Long Lasting Kale & Ornamental Cabbage

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Fall is a wonderful time for gardens and gardeners alike. The heat of summer is fading and there are new festive options for outdoors. Pumpkins and Mums are the two big must-haves for fall, in endless varieties. But what else is there? Most Mums can't tolerate a frost, and pumpkins can't replace all the summer bloomers. If you're looking for a good alternative to plant that will thrive in fall and into winter, ornamental cabbage and kale are perfect options. 

Both of these plants are decorative varieties of the vegetables by the same name. They add dimension and interest to the fall garden, and thrive in cooler temperatures when other plants will not. Hues include greens, pinks, whites, and purples; leaves vary from broad and flat to curls and rosettes. Ornamental cabbage and kale pair extremely well with many shades of fall mum, and many people choose to accentuate the purple leaves with aster plants. 

Ornamental cabbage and kale can be planted as soon as the weather cools, and typically will withstand below freezing temperatures. Depending on the variety, some of these plants (kale especially) will develop bolder colors after a few good frosts. They can be planted in the sun, in moderately moist soil. Because they are so cold-hardy, well into (and possibly throughout) the winter these plants will continue to beautify your garden. If soil erosion is an issue in your garden during the winter months, having something like this planted may help retail some of the soil that is normally held down by summer annuals. Both of these plants are also beautiful additions to fall and winter planters. 

The biggest issue you will most likely face with either of these plants is that your backyard animals may treat them like a buffet! Continue applications of an animal repellent if this is a problem in your garden. Although ornamental cabbage and kale can be subject to insect damage, this is unlikely due to the colder temperatures. 

Ornamental cabbage and kale both make wonderful additions to any fall and winter garden - with so many varieties, there are options for all kinds of gardens, planters, and landscapes. Once you try them, you may find that they've joined Pumpkins, Mums, and Bulbs as a fall garden tradition.