Kale Plant

Kale may be a cabbage relative that’s classified as Brassica oleracea. it’s essentially a sort of cabbage that doesn’t have the tightly formed head related to most cabbages. A powerhouse of nutrients, kale is typically grouped within the cooking greens category with collards, mustard, and Swiss chard. Kale plants are often quite ornamental, with textured and curly leaves that are available reminder green, purple, and other colors. The plants are usually considered a cool-season vegetable and may handle some frost once they’re mature.

Kale features a relatively fast rate of growth and may grow from seed to reap in about two months. it’s a biennial plant that typically is grown as an annual. it’s best direct sown or transplanted within the late winter/early spring in cooler climates, and late summer in warmer climates, for fall-winter harvesting.

closeup of kale
Botanical NameBrassica oleracea
Common NameKale, ornamental kale
Plant TypeAnnual or biennial vegetable
Mature Size1 to 2 feet tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull sun to part shade
Soil TypeLoamy, evenly moist, well-draining
Soil pHAcidic (5.5 to 6.5)
Bloom TimeEarly spring
Flower ColorYellow
Hardiness Zones7 to 9 (USDA)
Native AreasEurope, Anatolia
closeup of kale

How to Plant Kale

Kale is straightforward to grow from seeds either directly planted within the garden soil or started indoors then transplanted. it’s also commonly planted from nursery starts. Kale grows equally well in raised garden beds and containers if you’re short on garden space. It are often grown as a cut-and-come-again vegetable, meaning you harvest what you would like while the plant continues to grow. So you would possibly require only a couple of kale plants, counting on how often and the way much you’d wish to harvest.

Kale Care

Because kale is grown for its leaves and not its flowers, it can handle full sun to part shade. (Ample sunlight generally produces better flowers on plants.) If you reside during a warm, dry climate, provide your plant with some shade, especially during hot afternoons. Heat can make the leaves wilt and lose their flavor.


Kale plants wish to grow in a rich soil that’s high in organic matter with a rather acidic soil pH. The high nitrogen content provided by organic matter is crucial for healthy leaf growth. The soil should drain well.


Water your kale plants regularly therefore the soil stays evenly moist. alongside cool temperatures, moist soil helps to stay the kale leaves sweet and crisp, instead of tough and bitter. Mulching around your plants can help to stay the soil cool and to retain moisture.

Temperature and Humidity

The optimal soil temperature for planting kale is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. All varieties prefer cool temperatures and can be sweetened by slight frost. the weather turns kale bitter. Kale may be a biennial plant, taking two growing seasons to finish its life cycle, but it’s usually grown as an annual. It can last through winter in most zones with adequate protection, but it’ll collapse if exposed to heavy frosts or snow. It is often grown throughout the winter in USDA zones 7 through 9 if the winters are mild and there’s adequate water. As an annual, it is often grown in zones 2 through 9.


When planting, mix fertilizer into the highest 3 to 4 inches of soil. Then, feed your kale throughout the season , following the instructions on your fertilizer label. Use compost or a high-nitrogen vegetable fertilizer.

Varieties of Kale

There are many kale varieties, and they’re all worth a try. The curly-leaf varieties tend to hold on longer in weather . But the flat-leaf types generally become established faster. Here are some varieties to consider:

  • Hanover Salad’ may be a fast grower and an early producer. it’s a pleasing taste for eating raw in salads.
  • ‘Lacinato’ may be a puckered heirloom kale from Tuscany. it’s sometimes listed as Tuscan or dinosaur kale. Its thick leaves are hardy enough to be harvested even after a snowfall.
  • ‘Redbor’ has magenta leaves with curly edges. It features a light , crisp flavor and texture.
  • ‘Red Russian’ has smooth, tender leaves with purple veins and edges. it’s especially slug-resistant within the garden.
  • ‘Vates’ may be a dwarf, curly, bluish-green kale that’s both heat- and cold-tolerant. it’s derived from ‘Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch’ kale.

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