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What's In Bloom: Witch Hazel

Plant of the Month: November 2023

Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea ‘Nagoya Pink’)

Fall weather brings on lots of changes in the garden with summer color slowing down and cool-season plants starting to show what they are made of. One of those cool-season plants is Ornamental kale. It is sometimes called flowering kale and is botanically in the same species lineup as edible kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc. but ornamental kale has much fancier foliage with hints of different colors. Ornamental kale can range in colors from white, pink, rose, purple, and red. 

This cool-season plant is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region stretching into Asia. Kale has long been grown as a cool-season edible crop but through plant selection, these oddities were selected for their ornamental value. Ornamental kale has long been planted by our northern garden friends but has become more accepted as a bedding plant in our southern gardens, planted amongst the typical pansies and violas.

Here at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, I chose to plant the ornamental kale variety ‘Nagoya Pink’. Seeds were sown in mid-July. Young plants were transplanted into 4-inch containers mid August. The extreme heat of late August into September made the crop look doubtful. As soon as daytime temperatures dropped into the 80s, these young plants picked up and haven’t slowed down. Kale was transplanted into gallon containers in early September and we started to plant them in garden beds later that month.

Here at BGO, you will find Nagoya Pink Kale throughout the garden. We have planted over 900 for you to enjoy in mix planters and waves of mass plantings. Come to the garden to enjoy these in this time of transition from summer to fall to winter and plant some ornamental kale in your garden.

Berni Kurz, Director of Horticulture