One of my favorite plants are flowering kale and cabbage. They add interest and beauty to any garden and also have the benefit of being one of the last flowers to withstand frosts. They actually prefer cooler weather and their color becomes richer in the fall temperatures. If we don’t have much snow in my Zone 5 area I have vibrant color into February.
The ornamental kale plants are very showy. They come in a variety of colors ranging from white to pinks to purples or reds. The kale plants are more of a ruffled loose leaf with a small rosette in the center. I like to mix these in with silver foliage plants, mums and perennials. Their color peeks when temperatures are below 50 degrees.
The ornamental cabbage looks more like a typical cabbage. It has broad flat leaves that are often edged in a contrasting color. The plants grow about a foot wide and 15” tall. I like to mix there with fall mums, ornamental corn, and ornamental gourds. You have a vibrant patch of color that last long into the fall months.
Both ornamental kale and cabbage don’t tolerate summer heat. I set my plants out in early summer so that they don’t bolt from heat or start to look old and ragged. If you live in a warmer climate you can plant these from seed to make sure they produce in the fall or plant in a shady area. When planting in a warmer climate you need to chill the seeds first. I do this by storing them in the refrigerator in soil and leaving for about two weeks.
These seeds like cool temperatures to germinate and are seeds that need sunlight so sprinkle them on the soil and barely scratch soil over them.
Both flowering kale and cabbage plants have a unique look and are one of my plantings that always get comments. They are also easy to grow once they get acclimated to their garden space.