For outright drama in your fall landscape and gardens, nothing comes close to the gorgeous color and rosettes of ornamental cabbage and kale! And the colder it gets, the more they like it!
WHAT: Lots of folks wonder what the difference between ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale is, and the answer is simple. Though they are similar in appearance, the easiest way to tell them apart is that cabbage leaves have smooth edges and kale leaves are frilly!
Two favorites of our Landscape Department staff are Glamour Red Kale, with super shiny leaves in addition to great color, and Scarlet Bor Kale with taller, bigger gorgeous leaves!
While they can be planted in-ground, they are perfect in containers, especially surrounded by colorful Swiss chard, Osaka purple mustard, and rumux, all of which are priced at only $2.99 – 3.49!
WHY: The beautiful blues, magentas, pinks, purples, greens and creamy whites of ornamental C&K will come to life as the temperatures drop. As photosynthesis slows down while temperatures fall, the fabulous colors will come to life – similar to the process that turns the leaves on our trees such pretty autumn colors! The colors and the plants themselves can last long into winter.
HOW: Planting is easy! Choose a sunny location with moderately moist rich soil. Choose a balanced fertilizer like Fertilome Bedding Plant Food 7-22-8, sprinkling a small amount evenly in the soil around the edges of the plants and water it in. You can fertilize them again monthly. (Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers – this will keep them green longer and slow down the gorgeous colors you’re looking for!)
When planting, remove any tatty bottom leaves from your plant, then plant it so that the lowest leaves are flush with the soil surface – deep, like you do with tomato plants! Most plants do not tolerate this deep planting but cabbage/kale tolerate it just fine and they look so much prettier when they are nestled down next to the soil!
NOTE: Both at planting time and periodically throughout the season, examine the underside of leaves, with a eye out for eggs, larvae and/or caterpillars. They can and will wreak havoc on the plant if unattended.