Let's briefly compare a purple sugarcane variety with a green variety. The purple one is the regular sugarcane you'll often see at grocery stores. The green one is the dwarf version in the sugarcane family–often used to sweeten drinks or make herbal tea.

Here they are side by side:

Purple vs Green sugarcane


The purple cane has a much thicker and bigger stem than the green one. Its diameter is about twice as big.


Because of this, the purple's buds are also considerably larger than the green's ones.


Texture & Taste


Regarding texture, the purple variety is softer than the green one. It's easier to bite into and chew. Because the green one is a bit harder to chew or press, it is not widely sold or used for juicing.

The purple variety is sweet. It may remind you of the taste of most sugarcane juice. The green however is a hint or two sweeter. It's a very unique sweet taste–the kind that when you taste it, you instantly know it's this variety. When used in herbal tea, it smells fantastic.

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Stem Structure


One common feature I notice with both of these two is the zigzag stem structure. It's not one-way straight up but kind of leaning to one side then the other as it's growing up.

Growth Rate


From my limited experience, it seems that the purple one grows a lot faster than the green variety. It develops roots faster and the buds grow up quicker.

The green however sucks up a lot of water. It's small but it's mighty. Although the purple one is big, it does not seem to drink up as fast or as much.

Responses to Readers' Questions

Explain the cause of red, blue or purple color in sugarcane

--> Thanks for your query. To be honest, I really don't know what the cause is for the outside stem color. If you mean the red mark inside the cane, then possibly maybe it's some kind of disease or infection. Or the sugarcane have turned old. I see it happen in the green variety:

Red mark inside sugarcane piece

Another more prominent one:

Red inside sugarcane

For the purple variety, inside the top leaves you may see some red stripes. Some people call it rust. The yellow thing inside is actually the sugarcane fiber spit out by some insects. It may have been invaded by them.

Inside the leaves

With the old red-inside sugarcane, some people don't throw it to waste but instead use it to make vinegar. If you're interested, we have a post here on how to make vinegar out of sugarcane: https://zenyrgarden.com/making-sugarcane-vinegar/

Hi. Do you know is anyone can send me sugarcane which are reasonable in cost? I am in NC. Happy to travel to farms if that is possible

--> Thanks for your question. There are quite a few. I'll list them here so you can see which best fits your needs.

  • Aloha Tropicals: https://alohatropicals.com/product/sugar-cane/  It's a little over $10 for a small rooted plant. Shipping is another $10 for orders under $25.
  • If you're traveling near Houston, check out JRN2 Nursery or HEB.
  • Some Asian or Latin American supermarkets have whole cane stalks for sale. They're about $3-5 per each 8ft long stalk. You don't need a lot to get started honestly. Four or five 4-inch sections (with live buds) would be good enough.
  • In some sugarcane juice stands, they chop off the top parts of the stalks because those top parts usually have a lower sugar content (not appealing for juicing). Those top parts most of the time still have very much alive buds in them. They don't attract a lot of ants and the cuttings do propagate well. If you catch sight of some, you could perhaps ask them for a few. They'll happily give you some. I got some of my cuttings that way.

(Update: Hey , I just found another place that has sugarcane for sale. Thought you might find it interesting. Believe they are located in Texas or so. They have all the good, non-chemical non-pesticide stuff sugarcane. Website is here at: https://www.anaturalfarm.com/live-plants/sugarcane). I hope it helps!

I need the small yellow type can you mail some ?

--> Hello, thanks for your question. Sure, but where are you located? I'm not sure about the importing permits in your place.

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