Flower garden and landscape

Autumn Queen - Ornamental Cabbage


Despite the fact that ornamental cabbage is quite edible and actually is a form of ordinary garden cabbage, this plant is special in everything. Elegant rosettes and a bright change of colors, turning heads out into charming giant "flowers", do not cease to amaze. Fast-growing ornamental cabbage is second to none at the end of the garden season. Showing all its beauty only with the advent of cold weather, the cabbage flower brings patterned elegance to the gardens. On the flower beds and in the garden, this queen of autumn does not know competitors among seasonal plants.

Decorative cabbage


Decorative cousin of ordinary cabbage

Cabbage, one of the most valuable, ancient and common vegetable crops, it always looks attractive, even if we are talking about simple leaf or cabbage. Rounded heads and unique gigantic bushes with elegant leaves adorn any beds. But if we are talking about decorativeness, then any other cabbage can easily be eclipsed by a variety that is attributed to decorative and deciduous seasonal crops - decorative cabbage.

Brassica, decorative cabbageas we simply call this plant, or curly cabbage headless varieties (today the official name is Brassica oleraceaThe popular designation for a variety is Brassica oleracea var. acephala - this is a synonym name that makes it easier to identify the plant in the diversity of the entire cabbage community) - the only decorative representative of cabbage in the family Cruciferous (Brassicaceae).

Many beginner gardeners simply call this plant cabbage-flower.

This is the same curly shape of cabbage, known since ancient Greece, but changed by selection. We owe the distribution of especially bright varieties of curly cabbage as decorative plants to the North European countries, but in Japan, and in North America, cold-resistant decorative cabbage is also very popular with us.

Ornamental forms and varieties of cabbage are classified as deciduous annuals and biennials, depending on the cultivation strategy. At its core, ornamental cabbage is one of the herbaceous biennials. The maximum plant height is limited to 60 cm for rosette forms, although there are separate and larger palm-shaped forms up to 2 m high, surprising with huge leaves.

Naked, stiff, large, with a curly edge, often decorated with a waxy coating, cabbage leaves at the base of the shoot are sitting on cuttings, and at the top they turn into a sedentary form, forming rosettes of various densities. Associations of ornamental cabbage with flowers are not accidental: in many varieties, rosettes remind of roses, peonies, strange huge flowers due to the arrangement and shape resulting from the "superposition" of rows of leaves.

The diameter of the outlets can exceed 50 cm. They differ in density and accuracy of the picture, in general shape. The leaves may be more pointed or rounded, with deeply cut edges or outgrowths at the ends of the veins, with a wrinkled and almost smooth surface, carved, resembling fancy corals or algae. They can form rosettes and settle down on the stem more rarely, creating the effect of a classic leafy or "bundle".

The color palette of decorative cabbage includes a variety of "cold" autumn-winter colors. Green - from silver and gray to bright green variations, white, cream, pink, purple, violet, red - these colors create amazingly beautiful effects in both watercolor and variegated contrast types. The outer leaves in the rosettes are usually green, the inner ones are brightly colored. The transition from one color to another is always gradual and blurry, as if intensifying towards the center.

Ornamental cabbage reveals its beauty only when most seasonal plants wither as a result of a severe cooling. In cabbage, on the contrary, beautiful foliage colors are even more pronounced, and right up to frosts stronger than 10-12 degrees of frost, it retains its decorativeness, decorating the area already chained with the first breath of winter.

Ornamental cabbage, grade "Nagoya White". Ornamental cabbage, grade "Sunrise". Ornamental cabbage, grade "Osaka Red".

Types and varieties of decorative cabbage

Decorative cabbage is represented today by a huge number of not only individual varieties, but also interesting decorative forms. As a rule, the latter have become real classics and their appearance is familiar to most gardeners. In addition to decorative forms, several varieties are distinguished, which differ in the form of growth and are also considered the basic varieties of decorative cabbage.

Simple classifications allow you to navigate in the variety of cabbage:

  1. By size: decorative cabbage is divided into stunted (up to 40 cm), mid-sized (up to 50 cm) and high - from 1 to 2 m in height.
  2. According to the form of growth distinguish between rosette (varieties with the correct rosette of a rounded or flattened shape) and columnar or palm-shaped varieties.
  3. By the nature of the location of the foliage cabbage is divided into cabbage, half-cabbage, rosette, needle and brain varieties.
  4. According to the dominant color in the leaves emit green, white, pink, yellow, red, purple varieties.
  5. Leaf shape They distinguish round-leaved, flat-leaved, lyre-shaped cirrus, curly, corrugated, rarely - incised varieties.

