How to Grow and Care for Ornamental Cabbage

How to Grow and Care for Ornamental Cabbage

Botanical Identify Brassica oleracea
Frequent Identify Decorative cabbage, flowering kale
Plant Kind Annual
Mature Dimension 12 to 18 inches tall and extensive
Solar Publicity Full solar
Soil Kind Wealthy loam, medium moisture, well-draining
Soil pH 5.5 to six.5
Bloom Time Hardly ever flowers
Flower Colour Insignificant
Hardiness Zones 2 to 11 (as an annual)
Native Space Southern and Western Europe

​The Spruce / Kara Riley

​The Spruce / Kara Riley 

​The Spruce / Kara Riley

Images Lamontagne / Getty Photos

DigiPub / Getty Photos

The way to Develop Decorative Cabbage and Kale

Decorative cabbage and kale look particularly good in a big grouping or as edging for a backyard mattress, the place their purplish hues mix effectively with different fall colours. Rising the decorative variations just isn’t a lot completely different from rising common cabbage or kale. Wait till temperatures cool. In the event you plant them too early within the fall or late summer season, the vegetation will get leggy and wilt.

In case you are shopping for vegetation, the leaves will most likely already be mature and open, although the colour would possibly intensify because the temperature drops. In case you are beginning them from seed, sow seeds indoors roughly six to 10 weeks earlier than your projected first frost date, and plant the seedlings outdoors within the fall.


The vegetation want to develop in full solar. Nevertheless, when grown in hotter climates, partial afternoon shade is good.


An organically wealthy, loamy soil that drains effectively is good for these vegetation. Each cabbage and kale want a barely acidic soil pH of about 5.5 to six.5.


Maintain the vegetation effectively watered; they like soil that is constantly moist however not soggy. If the highest inch of soil is dry, it is time to water. In case your typical cool-weather local weather contains rain, you most likely will not must water in any respect. However be ready so as to add supplemental water throughout a dry spell.

Temperature and Humidity

Decorative cabbage and kale do not develop their full colours except they get a superb chill from a frost. They will final all through the winter, however their look relies upon loads on the climate. If it is sizzling with lengthy daylight publicity, they are going to bolt (ship up a flower stalk and go to seed). And if it’s totally moist with harsh storms, they are going to look tattered. They will survive so long as temperatures stay above 5 levels Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, a pointy drop in temperature can harm or kill vegetation.

Furthermore, humidity sometimes is not a difficulty for these vegetation. But when the climate is damp and the vegetation haven’t got good air circulation, they may develop fungal illnesses, which might seem as spots on the leaves.


Fertilize decorative cabbage and kale solely at planting time utilizing a balanced fertilizer. Do not fertilize whereas they’re rising, or they’ll lose shade and get leggy.

Rising Decorative Cabbage and Kale in Containers

In the event you solely need one or two vegetation, they usually look much less misplaced in containers fairly than scattered all through a backyard. Actually, they make good replacements for dying summer season vegetation. Select a container with ample drainage holes, and use an all-purpose potting combine. Nursery vegetation doubtless will not develop a lot bigger than they’re while you get them, so that you sometimes will not have to fret about repotting into a much bigger container.

Rising From Seeds

Sow seeds three to 4 months earlier than you want full-size vegetation and no less than six to 10 weeks earlier than frost is anticipated. Place seeds on high of the soil, as they want mild to germinate. In the event you ​begin seeds in a cell pack (a tray that may maintain many seedlings), be sure you transplant the seedlings into bigger pots as quickly because the second set of true leaves seem. Maintain the seedlings cool, and place lights an inch or two above them to keep away from legginess. Slowly acclimate them to out of doors situations earlier than planting the seedlings within the backyard throughout the fall.

Forms of Decorative Cabbage and Kale

Until you might be rising commercially, there’s not a lot selection to select from relating to decorative cabbage and kale. Most seed packets are merely labeled “decorative cabbage.” So it is best to deal with a shade mixture that appeals to you. Flowering kales may be divided into “fringed-leaved cultivars” (these with ruffled leaves) and “feather-leaved cultivars” (these with finely serrated leaves).

Some varieties embody:

  • ‘Chidori’ flowering kale: This plant has very curly leaf edges with leaves which might be purple, creamy white, or deep magenta.
  • ‘Colour Up’ decorative cabbage: This grows upright with inexperienced leaves and facilities of white, pink, or fuchsia.
  • ‘Osaka’ cabbage: This decorative cabbage has giant, clean leaves with middle colours of pink, pink, or white. The plant sometimes stays compact.
  • ‘Peacock’ flowering kale: This plant appears to be like extra like its edible kale cousins, with free progress and deeply serrated leaves in pink, purple, or white.
  • ‘Pigeon’ collection: This selection has a flattened form with pink or white facilities.
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