How to Grow Crambe


Crambe is a tall perennial that produces mounds of dark green leaves below clouds of tiny white fragrant flowers. The wispy blooms are nearly see-through.

Crambe is a member of the cabbage family; leafy mounds have a cabbage-like appearance. Crambe is much branched; blooms appear in clusters and are honey-scented.

Set Crambe at the front of a bed or border. Give Crambe plenty of room; it is a large, imposing plant.

Crambe maritima common name sea kale
Crambe maritima common name sea kale

Get to Know Crambe

  • Plant type: Perennial and annuals
  • Growing Zones and range: Zone 5 to 9
  • Hardiness: Crambe cordifolia is hardy to -10°F (-23°C).
  • Height and width: 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8m) tall; 2 to 4 feet (.61-1.2m) wide
  • Foliage: Simple basal leaves and thick, erect stems usually leafless or may bear smaller leaves
  • Flowers: Clouds of tiny, scented, cross-shaped similar to baby’s breath
  • Flower colors: White or yellow
  • Bloom time: Early summer
  • Uses: Flower beds and borders; fragrant gardens
  • Common name: Crambe, sea kale
  • Botanical name: Crambe spp.
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Origin: Open grassland Europe, Turkey, Central Asia

Where to Plant Crambe

  • Plant Crambe in full sun.
  • Crambe will grow in average to humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Crambe Uses and Companions

  • Plant Crambe in a large border. Crambe will thrive in a wild or woodland garden or in coastal sites.
  • Crambe needs plenty of growing space in a border; flowers form a fine-textured veil through which bolder plants can be seen.
  • Good garden companions for Crambe include Acanthus mollis, Boltonia asteroides, Euphorbia corollata, Gypsophila paniculata.
Crambe (Crambe maritima)
Crambe (Crambe maritima)

When to Plant Crambe

  • Set Crambe outdoors in spring.

Planting and Spacing Crambe

  • Space Crambe 2 to 4 feet apart.

How to Water and Feed Crambe

  • Keep Crambe well watered; do not let  the soil dry out.
  • Fertilize Crambe with an all-purpose fertilizer every 4 weeks.

Crambe Care

  • Stake plants when they get tall to prevent plants from falling over.
  • Trim away spent blooms to avoid reseeding.
  • Crambe is susceptible to caterpillars and aphids.

Crambe Pests and Diseases

  • Crambe is susceptible to clubroot and soil-borne black rot.
Flowers of Crambe maritima
Flowers of Crambe maritima

Crambe Propagation

  • Sow seed in containers in spring or autumn. Seeds will germinate in 7 to 14 days at 60° to 75°F (16°-24°C).
  • Divide Crambe in early spring or start root cuttings in winter.

Crambe Varieties to Grow

  • Crambe cordifolia, colewort: mound-forming perennial with ovate, dark green leaves which die down in mid-spring; stems bear white flowers in panicles in late spring and midsummer.; this variety can grow to 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
  • C. maritima, sea kale: spreading, mound-forming perennial with blue-green leaves; grows 2 feet tall and tolerates sand and salt neat the seashore; white flowers borne in dense racemes to 30 inches high and 24 inches across.

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