
We offer seedlings from the Tree Collard Project and Ecos selections. These are mixed seedlings of very good parentage.
No shipment to WA.
|Genus & Species||Brassica oleracea|
|Hardiness||Depends on location but to at least to 0F. Minus 10 to 15 for the Ecos selection.|
|Ease of Cultivation||An easy plant to grow to big sizes. Can tolerate dips to 15 F outdoors before the main stem dies to the ground. Totally delicious and easy to grow like a giant edible evergreen tree.|