To the best decorative forms and varieties headless kale belong to:

  • prolifera - high cabbage up to 60 cm with wavy leaves, a serrated, rather than a ruffled edge, outgrowths at the end of the veins and a curved leaf shape in rosettes in which white, pink and red shades turn into one with a variegated effect;
  • laciniata - large cabbage with deep, pointed, curving leaves of mixed motley green-red or green-white color;
  • crispa - a plant with filigree, delicately cut leaves and green-purple colors;
  • palmifolia - a very tall variety, capable of growing up to 200 cm, with narrow, curved, bubble-shaped green leaves collected in a bundle-shaped rosette at the top of the shoots;
  • Mosbach cabbage - medium green leafy with curved, ruffle-curly leaves;
  • green branchy - medium-sized cabbage with lyre-shaped bluish leaves with a wrinkled surface and serrated edges;
  • curly green - low or tall varieties with strongly curly leaves along the edge;
  • coarse green - medium-sized cabbage with feathery leaves, coarse-edged edges and a light green color;
  • japanese round variegated white - medium-sized cabbage with whole, scalloped leaves, changing color from green with pink spots in the outer circles to white with a green border on the inside;
  • Japanese variegated pink-red - medium-sized, with densely arranged scalloped whole leaves of cabbage, surprising raspberry color;
  • curly red - tall cabbage with a purple stem and densely curly blue-violet leaves;
  • pied motley red - medium-sized cabbage with feathery leaves, decorated with raspberry veins, purple spots and narrowly openwork openwork leaves;
  • white mottled plume - medium cabbage with deeply dissected feathery leaves, decorated with white border and veins;
  • blue giant - a tall, more than meter-long form with bluish or variegated purple lyre-shaped leaves, decorated with an uneven-toothed carved edge.

The basic forms and varieties of cabbage are on sale more and more rarely, but varieties with especially bright colors and expressive forms are replenished with new names every year.

Ornamental cabbage, grade "Peacock Red". Ornamental cabbage, grade "Scarletbor". Ornamental cabbage, grade "Peacock White".

The best varieties of decorative cabbage

The best varieties of decorative cabbage are:

  • Grade "Kamome Pink" - undersized cabbage with a very dense rosette of densely veined, wavy, corrugated along the edge of the leaves, changing green with violet at the edges of the tint color on the outer leaves on raspberry pink with a green border on the inside.
  • Old grade "Relay race" - undersized, up to 35 cm in height and slightly more razlogi in diameter, densely leafy rosette variety with drooping, rounded whole leaves with long corrugated leaves on strongly stalks with a strongly corrugated edge.
  • Grade "Nagoya White" - charming thickly lace-edged variety with beautiful longitudinal venation on the leaves, creating a graphic effect. Dark green leaves along the edge of the outlet are not as dense as cream-white leaves in the center. The Nagoya series is distinguished by a unique graphic pattern of veins and a thick-fringed, fringed edge on two-color rosettes of an ideal round shape.
  • Rose variety "Sunrise" with perfectly even, oval leaves creating a rosette that seems like a gigantic replica of a classic bush rose. The dark green color of several circles of the outer leaves contrasts with the yellowish-cream tone of the inner leaves and a light lilac-pink bloom in the very center of the outlet.
  • Rose variety "Osaka Red" with a strikingly regular shape of the ornamental rosette, smooth-wavy leaves and a double color - grayish-gray on the outer leaves and silver-pink inside the rosettes. Other varieties of the Osaka series offer to admire large, spectacular sockets with varying degrees of terry leaf edges and the transition of two colors.
  • Grade Tokyo Red and other varieties of the Tokyo series - varieties surprising with a dazzling middle of outlets with very compact, corrugated, corrugated, dense outlets.
  • Grade "Lark tongue" - a palm-shaped variety with densely terry, carved leaves up to 70 cm long with a unique play of shades of green.
  • Grade "Robin" - high, up to 150 cm tall cabbage with a narrow columnar shape, a dense rosette of drooping roundish whole leaves, with a lushly corrugated edge and a dominant reddish-violet tone.
  • Grade Palmyra - a tall, up to 140 cm narrow-columnar variety with drooping, brightly green leaves with long corrugated leaves with strongly corrugated edge.
  • Grade "Colors of the East" - semi-spreading variety, up to 50 cm in height with a smaller diameter of rosettes from rounded wavy long-leaf leaves. The extreme leaves are bluish, gradually becoming more and more white-cream and violet, turning into a rich purple in the center.
  • Grade "Autumn Waltz" - late variety with a raised, dense rosette with a diameter of about half a meter and a slightly higher height, formed by rounded wavy leaves on the middle petioles. Wax coating emphasizes the play of green and purple in color.
  • Grade Sparkle - sprawling undersized variety with a height of about 40 cm with the same diameter of the outlet, flaunting with wax, deeply dissected leaves with a slightly wavy edge.
  • Grade "Peacock White" - a beautiful variety with carved, small, cut into tiny fragments and somewhat reminiscent of either a frieze or a coral leaf with a color change from gray-green to white with a pinkish center.
Ornamental cabbage will add bright colors to the fading autumn garden.

