Ornamental Cabbage Plants

Ornamental cabbage, also known as flowering cabbage, has glossy, wavy green edges with pale red, pink or purple edges of varied sizes and flat centers of white, red or purple leaves. It grows up to about 15 inches (38 cm.) high and just a foot (one foot) wide with a strong mounding tendency. Though generally considered poisonous, it contains an enzyme that makes it relatively nontoxic when consumed. It is a good idea, though, to be sure that young children and animals are not exposed to this vegetable.

Cabbage varieties grown for consumption are red, yellow or white and are used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. There are a few others like Chinese pung, long tail and silver haired types. Ornamental cabbage plants come in a variety of colors, such as white, red, pink and yellow. The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with dark green foliage.

Cabbage greens are generally thought of as cool weather vegetables, although kale plants are warm weather plants too. Some ornamental cabbage plants, such as the Long tail varieties, also grow quite tall. The narrow leaves of these plants grow to about three to four inches (8-inch-ares) and are somewhat oval in shape. They have shiny green foliage and a short, fat, bushy base.

In order for any ornamental cabbage plants to germinate properly they must be started from seed. It is usually the fastest way to get seeds started indoors but you can germinate seeds by keeping them in moist, dark places away from light for a few days. If you live in a temperate climate seed starting is much easier because it will not need much sun. Young plants can be started from cuttings taken from the parent plant as long as the parents plant has not yet produced flowers. You will need to protect the young plants from harsh winds at night during the germination period, so you should keep the young plants out of direct sunlight and keep their pots in shady conditions during this time.

Ornamental cabbage varieties grown in southern states in the fall should be protected from extremely cold temperatures during the winter months. This is because they produce their fruit in the winter and their leaves, stems and roots are very fragile when exposed to very low temperatures. This is why these brassica oleracea plants are normally planted in southern states in the fall.

Cabbage greens generally prefer cool temperatures and are normally grown in potting medium that is made to be kept temperature stable. These plants are grown primarily for their large and showy leaves that provide color to the garden. The plants produce new shoots and leaves on growth that are about two to three inches long. These produce the most colorful flowers during the spring. When these plants get too big in the garden they can become a problem, so care must be taken to trim them back when they reach a significant size.

It takes about one year for ornamental cabbage plants to be established in a garden. Full sun is preferred since they will tolerate some shade during the hot summer months. They should be planted about six to eight inches deep in rich soil where there is plenty of drainage and good water retention.

The flowering cabbage comes up with full and luscious green leaves which have sweet and delicious flavors. In addition to the attractive foliage, the flower can have small white stamens and petals. These stamens are actually hairs that grow from each leaf that secrete honeydew and are released in late spring as the plants come into bloom. The taste is pleasant and satisfying and the leaves have a pleasant herbal flavor. They are best eaten raw or cooked and are a great addition to any vegetable dish.