Cultivars of Ornamental Cabbage
Kale is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It grows well in almost any climate conditions and it’s easy to grow. There are many different varieties of kale available today. Some have been bred for their looks while others were developed with other purposes in mind. They all look pretty, but they differ greatly when it comes to taste and nutritional value.
The following table lists some of the most common varieties of kale grown today. These are not necessarily the only varieties that exist, just those that are commonly sold in grocery stores or nurseries.
Name Common Name Variety Size (oz) Weight (oz.) Color(s) Flavor Notes Red Kale ‘Raja’ Raja kalbi 1 lb. 4 oz. Red, purple, yellow and white stripes; mild flavor. Great for salads.
Red Kale ‘Red Rock’ Red rock kalbi 1 lb. 6 oz. Dark red color with black stripes; mild flavor. Good for soups and stews. White Kale ‘Wakame’ Waka kalbi 2 lbs. 5 oz. Light green to white; sweet, soft and tender. Good flavor. Red Russian ‘Redbor’ Red bor kalbi 2 lbs. 8 oz. Red with green veins; sweet flavor. Good in salads. Cavolo Nero Tendergreen 1 lb. 8 oz. Green with purple undertones; mild flavor. Great for sautéing or steaming Italian Milksheild Curled – 1 lb. 4 oz. Green and yellow; rich, sweet flavor. Good for sautéing, roasting or braising
The table above shows you the most common varieties of kale available today, but a wide range of other types are also available. Little Gem is one popular type that is used in mesclun salad mixes. It has curly green leaves with a purple tinge and an elongated shape. Red Russian has large, red leaves with green veins and a strong flavor. Siberian is a flat, frilly green type that has a very strong, slightly bitter flavor.
Caring For Kale
Kale is a cold-hardy plant that will grow in almost any climate and weather condition. It’s one of the easiest vegetables you can grow from seed and it matures quickly so you can start harvesting it in four months or less.
When growing ornamental kale, you have a wide range of potential growing environments. You can plant it in your vegetable garden along side broccoli, cabbage and other related plants. Kale also grows well planted in large containers. If you live in a small apartment without yard, you can even grow ornamental kale plants on a windowsill indoors!
Kale prefers full sun, but it will grow in partial shade. It grows best in rich, loamy soil that contains lots of organic materials. You can add a lot of fertilizer to speed up growth if you want, but it’s not necessary.
Common Kale Problems
Despite its many benefits and advantages, kale does have a few potential problems that affect how well it grows and produces food for you. Learning about these problems can help you find solutions to those problems and help you grow healthy, delicious crops of kale year after year.
Deer Kale is a very nutritious plant that attracts deer and other herbivores. If deer are a common problem where you live, then this will affect how well your ornamental kale grows. Some people find success planting ornamental kale in a location that deer cannot easily reach. For example, planting the kale at the base of a fence or a tree. If that’s not possible, then you can try planting a border of colorful flowers around the edge of the planting.
Deer find colorful flowers to be so non-appetizing that they won’t even go near them! Another option is using an electronic or sound-based deer repellent.
Misnamed Cabbage Worms are actually a type of moth larva. It’s a pest that can infest many types of crucifers, including wild cabbage and broccoli. The caterpillar feeds on the leaves until they are completely gone. The resulting skeletonized leaves are unsightly, but the bigger problem is that they then go on to pupate and then emerge as moths. If you spot any holes in the leaves, check them over carefully.
You might find a small caterpillar feeding inside. Pick them off by hand and drop them into a jar of soapy water.
Powdery Mildew is a common fungal disease that affects many types of plants, including kale. It appears as a fine white dusting on the top side of the leaves. It does not seem to harm the plant, but it affects the look of the leaves and can make them more susceptible to disease and attack. To prevent it, plant your kale in a location that has good air flow and doesn’t get a lot of overhead moisture. You can also try planting it in rich, organic soil to help fight off any potential fungus.
Pick Your Own Flowers!
Gardening is not just about growing food to eat. It’s also a form of art. One of the most beautiful parts of ornamental gardening is flower arrangement. There’s nothing more stunning than a vase of freshly cut flowers in your home. If you have an artistic eye, maybe growing ornamental kale and other plants for their blooms is the way to go for you!
The best time to pick flowers is in the morning, before the sun gets too high in the sky. This will help keep the flowers fresh for a longer amount of time. Using a sharp knife or shears, cut the stem of the flower at a 45 degree angle just below a set of leaves. After you’ve gotten all of the blooms you want, place them in a clean vase with some fresh, clean water. You can also add a little food coloring to change the color of the water.
This will make the arrangement look even more colorful and beautiful!
Of course, if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, you can still enjoy fresh flowers in your home by simply going to a florist and buying a bouquet!
Ornamental kale is a lovely addition to any garden or landscape. With minimal care and feeding, it can add beauty to your outdoor areas throughout the entire year. With the amazing range of colors it comes in, you’re sure to find one that will match your décor!
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of experimentally planting non-crop flowers into cabbage fields on the abundance and diversity of predators by N Ditner, O Balmer, J Beck, T Blick, P Nagel… – Biodiversity and …, 2013 – Springer
Companion planting–do aromatic plants disrupt host‐plant finding by the cabbage root fly and the onion fly more effectively than non‐aromatic plants? by S Finch, H Billiald, RH Collier – Entomologia experimentalis et …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library
THE EFFECT OF COMPANIONATE PLANTING ON LEPIDOPTERAN PESTS OF CABBAGE1 by MA Latheef, RD Irwin – The Canadian Entomologist, 1979 – cambridge.org
Response of chinese cabbage to nitrogen rate and source in sequential plantings by CS Vavrina, TA Obreza, J Cornell – HortScience, 1993 – journals.ashs.org
Characterization of fall and spring plantings of Galician cabbage germplasm for agronomic, nutritional, and sensory traits by G Padilla, ME Cartea, P Soengas, A Ordás – Euphytica, 2007 – Springer