13 of the Best Kale Varieties for the Home Garden

A close up horizontal image of different varieties of kale growing in the garden pictured in light sunshine fading to soft focus in the background.

Kale is a leafy vegetable in the brassica family that’s related to the cabbage. It thrives in the coolest temperatures of the growing season. Read on for 13 of our favorite types. Choose cultivars with exceptional heat or cold tolerance to suit your needs, and grow the most flavorful and tender kale you’ve ever eaten.

How to Grow Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale

A close up horizontal image of a large dinosaur kale plant growing in the garden with a variety of shrubs and flowers in the background, pictured in bright sunshine.

Lacinato kale is a healthy, delicious, and easy-to-grow crop that deserves a place in the backyard garden. Also known as Dinosaur or Tuscan kale, this plant has long blueish green leaves that are just as ornamental as they are tasty. Read more to learn how to grow this cruciferous leafy green vegetable.

How to Grow Napini Kale

A close up top down picture of a flowering shoot of the Brassica oleracea plant in the second season, commonly harvested as napini.

Did you know that kale is a biennial that produces tender edible shoots and buds in the second season? Napini, or kale rabe, is delicious, tender, and sweet, a treat you won’t want to miss out on. What’s more, growing kale for napini is easy. Learn how to grow and harvest your own napini kale. Read more now.

Kale Spacing: How Far Apart to Plant for the Best Harvest

Neat rows of large, mature kale plants, intercropped with cabbage and other vegetables. In the center of the frame is a light green curly variety, and to its right a large purple variety.

Curious how much space to leave between each of the kale plants in your garden? By spacing these leafy green vegetables just right, it will be easy to care for and harvest your crop throughout your growing season. To find out the best spacing recommendations for your kale varieties and harvesting plans, read more now.

Sun Recommendations for Planting Kale

A close up of Tuscan and purple kale plants growing together in the garden in bright sunshine with metal stakes in between them.

Choosing to grow kale in the home garden is an excellent choice. Who doesn’t want a fresh patch of healthy leafy greens to pick from, right in the backyard? But knowing how much sunshine per day this cruciferous vegetable requires? That’s another question. To find out how much sun to provide your kale, read more now.

Is Kale an Annual or a Perennial?

A top down picture of different types of kale growing in an autumn garden surrounded by yellow and brown leaves.

A vegetable garden favorite, kale is a reliable producer of healthy leafy greens. But is this cruciferous vegetable an annual or a perennial? We’ll have to go back to the birds and the bees to fully understand kale’s life cycle. To find out when to expect flowering and seed heads from your kale plants, keep on reading.

How to Grow and Care for Ornamental Flowering Kale

A close up of dramatic purple leaves of an ornamental kale plant with delicate frilly leaves. To the left of the frame are some of the light green leaves with purple veins.

Flowering kale is an excellent choice when you want to add vibrant color and texture to cool weather gardens. Read on for easy cultivation and care instructions, a list of varieties to choose from, and recommended companion plantings. Join us as we explore growing ornamental kale and add some color to your garden.

The Best Companion Plants to Grow with Kale

A close up of a raised garden bed with mature, healthy Tuscan kale growing amongst bright nasturtium flowers, an other leafy vegetable plants in light sunshine.

Planting kale in your vegetable garden? You’ll want to know the best common companion plants for this garden veggie. If so, you have come to the right place. Learn which plants will attract beneficial insects, repel pests, provide ground cover, and act as nitrogen fixers for this garden staple. Read more now.

Will Kale Grow in Containers? Tips for Growing Your Crop in Pots

A close up of four terra cotta pots with Tuscan and curly kale growing in the bright sunshine on a balcony. The plants have large leaves in various shades of green, the background is white railings and a house behind.

Kale is a frost hardy annual that’s grown for its nutritious, flavorful leaves in fantastic colors and fanciful shapes. And it’s just as easy to grow in pots or containers as in the ground. Learn how to plant up a few pots for the kitchen garden right now, then enjoy its beauty and health benefits well into winter.

Tips for Protecting Kale from Pests and Disease

A top down picture of a mature curly kale plant growing in the garden, the large outer leaves are a darker green color and the small inner leaves are reddish green. In bright sunshine, the background is further foliage of the same plant.

Despite kale’s tendency to be healthy and vigorous, the plants can be vulnerable to insects, nematodes, bacteria, and fungi under certain circumstances. Read on to learn how to identify and control pests and pathogens on your kale plants.

Can You Eat Kale That Has Turned Yellow?

