Flowering Cabbage and Kale Gaining in Popularity Says LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

Allen D. Owings  |  10/31/2006 1:28:37 AM

Flowering kale is an increasingly popular fall bedding plant. It's colorful and suitable for landscapes and containers. For more details, see flowering cabbage and kale story at left.

News You Can Use For November 2003

Flowering kale and cabbage are becoming increasingly popular as fall bedding plants for Louisiana. An alternative to garden mums and pansies, these plants have feathery leaves of robust colors that make them well suited for landscape and container plantings, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings.

New hybrid varieties are more uniform, compact and colorful than the older, open-pollinated varieties.

"Selecting the correct variety to grow in Louisiana depends on your individual preference," Owings says.

Peacock kale is available in white and red and has a striking appearance with deeply serrated and feathery leaves. Nogoya kale is also available in white and red and has heavily crinkled leaves with vibrant colors. It is great for container plantings.

Osaka cabbage, also referred to as the Dynasty series, has semi-fringed leaves on plants having a brightly colored large center. Toyko cabbage is red, white or pink with smooth waxy edged leaves. Because of Toyko’s smaller size, it is frequently used in flower arrangements.

The culture of flowering cabbage and kale in the landscape is similar to that of garden varieties. Owings says proper soil preparation is essential. An ideal pH is 6.0-7.0. Proper soil preparation includes soil cultivation, incorporating fertilizer (2 pounds of 8-8-8 per 100 square feet), and,if needed, dolomitic lime worked into the top 6 inches of soil prior to planting.

After planting, Owings recommends broadcasting a three- to four-month slow-release fertilizer over the planting bed.

The LSU AgCenter horticulturist says growing ornamental cabbage and kale in containers is more of a challenge. A well-drained medium, such as one containing equal parts of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite, amended with an ounce of dolomitic lime per 1 gallon container is good for pot culture. Also, incorporate a low rate of slow-release fertilizer in addition to using a liquid fertilizer containing trace elements. Trace elements are essential when using a soil-less medium.

Owing adds that insect control is very important to maintain the aesthetics of flowering kale and cabbage. Worms are the most prevalent. Several insecticides are labeled for the control of insects on these plants. Treat when you begin to see insect activity.

Flowering kale and cabbage have several uses in the landscape. Proper soil preparation and follow-up care after planting will lead to success with these plants. For additional information on cool-season bedding plants available in your area, contact a county agent at the parish office of the LSU AgCenter.

In addition, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/

On the Internet: www.louisianalawnandgarden.org.

Source: Allen D. Owings (225) 578-2222, or aowings@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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