Tips on how to grow Sea Kale



The scientific name of this plant is Crambe maritima, while the common names are Sea Kale, Scurvy Grass, Crambe, and Halmyrides. Sea kale is a member of Brassicaceae family (the Brassica, Crucifer, or Broccoli family). This plant is an attractive, yet edible, landscaping plant. 

The plant actually grows in a mound composed of dark, green crinkly leaves. When it is cooked, the leaves have a delicate kale or cabbage-like flavor. Actually the young leaves are preferred for consumption as the foliage become tougher as it ages. Apart from culinary uses, it is the blossoms which provide the greatest appeal for greater sea kale. Sea Kale plant can grow to a height of about 70 inches (180 cm.), with multitudes of tiny white “baby’s breath-like” flowers that appear on the fine branches which give the plant a bush-like presence for about 3 weeks in early to mid-summer.

Like I said earlier, the sea kale plant is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Sea kale is native perennial of Afghanistan and Iran and it does not grow in the sea, however they are found on steppes and barren, rocky land. All through the periods of low rainfall, the mature sea kale plants can able to withstand periods of drought. Many parts of the Sea kale plant are edible, including the newly sprouted shoots, roots and flowers.


 How to grow this plant
This plant has a large taproot, therefore only the young seedlings transplant well. The Sea kale plant seeds can be sowed outdoors in early spring. The germination is slow, therefore starting the seeds in a cold frame or pots is recommended. You can transplant the seedlings to their permanent home when they are about four inches (10 cm.) tall. The Sea kale plant prefers full sun but they also tolerate light shade. The plant tolerates most soil types and they can be grown in sandy, loamy, clay or saline ground but they prefers moist, well-draining neutral to alkaline soils. Make sure you choose a sheltered location away from strong winds with adequate rainfall. The Sea kale plant is frost tolerant and hardy to USDA zones 5-8. 

The plant dislikes and also performs poorly with the heat and humidity levels found in the deep south of the United States. Because of its taproot, is among one of the perennial plants that does not do well with traditional methods of root propagation. To divide, you can dig up the entire root in the early spring or fall. Try and make sure each division has at least one growing point. You can plant the larger sections directly into their permanent home, while the smaller ones can be potted and placed in a cold frame. There a lot of gardeners who find sea kale plant fairly easy to grow. Caterpillars and slugs can be a problem to the young plants. As the plant begins to reach their mature height, the plant growing habits sometimes require the plants to be staked.

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