The fancy-leaved cousins of our familiar vegetables make a bold statement in the cool season garden. In fact, the ornamental forms are edible, too, but the cabbage is bitter, and when the white, pink, red, and purple leaves are cooked, they turn an unappetizing gray. Tolerant of mild frosts, they’re colorful all winter in mild climates. Ornamental kale and cabbage are some of the most popular (behind the pansy) winter annual plants. They lend a completely different texture to a winter landscape bed. The scientific name is Brassica oleracea
The large plants cover a lot of space quickly for a small investment, and require very little maintenance. The colorful foliage also makes a beautiful backdrop for flowering plants such as pansies, violas and tulips. The terms “ornamental kale” or “ornamental cabbage” and “flowering kale” or “flowering cabbage” can be misleading. First, none of them is grown for its “flower,” but the attractive colored winter foliage. Secondly, kale and cabbage (whether ornamental or not) are genetically the same plant. The only difference is cabbages make heads, and kale do not. All “ornamental” cabbages and kales are really kale, since they do not form heads.
Plant description was written by Jimmy Turner – Director of Research, Dallas Arboretum
Color Up Purple Hybrid Ornamental Cabbage Seeds
For years now, American gardeners have relied on Color Up to create a colorful bed, border, or edging for the chilly days of fall (and all winter in warmer areas). Now there’s a new color to add to the family: dark, intense violet purple! Nothing looks more elegant or stands out more beautifully from the subdued fall tones of the border, bed, edging, or container. And it’s so easy to grow!
Just start seeds indoors, covering very lightly, then transplant them right up to the beginning of the leaves. They grow green at first, then begin to color up about 3 1/2 months from sowing, quickly forming a perfectly round rosette 10 inches high and 12 inches wide. Among the first Ornamental Cabbages to show its cold-weather hues and the last to bolt, Color Up is a dependable performer ? and so striking! Try planting with Mums for spectacular fall color. And if you’d like more Color Ups, take a look at the mix of whites and reds! Packet is 25 seeds.
Click to learn more about Park Cabbage Seed