With many regulations in urban and suburban neighborhoods, self sufficiency can be difficult. However, edible doesn’t have to mean ugly. There are many plants that will add to the aesthetic of your home while also providing you with valuable, money saving food for years to come. These are my top 10 plants for edible landscaping that are eye catching in a good way!
Blueberries are a great shrub to plant along the front of house. They are more controlled than blackberries or raspberries. You can replace the traditional boxwood bushes with blueberry bushes. They have the same visual appeal of a standard shrub with the benefit of providing delicious berries. Blueberries can also be grown in containers on your front or back porch. They love acidic soil and can be hardy bushes.
Blackberries require some training in order to maintain a clean appearance. The best place to grow them is along the side of the house, where they can be trellised up the side. Blackberries are extremely easy to grow and require little care. I recommend a thornless variety for easier harvesting and pruning.
This little known plant provides delicious berries! It’s berries are similar in color to blueberries, but it is much easier to grow. Native to Russia, these berries are much more cold hardy than other varieties. They are also a great option for front yard landscaping, due to their growing nature.
4. Red Currant/ Black Currant
Red and black currant bushes are great plants for shaded areas. They will still produce berries in relatively shaded areas. They have beautiful colored fruits that are tasty in jams and jellies.
There are so many varieties of beautiful edible herbs! Some of my favorites to plant in the garden are oregano, basil, sage, mint and chives. Many herbs can be harvested multiple times throughout the growing season and also repel insects. When planting herbs in the edible landscape it is important to make sure they are non-invasive or that you take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of plants into unwanted areas. Mint plants left unattended will gladly take over the entire yard… One way to combat this is to sink a plastic container in the garden to prevent the spread of the roots.
6. Sweet Potato Vine
Sweet potato plants have beautiful cascading vines that are perfect for a front porch planter! The vines are colorful and thrive in both sun and shade. They are most popular for use in containers.
7. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable with vibrant red/orange stems. It adds a wonderful element of color to the garden in a unique way. The stalks and the leafy greens are often used separately. It has high nutritional content and is easy to grow..
Chamomile flowers are beautiful additions to any landscape. Their flowers can be dried and used for teas and tinctures. Chamomile flowers are white and grow relatively low to the ground so they are perfect for a foreground plant. There are many other varieties of medicinal flowers that are also edible such as Calendula and Echinacea. These plants are perfect for a bee garden or for the front yard to add a variety of colors and interest.
Raspberries grow similarly to blackberries. They are more wild in nature so will likely require a trellis if you are looking for a more conservative appeal. I grow raspberries along the side of my house on a trellis. It is important to note that raspberries and blackberries should not be grown close to one another. To combat this I have planted mine on opposite sides of the house.
Depending on your planting zone, you may be able to grow fruit trees in your area. I live in USDA zone 6 and I am able to grow apple trees. There are many dwarf varieties that are suitable for smaller spaces in urban and suburban yards. Apple trees are not self pollinating and must be planted in numbers of at least two separate varieties. Peach, pear, lemon and cherry trees are just some of the many trees available for edible landscaping.
Edible landscaping is a possibility for anyone. This is a great way to achieve sustainability in the suburbs or an urban environment. You don’t have to have acres of land to grow your own food. No space is too small, you can start planning an edible landscape today!