The use of decorative cabbage in garden design

Ornamental cabbage varieties are not accidentally called one of the best late-autumn plants. If the garden lacks colors and beautiful greenery at the very end of the active season, then decorative cabbage is the best candidate for solving this problem. It will help revitalize flower beds and mixborders, compensate for the lack of skeletal plants, revitalize empty areas and create bright spots that will prevent the autumn garden from appearing boring and lifeless.

Ornamental cabbage in the garden is used:

  • as a border plant, to create bright lines or dividers;
  • as a filler of platforms, mini-flower beds, and spots freed from airmen;
  • to fill the voids in flower beds and discounts;
  • for a solitaire group or mono-flower - small islands from different varieties of cabbage or small-sized rabatok dedicated to this plant, including in patterned, ornamental compositions;
  • in carpet mixborders and arabesques, to create complex patterns and ornaments;
  • as a decoration of the foreground of compositions that are boring in the fall;
  • as a lining for shrubs and ornamental trees that attract attention in the fall.

Traditionally, decorative cabbage is recommended not to be used in the garden, but in the decorative garden, as a traditional seasonal plant and the main decoration of late autumn and early winter. But in the garden she will find a place. Ornamental cabbage is one of the best plants for mixed design, decoration of beds, creating not just a boring traditional collection of vegetables and herbs.

It can be planted in a border around the beds with other vegetables, introduced into the company of tea and spice plants, planted as small accents in the composition with perennial vegetables that will revive the beds in the fall. Only a few bushes are able to decorate those places where from October you have to admire only on bare soil.

This plant will reveal its beauty not only in open ground, but also in pot culture. Decorative cabbage varieties will decorate the vacant stone flower pots and socles, replace the potters in pots, do an excellent job of filling the voids in street flowerpots and balcony containers, and even use hanging baskets when used with ampel partners. At the end of the season, after the onset of stable frosts and the achievement of maximum decorativeness, cabbage can be dug up and transferred to containers for decorating window sills.

Ornamental cabbage leaves are not just edible, but very useful - like any other cabbage. In its bitter and taste nuances, it is similar to kale kale. Young leaves are consumed. To reduce stiffness and bitterness, it is worth waiting for the first frosts when the whole taste potential of the plant is revealed. "Artificially" seasonal ripening is imitated by simple freezing of leaves before use.

Partners for decorative cabbage can be selected from among any seasonal plants. Different varieties and forms are perfectly combined with each other, but with cabbage, with marigolds, with chrysanthemums and evergreen garden plants, cabbage looks great. This plant contrasts with any neighbor and does not lose beauty in the company of even the brightest stars.

Ornamental cabbage will reveal its beauty not only in open ground, but also in pot culture.

Growing conditions for ornamental cabbage

Despite the status of an unpretentious plant, ornamental cabbage will not be able to settle anywhere in the garden. This is a photophilous culture, which in shading at the end of summer will not have time to reveal either the power or beauty of the outlets. If a bright color or lush rosettes are not so important, you can experiment with diffuse semi-shady areas, but traditionally light or sunny areas are chosen for planting cabbage. This plant is not afraid of drafts, it is cold-resistant, grows well even in polluted air.

You should carefully approach the choice of soil characteristics. Ornamental cabbage varieties prefer medium, high-quality and well-developed soils.They cannot develop normally in soils with a strong acidity or alkalinity, in poor, dense, too light soil. The best option for ornamental cabbage is rightly called nutritious sandy loam and loamy soil. The soil is deeply dug, introducing full mineral and organic fertilizers in a standard dosage.

Ornamental cabbage does not like either too dense or sparse planting (bare soil does not adorn the composition with this plant). When choosing a distance, the distance to neighboring plants is usually observed, equal to the estimated diameter of the cabbage outlet. On average, cabbage is planted at a distance of 50-60 cm from neighboring plants. Ornamental cabbage is always planted in a checkerboard pattern.

Cabbage is not afraid of transplantation, but only if the plants immediately after planting receive regular care, do not suffer from drought and provided that an earthen coma around the roots is left untouched. When planting, it is important to avoid contact with the roots. Ornamental cabbage can be transplanted from place to place at any age, using sockets to fill voids.

