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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Thymus vulgaris Thymus vulgaris
Beta vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group) Beta vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group)
Brassica oleracea (Alboglabra Group) has some common insect problems:
Aphids Found on Flowers and Foliage
Diamondback Moth
Grasshoppers on Ornamental Plants
Brassica oleracea (Alboglabra Group) has some common disease problems:
Damping-off in Flower and Vegetable Seedlings

Chinese Kale Brassica oleracea (Alboglabra Group)

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
BRAS-ih-ka ol-ur-RAY-see-uh
Description

The Alboglabra Group of Brassica oleracea includes Chinese kale and Chinese broccoli.  These vegetables are commonly used in Thia and Vietnamese cooking.  It can be used in a stir-fry, boiled and eaten like broccoli, or fried along with other vegetables and/or meats.  Its leaves, which can be smooth or wrinkled, are similar to broccoli.  Its flowering stalks, young leaves, and buds are best for eating.  They tend to toughen as they age.

Harvest young stems and leaves as the first flower appears.  Harvesting can be accomplished by two methods.  To harvest a plant, stalks can be cut 6-8" from the top of the plant.  For an extended supply of growth, strip the lower leaves while leaving the inner leaves and buds to continue to produce new leaves.  To maintain freshness after harvesting, tie three to four stems in bunches and store at 32-45 degrees F with 85 percent relative humidity.

These are heat-tolerant, hardy plants that can be grown year-round. In warmer climates, some afternoon shade is beneficial.  Seed can be sown in spring, continuing into summer and fall.  If grown in hot climates, harvesting should be done in a timely manner to prevent bolting.  Its flavor typically improves when subject to frost. 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Insects that have an effect include flea beetles, diamond-back moth, borers and cabbage looper.  At a lower level, aphids, grasshoppers and crickets.  Spraying pesticides is not recommended for this edible plant.

A serious disease for this plant is damping-off.  Providing good drainage will help to keep this disease at bay.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Brassica oleracea.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hei'
    White petals without wrinkled leaves.
  • 'Huanghuagelin'
    Yellow petals and pale green leaves.
  • 'Huanghualenye'
    Yellow petals and dark green leaves.
  • 'Large Leaf kailaan'
    White petals and wrinkled leaves.
  • 'Nanjing huanghua'
    White or yellow petals.
  • 'Nanjing huanghua'
    White or yellow petals.
  • 'Small leaf kailaan'
    White petals without wrinkley leaves.
'Hei', 'Huanghuagelin', 'Huanghualenye', 'Large Leaf kailaan', 'Nanjing huanghua', 'Nanjing huanghua', 'Small leaf kailaan'
Tags:
#sun#full sun#small spaces#heat tolerant#perennial#green#edible flowers#herb garden#vegetable garden#vegetable#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible leaves#edible#cool season vegetable#edible buds#pollinator garden#small space#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Hei'
    White petals without wrinkled leaves.
  • 'Huanghuagelin'
    Yellow petals and pale green leaves.
  • 'Huanghualenye'
    Yellow petals and dark green leaves.
  • 'Large Leaf kailaan'
    White petals and wrinkled leaves.
  • 'Nanjing huanghua'
    White or yellow petals.
  • 'Nanjing huanghua'
    White or yellow petals.
  • 'Small leaf kailaan'
    White petals without wrinkley leaves.
'Hei', 'Huanghuagelin', 'Huanghualenye', 'Large Leaf kailaan', 'Nanjing huanghua', 'Nanjing huanghua', 'Small leaf kailaan'
Tags:
#sun#full sun#small spaces#heat tolerant#perennial#green#edible flowers#herb garden#vegetable garden#vegetable#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible leaves#edible#cool season vegetable#edible buds#pollinator garden#small space#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Brassica
    Species:
    oleracea
    Family:
    Brassicaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean region and southwestern Europe
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edibility:
    Leaves in this group are used in Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Vegetable
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Siliqua
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    1-3.5" long with a conical beak.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are typically white, sometimes yellow, or red (rare).
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Orbicular
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Thick, firm, petiolate (stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem) leaves. The basal leaves are smaller, the upper leaves oblong.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Single stem, narrow branching or forking.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Riparian
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses