Ornamental Cabbage Plants

The weather has turned cold here in new York and I want to put something colorful outside in my pots. Can you suggest something pretty that might (?) grow all winter.

Hi Cindy,

I’ve found that ornamental cabbage and kale are great colorful plants that can live and grow in cold winter temperatures.

Pruple ornamental cabbage plant
Ornamental Cabbage plant


You can buy ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) and ornamental cabbage plants and put them into your pots. It’s almost too late in the season to grow them from seed, but you can try. I like to buy the one gallon containers that are already a good sized plant. Put the plants is a nice sunny spot where they’ll grow well and the colors in the leaves will be bright and vibrant looking. The colorful pigmentation gets better and better in the sun as the weather cools down. These plants can survive temperatures as low as five degrees F, but should be introduced to such low temperatures gradually. Cover them if  there’s going to be a freezing rain or ice storm so the leaves aren’t damaged. Keep the soil moderately moist. Too much fertilizer inhibits the  color and causes stem elongation, so just feed the plants once when you first pot them. Use a balanced fertilizer that also has micro-nutrients. Ornamental kale and cabbage can also be grown indoors in a brightly lit cool room, but I think they do much better outside.