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Cabbage Plant Flower

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Cabbage Plant Flower

What are ornamental cabbage and kale?  Ornamental cabbage and kale (also known as “flowering” cabbage and kale) are in the same species (Brassica oleracea) as edible cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  While ornamental cabbage and kale are edible, they tend to have a bitter flavor and are often used in a culinary setting as garnishes.  Ornamental cabbage and kale are prized primarily as colorful additions to home gardens where they are grown for their large rosettes of white, pink, purple or red leaves.  Technically, ornamental cabbage and kale are all kales (kales produce leaves in a tight rosettes; cabbages produce heads).  But in the horticultural trade, ornamental kale is the term used for types with deeply-cut, curly, frilly or ruffled leaves.  Ornamental cabbage is the term used for types with broad, flat leaves that are edged in a contrasting color.  Ornamental cabbage and kale grow approximately one foot wide and 15 inches tall.  There are many cultivars that are commercially available. 
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Cabbage Plant Flower

Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group), commonly known as cabbage, and Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group), commonly known as kale, are cool weather vegetables that are grown for harvest of their edible leaves. Cabbage forms heads and kale forms upright leaves. By contrast, ornamental cabbages and kales are grown primarily as foliage plants for their intensely colored leaves rather than as vegetables. Ornamental plants were developed for ornamental use without regard to taste. Ornamental cabbage typically develops large rosettes of broad flat leaves and ornamental kale typically develops curly, ruffled leaves in a tight rosette. Leaf colors are usually quite showy, including white/cream, pink, rose, red and purple. These are biennials that are grown in St. Louis as annuals. Plants will grow to 12-18” tall. Plants need the cool weather of spring or fall to develop their best foliage color. As night temperatures drop during the fall, the leaf color typically darkens and intensifies. Cabbage and kale are in the same species as a number of other cool season vegetables including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi.Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.Specific epithet means of vegetable gardens.
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Cabbage Plant Flower

Noteworthy Characteristics Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group), commonly known as cabbage, and Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group), commonly known as kale, are cool weather vegetables that are grown for harvest of their edible leaves. Cabbage forms heads and kale forms upright leaves. By contrast, ornamental cabbages and kales are grown primarily as foliage plants for their intensely colored leaves rather than as vegetables. Ornamental plants were developed for ornamental use without regard to taste. Ornamental cabbage typically develops large rosettes of broad flat leaves and ornamental kale typically develops curly, ruffled leaves in a tight rosette. Leaf colors are usually quite showy, including white/cream, pink, rose, red and purple. These are biennials that are grown in St. Louis as annuals. Plants will grow to 12-18” tall. Plants need the cool weather of spring or fall to develop their best foliage color. As night temperatures drop during the fall, the leaf color typically darkens and intensifies. Cabbage and kale are in the same species as a number of other cool season vegetables including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi.Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for cabbage.Specific epithet means of vegetable gardens.
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Cabbage Plant Flower

•The ‘Chidori’ series has mounded kale types with purple foliage, extremely curly leaf margins and cream white or deep magenta centers.•The ‘Color Up’ series has cabbage types with upright, columnar growth habits and green leaves with colored centers in white, blush pink or fuchsia.•The ‘Nagoya’ series has round kale types with heavily crinkled leaves and tight rosette centers that range in color from fuchsia pink to lavender to yellow green to creamy white.•The ‘Osaka’ series has fast-growing, compact cabbage types with bluish-green, semi-waved leaves with pink, red, or white centers.•The ‘Peacock’ series has compact hybrids with deeply serrated, feathery red or white leaves.•The ‘Pigeon’ series has flattened cabbage types with red or white centers.•The ‘Tokyo’ series has nearly perfectly round cabbage types with smooth, blue-green outer leaves and soft pink, red, or white centers.
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Cabbage Plant Flower

