Tree Collards are not really trees; they are much like regular collard greens, but are 5-6 feet tall with purple-tinted leaves growing up a single tall stalk. This collard will branch freely and try and take over the garden if not kept trimmed, all the while producing very tasty leaves, some of which can grow quite huge. This delicious perennial vegetable (in zones 7-10) is an important permaculture crop.
Tree collard greens are tender and delicious in cool weather, so they are a good choice for a low-maintenance winter vegetable in mild climates. (They're pretty good in warm weather also.)
We've grown these wonderful plants in our research gardens for decades. Collard leaves are rich in calcium (226 mg per cup, cooked), vitamins B1, B2, B9, and C (which may be leached by cooking and lost if you throw the water away), as well as beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A). These tasty leaves are high in soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties: diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and selenium.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that 3,3'-Diindolylmethane in Brassica vegetables such as collard greens is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.
They are definitely perennial in zones 8-10, maybe in zone 7, and may over-winter in other areas depending on the conditions. In colder zones, if you have established plants, you could try taking cuttings as winter begins and rooting them indoors for planting out the following spring. (We cannot say for sure this will work - we don't have enough experience to know whether, for how long, and how well it works in various climate zones)
Their history and biological identity seem to be shrouded in mystery, but they are reputed to have come from Africa as essential food, and have been preserved and passed on within African-American communities in this country. They do not normally flower or make seed, and when they do, the seed does not breed true. Instead propagation is by cuttings, which are passed along from gardener to gardener.
We offer these in sets of three cuttings. Each cutting has several nodes from which leaves or roots will sprout. Cuttings should be put in pots in good potting soil (with half of the nodes below the soil and half above) and kept moist and in the shade to develop roots for a couple of months before planting out in the garden. Leaves may begin to grow at first but then will stop until good roots are formed. We cannot guarantee that all three cuttings will survive; conditions en route or in your own area may keep them from being successful.
If it says "out of stock" go ahead and order; we are getting cuttings in every week and mailing them out at the start of each week to ensure that your cuttings will arrive fresh.
SORRY, WE CANNOT SHIP TREE COLLARD CUTTINGS TO FOREIGN ADDRESSES OR OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL US. They are too unlikely to survive the journey.
If it says "out of stock" go ahead and order; we are getting cuttings in and mailing them out at the start of each week.
You'll receive three cuttings and instructions for rooting them; they'll be sent via Priority US Mail and should be placed in soil as soon as they arrive if possible. If you do not have the pots ready right away, they can be put in a vase with water for a day or two. If you order other items, these may come separately.
Instructions for growing the cuttings are included with your order.
A favorite veggie meal in our house is fried potatoes and onions, with a heap of collard greens steaming on top, and melting sharp cheddar over everything in the end. Walnuts at any point are a wonderful addition. It takes a while to steam the collard leaves into succulence, so I put them on top of the fry right away and cover it all with a lid. The onions and potatoes of course must be turned several times in the frying, and to do this I simply pluck most of the cooking greens and drop them temporarily into a container, returning them to the top of the fry when I am done with turning things over.
"What's a tree collard? It's a perennial "tree" that produces amazingly huge collard-like leaves… which taste like an intriguing cross between collards and kale with just a hint of purple cabbage. They're great in stir fries, "beanie greenies," soups and even in scrambled eggs… I love them as wrappers for Whole Foods' "Guac-Kale-Mole" and salsa, but they also sauté nicely as strips with a bit of garlic and lemon juice. I've added them as the green in "Beanie Greenies," too. David and I particularly like Beanie Greenies with a splash of wheat free tamari, chipotle pepper, and a hint of miso and blackstrap molasses. Yum! In the past, I've had terrible luck growing collards, so I am thrilled with these tree collards. - Laura Bruno's blog - laurabruno.files.wordpress.com
I ordered two sets of cuttings, they arrived midweek but I was unable to work with them until the weekend. I left them in the original packing for a few days. Saturday morning, I unwrapped the cuttings and set them in a cup of water to re-hydrate for a few hours, while I got some good potting soil. That evening when the heat of the sun was fading, I filled up six one gallon pots with the potting soil. As I would insert half the length of the cutting in a pot I would trim of a small piece exposing fresh cutting and dip it in some rooting compound. I am not sure this last step was necessary, but this is what I did. I kept the plants and soil moist, then, after a few days, leaves started sprouting out of the nodes on the cuttings Not only did the cuttings survived shipment, but they are thriving. Once they are stronger I will move them to a permanent home. I was very impressed.
- George Ortego, TX
Not that easy
I ordered these last spring. In the beginning they did fine but then slowly went south and eventually died. I babied these cuttings to no avail. I had 3 so was hoping to get at least 1 to take. They were planted in good soil, compost, worm castings, rock dust, mixed with peat moss. I would love to try again, but for the price, Im not sure if I will.
They are beautiful
I cut the bottom steam about 1/2 - 1 inch then I scraped off some skin in the range from 1inch to 2inches from the fresh bottom steam and dipped them into a gel rooting hormone. After that I stuck them in a pre-made hole which the soil was pre-moisten and left it there for a day. Then I watered the plants every other day. Boom!!! all three are growing! But beware, check the bottom leaves apparently mealybugs and aphids love them. Not a problem, use Neem Oil : Good Luck everyone, they are absolutely beautiful plants to have.
- William, CA
All three cuttings have rooted!
I purchased three of these cuttings as soon as they were available. I live in SC very near to the GA line. I followed the directions and planted them in pots with Miracle Grow potting soil in 1 gal pots indoors. As soon as it got warm enough, I took them outside during the day to get some sun. One of them is really large- about a foot tall. The other two are smaller, but they all have leaves and appear to be healthy.
- Kay Doggett, SC
Top Quality Tree Collards
I received my tree collards in the mail today and I was ecstatic!! These little beauties arrived healthy looking, green and already sprouting leaves. I was very impressed with the quality of these plants and am looking forward to watching them grow grow grow!