Fall Annuals Spotlight: Ornamental Kale

2017 Varieties Available

The below varieties and more are now in stores! All locally grown in Davidsonville, MD.

Availability of varieties does change throughout the season so please call us to confirm if you are looking for something specific.

Variety4.5 in.8 in.
Coral QueenXX
Dinosaur X
Kamome RedXX
Kamome WhiteXX
Kamome PinkXX
Peacock Red X
Peacock White X
Osaka Pink X
Osaka Red X
Osaka White X
RedborX 
Scarletbor X
Songbird PinkX 
Songbird RedX 
Songbird WhiteX 
Yokohama RedX 

Shedding some Light

We’re not only here to provide our customers with fresh and colorful plants, but also to equip them with the knowledge they need for a thriving garden year-round. Read on for answers to some common questions about ornamental cabagge and kale!

Are they edible?

While technically edible, our ornamental varieties are bred to be pretty, so the flavor has been sacrificed. Only one variety, ‘Winterbor’, is considered edible AND ornamental.

Do deer eat them?

Yes, with or without corned beef (although they may eat your truly tasty edible cabbage FIRST).

How long do they last?

There seems to be a vast difference of opinion on this subject. For most folks, they last all the way into spring, when they bolt and bloom with a glorious display of 3-foot stalks of yellow flowers. Others tell me theirs give up some time during the late winter. The wildly fluctuating temperatures we sometimes have in our area during late fall and winter can shorten their lifespan. A less exposed planting site, shielded from strong winter winds, can help alleviate this problem somewhat.

How do I care for them?

Plant in well-drained soil in full to part sun for best color (no less than 4 hours of sun). Water well during warm spells; otherwise 1 to 2 inches of water per week is sufficient. Plant with the lowest leaves at ground level, regardless of how tall the stalk is. A good tip is to plant with the head tilted toward you a bit—they will show up much better than if planted flat.

Why are they called red or purple varieties if they’re green?

They’re only green temporarily. They don’t start to color much until temperatures drop below 60 degrees—the cooler it gets, the more intense the color.

Which ones are the cabbage, and which ones are the kale?

Well, botanically they are ALL kale. But we’ve established a practice of calling the frilly or curly-leaved ones kale, and the smooth-leaved varieties cabbage.

How big will they get?

It depends on the variety and the time of year. ‘Songbird’ is a smaller variety, while ‘Winterbor’ can get quite large. They will only tend to grow in width, and especially height, while temperatures are warm. Those planted later in the season will stay pretty much the same size as when you plant them.

What plants do they look good with?

Ornamental kales are a great replacement in the border for any tired summer annuals. They are quite effective with mums, pansies, and ornamental grasses, of course. A surprisingly artistic effect can be had by planting in geometric patterns of different varieties and colors, especially surrounding a central accent such as statuary, a gazing ball, or container garden.