Traditional shrub hedges and barriers used in landscaping are usually created from leafing plants, often evergreen, such as boxwood. Evergreens are generally preferred for year-round privacy. As permaculture and edible landscaping become increasingly common, more gardeners are looking for barrier plants that also produce edible fruits, flowers or leaves. Depending on your U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone, which is an indicator of the minimum yearly temperature in your area, you can find several edible alternatives to traditional hedges.
Rosemary is an herb that is hardy in zones 9 to 11. This culinary staple grows several feet tall and wide, making a beautiful informal hedge. Dry the hedge trimmings by hanging them in bunches or use them fresh in pastas, on potatoes, or with pork. Rosemary is harvested year-round.
This large, tropical, evergreen plant grows 15 feet tall. The tree produces edible red fruits that taste like strawberry or pineapple and are eaten fresh. Best used as an informal hedge, the pineapple guava is hardy in zones 9 to 11.
The Natal plum grows 10 feet tall and is hardy in zones 8 to 10. This tree produces a plum-shaped red fruit used for making jam.
The Chilean guava grows to be 3 to 6 feet tall, thrives in partial to full sun and is hardy in zones 9 and 10. This low-maintenance plant produces a blueberry-sized purple-red fruit with a spicy flavor. Eat them fresh or make jams and jellies. Make tea from the leaves.
Salal is grown and trimmed into a formal, low hedge and grows 5 feet tall. Salal is shade tolerant and produces small, edible berries that can be made into jam either alone or when mixed with other species such as Oregon grape, which also makes a nice hedge but is not evergreen.
The plum yew is adaptable to a wide range of climates, preferring partial to full sun in cooler climes and partial to full shade in warmer areas. This evergreen hedge produces edible fruits, also good in jams and jellies.
The evergreen huckleberry grows to its tallest height of 9 feet in the shade. Its thick foliage makes an excellent windbreak. This shrub attracts beneficial insects and produces edible berries.
- National Gardening Association; Edible Shrubs for Your Landscape; Charlie Nardozzi
- National Gardening Association; Unusual Edible Berries; Charlie Nardozzi
- USDA: Plant Profile
- Alderleaf Wilderness College: Edible Shrubs
- The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- King County: Salal
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images