Ornamental Kale Plants Growing Conditions
Grow Ornamental Kale and Flowering Cabbage in Your Garden
The Ornamental kale and flowering cabbage are all kales. They are very similar to the edible kale and cabbage in their look and growth. They belong to the same species Brassica oleracea and they love cool weather conditions. They are grown in gardens for the intense colour of the foliage and not as vegetables. The flowers usually have purple hues. The Ornamental kale is different from flowering cabbage in having curly or ruffled leaves whereas cabbages have large flat leaves with smooth edges. The ornamental kales are biennial and can grow to 18 inches in height and width.
The Ornamental kale and flowering cabbage can be grown in areas with full sun or partially shaded areas. If grown in a warmer climate, provide them with partial shade. These ornamental plants need exposure to cold temperature to develop deep colours. It is used as a border plant or can be grown in masses for public displays. These plants require fertile and well-drained soil. They can be grown in pots on patios. Both kale and cabbage prefer soils with an acidic pH of about 5.8 to 6.5. Allow the soil to dry out before consecutive watering, but do not allow the soil to be dry for long, as prolonged dryness may cause stress for the plant.
How to Plant?
You can grow the ornamental kale or flowering cabbage from seeds. The plant will reach full size within 11 to 14 weeks. You need to sow the seeds in late spring or early summer if you are planning autumn planting. Make sure you sow the seeds at least 6-10 weeks before the first frost. Transplant the seedlings to pots when the first leaves appear. Replant the seedlings till the bottom of the cotyledons, if they become leggy. If you are sowing the seeds directly in the garden, cover the seeds lightly with soil. Keep the soil moist until the seeds are germinated. Fresh seed takes 1 to 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate. Plant the seedlings in the garden by giving a spacing of 18 to 24 inches. The ideal time to transplant is when the seedlings reach the height of 3-4 inches.
How to Care for These Plants?
As these plants belong to the same species caring tips for these plants are the same. The weather is the main factor, which controls the growth and the look of these ornamental plants. In hot weather, the plants will bolt and develop seeds on a flower stalk prematurely, faster than normal and when the soil is too wet they look dilapidated. Gently remove any flower stems that appear, to allow proper growth. As they grow in cool weather problems from pests are few. Aphids are the most common pests although some plants are prone to attack by cabbage looper or cabbage leafroller. If the weather condition is damp, powdery mildew attacks are more common.
How to Buy These Plants?
When you want to buy these plants for your garden, go for the plants which are larger in size. Select plants with short stems and having leaves of uniform length. It is better to opt for plants which already have an indication of their colour.