Don't you get a little sad when the weather starts getting colder and the flowering annuals that you had admired for so long start to die? Removing them from the ground feels a tad depressing for many people who dread a winter with no flowers. But, that doesn't necessarily have to happen. Don't put your gardening gloves away just yet, there is still some planting to be done and some beautiful plants that will bring about some oohs and ahhs. You can always dress up your cool-season garden with the colorful foliage of ornamental kale and cabbage.
Although they are sometimes called flowering kale and flowering cabbage, these two related plants rarely put out real flowers. Ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) and its cousin, the ornamental cabbage, were developed for their spectacular colors and foliage.
Some people say they are edible and others say they are inedible, but that's probably because they have a very bitter taste, although they are often used as a food garnish. They are planted, instead, for their colorful and extravagantly-ruffled, feathered leaves. The two plants are similar in color, size and overall appearance, but the main difference is that the cabbage leaves have smooth edges and the kale leaves are very frilly.
Both plants are ideal as a part of your container gardening. Alongside other plants, such as poppies, pansies, or ornamental peppers, they create a gorgeous display of beautiful blues, purples, greens, and whites for fall and winter. They love the chilly weather when nighttime temperatures dip down to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a milder climate, you can expect them to continue looking great throughout the winter.
The growing information for both ornamental kale and cabbage is the same. They both need to be planted in an area that receives full sun and should be spaced about 18-24 inches apart, depending on the type you are planting.
Some of the pests you need to watch for include:
There are a lot of plants that will grow very well with ornamental kale and cabbage because they give and receive benefits due to their close proximity. If you want to plant vegetables along with your kale and cabbage, gardeningknowhow.com suggests you try some of these:
Herbs that are suggested as companion plants include the following:
© 2018 Mike and Dorothy McKenney