Kale in containers

Grow these versatile ornamentals for cool-season color

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Kale in a container

Four smooth-leaved 'Sunset' kale plants anchor the corners of a plum-colored square container while crinkly purple kale springs from the center.

Rob D. Brodman

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Giant rosettes of frilly leaves ― in shades of lavender, deep rose, and pink, as well as crisp white and creamy yellow ― make ornamental kales favorite additions to the winter garden. Because these showy cabbage relatives tolerate cold weather and can hold their brilliant color all the way into spring, they're ideal for growing in pots to display on porches, patios, or beside entryways, or for massing in garden beds. They grow 1 to 2 feet tall.

Plant kales as soon as possible so heads develop fully; the color will intensify as the weather cools. Set several kale plants of the same color in a large container, as shown at right, or combine them with cool-season bloomers such as fairy primroses, stock, or violas.

Varieties whose leaves are blushed with rose or lavender are especially pretty with blue-flowered violas or lavender stock. Display the pots in full sun or light shade. Water regularly and feed every other week with a dilute liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion.


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