Grow Tropical Edible Hedges with These Varieties

Reader Contribution by Joshua Burman Thayer and Native Sun Gardens

Edible hedges are a great way to fit more food into your landscape. Have a property line with nothing growing on the border? Have an annoying view of a road or apartment building? Plant for the future and plant an edible hedge with pineapple guava, pomegranate, and berries.

Pineapple guava.Feijoa sellowiana is a very special fruit. Originally from Brazil, it has the amazing qualities of being tropical and also quite drought tolerant. This versatility allows it to live in a Mediterranean design like the many I create in my design business, and yet also will grow fine next to a lawn. Its bark is stunning. Its flowers are not only gorgeous, but also edible! Its fruits are a sweet-and-sour combo that grows on you as you eat them. Even if you were not able to eat off this bush, it would be a great ornamental foundation planting if only for its aesthetics. Growing multi-branch and up to 12 to 15 feet tall, pineapple guava is a great candidate for a hedge that will give you privacy (and food!) without shading out the whole garden.

Pomegranate.  I am a huge fan of the Punica Granatum. Pomegranates are tough, grow into a strong, round or columnar hedge and give an abundance of fruit without much compost, pruning nor water. As they also get 12 to 15 feet tall, they are a great candidate for an urban edible hedge. I prefer the ‘Parfianka’ variety.

Multistory edible hedges. Want to mix up your hedge? Add these native plants around the fruit trees to create a mixed hedge of edible fun!

• Currant (Ribes spp)

• Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicanus)

• Salmon Berry (Rubus spectabilis)

• Thimble Berry (Rubus parviflorus)

Joshua Burman Thayer is a landscape designer and permaculture consultant with Native Sun Gardens. He is the Urban Agriculture Supervisor for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco, Calif. Find him at Native Sun Gardens and read his other MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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