Growing Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale can be real eye-catchers in the fall flower garden and containers with their diverse leaf shapes and colors. Both are in the Brassica family and, although technically edible, they have a bitter taste compared to their edible counterparts. They are best enjoyed outdoors as décor plants and used in the kitchen only as a garnish.

Plant in organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun, providing afternoon shade in warmer climates. Excessive heat will cause plants to “bolt” in which they send up a flower stalk that takes energy away from the leaves. With each successive frost, the foliage color will become more intense.

There is little, if any need to fertilize plants and too much can cause them to lose their compact shape and beautiful color. Provide enough spacing to allow for good air circulation. Plants will survive the season until temperatures begin to drop below 5°F.