Fall Flower Arrangement DIY
Ornamental Cabbage

I put it off as long as I could, but last week I finally broke down and bought some “fall” plants.  You know.  Mums, ornamental cabbages, pumpkin pie bushes.  That sort of thing.

The mums I got at my local grocery store.  They were just sitting right outside the front door.  Free obviously.  Which I thought was really nice of the grocery store.  Almost makes me feel bad for stealing all those plastic bags. The ornamental cabbage I got from a local variety store that routinely carries 3 packs of gum, 1 scratch and win ticket and 7,432 plants.

I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be a bit of a professional insane person.  I don’t mean to brag or anything, I’m just tellin’ it like it is.  Because of this, I take a lot of time and care when picking anything out.  Apples, steaks, tee shirts, anti-itch cream …. plants.

So after an appropriate amount of time for an insane person (I had to reapply my sunblock twice) I came home with 3 ornamental cabbage plants. 3 carefully selected, perfectly matched, ornamental cabbages in varying sizes to put in a preselected planter in my backyard.

Once I got home, I lugged out the large cement planter I had in mind for the ornamental cabbage and started dragging it around the yard until I found a place I thought it looked good.  This presented a problem because suddenly now I had to rearrange my entire backyard.

It was kind of like when you buy a home accessory on a whim and spend the next 3 days rearranging everything in your house trying to find a place to put it until you finally have a minor nervous breakdown, pop a bunch of Zanax, and have a slurry conversation with your mailman you wish you could take back.

Kindda like that.

Finally, I gathered my tools (chips, dip and a diet coke) and got to planting the cabbage plants.

Approximately 17 hours, 3 skipped meals and 1 feeling of utter fulfillment later my planter was complete.

Then my chickens ate it.

Fast forward right through all the swearing and eye gouging to several days later when I decided to buy some more ornamental cabbage.  This time, however, I decided to use them indoors as cut flowers,  where chickens can’t eat them.

Frankly I like this creation a whole lot more than I liked the ornamental cabbage outdoors.  It has way more impact, is far more unexpected and for $20 is much more impressive than a vase of roses or yet another orchid in the middle of my dining room table.

Steps to using Ornamental Cabbage as Cut Flowers

Ornamental Cabbage 1

Pick out some cabbages.  Go big or go home.  Get as many as you can afford.  And that one cabbage you think is wayyyy too big?  It isn’t big, it’s dramatic.  Buy it.


Ornamental Cabbage 2

Pull the plants out of their pots and shake the dirt off the roots.

I shake it into a pail and keep the dirt.  You never know when you’ll need a bucket of dirt.  Clean the stems and cut them to the depth of the vessel you’re putting them in. Cut the woody stems up the middle or smash them to help them be able to drink more water.


Ornamental Cabbage 3

I went with clay pots to put my stems in.

I used clay pots as vessels because I knew I had enough of them and because they’re low.  I wanted the arrangement to be low on the table.


Ornamental Cabbage 4

Because the clay pots have holes in the bottom you need to grab something to hold water that will fit in the pots.


Ornamental Cabbage 5

Stick your stems in the pots and arrange them however you like.  ‘Cause you’re an independent, autonomous thinking person.  You can line up these suckers however you want.  In a circle, in a straight line, in a squiggly line.  Whatever you want.


Ornamental Cabbage 6

Ornamental Cabbage 7

Ornamental Cabbage 8

If you don’t have pots around, don’t worry about it.  Any large shallow bowl will work.  The bigger the bowl, the more cabbage it will hold and the more impressive it will look.


Ornamental Cabbage 10

Ornamental Cabbage 11

Ornamental Cabbage 12

As the days go by the outer leaves will turn yellow.  Just pick them off.  Don’t forget to change the water every few days.  By around day 7 your ornamental cabbage will start to stink like regular, ole’ cabbage.  At that point, chuck em.

For some reason the pictures don’t do this arrangement justice.  In real life it’s HUGE, a little imposing and very striking.  Like Jay Z.  It’s the Jay Z of flower arrangements, this is. Supercute, impressive and a real looker.

Conversely – it is nothing like my mailman. Nothing.



  1. Marti says:

    I can’t believe you begrudge Cheez Whiz your cabbage after all she’s done for you.

  2. Adrienne Audrey says:

    Cute! looks awesome!

  3. Bags Under Eyes Causes says:

    It is beautiful and edible too!

  4. Sue says:

    Ha ha! Marti! Took the words right outa my mouth! My chickens LOVE cabbage! Poor Cheez Whiz! 🙂

  5. Rachel says:

    That’s too much work for just 7 days!

  6. Bev says:

    I love the cabbage, but my hubby is yelling from our room “what are you laughing about” as it is 5 am…

  7. Nicole says:

    Can I substitute with regular cabbage if I don’t have ornamental cabbages on hand? Or cole slaw in a pinch? Without the dressing. Of course.

  8. gogothrift says:

    I’m goin’ right out and get me some of them cabbages…they look awsome, as does your dining room. When are you getting your own “decorating/everywoman wants to be her” show?!!!!!!

  9. cred says:

    That looks lovely! I like the unexpected. Do you think it’s possibly to keep orn. cabbage potted indoors? Or would it be too warm?

    On a sidenote- you mean you can get paid for being insane? After spending a disproportionate amount of time selecting a Japanese maple at a Zehr’s parking lot nursery this year, I may qualify as professional insane person. Now, just to find who pays for such an invaluable trait.

  10. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    I’m at that tail end of a cold, where every time I laugh I start coughing. This post made me cough all the way through it. I hope you’ll take that as the compliment it was meant to be.

    Love the cut cabbages. I made the mistake of planting this type of beautiful plant in the SPRING, as an experiment, and now they’re semi-fluffy cabbages on a 6-inch woody stem. Ugh. Perhaps I will go cut them off and place them in water on my table. Hopefully my cats won’t eat them.

    Oh, for the love of pets.

  11. Barbara says:

    LOL!!! The chickens ate it LOL!!! Tears are streaming LOL!!! So classic…sounds like similar to my life LOL!

    Love the indoor cabbage arrangements!

  12. Nancy says:

    Looks great and such an unexpected arrangement!! also..is there anything those chickens will not eat??? lol

  13. Chau says:

    Lovely arrangement. Karen, do you know how long the cabbage would last (or until the leaves turn yellow)?

    • Karen says:

      7 days til it starts to stink a bit … cabbage will last for a long time but each day another set of leaves turns yellow and you have to pluck them off. If you don’t mind the slight stink it’ll probably last 2 weeks, but it would get smaller and smaller because you’re continually pulling off the outer yellowed leaves. ~ karen!

  14. Alissa says:

    Speaking of plants, can we see an update on what happened to that squash that you put a fence around? I know it’s weird of me to wonder the garden status of a person I’ve never met who lives 1000 miles away, but, you know, I figure that’s the type of reader you get on this blog, right?

  15. Laura says:

    Speaking of insane people, a farmer I once knew taught me this: Soil is what you grow plants in, dirt is what you bring in the house on the bottom of your boots. Crazy, but true.

  16. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily says:

    very very cool. This is just the sort of thing I would love on my ‘farmhouse’ style kitchen table!
    thanks for the cute idea.

  17. Melissa Haight says:

    And to think I was just today going to lop and toss the ornamental cabbage that has been growing all summer (somewhat cautiously) in my outdoor planters (no chickens). They shall live out their last days in my home. They thank you.

  18. Dori says:

    I too have bi-polar & sometimes family thinks I am nuts. Your post was so funny & true. I can relate to everything you said, except I have no chickens.

    Thank you for sharing, truly made my morning.

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