From the Desk of Ed Hume: Fall-Flowering Kale and Cabbage

August 8, 2011 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Looking for a bright spot of color for your Fall and early Winter garden?  I would suggest you take a look at the colorful ornamental Fall-flowering cabbage and flowering kale.  The attractive leaves vary in shades of magenta to green, white, cream, and deep rose to purple.  As an added bonus, these showy plants both intensify in color as the autumn weather gets cooler.

The difference in the plants is their taste and their shapes.  Flowering cabbage forms a ball shape (head) more like regular cabbage, while flowering kale has a looser, more open habit, often with attractive ruffled leaf edges.  Both are edible and the taste of both is about the same as the regular varieties of garden cabbage and kale.  Cut leaves are often used in green salads or as a garnish.

Nurseries and garden centers often feature a wide selection of varieties from the broad-leafed types to some that have narrow, lacy-cut, delicate looking leaves.  I do not recommend that you eat the varieties you buy, because one has no idea what might have been sprayed on the plants as they were being commercially grown.

Both flowering cabbage and kale are as easy to grow as the regular garden varieties.  I start mine outdoors in about mid-July for Fall color.  Simply sow the seeds in the open ground or in small 4 inch pots.  Then when the plants are about 2 to 4 inches high, transplant them to their permanent planting location or grow them on in larger containers until you are ready to plant them directly into the garden or into large decorative containers.

Winter pansies, fall mums (chrysanthemums), and the fall asters (Michaelmas daisies) make excellent flowering companion plants to use in the autumn garden with flowering cabbage and kale.  Fall and Winter varieties of heather are also ideal plants to include in your garden to help extend flower color later into the autumn and Winter.

It’s not unusual for flowering cabbage or kale to go to seed in early Winter.  You will notice the center of the plant will begin to form a pointed, upright new growth, which is the seed head.   Simply pick it out as it develops.  If you let it go to seed, the plant will begin to decline and it will also loose its brilliant color and shape.

Cut leaves or the entire plant is a flower arranger’s favorite for use in autumn floral arrangements.


Entry filed under: Articles. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Clip of the Week: Easy To Use Garden Tools From the Desk of Ed Hume: August Garden Projects

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


August 2011
« Jul   Sep »

Most Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: