Edible Plantings: Spice up your edible containers!

In the last few years, edibles have taken center stage in many gardens as people try to grow chemical free, organic food for their families. Edible landscaping has resurged as a major design addition in many home landscapes. The use of edibles in borders, adding fruit trees and shrubs, and potting up herbs has become an American tradition. Many people don’t realize just how beautiful edibles can be, even in containers.

Romaine Lettuce

Container gardening has also become a great addition to the All-American landscape. Folks with no lawn or garden space can create a lush environment by using containers on their patio, porch, or rooftop! Using edibles in containers is easy and fun, and can add color, texture, and taste to your palette.

There are five elements that are very important when designing your container garden. Containers, soil, textures, growth type, and colors are these elements. When choosing a pot to start with, look for a sturdy, large, well-built pot for your garden. Try to match the colors of the pot with elements in your home-trim color, siding, or the color of your front door. A large pot is necessary for grouping multiple edibles together. Eighteen to thirty-six inches is desirable, but bigger will work too. Be sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, if not, you may need to drill holes. Use high quality potting soil for your pots-not garden soil or topsoil. Topsoil will shrink away from the edges of the pot as it dries.

There are a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of pots to plant your edibles in.
There are a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of pots to plant your edibles in.

Picking out plants is always my favorite part of the design process! Using edibles in containers can be just as fun as using your typical annual plantings. The best way to decide what to plant is to choose things you like to eat. There are three main forms of plant habits; trailing, filler (bushy), and spiky or upright. Knowing these and using each to their full advantage is key to having a successful edible planting.

Tiger Eyes Sumac works well as a tall background
Tiger Eyes Sumac works well as a spiky background plant and adds a nice pop of color! 

When filling your pots, do not be afraid if there are gaps, the plants will fill in. Be sure and break apart the roots after removing them from their pots. If your container is against a wall or fence, or in the back of a grouping, put tall plants in the back, filler in the middle, and trailing in front.

When planting your plants, break apart the root.
When planting your plants, break apart the root.

Plants that can be used as trailers for the front of the pots include: creeping rosemary, strawberries, ornamental oregano, thyme, and nasturtiums. Filler plants could be currants, carpet rose, cabbage, marigolds, lavender, mint, sage, and peppers. Upright background plants could be Sumac ‘Tiger Eyes’, blueberry, lemon, lime, bush cherry, espaliered fruit, Aronia, chard, Bay laurel, sweet corn, onions, or Jerusalem artichokes.

Blueberries work well as a spreading plant.
Blueberries work well as an upright plant.

These plants are just a few of the many edibles available for your container garden. Check out Grimm’s Gardens for plants and ideas for your next edible experience.

Eat it up!

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