ornamental kale


Old 09-21-00, 06:25 PM
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I have a very large ornamental kale "brassica oleraccea" which now has several (8) heads on it. Is it possible to cut off the extra heads and plant them elsewhere in the garden. If so, how is this done (time of year, where to cut, rooting hormone?). I live in Delaware. Any help would be great.
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Old 09-22-00, 11:40 AM
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I have a fairly large reference library re: propogation but it has yielded nothing about doing cuttings from ornamental kale or any of the brassica family. It either is "not done", "not done in the business so doesn't warrant entry", or "it can't be done".

Since I just hate the word "can't" it might be fun to do a little experiement but realize that it may not work and you will have lost that part of the plant or the entire plant.

Quite frankly, I really doubt you'll have much luck trying to start from a cutting. That's a lot of leaf surface to try to support with no roots. But, as my mother always said "if you hold your tongue in your left cheek just right you might be surprised at what you can accomplish". If you are willing to sacrifice a head you can sure give it a try.

Certain plants root better at certain periods of growth in their life. Usually you want young, semi or newly hardened, actively growing material. Old growth is harder to get to root on most plants. Also, some testing has shown that some plants actually root better without rooting hormone and some won't root at all with the hormone. Just wing it and see what happens.

There is another method you can also try. It's called layering.

Based on the root growth habit of the brassica family i.e. a large part of the root system develops near the surface and runs through the soil almost horizontally from the plant it may be possible to get it to "layer". Since this would be just an experiment you need to realize though that this may be harmful to the part of the plant you try it on so be prepared for a negative result.

To tell you how to layer would take far more space than I have available. It's not that hard - just requires certain conditions and steps from start to finish. Go to your local library and look in a book on propagation for the instructions on layering. My main book that I use is "Plant Propagation" by Philip McMillan Browse but there are severall books out there.

Your best bet for success is usually late spring or early summer. At this time of year in a temperate climate the plants have matured and are getting ready to go into cold weather. All that said if you want to try a cutting - go for it. Who knows - it just might work.

Best - Ladybug


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