Kale Container Garden
Ornamental kale makes a great container plant. Its tightly packed foliage and compact shape won’t overpower companion plants, such as the purple fountain grass, sweet potato vine and ornamental peppers here.
Kale Window Box
Kale does just as well in window boxes. This DIY window box was made by tacking sheet metal over a wooden frame. Fill the box with soilless potting mix, then plant your choice of kale and companions, such as red celosia and grass-like carex.
Kale as Table Decoration
With a nod to its days as a garnish, kale can still play a part in table settings. Paired with succulents and accented by red celosia blooms, kale is sure to spark interest among dinner guests, who might even snip a few leaves to augment their salad.
Kale in a Big Planter
The bigger the planter, the more kale you can grow! This DIY planter is made of rot-resistant cedar and backed by Zen trellises (#502414). Set it on a deck, patio or beside the back door so you can harvest healthful goodies spring through fall.
Kale Garden Plan
A) Ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), two varieties
B) Edible kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group)
C) Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), multiple varieties
D) Upright sedum (Sedum spectabile)
E) Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Purpureum’)
Ornamental kale is grown more for its looks than its flavor, which is often too bitter for culinary purposes. Also called flowering kale, it usually grows just 12–15 inches high, so it’s perfect for containers and small garden beds. This frost-tolerant plant becomes more colorful as temperatures drop.
Edible kale is taller and grows more upright than ornamental kale. Plants, which can reach 4–5 feet tall, offer an abundance of nutrition-packed leaves, which can be cooked in soups and stews or eaten raw in sandwiches and salads. Some people even make kale chips. Edible kale also has ornamental qualities, thanks to intriguing leaves that may be deeply cut, frilly or roughly textured.
Kale Growing Tips
Kale prefers the cooler temperatures of spring and fall but can be coaxed to grow all summer long in the North if given plenty of water and some afternoon shade. It grows best in fall in the South, especially in areas where temperatures don’t dip below the teens. Extend the season for this frost-tolerant vegetable by using a cold frame. A cold frame is essentially a miniature, unheated greenhouse. Amend the soil with compost and a fertilizer high in nitrogen to encourage growth. Water regularly whenever the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.