Kale Care

Conshohocken, PA

I have a mild vendetta against annuals. Although I understand their use in adding a splash of color, it annoys me that I have to spend money on a plant that I reallly love knowing it will last only one season.

This leads me to the question of Kale, specifically ornamental Kale.

I (think) I understand that Kale is an annualómaybe a biannual? I'm also under the impression that 1) they go to seed 2) it's easy to sow Kale seeds at any time of the year.

My question is: Can I/How can I buy one Kale plant and "reuse it" every year by sowing its own seeds? This will be for 1 or 2 Kale plants in a planterónot a whole garden full of Ďem. I found a variety (Midnight Autumn, or something like that) that I simply canít do without.

As a newbie gardener I'm unsure how to ask this question using the right terminology--does my question make sense?

FU, United States(Zone 9b)

Does'nt a plant have to grow 'long enough' to sprout flowers or buds above the plant, which will eventually produce seeds within those dead or 'dried up' flowers?

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I am interested in Ornamental Kale, too. I actually bought seeds last year but I didn't get around to planting it. I had questions that I never did investigate well enough. Kale is a cold weather crop so how do I start it in the summer time. When should I start the seeds and will it grow well in the summer heat to become large enough to produce a good size plant at the end of summer when I want to replace my summer annuals with the Ornamental Kale? Will it bolt in the summer heat like some other cold weather crops do?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

about the same gowing season as pansies. Seeds normally started in flats and transplanted as first frost approaches. I have only seen them used as annuals, ripped out and replaced with summer annuals before they bolt. They will of course seed, but most folks using them as ornamentals don't care for the weedy look.

Parkville, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm reviving this thread because I don't know if Holly's question was answered completely and now I want to know more:

When should I sow seeds of Ornamental Kale so that I can plant them out this fall when the summer annuals fade? Should seeds be started indoors? Should the transplants be grown indoors too so that they don't bolt?


Thanks!

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Most brassicas that require transplanting (broccoli, cabbage, caulifloweretc are sown in late June to the late July for tarnsplant in September- October. Ornamental kale has the same growth patterns as flowering cabbage and should be sown in this time slot. I prepare a bed in a shady spot, where I can apply water as necessary. It is possible to start them inside but I have not personally tried it. They work fine outside with water and shade, just don't try them in full sun. High soil temps inhibit germination. I prepare the seed bed with Pro-Mix but any good quality growing mix can be used. Regular soil often contains organisms that are detrimental to seedlings.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Most brassicas that require transplanting (broccoli, cabbage, caulifloweretc are sown in late June to the late July for tarnsplant in September- October. Ornamental kale has the same growth patterns as flowering cabbage and should be sown in this time slot. I prepare a bed in a shady spot, where I can apply water as necessary. It is possible to start them inside but I have not personally tried it. They work fine outside with water and shade, just don't try them in full sun. High soil temps inhibit germination. I prepare the seed bed with Pro-Mix but any good quality growing mix can be used. Regular soil often contains organisms that are detrimental to seedlings.

Parkville, MD(Zone 7b)

Okay, great to know that I'm not too late. Thanks so much, Farmerdill!

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