Looks aren’t everything, but there really isn’t any other cool-weather annual that can provide the foliage texture or leaf color of ornamental kales. Ornamental cabbage & kale (also known as “flowering” cabbage and kale) are an easy and beautiful way to add a bold display of early and late-season foliage to your cool-season garden. It is one of the easiest bedding plants to grow, looks great all through the cool season, and is bothered by few pests. Foliage color can range from white to pink to red and purple and is truly stunning when planted in groups or in containers or flower boxes. Ornamental kale is in the same plant family as edible cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli and is edible, however, a bitter flavor means leaves are usually used as culinary garnishes—not as food. Ornamental kale may be planted alone or with other fall favorites such as mums, grasses, or pansies and makes a gorgeous backdrop for blooming violas and tulips. This annual does best in full sun but will tolerate a little light shade. In containers or in the landscape – it’s easy to transform your cool-season garden with the stunning colors of these flowering kales. Here are a few of our favorites:
Glamour Kale – one of our top picks, Glamour, is loved for its hot-pink foliage that adds unexpected brightness to any fall garden. Fringed heads reach 10 to 12-inches across and begin to color-up when night temperatures fall below 55°F. Works well as an edging, or as a fun addition to any cool-season container or landscape bed.
Peacock Series– this series makes a great addition to flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and even on your plate! Featuring large, feathered leaves that turn either a rosy-pink or bright white after first frost. Most kale varieties make tight, rounded rosettes, but ‘Peacock’ has larger leaves that will spread to two-feet across and tall. Choose from either white or red Peacock.
- White Peacock - stands out from other kale varieties in both its appearance and texture, with its serrated, variegated green and ivory-white leaves and thick, milky-white ribs. Takes center stage in the gardens during fall and early spring and is the perfect addition in mixed containers and window boxes or planted in the landscape.
- Peacock Red- bold, round plant with a rose-pink center and long and narrow, dark crimson outer leaves. Its feathery foliage provides great texture with intensified color in cooler temperatures. Peacock Red is a perfect complement to the many other colors in your fall beds and containers.