Curly Leaf Sea Kale – Crambe maritima
One of our horticulture missions at Idaho Botanical Garden is to showcase plants that are suitable for gardens and landscapes in the Treasure Valley. That is why we maintain various waterwise and native plant gardens. The plants in these gardens are acclimated to our soils and our hot, arid summers. One such garden is our Plant Select Demonstration Garden. Plant Select is a collaborative organization between Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University that aims to bring ornamental plants to the horticulture industry that are reliable, attractive, low maintenance, and suitable for the high plains and intermountain regions. The horticulture staff at IBG thinks highly of the Plant Select brand, not only for their incredible selection of plants but also because their mission is so similar to ours.
One plant currently blooming in the Plant Select Demonstration Garden is curly leaf sea kale. With “kale” in its name, you are correct in assuming that it is related to the popular vegetable, kale. It is in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), which means it is also related to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, and several other common vegetable plants. Like its cousins, sea kale is edible, but it is also commonly grown as an ornamental. It is native to Europe and occurs along coastlines, which means that unlike most other plants it tolerates salty soil.
When sea kale is in full bloom it is a large mound of small, vibrant, white flowers. After flowering, stalks can be cut back, and the big, curly, blue-green leaves continue to provide interest. Sea kale is easy to grow from seed, and will self sow if you don’t remove the stalks shortly after flowering. For more information about curly leaf sea kale, check out Plant Select’s description.
Curious to know what else is blooming at Idaho Botanical Garden? When you visit, check out our What’s Blooming board located on the plaza. It is updated regularly and will direct you to a select group of plants that are currently in bloom. This time of year, new plants are blooming each week, so don’t miss your chance to see your favorite plants in their prime.
Written by IBG horticulturist, Daniel Murphy.