A close up of dark green healthy curly kale plants growing in the garden bathed in light sunshine.

Kale comes in several varieties, ranging in color from light green to deep purple. But when the leaves start turning yellow, you may be wondering if they’re safe to eat. To learn more about why your leaves may have changed color and whether you can still eat kale that has turned yellow, read more now.

How to Naturally Kill Insects on Kale: The Best Organic Solutions

A Brassica oleracea plant, seen from above, with its leaves chewed and destroyed, only small fragments of them remaining on the plant. Instead of being bright green, it is a dull yellow color. In the background is soil and other damaged foliage.

Don’t let your kale get overrun with pests. If you’re growing kale in your vegetable garden there’s a good chance you’ve got some insects damaging your plants. If they get out of control you’ll want to take action. Learn how to identify who’s chomping on your greens and kill these bugs naturally. Read more now.

How to Grow Sweet and Tender Red Russian Kale

Close up picture of Brassica oleracea leaves growing on the plant. Ranging from light green to pale purple, the flat leaves with jagged edges are pictured in bright sunshine.

If you’re stumped as to what type of kale you should grow in your garden this year, consider Red Russian. This sweet and tender green is aesthetically pleasing, with reddish-purple stems and contrasting green leaves. In the kitchen, it can be used in dishes ranging from raw salads to light sautees. Read more now.

How to Harvest and Store Kale Seeds

A close up of a healthy Brassica Oleracea plant growing, the small tender leaves in the center and larger, curly leaves around the edges, in bright light.

Kale has healthy nutrients, a delicious taste, striking beauty, and is easy to grow – making it a beloved staple in the vegetable garden. Why not increase your enjoyment of this super-veggie with plants grown from your own seed collection? Smart, organic, and economical, here’s how to harvest and store kale seeds.

How Nutritious Is Raw Kale?

A close up of a white plate with fresh bright green curly kale leaves, pictured on a wooden surface.

Often labeled as a superfood, kale is a trendy leafy green that’s found in everything from salads and grain bowls to smoothies and juices. But how nutritious is raw kale actually, and are there any potential downsides to eating it? Read more about the potential health benefits of eating raw kale now.

What Month Should You Sow Kale?

A close up of little green kale seedlings, with beads of water on some of the leaves, the background is more of these seedlings, and the dark earth underneath them in soft focus.

If you want to grow kale, an important first step is figuring out when you should sow the seeds. Assessing various factors, including where you live and the time of year, can help you to figure this out. By planting at the right time, you will be rewarded with an abundant harvest of nutritious greens. Read more now.

Is Ornamental Kale Edible?

A close up, top down image of ornamental Brassica oleracea, some with vibrant purple leaves, with green edging, others with yellow and green patterns. The center of the plants looks more like a flower than a vegetable.

Ornamental kale is the perfect option to add color to your fall and winter garden, as its leaves only get more vibrant when the weather gets colder. Kale is known for being a healthy, leafy green, rich in several types of nutrients and antioxidants. But is ornamental kale also as nutritious, and safe to eat? Read more.

How to Harvest Kale

Close up of a dark, leafy cavolo nero plant, with large leaves on the outside, and small, tender new shoots at the center, in bright sunlight.

Harvesting kale is an easy task once you know when and how to do so. If you harvest correctly, kale can provide you with greens for weeks on end. The leaves are not only packed with nutrition but edible at different sizes. Baby greens are great in salads and larger leaves are a versatile cooking green. Read more now.

How to Keep Kale from Wilting in the Garden

A close up horizontal image of kale growing in the garden pictured in light autumn sunshine on a soft focus background.

Have you had trouble with your kale plants wilting, and wondered how to end this floppy foible? Check out our complete guide to preventing this droopy problem. You’ll learn about timing, fertilization, water requirements and more. And soon you’ll rejoice at seeing your veggies standing strong. Read more now.

What Causes Yellowing and Thinning of Kale Leaves?

Close up of kale leaves turning yellow while growing in a veggie garden.

Although kale plants are usually healthy, yellowing and thinning leaves can be signs of potentially fatal bacterial infections. These diseases rapidly spread to nearby plants and can destroy whole fields. Read on to learn how to prevent leaf spot bacteria and black rot from infecting your plants.

6 Best Types of Kale for Cold Climates

Frost on cold-hearty Lacinato kale on a cold morning. | GardenersPath.com

Kale can do very well in the coldest temperatures. See which varieties are best-suited for late fall and early winter gardens. Get growing tips for a longer harvest in our cold-weather kale growing guide on Gardener’s Path.