Ornamental Kale Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Ornamental Kale
Although it's a Brassica, ornamental kale has been bred for its color not its flavor. It can be eaten, but it may be fairly bitter. Ornamental kale has fringed or serrated leaf margins that range in colors of purple, rose and creamy white. They are typically grown as annuals for cool weather seasons when all of the flowers are spent.
For a spring display, start the seeds indoors about 8 weeks prior to the end of frost season. For a fall/winter display, start ornamental kale seed sometime in July for starts that can be set out into the garden by the end of August. The color is the best if the plants experience cool temperatures, and if the seeds are started too early, and the temperatures are warm, the kale plants could bolt.
Ornamental kale plants do well in full sun and in rich, moist soil that drains well. These colorful annuals are perfect for pots and containers or as bedding plants.
How to Plant Ornamental Kale
- Start the seed in trays or small pots
- Cover the seeds with soil - about 1/8 - 1/4 inch
- Keep the soil moist and in a bright location
- Temperatures should be upper 60s to 70 for germination
- Grow the seedlings in a bright window
- Plants can be set out within a few weeks
Care And Maintenance
- Ornamental kale prefers consistently moist soil
- Fertilize only once at planting time. Too much fertilizer will create a leggy plant
- Too wet of soil may cause fungal conditions
- The plants can last throughout winter if the conditions are right - not too warm to cause bolting, and not too cold to kill