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Friday Favorite: Edible Houseplants

April 5th, 2013

Earlier this week I picked up Growing Tasty Tropical Plants from the library. I have a few edible houseplants, namely herbs and a few citrus trees. My variegated citrus from Monticello has a few lemons on it (sorry, forgot to take photos of them yesterday). When you live in an area with long, cold winters, houseplants can be a saving grace, particularly edible ones.
tasty tropicals 1
This book is very dangerous for someone like me. After just flipping through it, I already have a wishlist of tropical plants I “need” to add to my collection.  At least with an edible plant you feel like you’re getting something more out of your houseplants.  I did start seeds for pink bananas yesterday, they should be interesting.  I’ll keep you posted on how those grow.
Dwarf Citrus Outside 1
I can’t wait to add a few more interesting edibles to my houseplants list.  I’m thinking avocados and papaya might be the first things I’ll buy, a black pepper plant sounds pretty interesting too!

Do you have any edible houseplants?

24 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Edible Houseplants”
  1. Mich on April 5, 2013 at 5:19 am

    The only edible ones indoors are herbs, I would like to have a conservatory so I could have a go at growing citrus.
    The black pepper is a non runner in the UK needs a tropical greenhouse to survive….we don’t even have warm enough summers for it to live outdoors seasonally!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  2. Crinia on April 5, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I’ve just planted a pineapple top to see what happens to it indoors over winter.

    Reply to Crinia's comment

  3. Adelina Anderson on April 5, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I have a meyer lemon tree, more like a little shrub. Of course it hasn’t produced anything yet and it might never get fruit. But my cat loves to curl up around it in the pot and nap. At least he is getting something out of it. I am thinking about an orange tree.

    Reply to Adelina Anderson's comment

  4. Marina C on April 5, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Sorry :-) to tempt you some more, perhaps , but I am planning a trip to Loggee’s in CT. They have beautiful rare plants, including avocados.
    I am looking for a fig tree myself!

    Reply to Marina C's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2013 at 7:16 am

      Great resource, thanks so much. I’ll definitely be requesting their catalog & ordering a few things from them. I just spotted a ‘Dwarf Lady Finger’ banana that I might purchase.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • KimH on April 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

        Ohhh.. this is one of my favorite places… and just so you know, they ship the most gorgeous plants… The Chicago Hardy Fig I got from them last year was the best looking plant I’ve ever received mail-order.

        I would love to be able to go there to see their place…ohhhh.. drool. ;)

        I wish I had space & light (a green room!) to grow some tropical edibles.. I’d love to grow a dwarf avocado, orange, limes,and lemons. Maybe even a kumquat or two. ;)

        I just got a Meyer Lemon I ordered last fall… so I havent done more than just look at it. ;)

        to KimH's comment

  5. Adriana on April 5, 2013 at 7:16 am

    For years we had an avocado that we started from seed. It never did anything but grow taller…

    Reply to Adriana's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

      We always did that too. I was reading that you need to buy a dwarf avocado, which I plan on buying to see if I can grow my own fruit. We shall see. My mom planted coffee beans ones and they finally produced a few berries.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. bettina on April 5, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Avocado takes 7 years before you can get your first harvest and they grow rather big, so that may be something to think of. However, if you do try them, see if you can get the ones with the bumpy skin, not the smooth one. The Bumpy skinned ones do not look as nice, but they taste infinitely better!

    Reply to bettina's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

      This book actually lists a few dwarf avocados to try that fruit in 2-4 years and don’t get quite so big. I think I’ll be trying one or two of those first.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Nebraska Dave on April 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

    No place for indoor plants here. The only plants inside are fake. They are less work and I can’t kill them. :0)

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  8. Justin on April 5, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I keep a few of the typical plants (spider, pothos). I also have a palm tree that grew from a 4-inch pot and is now about 3 feet tall. My favorite, however, is a bay tree (bay leaves for cooking) that gets moved outside for the summer and comes back in for the winterr. I’m hoping I can get some significant growth on it this year so I can start harvesting bay leaves.