When purchasing ornamental cabbage or kale transplants, look for large, compact plants that are nearly or fully colored.  Plants will generally not get much bigger after they are planted in the garden, particularly if the roots are pot bound.  Therefore, be sure to buy appropriate-sized plants for the location where they will be used (even though bigger plants will cost more).  How do I grow ornamental cabbage and kale@f1  Wait until temperatures start cooling down, then plant ornamental cabbage and kale in a sunny location in a moderately moist, rich soil.  Bury stems so that the lowest leaves of the plants are flush with the soil surface.  After planting, keep the plants well watered.  Until cool weather arrives, plants won’t have much color.  White, pink, or red pigments will begin to develop when temperatures dip below 50°F.  Once acclimated in a site, ornamental cabbages and kale can survive temperatures as low as 5°F, so plants may last well into November and December. 
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Cabbage Plant Flower

How do I use ornamental cabbage and kale most effectively in my garden@f2  Ornamental cabbage and kale are great for replacing worn out summer annuals for a long-lasting fall display.  Try to position plants to best expose their colorful centers.  Use them in mass plantings, in mixed or single container plantings, and as edgings.  They look beautiful in the front of a border, especially when combined with perennials that are at their peak in the fall, such as little bluestem grass (Schizacrium scoparium), tall, dark-leaved sedums (Sedum spp.) or asters (Aster spp.).  For an easy and attractive container planting, place an ornamental cabbage or kale in the center of a container and surround it with pansies.  Or try them with other plants that can tolerate light frosts [e.g., Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.), petunias (Petunia spp.), or chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.).
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Cabbage Plant Flower

If you plant them too early in the fall or late summer, the plants will get leggy and remain green. Besides, early plantings will be susceptible to cabbage pests like cabbage loopers. These pests will disappear after frost.
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Cabbage Plant Flower

Flowering cabbage and kale offer the consumer a plant which is both colorful and long-lasting in the landscape. While many of our flowering plants, including garden mums, lose their flowers and/or color after several frosts, flowering cabbage and kale will intensify in color and last up until the first December snowfall in our region.
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Flowering cabbage and kale offer an attractive complement to garden mum sales during the fall. Since many early mum cultivars will have faded by late September, cabbage and kale offer the landscaper or retail customer a colorful replacement at a good value. With a pricing structure for the purchase of multiple plants, the consumer will get a good value while the grower obtains a reasonable profit. Promoting the plant as a colorful, unusual and long-lasting addition to the landscape will increase sales.
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The production of flowering cabbage and kale has been increasing modestly in recent years. This is primarily due to a growing popularity with consumers, as well as to interest by the landscaping industry for products that can be used in late fall plantings. Retail garden centers, responding to this consumer demand, have added flowering cabbage and kale to their product mix to complement the traditional fall garden mum.

Flowering cabbage and kale are divided into groups based on the shape of the leaf. Cultivars with smooth leaf margins constitute the flowering cabbage group while those with divided or “fringed” leaf margins are considered flowering kale. Within the kale group there are two types: the most common are the “fringed leaved cultivars” which have finely ruffled leaf margins and a smaller number which are called “feather leaved cultivars” have leaves that are finely serrated and deeply notched. Table 1 provides a listing of the common cultivars. Cultivar selection will depend on growth habit and coloration. Within each series there is normally a white, pink, and red cultivar.
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The primary insects attacking flowering cabbage and kale include the cabbage looper, leaf roller, and aphids. Under excessive moisture and humid conditions young plants may be susceptible to downy mildew. For control of these insects and diseases consult the New England Greenhouse Pest Control Recommendations.
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Where do I get ornamental cabbage and kale?  Ornamental cabbages and kales do not tolerate summer heat, so you need to start plants from seed in mid-summer, or purchase transplants at your local garden center.  Sow seeds about six to 10 weeks before the expected date of the first frost in your area.  Seeds must be sown and young plants kept under cool conditions to thrive.  In most climates, this means plants should be started in a greenhouse where the temperature can be controlled.  Alternatively, you can place pots with seeds in a refrigerator for several days to encourage germination.  In cooler climates, sowing seeds directly in the garden may be possible.  Ornamental cabbage and kale seeds require light for germination, so seeds should not be covered with soil.

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12 Photos of the "Cabbage Plant Flower"

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