November 26, 2013

Plant of the Month: Ornamental Kale

I can't decide which Ornamental Kale I like best. As a relative newcomer to growing them, I chose 'Glamour Red' and 'Kamome Pink' this fall. They're all fun additions and offer vibrant color even to northern gardens, well into November and often December.

Glamour1
Brassica oleracea acephala 'Glamour Red'

'Glamour Red' is a drama queen with its shockingly bright magenta burst.

Glamour3

And its veiny hardy green foliage.

Kamome2
Brassica oleracea acephala 'Kamome Pink'

'Kamome Pink,' in my limited experience, holds up a little better to freezing weather.

Kamome1

It's not quite as dramatic, but it's equally lovely.

Ornamental Kales prefer full sun or a touch of shade and well-drained soil, according to Cornell University's Home Gardening Guide. They also:

  • Grow to a height and spread of about 12-18 inches;
  • Tolerate frost, often remaining colorful into early winter;
  • Are nonaggressive and noninvasive; and
  • Are edible, although questionably palatable.

  • Personally, I simply like the way they look--even at the end of fall.

    Kamome3

    Glamour2

    Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

    28 comments:

    1. The Plant of the Month is beautiful!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thanks! Just a bit of whimsy for the late fall, early winter garden.

        Delete
    2. I had no idea that were so many varieties. I usually put them in pots with my violas for winter color. I will have to pay more attention next year which variety I get.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Good idea! I have some Pansies that are still hanging in there, so they (and Violas/Violets) would be great companions in a pot with Kales. Too late (and cold) here to transplant this year, but I hope I remember to do this next fall...

        Delete
    3. I love these ornamental cabbage, they are so fun and unusual. I had a couple several years ago, one white and one dark pink, can’t remember them having such fancy names as yours – but they became very leggy through the winter as the bottom leaves kept dying. By the time I got to February they were balancing on thin stalks both of them, threatening to break. I had to prop them up with some wood underneath. Perhaps they didn’t get enough sun. Loved your photos, they look so good up-close.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I've had the same issue with the legginess. Some varieties ('Glamour Red') seem to be more prone to it more than others. I don't think mine get optimal sun either. I'm planning to try Karin's idea next year--with some Pansies planted around them.

        Delete
    4. These get a bad rap (they show up in great numbers in every venue right down to the Grocery Outlet) but I love them too. I always have to have at least one deep purple one to stick in a bright red pot.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I'm late to the game with Ornamental Kales. Several years ago, I saw some amazing displays of them--still thriving in my cold climate well into December. That's when I started thinking about planting them.

        Delete
    5. These self sown ornamental cabbages look different and really wonderful. You made beautiful pictures of them.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thank you. I like the idea of changing things up a bit for the fall garden. No huge investment in fall annuals for me, but the Kales (and Swiss Chard and Pansies) add a unique look.

        Delete
    6. There hardy is a prettier / more colorful plant so late in the year as ornamental Kale. The first photo is stunning.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Thanks, Donna. Yes, I believe that's why I like them. They actually look better after the first few frosts. Once it stays super cold for several days in a row (like now), they tend to disintegrate (not surprisingly). But they last much longer than other potted annuals.

        Delete
    7. Hmmm. Sorry, you have not persuaded me, but hey, that's the good thing about gardening, something for everybody and we don't all have to like the same things! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Ha! Oh well, diversity makes gardening more interesting. ;-) Thanks, Janet. We did have a great Thanksgiving--lots of quality family time and tasty food.

        Delete
    8. I guess ornamental kale isn't for everyone, judging by the comments, but I really like it, too, and always add a few to my late fall containers. I've found it's the last plant to give up in the winter, usually surviving until it gets really cold. We don't have many varieties available here--I'm not sure mine even had a cultivar name on its tag--but I'm partial to the ones with pink centers.

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Beth, filled with family, friends, and good food!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. It's interesting how we go through phases, as gardeners and individuals. I didn't think much of planting Kales until recently. I think what sold me was seeing some extraordinary ones--still thriving and looking fantastic in early winter. We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too, Rose!

        Delete
    9. I had not considered growing these but I love the look of them...I will have to consider them for a few spots in the fall.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I never thought about it either--until I saw several growing large and colorful in November in beautiful arrangements. I tried them for the first time a couple of years ago, and I'm astounded at how they seem to look better after the first frosts. Even now, after extended cold day and night, they're still looking OK.

        Delete
    10. I am going to have to rethink my views on kale...knowing it as straggling, aphid infested smelly plant...maybe it has a better side.

      Jen

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Oh my, people certainly have strong reactions to this plant. I've only tried it a few years and I've never had aphids in it. But I bought established nursery plants and put them in pots just a couple/few weeks before the first frost. And then after the frost, the aphids are pretty much gone anyway. I imagine the Kales would do even better in the sun, but I try to find them some dappled sun, anyway. There are so many varieties of the Ornamental Kales, too. One might work better for you than others. Of course, we all have unique preferences. ;-)

        Delete
    11. Oh, I like those. I find these plants beautiful, interesting a great season stretchers.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Yes, I find them fascinating. And I'm already planning how to incorporate them next fall, too.

        Delete
    12. I have to be honest and say these have never been a fav for me, but then again I do remember seeing them "done right" last fall in a few gorgeous plantings so hey, in the right spot!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. "Done right" is a good way to describe it. I'm still working on that. Optimally, they'd have plenty of sun and be placed in a spot where they'd be an effective autumn focal point--but not too showy.

        Delete
    13. those are spectacular, but I'd rather try eating them. Have you?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. No, I haven't. Maybe I'll do that next fall. ;-) I did eat the Swiss Chard that I planted in my other pots though. Not bad for Swiss Chard.

        Delete
    14. I gotta say these don't do much for me. Not sure exactly why. Although they sure are cold hardy. Nice photos.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hehe. That seems to be a common sentiment. People either like them as ornamentals ... or not at all. Not much in between. ;)

        Delete

    Thanks for stopping by!

    (Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)