Have Your Hedge and Eat It Too

Hedge of black chokeberry.

 By Larry Hodgson

It’s easier to justify the cost of installing a hedge if it not only provides a visible barrier or boundary for your property, but also something to put on the table. 

So, when you’re considering hedge possibilities, you should include not only strictly ornamental shrubs, but also edible ones.

The haskap makes an excellent hedge and at the same time produces delicious fruit! Photo: Opioła Jerzy, Wikimedia Commons

Here are some examples of temperate climates plants that will provide a useful hedge with edible benefits:

Species Edible Part
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) Shoot
Blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.)Fruit
Chokeberry (Aronia spp.)Fruit
Currant, blackcurrant, gooseberry (Ribes spp.)Fruit
Dwarf Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)Fruit
Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)Fruit, flower
Goji (Lycium barbarum)Fruit
Haskap, honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea)Fruit
Hazel, filbert (Corylus spp.)Nut
Mahonia, Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.)Fruit
Plum (Prunus spp.)Fruit
Rose (Rosa spp.)Fruit
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)Fruit
Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)Fruit
Hedge of white rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’): white summer flowers, red edible fall fruits. Photo: http://www.eggert-baumschulen.de

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

9 comments on “Have Your Hedge and Eat It Too

  1. We have 7 honeyberry bushes and they are sooooo slow growing. The fruits are very delicious. First fruits in spring too.

  2. Lilacs, dogwood, willows and buffaloberry are all good hedge plants

  3. ‘Meyer’ lemon works nicely, but needs to be pruned into shape. (It is shrubbier than other citrus.) In our mild climate, deciduous plants are not used for hedges. Only very old landscapes include hedges that are deciduous.

  4. Jamie Martin

    Would you be able to suggest hedge plants that don’t sucker? There’s a 30 year-old lilac privacy hedge around my pool (zone 4, full sun), and while it does its job and is heavenly when it blooms, I’m forever fighting suckers. And forget trying to underplant it with anything, those suckers grow right through ☹
    Thank you!

    • Actually, most hedge shrubs don’t sucker. I don’t have time to make a list, but you could check before you buy them. There are even many lilacs that don’t sucker… although the common lilac can be a real monster!

  5. Rosa rugosa was one of the first shrubs I planted here in zone 5. It’s a beautiful care-free rose that produces large rose hips that people and birds can eat. We treat it much as you would Rose of Sharon. Plant it where you can mow all around it – this way you can prevent it from popping up where you don’t want it. It makes a great looking rose hedge and the best part is it requires no spraying or fertilizer. Plus you can leave the rose hips for the birds to eat over the winter.

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