Ornamental cabbage can be transplanted from place to place at any age - and this is another plus.

Ornamental Cabbage Care

This culture cannot be attributed to plants that can be "planted and forgotten." Without full care, neither enjoy the size, density and quality of the leaves, nor observe the luxurious colors will not work. The plant needs regular maintenance, especially in abnormal weather.

The decorative cabbage care program includes:

  • abundant watering before resuming active growth after planting and in drought, which are not carried out superficially, if possible combining with sprinkling or spraying of plants and using only warm, settled water;
  • loosening of soil combined in weeding or irrigation;
  • mulching with any available materials, which will reduce the number of irrigation and cultivation with weeding;
  • top dressing with any organic (except manure) or complex fertilizers in a standard dosage (they are carried out 7-10 days after planting and repeated another 1-2 times, for poor soils - 3-4 times);
  • sprinkling of soil to the base of the stem in violation of the stability of outlets.

Ornamental cabbage is no less than its purely useful relatives, is susceptible to damage by caterpillars of butterflies and is loved by slugs. To combat the latter, it is worth mulching the soil with needles, hay or ash, but they struggle with caterpillars by preventive spraying with a solution of superphosphate in a concentration of 10 g per 1 liter of water, which is best done after each rain. If there are signs of damage by any fungal diseases, plants should immediately begin to be treated with systemic fungicides.

Decorative cabbage reveals its beauty only with the advent of cold, fully manifesting all the colors characteristic of the varieties. Temperature drops and mild frosts are not afraid of her. Plants are left in the compositions until the temperature drops below 12 degrees below zero and the rosettes lose their decorative effect. Frozen cabbage can be left to decorate the garden in winter, removing bushes only in spring.

Ornamental cabbage can not be attributed to plants that can be "planted and forgotten."

Propagation of Ornamental Cabbage

Ornamental cabbage varieties are grown only from seeds, mainly in seedlings. Sowing directly into open soil is not always crowned with success due to the susceptibility of young shoots to the black leg and the need to ensure thorough care, but it is quite acceptable. Cabbage is sown in mini-greenhouses or hotbeds, under non-woven materials, in late April or the first decade of May. Young plants need careful watering. Dive plants as the formation of full leaves.

In order to get 100 bushes of decorative cabbage, it is enough to use 0.5 g of seeds. Sowing for this culture is carried out in individual pots or cassettes with individual cells. The optimal seeding lines are the third decade of March. It is advisable to soak the seeds for several hours before sowing in the soil in warm water or a weak solution of fungicide.

For decorative cabbage, a universal substrate or soil made of sand, sheet soil and peat is used in a ratio of 1: 2: 2. Sowing containers are neatly filled with a substrate without tamping it and watered before sowing. Seeds are sown in 2 pieces, covering on top with a layer of soil about 1 cm. After sowing, watering is repeated. Tanks do not have to be covered with glass or film. For the germination of ornamental cabbage you need to maintain a stable temperature of about 19-20 degrees. On average, seedlings appear after 2-5 days. The lower the temperature, the slower the germination process.

Young shoots of decorative cabbage very often fall out. It is justly ranked among the plants that are most sensitive to the black leg, but seedlings can die from simple rot and from other factors. In order to maintain sensitive seedlings, it is necessary to abandon the traditional watering until the plants get stronger, forming thick enough trunks and releasing the first true leaf. To maintain humidity, instead of regular and drip irrigation, the method of frequent, but very easy spraying is used. Seedlings of decorative cabbage are not dived, of the two shoots leave the strongest.

Throughout the entire period of growing seedlings, before planting in the soil, the plants are gently watered, avoiding waterlogging and drying the soil between these procedures. For seedlings of decorative cabbage, two top dressings are carried out - during the growth of the first real leaf and at the beginning of hardening for transfer to a permanent place.

For decorative cabbage, you need to choose the brightest place on the windowsills. On cloudy days, plants are better exposed. It is advisable to keep seedlings of this plant in cool, at a temperature of no higher than 16 degrees. The minimum permissible indicators are 12 degrees of heat. If possible, temperatures can be controlled more strictly, maintaining optimal performance:

  • from 10 to 12 degrees during the day and from 6 to 8 degrees at night in the first week after emergence;
  • from 13 to 16 degrees during the day and from 8 to 10 degrees at night before hardening.

Ornamental cabbage seedlings can be transferred to a permanent place in the third decade of April or the first decade of May, with protection against return frosts, or from the second half of May, if there is no possibility to additionally cover the plants. Hardening seedlings begin at least 2 weeks before planting.