Plant Delicious Edible Hedges and Borders

Fruit-bearing hedges and living fences provide benefits beyond improving privacy—most important, providing delicious and nutritious produce.

| July/August 2015

  • Native to North America, aronia produces a tart fruit that turns red in fall.
    Photo by iStock
  • Highbush blueberries can thrive in well-drained, acidic soil.
    photo by iStock
  • Plant antioxidant-rich cranberries in full sun to partial shade.
    Photo by iStock
  • Make naturally sweet treats by adding aronia to baked goods, or create healthy syrups for ice cream and pancakes.
    Photo by iStock
  • Plant hops with a southern exposure with plenty of room for vertical growth.
    Photo by iStock
  • Pineapple guava's evergreen shrub requires little care.
    Photo by iStock
  • Sea buckthorn is a low-maintenance shrub that will provide an excellent habitat for wildlife and yield tart berries rich in vitamin C.
    Photo by iStock
  • Vining plants look lovely when trained over trellises and arbors, such as this hops-covered walkway.
    Photo by Jerry Pavia

Hedges and living fences are useful in so many ways: They define spaces, mark property lines, increase privacy and block unsightly views. And yet, these perennials can still do more when we select plants that also provide tasty treats—ripe fruit that can be eaten out of hand and easily preserved for year-round flavor. Try these multitasking landscape plants that offer beauty and food.

Edible Fences, Arbors and Trellises

Do you have an existing chain-link fence or an arbor that could use a face-lift? Adding foliage to existing structures is an easy way to transform your yard while increasing shade, privacy and beauty. The following perennials need lots of support and room for vertical growth. If you don’t already have a spot for them, create one by adding lattice to a wall or installing a supportive fence or arbor.

Grapes

This delicious fruit is one of the most widely cultivated in the world and grows from zones 3 to 9 (which includes most of the continental U.S.—find your plant hardiness zone from the USDA). Although it may take a few years to establish your vine, grape plants can produce large amounts of food, making good use of vertical space. Decide whether you want table or wine grapes, and select an appropriate variety for your climate, considering cold-hardiness, days to ripeness and pest tolerance.



Plant dormant, bare-root grapes either in the spring after risk of frost has passed or in the fall. Before planting, soak roots in water for two to three hours. Select a growing site in full sun and train grapes to grow up a support.

Hardy Kiwi



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