Kale in containers

Grow these versatile ornamentals for cool-season color

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HOW TO DESIGN WITH KALE

Flowering kale, which has brightly colored foliage, is the most decorative, though some varieties of edible kale are attractive as well. Here are our favorite varieties of each type.

For instant effect, buy the largest ornamental kale plants your nursery sells ― typically in 4-inch or gallon-size pots. Edible kales are generally sold in smaller containers or as seed.

Dinosaur kale
Also known as 'Lacinato' or 'Lacinatao Blue', this kale has gently arching leaves that can reach 2 to 3 feet. Try growing this blue-green heirloom edible with curly parsley planted at the base. Or combine it with other beautiful cool-season greens, such as Swiss chard or red mustard.

Red flowering kale
Crinkly green heads with vibrant reddish centers can brighten an entire garden. Plant this kale near red winter-flowering shrubs such as grevillea, or grow one in a charcoal-colored pot with a fringe of black mondo grass.

'Redbor' kale 
This blackish burgundy edible kale is striking against nearly any color but especially when paired with other kales in shades of hot pink and white, as shown above, or with pink or lavender pansies and stock.

White flowering kale
Crisp white leaves edged in blue-green look frosty on their own, but they have an especially cool look when paired with white flowers such as Nemesia 'Compact Innocence'. Other cool-season whites that make pretty companions for this kale include white-flowered forms of cyclamen, fairy primroses ( Primula malacoides), Iceland poppies, snapdragons, stock, and violas.

 

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