Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea
Common Name: Ornamental Kale and Cabbage
Common Species/Varieties: Peacock, Osaka, Color Up
Common Colors: Pinks, purples, whites, greens
Plant Type: Leafy Green
Annual or Perennial: Biennial grown as Annual
Hardiness Zone: 2-11 USDA
Self-Seeding: Yes, Biannually if it flowers
Bloom Season: NA
Grows Best In: Full sun in cooler months, part shade in warmer months
Fun Fact: Unlike most plants, I thrive in cool temperatures!
While Ornamental Kale and Cabbage are technically edible, they’re not very palatable. Their main purpose is to serve as decoration in the cooler months of Winter and Spring, especially in decorative pots. While one wouldn’t usually think of vegetables as being particularly decorative, these plants come in beautiful shades of pinks, greens, purples, and whites.
Ornamental Kale and Cabbage can grow to be between 12 and 18 inches tall and wide. They can survive in most conditions down to temperatures near 5 degrees F and up to temperatures near 50 degrees F. Cover these plants to keep snow and rain off them during cold months, and keep them in the shade during warmer months. Generally they are happiest in cooler temps than in warmer temps, and perform best above 20 degrees F. Ornamental Kale and Cabbage will actually become more colorful as the temperatures get cooler!
Typically you can find Ornamental Kale and Cabbage already started at our garden center in the Fall, but you can also start your own from seed indoors in mid-Summer, and place them outside in the Fall to finish maturing in time for cooler weather. Water Ornamental Kale and Cabbage when the top inch of the soil is dry, but don’t over-water. Ornamental Kale and Cabbage will do best in full sun to part shade.
Consider planting them with other cool-weather favorites like chrysanthemums, snapdragons, or violas. When you plant Ornamental Kale and Cabbage, plant them pretty close together as they grow slowly and will not crowd out other plants quickly. They look beautiful in decorative pots with other cool season favorites such as the plants listed above, and for an added wow-factor, try adding decorative branches and solar lights or lanterns to your outdoor decorative display! These plants will likely last well into December in Colorado (depending on how early our cold temperatures settle in), so plan some season holiday decor for your cool weather display, as well!