Patio Plants that You Can Eat
Every patio looks best with well-chosen accent plants that add color, texture and even fragrance. Take your patio plant game up a notch this year and include plants that are edible. There's nothing like being able to walk out and pick some fruit, herbs or vegetables for the meal you're making. Set aside some space for edible patio plants and you're sure to enjoy their bounty. Here are a few of the best patio plants. Note: Many of the best edible patio plants are best suited for warm climates. However, if your weather is less reliable, we suggest picking out pots and baskets that are easy to take inside during cold months.
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes, while not suitable for every climate, can be grown successfully in most cases with the right care. They are easy to grow in planters, and some even exhibit climbing abilities, making them some of the best patio plants around! Remember that tomatoes love the sun and need lots of care to produce winning specimens. Also keep in mind that animals love to eat both leaves and the tomatoes themselves, so don't leave these edible patio plants too exposed.
These peppers are just the right size for growing in a pot and perfect if you like adding some heat to your dishes. The key is sunlight: Jalapeños need a lot of it for successful growth, and they don't tolerate the cold very well. If you'll be doing some grilling of your patio veggies, here's how to tune up your grill.
Meyer Lemon Tree
These beautiful miniature lemon trees may be one of the most popular patio plants for those who want a little utility. These edible patio plants can be grown in pots and over time will form a fragrant and well-contoured bush shape. The key is always tending to the lemons and removing any fruit before it starts to rot. If you have bushes in your yard that need pruning, here's a collection of tips that shows you how.
Photo: Gekko Gallery/Shutterstock
An herb garden is easy to care for and makes an ideal additional to a patio or deck. We want to call out basil in particular, however, since it's one of the most aesthetically pleasing herbs with its bright, leafy green nature. Basil is also easy to grow and comes in a number of different varieties, if you want to experiment a little.
If strawberries have a problem (besides hungry pests), it's that they tend to lie flat on the ground and the fruit can easily be ruined unless it is picked at just the right time. Keeping strawberries near your patio or in a pot can help alleviate this issue, making strawberries another great choice. As soon as they're ripe, pick 'em and eat 'em!
Viney cucumber patio plants are suitable for patio planting because they tend to form smaller cucumbers and may produce several crops a year under the right conditions. Bushy cucumbers are a bit hardier, but they usually grow too quickly and too large to put on your patio or deck – unless you keep them carefully confined to a pot. The same is true of smaller varieties of squash. To give your viney patio plants something to crawl up on, consider making this beautiful planter with trellis.
Jade Gem Lettuce
If you can keep this leafy lettuce protected from bugs and rodents, then you will be surprised at just how beautiful these edible plants look when fully grown. These patio plants don't grow much above 8 inches high, either. Just make sure to pick the younger lettuce leaves for peak flavor.
Photo: La corneja artesana/Shutterstock
The plaintain lily (not really a plantain or a lily, but rather a hosta) is frequently thought of as an ornamental, but you can actually eat those beautiful leaves. When picked as young leaves and shoots, they can be cooked like asparagus and have a similar flavor profile. If you don't want to eat the shoots, they'll grow into a stunning plant, so it's a win-win, just make sure they have plenty of shade.