Some tropical plants can dazzle not only our eyes but also our taste buds. Growing your own edible tropical plants adds excitement to your garden and your kitchen table. This guide can help you select, prepare, and nurture gorgeous edible tropical plants.
Hibiscus is one of the most beautiful edible plants you can grow in your Florida garden. The flowers, fruits, and even the leaves of hibiscus are edible. For many types of hibiscus, you should wait until after the plant blooms before harvesting. Once the flowers fall off, they will leave behind a pod called a calyx. You can dry out the seeds to plant more hibiscus and use the other parts of the hibiscus to make tea, juice, or health and beauty products.
Ginger is tasty, refreshing, and gorgeous. When you plant ginger, be sure you’re choosing one of the edible varieties. Edible ginger can grow up to four feet high and blooms with long red flowers. While commonly referred to as a ginger “root,” the part we actually eat is called a rhizome.
Growing ginger in Florida will require you to choose a spot that doesn’t get too much sun. They love warmth, but they can burn if they get too much light. Ginger will take about eight months to fully mature; the longer the rhizomes have matured, the tastier your ginger will be.
Moringa is one of the most versatile edible plants. The Moringa tree has some amazing qualities. Its nutrient-dense seeds can purify water, and its leaves are both tasty and healthy. The moringa tree is native to India but can thrive in Florida’s climate.
The leaves of the moringa tree can be dried and crushed up into a fine powder, very similar to matcha, with similar health benefits! The seed pods are also delicious, similar to beans. You can use them in curries and stirfries alike. Finally, the seeds from the moringa plant are also edible and great when treated like popcorn kernels or dried lentils.
If you’re looking to sip some of the best tea, try planting edible borage in your garden. This herbal tea plant has an incredible cucumber flavor that will leave you feeling refreshed. The plant itself is also gorgeous. Its flowers transition from pink to blue throughout their bloom cycle. It’s best to consume the leaves shortly after harvest, as they lose their taste when they start drying out.
Borage will spread year after year, so choose its placement wisely. Another amazing quality of borage is that it will attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.
Growing your own vanilla, while a long process, is well worth the wait. You’ll need a small plant or cutting to get started, as you can’t start vanilla orchids from seed. Vanilla orchids grow well in partial shade with indirect light, and they are absolutely stunning. They are surprisingly low-maintenance plants; the challenge with them is the waiting game. Just make sure you don’t over-water them, which can stunt growth and rot the beans.
When the vanilla beans are ready for harvest, you can opt to soak them in vodka to create your own vanilla extract. Or, you can cut open the vanilla bean pods and scoop out the seeds to add directly to your baking.
If you’re not familiar with the beautiful strawberry tree, you may be a bit confused. The strawberry tree doesn’t produce strawberries, but instead, delicious edible berries known as Jamaican or Panama Berry. These berries are incredibly sweet but also packed full of nutrients, so you can feel good eating them anytime. Strawberry trees put out fruit steadily during its growing season, as opposed to one large harvest.
The fruit can take up to eight weeks to ripen. Wait until the berries turn bright red before harvesting them from the tree. Besides being an edible plant, the strawberry tree will also put out some beautiful, delicate flowers for you to enjoy.
Is there anything more refreshing than passionfruit? These edible plants have some of the most unique and memorable flowers, and fruit to match. Give your passionfruit something to climb, like a trellis or fence. You can also grow passionfruit inside your home! It needs indirect light to full sun and well-draining soil.
Passionfruit is easy to grow and comes in many varieties. The flesh and the juice of the passionfruit make a great addition to any fruit salad or a healthy, flavorful drink.
Growing these beautiful, edible tropical plants will help you have a stunning and delicious garden this year. If you’re looking for more information about edible tropical plants in Fort Lauderdale, please contact us.