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BRASSICA oleracea (Acephala Group)

Image of Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group)

Jessie Keith

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea( Acephala Group)

Plant Common Name

Collard Greens, Kale, Ornamental Kale

General Description

As beautiful as they are delicious, kale, collards, flowering cabbage, and the other vegetables in this group derive from Brassica oleracea, a fleshy-leaved short-lived perennial from the coastal areas of western and southern Europe. They are typically grown as annuals.

Plants in this group have open rosettes (rather than closed heads) of large, fleshy, waxy, edible leaves. Ornamental kales and ornamental cabbages bear many-leaved, chrysanthemum-like rosettes on short stems, whereas collards and culinary kales bear leaves individually on long stout stalks. Plants may produce sprays of four-petaled lemon yellow flowers on tall stems in spring or summer. Some cultivars are highly ornamental and may have pink, purple or variegated leaves that are sometimes deeply lobed, ruffled or curly.

These cool weather crops prefer full sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. Most are sown in the chill of early spring or in fall several weeks before first frost. Many taste better if harvested after frost. Tender young leaves can often be harvested for salads a month or so after sowing. Leaves typically mature about 2 months after sowing. Tougher and zestier than many other cabbage greens, mature leaves are usually best steamed or sauteed.

These wonderful, variable vegetables are generally easy to grow. Ornamental selections are beautiful in fall gardens and containers. They make ideal companions to asters, pansies and mums in the autumn garden, and violas and spring bulbs in late winter and spring. Tolerant of subfreezing temperatures, they will perish in severe cold. Ornamental cabbages and kales do best in cool weather, otherwise forming leggy relatively drab plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm (24)

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm (12)

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Northern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Red, Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green, Pink, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Red, Green, Purple, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green, Pink, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Red, Green, Purple, Chartreuse, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green, Pink, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Red, Green, Purple, Chartreuse, Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green, Pink, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes