Are you looking to create a Tropical Edible Garden in your backyard? Read on to know how to make this tropical ambiance in the garden!
Leafy, green veggies are easy to grow and hardy plants. The edible greens can make for great additions to the garden as excellent edible ground cover. Check out the best edible greens that will work best in your Tropical Edible Garden and enjoy the benefits they offer.
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How to Grow a Tropical Edible Garden
Creating a tropical edible garden can be an excellent way of giving your garden an exotic look and feel. You can blend in contrasting, vibrant, bold colors with a dramatic appeal.
1. Source Edible Tropical Plants
To create an exotic-looking garden, you should feel free to grow edible fruit trees, vegetables, and flowering plants, along with some palms and ferns.
Grow Chaya, Chayote, Cowpea, Climbing Wattle, Bamboo shoots, Cucumber, ginger, Eggplant, Moringa, Kale, vegetable fern, coconut, banana, strawberry, guava, honeysuckle, daylily, natal plum, kukui, jasmine, and orchids.
Plant some tropical trees such as Soursop, Ice Cream Bean, Jackfruit, dragonfruit, rambutan, starfruit, lychee, mango, sugar apple, passion fruit, and such.
2. Add Height and Vibrancy to your Garden
When it comes to designing the layout of your garden border, you can plan to grow a balanced mix of towering, taller plants such as bananas and bamboo that can offer the canopy over shorter plants like hostas and ferns.
Aim for a dense planting pattern to create the feeling of a jungle. You can opt for cannas, dahlias, and crocosmia for a vibrant, colorful border. Dahlias will lend a dazzling charm to your space until fall.
3. Winter Care is Important
Several exotic tropical plants will require extra care during winter. Though ginger lilies, bananas, and cannas should manage to survive even in milder zones. Do not forget to mulch over the crown of the plant or the rhizomes over winter.
In colder climates, it is recommended to pull out the rhizomes and tubers and move them indoors.
Alternatively, if you live in a colder zone, you can grow most plants in containers and then move them indoors for the winter.
4. Choose Hardy Tropical Plants
For gardeners who live in colder climates but would love to have an incredible tropical garden, you should carefully choose your plants. Opt for hardier plants with a tropical look, like fatsia japonica or Japanese aralia.
You can also plant bulbs like crocosmia or falling stars and sow seeds of Ricinus communis or castor oil plant.
5. Install a Water Feature
One of the best things that you can do to help wildlife in your garden is to build a water feature or a pond. It will not only provide drinking water to animals and birds but also be a breeding ground for amphibians and insects.
Plan it in a spot that is sunny or at least enjoys partial shade with shallow access for newts and frogs. Also, make sure it is at least 90 cm deep at the center so that you can provide shelter to some animals over the winter.
Don’t forget to maintain healthy, clean water to boost as much wildlife as possible.
6. Install a Pergola
For that perfect tropical garden look and feel where you can relax in the peaceful atmosphere, you need to build a pergola. A pergola full of vines will give your garden certainly tropical vibes.
7. Grow a Vertical Tropical Garden
Use fences, walls, and any other vertical surfaces to support a tropical edible garden with passion vines, trumpet vines, and star jasmine.
Check out the most trendy DIY garden ideas here
Plants to Grow in your Tropical Edible Garden
Chaya is also called Tree Spinach and is an excellent tropical plant that can grow well under any trees or palms with limited sunlight.
You cannot consume Chaya in its raw form, similar to other spinach. It is ideal for cooking it for at least 1-3 minutes before eating.
Moringa is also called the Miracle Tree, and it beats milk with calcium content and orange with its vitamin C content. Also, it is rich in other nutrients and antioxidants.
Katuk naturally grows in lowland rainforests, making it a perfect addition to your Tropical edible garden. You can cook the leaves and prepare any dish similar to other greens.
4. Swiss Chard
Chard thrives well in the tropics and is often used as an excellent spinach alternative. Its tolerance toward a warmer climate can come in all shades and a wide range of nutrients.
Kale is also known as a superfood, and often nutrient specialists and dieticians recommend adding it to your meals for a balanced diet.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato is best known for its looks like a huge root veggie, but it also bears edible leaves rich in fiber. It is known as Kumara in Aotearoa and u’ala in Hawaii.
7. Kalo leaf
The Kalo is another perfect addition to your Tropical Edible Garden, as it forms an essential part of your balanced diet. You can cook the root called Taro root and Poi in Hawaii.
8. Kang Kong
You can enjoy it as an appetizer – fried and stir-fries. Usually, they grow near-natural waterbodies in the tropics, but they can also thrive well in aquaculture systems.
9. Okinawa Spinach
Okinawa Spinach is another type of low-maintenance spinach. On the underside of the green leaves, there is a dark purple shade that makes your landscape beautiful.
10. Malabar Spinach
Malabar Spinach is not real spinach, but the leaves look similar to spinach. This leafy veggie is a climbing vine that will need the support of a trellis.
11. Bok Choi
Bok Choi is also called Chinese Cabbage and can grow up fast. It is a famous stir-fry ingredient that lends a tender yet crunchy taste to the food.
12. Tat Soi
Tat Soi is closely related to Bok Choi and even has similar tastes. However, it has a buttery texture and a more sweet flavor that can add variety to your meals.
13. Cranberry Hibiscus
Although Hibiscus is famous for its flowers, Cranberry Hibiscus is a great all-rounder. The blooms are attractive and draw in pollinators, but they are also edible.
Easy to grow, loaded with rich nutrients, and versatile in cooking, Collards are another popular green globally. You can add cooked or raw Collard leaves to any dish.
15. Tongan Spinach (Bele)
Tongan Spinach is a spinach type that is easy to grow and can thrive well in a moist spot with partial shade or full sunlight. It produces dark green, large leaves that you can cook.
16. Banana Trees
Another edible plant for your Tropical Edible Garden that makes your yard look pretty and provides you with sweet bananas.
Water is a crucial feature in your tropical garden, and you can fill this feature with Taro, a kind of Elephant’s Ear with a starchy root. Taro loves to grow in constantly wet soil.
18. Edible Palm Trees
You can also grow some edible palm trees, such as Jelly Palm, also called Pindo Palm, with orange fruits that look like apricots.
19. Passion Vine
Passion Vine is another common edible vine that can be a great addition to your tropical garden. You can choose an edible kind like the Blue Crown Passion Flower.
Choose to grow Dwarf Citrus plants such as Kumquats or Meyer Lemons as bushes instead of trees or plant them in containers.
You can plant guavas and use the fruit to process them into jellies, jams, drinks, and pastry fillings. Consider growing Pineapple Guavas, Lemon Guavas, or Strawberry Guavas.
Enjoy the beautiful lush herb in your beverages. It can genuinely adapt to tropical climates and can be a perfect addition to your garden with a tropical edible plant theme.
You can grow Papaya quickly from seeds that can also produce fruit in just a year. You can enjoy Papaya as a fruit or vegetable dish or extract healthy juice.
Pineapple is the smallest tropical fruit plant and a unique one, too. They love humid, warm temperatures and begin to grow roots in 3-4 weeks.
You can also consider growing Lemongrass in your edible tropical garden. It can not only look showy but also lend a refreshing fragrance to your space.
26. Red Ginger
Who does not love the taste of some refreshing ginger ale? Grow this tropical ginger plant, and make sure you pick the edible varieties.
Although Rhubarb is a cool climate perennial, it can grow in the north and the subtropics as well. You can cook delicious recipes using the vibrant pink stalk.
It gives the appearance of a tropical plant and can also help you make your own delicious Sushi at home. Use well draining soil for the best growth.
Often Marigold is used in many dishes to impart a golden hue to the dish and just like saffron threads. Sometimes, it is also called ‘Poor Man’s Saffron.’
Hostas look almost tropical because of their prominent foliage. Its shoots are edible, and you can easily replace them with leafy greens, such as Spinach, Broccoli, and Kale.
31. Strawberry Tree
The strawberry trees do not produce strawberries but edible, delicious berries called Panama or Jamaican Berry. Grow this amazing tree to give your garden a beautiful look.
If you want to sip on some incredible tea, plant edible borage in your tropical edible garden. It is a herbal tea with a refreshing cucumber taste with pink to blue flowers.
You can start vanilla orchids from seeds, cuttings, or a small plant in a spot that receives indirect sunlight. You can also use the bean pods and find the seeds to mix in your baking.
Some other plants you can grow in a tropical edible garden are Taro, Choko, Sweet Potato, Canna, American Ground Nut, Cassava, Lemon Grass, Yacon, Pepino and Comfrey, Yam, Betel leaf, and Black pepper.