Winter Bouquets of Cabbages?

Contrast of a rose rosette and an ornamental cabbage rosette side by side
Complementary rosette and contrast of Ornamental Cabbage with a Rose in a Christmas bouquet of flowers © Karen Andrews

Advent is one of the peak times in a florist’s year. Winter demands greater innovation and artistry to provide an eye-catching display at an acceptable price to the market. Ornamental Cabbages and Kale are providing an alternative to forced summer flowers. If you consider the complimentary rosette and colours of the Cabbage and the Rose in the above winter bouquet, you can appreciate why they are becoming so trendy.

Bedding Plants

Ornamental Cabbages and Kale first appeared as colourful bedding plants in borders and mixed containers. Their best colours appear with moderate to low night-time temperatures. Horticulturalists plant densely and remove the lower leaves during early cultivation to obtain the desired effect of small compact, rose-like heads.

Colours and Stems

Colours include cream, green, pink, purple, red and white. Ornamental Kale has the added attraction of wavy or frilly leaves. While bedding plants are cultivated close to the ground, those Ornamental Cabbages used in floristry offer long stems to fit neatly into bouquets.

Ornamental Cabbages and Kale, Brassica oleracea, are also used as resilient winter bedding plants. © Karen Andrews

Edible but not really

While related to ordinary Cabbage, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale leaves are officially edible. They do not taste good enough for your Christmas dinner or any other meal for that matter. They are decidedly bitter.

Winter Cheer

Ornamental Cabbages and Kale start flowering once spring temperatures arrive. Gardeners then pull them out and replace them with the explosion of spring-flowering options. Still, they add some welcome winter cheer when the colour palette is more subdued and more limited.

© Karen Andrews.

References and Further Reading

  • Maree, Johannes & van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2010): Cut Flowers of the World. Briza Publications. South Africa.


Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.

All above photos © Karen Andrews

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