De Cicco Broccoli Seeds - (Brassica oleracea)

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Seed Count:
Approx 100 seeds per pack
Days to Maturity:
48-85 days
Days to Germination:
5-10 days @ 70F
Plant Spacing:
Light Preference:
Full sun
Heirloom, Non-Hybrid, Non-GMO seeds
  • Freshly Harvested De Cicco Broccoli Shoots and Leaves - (Brassica oleracea)
  • De Cicco Broccoli Head and Leaves - (Brassica oleracea)
  • De Cicco Broccoli Shoots and Leaves - (Brassica oleracea)
  • De Cicco Broccoli Shoot and Leaves - (Brassica oleracea)
  • De Cicco Broccoli Seedlings - (Brassica oleracea)
  • De Cicco Heirloom Broccoli Seeds - (Brassica oleracea)

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De Cicco Broccoli – Taste the Tradition of Italian Gardens

This isn't ordinary broccoli; this is De Cicco (De Chee ko) – an Italian heirloom that transforms your garden with fresh flavor that exceeds expectations. The seemingly never-ending supply of sweet, tender shoots and leaves is remarkable. With each harvest, you'll relish the full-bodied flavor and freshness that only homegrown broccoli delivers.

Nonna's garden was full of simple treasures—basil, zucchini, and tomatoes – and none shone brighter than the De Cicco broccoli. She watched for the large central head to mature, its sweet florets a sign of the feast to come. A drizzle of olive oil, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of chili for a few seconds in a hot pan was all it took to savor the first harvest.

But De Cicco's true magic was in its bounty. The first cut yielded the largest, sweetest florets, but the magic came next. Each morning, tiny new florets would burst forth, a continuous gift that filled her kitchen with vibrant stir-fries, simple salads, and even the stalks, peeled and sliced, made a refreshing snack.

This broccoli wasn't just a vegetable. It was tradition, the taste of Nonna's kitchen lingering in each bite, even generations later. It was the pride of a generous harvest and a reminder that the best things in life are often the simplest. 


De Ciccio boasts vibrant blue-green leaves fanning out from a central stalk, reaching a height of 24-36 inches with a spread of about 12 inches. Its beautiful central head draws eyes—a cluster of tightly packed florets with a sweet, nutty flavor. 

Only after the first harvest does its true secret emerge – a profusion of smaller side shoots, each adorned with its own miniature florets.  Most gardeners don't know these side shoots are often even sweeter than the initial head! This delightful surprise extends your broccoli season for weeks, making De Ciccio a truly generous provider.

Beyond its shoots, the young leaves are also edible. They offer a mild, slightly peppery flavor that complements a range of dishes. These versatile greens can be sautéed, tossed into soups, or enjoyed fresh in salads. 

Even with limited garden space, you can enjoy a steady supply of homegrown broccoli. De Ciccio's compact size and continuous production make it ideal for container gardens or raised beds. Its resilience makes it a forgiving option for novice or seasoned gardeners. 


Broccoli originated in the Mediterranean region, where ancient civilizations began cultivating wild cabbage plants thousands of years ago. The Romans were particularly fond of this nutritious vegetable, refining its development and creating the foundation for today's varieties. 

Several ancient Roman authors have provided us with valuable information about the cultivation and appreciation of broccoli during their time. Cato the Elder (234-149 BC) mentions in his agricultural treatise "De Agri Cultura" that cabbage cultivation, including the early forms of broccoli, was a common practice. He even offered advice on how to maximize yields. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), a renowned naturalist, wrote extensively about plants in his work "Naturalis Historia". He specifically praised a variety of broccoli, which likely resembled the ancestors of the De Cicco variety, noting its multiple harvests. Apicius (1st century AD), a famed Roman gourmet, hinted at the culinary uses of early broccoli in his writings, although his cookbook focused on recipes.

The De Cicco strain likely emerged in Italy, though its exact regional origins are shrouded in time. Some sources point to Southern Italy, where the warm climate would suit it well. 

