Flowering cabbages, also known as ornamental cabbages, are hybridised versions of kale. They’re specifically developed to have bright colour in the centre of the foliage, providing a brilliant, rose-like injection of pink, red or white in the middle of the kale’s green outer leaves. They’re grown in much the same way as traditional kale, but with a more critical eye to the timing of the planting.
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Because the brightness of the kale’s colour is directly relative to the climate of the region it’s planted in, prospective gardeners should consult with their local nursery regarding the best time to plant.
Ornamental kale was developed to decorate gardens in 17th-century Japan after its edible version was brought from China.
This low grower is a colourful, textural edging plant, and the colourful leaves make for a lovely plate garnish.
Ornamental cabbages are, like their more delicious cousins, members of species brassica oleracea.
Though grown for beauty and not for taste, there is no danger in eating an ornamental cabbage.
The term "flowering cabbage" is a misnomer; the prized colour of these plants comes from bright pigmentation in the leaves themselves.