    Reply to Justin's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

      I have a very small bay, which was just purchased last fall. I can’t wait to put it outside this summer to see how it does.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Sue on April 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I have a rosemary that I put outside in the summer, I have a hablitzia (caucasion spinach) that is a perennial vegetable. I’ll probably plant it out sometime this summer and bring it back in in the fall. I have had a key lime that I killed when I went on vacation and it got too hot in the window. I’ve been looking at Logee’s catalog and wishing I had space for about a dozen of their tropical fruit. I am thinking of getting a Maypop, which is a passion fruit we can grow outdoors here in Maine! That is pretty exciting.

    Reply to Sue's comment

  10. amy on April 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    The only edible inside other than the Rosemary is a rather large bay tree that I have been growing for over 15 yrs….I move it in and out seasonally but we have built a conservatory this year and that is where it shall remain in it’s own built in container. I will say this about mine…it likes really good soil…..and some years it grows rapidly and at other times barely at all. It also is very susceptible to scale which can kill it before you realize it even has it.

    Reply to amy's comment

  11. Amy S on April 6, 2013 at 12:03 am

    where are you guys getting your bay trees? I currently don’t have any edibles but do have basil and cilantro almost ready to use. I ordered a meyer lemon tree from stark bros along with our trees to start our orchard. I am a home care nurse and went to a patient’s home and I was drooling over this lady’s home. She had a 4 season room with tropicals and tons of beautiful plants and flowers including birds of paradise that were planted right in the ground with a flooring of concrete in the middle of the room. It was heaven and I was there in January. It was amazing. We live in central Illinois so I would love to have that setup she has.

    Reply to Amy S's comment

    • Susy on April 6, 2013 at 5:04 am

      I got my bay tree at a local greenhouse, they had a nice selection of organic herbs. I think you can buy them from Richter’s Herbs.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Amy S on April 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

        thanks for the link and enabling me lol.

        to Amy S's comment

  12. Maybelline on April 6, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Not one. I have very few house plants.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  13. Colleen on April 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I do not have any edible house plants, however, you have inspired me to try avacado and papaya. I had never heard of a pink banana, it will be fun to watch yours grow.

    We have a bay plant that has been living outside for the past two years and is surviving quite well.

    Reply to Colleen's comment

  14. KimH on April 7, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I have 2 hugs pots of aloe which are edible but most people dont consider them so.. Thought about it later..

    My dad has a huge amount of papaya growing in his back yard and on another property he owns.. cracks me up.. He eats every one of them that grows too… ack.. not my favorite at all. I’d much rather have a mango. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  15. EL on April 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Probably no one will read this since it is two weeks back, but I have a celery plant as a houseplant this winter. If you buy celery at the store and don’t use the whole bunch (and it can’t be separate stalks), one way of keeping it fresh is to stick it in a vase (and it looks quite lovely that way). If you cut the base so that the celery can draw water more easily, it will probably root (well, mine did). Then you plant it and have a really cool houseplant that smells quite nice (if you like the smell of celery). I sometimes add the leaves to things in place of parsley. So that is my edible houseplant.

    I’m not really certain what will happen if I plant it outside (although it does seem to be hardening up well). I suspect that celery is a biennial and therefore it will probably bolt. Still, celery seeds are good and it has been entertaining this winter.

    All my other houseplants are cacti or succulents. I love their flowers.

    Reply to EL's comment

    • Nebraska Dave on April 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

      EL, seriously? A celery stalk from the store can be rooted? That’s something new for me.

      Have a great day In the garden.

      Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  16. EL on April 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    What I really want is Murraya Koenigi (Curry tree). It is an Indian tree and the leaves are really essential for southern indian cooking. but it is very susceptible to cold.

    Reply to EL's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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