Try Planting Some Edible Ornamentals

Looking for something different to plant in your yard? Some plants usually grown for food are actually beautiful enough to include in landscaping, and some ornamental plants bear edible fruit. Collectively, these are sometimes called “edible ornamentals.” In addition to providing crops for salads, snacks, desserts, or cooking, they can add new colors and forms to your garden.

If you like the old adage of “having your cake and eating it too,” try planting some of these:

  • Beans – If you have room to grow the bushes or runners, bean pods offer a host of fun colors from the ordinary green to purple, gold, and red.
  • Cabbage – The chunky green heads provide a welcome contrast when grown next to slender flowering plants. Red cabbage has purplish red leaves.
  • Carrots – Their feathery tops add a light texture to borders, where they are also easy to harvest.
  • Chard – Leafy greenery is offset nicely by colored stems, which may be ruby red, yellow, gold, pink, or white.
  • Fruit trees – Most common fruit trees have beautiful blossoms and can be pruned attractively. They also offer foliage in a variety of colors.
  • Herbs – Although often grown by themselves in containers or in-ground kitchen gardens, herbs offer a variety of leafy and feathery textures on a smaller scale easily intermixed with other plants in pots or borders.
  • Okra – In addition to interesting foliage and attractive flowers, some okra varieties have red pods and stems that stand out in a sea of greenery. The yellow blossoms look like hollyhocks.
  • Peppers – Many varieties of pepper plants are now commonly available, giving you a wide choice of colorful fruits that may be dark green, lime green, gold, orange, red, or purple. Many plants are an ideal size and shape for container gardens and borders.
  • Strawberries – Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have delicious strawberries in your own back yard? Alpine strawberries are ideal for border edging and containers, since they don’t grow runners and their fruit is small but flavorful.
  • Sweet potato – If you have a place for the vines, sweet potatoes are attractive climbers with purple stems and leaves in varying shades of green. Actually part of the morning glory family, sweet potatoes withstand summer heat better than other common vegetable plants.

To grow healthier, better-looking plants, amend the soil with plenty of organic matter when planting.