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BRASSICA oleracea 'Sabellica'

Image of Brassica oleracea 'Sabellica' (Acephala Group)

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA oleracea 'Sabellica'( Acephala Group)

Plant Common Name

German Kale, Grünkohl

General Description

The colorful, textural, tasty leaves of dwarf curly kale make it an outstanding plant for both the vegetable and the ornamental garden. Typically grown as an annual, this cool season vegetable traces its ancestry to Brassica oleracea, a fleshy-leaved, short-lived perennial from coastal areas of western and southern Europe.

This kale bears clusters of ruffled and crisped blue-green leaves that stay low and compact. In cool weather the foliage takes on deeper hues that may include hints of red-purple. Plants may dwindle in heat and sometimes bolt, becoming lanky and producing sprays of four-petaled lemon yellow flowers on tall stems. Plants that overwinter often bloom in spring.

Grow this kale in full to partial sun and fertile, organic-rich garden soil with ample drainage. Although tolerant of subfreezing temperatures, plants will perish in severe cold. Sow seeds in the chill of early spring, or in mid to late summer for a fall crop. Plants mature about 60 days after sowing, although the tender young leaves can be harvested earlier for salads. Often achieving their best flavor after frost, the relatively tough, pungently flavored mature leaves are best steamed or sauteed rather than raw. Hot weather and bolting cause leaves to become bitter.

This selection combines beautifully with asters, ornamental grasses and mums in the autumn garden. Overwintered plants make excellent companions for violas and early spring bulbs.

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"-15" / 30.5cm - 38.1cm

  • Width

    12"-15" / 30.5cm - 38.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Western Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • 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