This is a family of plants that are native to Europe and Asia and now have been developed as ornamental as well. They are known as cold crops. The ornamental cabbage and kale cultivars are grown specifically for their appearances.
Many of them have frilly, ruffled, edges and bright colors of purple, pinks, and creams.
The ornamental Kales are generally the frilly and the ornamental cabbages are solid and edged.
This plant is perfect for late season interest and color. They only improve with frost and cold weather, getting great, vivid colors below 50F.
How lovely to look at in the ground, or when used as a chef's garnish. Some are edible but tart and bitter to taste.
Three series to look for are:
Osaka - this series is very fast growing, has bluish green outer leaves, and is very compact. They will have pink or red centers.
The Peacock series is very showy. The cultivars are hybrids and have feathery fine red or white leaves. Cooler temperatures will produce deeper tones.
The Tokyo series is almost perfectly rounded and neat with blue-green outer leaves, and soft pink, red, or white centers.
All three series grow to an optimum diameter of 12 inches. Give them plenty of space.
Bolting will occur as the season changes to warmer temperatures and a seed head will develop. It is fun to see them grow into a final castle when the end is near.
You can collect the seeds for another season return. Making sure the seeds are mature. I suggest starting them by the end of August for a fall planting.
Great for composting.
A definite for a winter garden.