It was first brought to America in 1890, hidden among the possessions of Italian immigrants. They treasured it for its high yields and sweet taste, which reminded them of home. De Cicco quickly became a popular garden staple within Italian-American communities, and its unique qualities eventually spread to other home gardeners in search of delicious and easy-to-grow vegetables. 

Today, De Cicco remains a beloved heirloom, a testament to the power of seeds carried across oceans, the enduring value of tradition, and the joy of growing your own flavorful food.


De Cicco's sweet, nutty flavor shines when enjoyed raw, roasted, or sautéed. Thinly slice young shoots into vibrant salads, add them to a colorful veggie platter with a creamy dip, or simply savor their crisp texture straight from the garden. Roasting concentrates its sweetness, creating caramelized florets perfect for tossing with pasta. Steaming preserves the delicate texture, while a quick stir-fry enhances its natural sweetness.

Celebrate its rich Italian heritage that allows its natural flavor to shine. For an indulgent side dish, sauté it with fresh garlic, a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a squeeze of tangy lemon juice, and a sprinkle of spicy red pepper flakes. Alternatively, use the florets to add a rustic touch to your pasta dish by combining them with crispy pancetta, savory Parmesan cheese, and just a touch of cream. Quickly blanch the florets for a refreshing summer salad, and then toss them with chopped anchovies, briny capers, and a zesty, lemony vinaigrette.

Companion Planting

Beneficial plantings include aromatic herbs like chamomile, dill, mint, or rosemary to confuse and deter pests. Marigolds and nasturtiums are also excellent companions, attracting beneficial insects.

Antagonistic plantings include other brassicas (like kale, cabbage, or cauliflower) as competition and shared pests/diseases can hinder growth.

Pest and Disease Management

Common culprits to watch out for are cabbage worms, aphids, flea beetles, and harlequin bugs. Also, look for diseases like powdery mildew.

Solutions for home gardeners include floating row covers that offer a physical barrier. Insecticidal soaps or neem oil provide organic pest control. Crop rotation and proper sanitation help prevent diseases.

Planting and Growing Tips

De Cicco thrives in full sun for optimal growth and flavor. Enrich your soil with compost or aged manure for a nutrient boost. Plant seedlings 18-24 inches apart to allow for adequate growth.

Harvest Tips

It's best to harvest your crop during the cooler mornings to get the freshest taste. You'll know that the central head is ready to be harvested when its florets are tightly packed and just before they start to flower, as this is when they're at their sweetest. To encourage the growth of side shoots, make sure you regularly harvest the central head. It's important to stop harvesting before the plants become stressed by heat, as this will ensure that your crop has the best possible flavor. 

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2 Reviews

  • 4

    Great flavor!

    Posted by Jeff, AZ on Jul 09, 2017

    Very happy with the flavor of the De Cicco variety. A nice strong broccoli flavor. The heads themselves were not as large and compact as I hoped but it more than made up for it in taste. It did produce a lot of smaller side shoots so there was plenty in the long run. It reminds me a little of broccolini which I love in flavor as well as it had very long tender stalks.

  • 5

    De Ciccio is great

    Posted by Ray White, AZ on Jul 09, 2017

    It has taken me a few years but I finally found the broccoli Ill keep growing here in Kingman, AZ. The flavor is amazing and while the main heads were a bit smaller and looser than I expected it didn't matter. Once we ate them we were hooked. Best of all, once the main heads are harvested de Ciccio produces tons of side shoot heads, that, while smaller, are just as tasty. A mere three plants, grown in a 4 x 8 hoop house covered raised bed along with garlic, onions, kale, bok choy and three types of lettuce kept us in broccoli all winter. I've let those plants go to seed and am in the process of learning how to save seed from them. Oh, and it looks like I'm going to get about a bazillion seeds. De Ciccio is great cooked or raw.

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