Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ornamental Kale


Ornamental Kale (or Ornamental Cabbage if you prefer) is second only to pansies as a colorful option for winter containers or planting in the ground.  The scientific name is Brassica oleracea. The plant is a member of the mustard family. They can be planted in the fall (from seed or transplants) and when colder temperatures and frosts approach, the color intensifies. They like sunny locations although they will grow in shadier areas, the color may not be as vivid. They also may become leggy if not given enough sun. Although edible, they are not near as tasty as regular cabbages and kale and are grown mainly for decorative purposes.

I've had hit-and-miss experiences growing ornamental kale. Some years they do well, some years not. Colder temperatures are a must as they will bolt in warmer climes. They respond well to fertilizer although I confess I usually forget to fertilize them. They do not like extreme wet conditions and are especially vulnerable to freezing rain, which leaves them puny and limp. If freezing rain is predicted, cover the plants if you can until the danger has past.




Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Phillip!! You've inspired me to think about keeping potted plants in the winter as well. Normally I just do veggies or flowers in the Spring/Summer.

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  2. They are beautiful Phillip. A plant I will surely experiment with more.

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  3. I bought a couple of 6 packs on close out and put them on the patio table & got home late from work a couple of days and the next time I came home during light, they were in fairly sad shaped. I put them in a pan of water & revived them and planted just before my knee surgery. I couldn't cover them during the freeze and thought they had died. Now with the warmer spell they look fairly good, even through the snow we had Thursday. I still around half an inch Friday when I started to work. Mary

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  4. Started to pick some up at Lowe's yesterday for a couple planters in front of the house and now I wish I had! Might have to go back now and get some yours look so good! Carol

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  5. I usually don't mess with them as they don't stand up to our winters for long. I do like them though. Too bad I didn't plant them this year as they would have lasted untilnow. We just went into the deep freeze.

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  6. I love them and have a dozen or more scattered around with the pansies...

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  7. I've also had a few disappoint years with kale...but boy, when they are happy they are stunning!

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  8. Heavy rain this evening; I think my ornamental cabbage, as well as a few other plants I have, are not going to be happy. Yours are beautiful! If it were somewhat cooler, we would be having a blizzard!

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  9. I just took a shot of this yesterday and couldn't figure out what it was....but your post helped clarify. Thank you. This plant really has nice color.

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  10. Yours look good enough to eat. Luscious!

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  11. Lovely, Phillip. This is the first year I planted these, and I am so pleased with how well they have done.
    These will definitely be a repeat.

    Jan
    Always Growing

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  12. Pretty! It looks like a pretty flower. I would really love to plant one of these but it is always a failure. Thank for the great and informative post though.

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