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Scientific: Brassica oleracea var. acelphala
Common: flowering cabbage, flowering kale
Family: Brassicaeae
Origin: coastal western and southern Europe

Pronounciation: BRA-sic-a o-ler-a-CE-a a-cell-FAL-a

Hardiness zones

Landscape Use: Cool season foliar garden accent, groupings or massed plantings for formal gardens.

Form & Character: Formal, colorful, rounded, stiff, formal.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, herbaceous biennial (two growing seasons - winter and spring in Phoenix), strongly rosetting to 18 to 24 inches in height (winter), then a bolting flower habit to 3-feet tall (spring).

Foliage/Texture: Ovate to orbicular leaves 3- to 5-inches long. Leaf margins strongly revolute to crinkled, coarsely serrate, foliage variegated either purple or white; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Bolting reproductive habit during spring is somewhat ornamentally undesirable. Bolting habit is promoted by lengthening days and warmer weather; fruits are inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: Fall and winter accent in Phoenix.

Temperature: Frost tolerant; the ideal temperature range is between 20o and 75oF.

Light: Full sun for best foliage color, but will do fine in partial shade.

Soil: Flowering cabbage plants prefer a rich, organic, well drained garden soil.

Watering: Regular garden water is essential in Phoenix.

Pruning: Remove emerging flower bolts to prolong landscape use in cooler climates, otherwise no pruning is necessary in arid regions such as Phoenix once bolting starts because at that point the plants are unsuitable for the impinging hot weather and should be removed.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and Pests: None

Additional comments: On balance, flowering cabbage is a great formal late fall and winter garden accent for lower desert landscape gardens. They perform best in landscape gardens in Phoenix if they are transplanted during October from nursery pots from liner size to 4-inch pots. Flowering cabbage leaves are edible....but why would you eat them? Two outstanding cultivars for landscape gardens are 'Dwarf Blue Curled' (purple foliage) and 'Dwarf Siberian' (white foliage).

Taxonomic clarification: Don't get fooled again! Flowering cabbage and flowering kale are both Brassica oleracea var. acephala. They are genetically identical.