6 Beautiful Edible Plants for Containers

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Rather than dismissing edible plants as merely practical, include them as a dazzling element in your window boxes and patio planters. Vegetables are full of charm and here are some blue-ribbon choices to beautify your container garden.

1. ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard

'Bright Lights' Swiss Chard

This is not a single variety of chard, but a mix of cultivars commonly available in a single seed packet or “flat” of small plants. Stems vary from beet red to pink lemonade in hue, though the tops are all forest green and ruffled. Reaching up to 18 inches (45 cm) in height, the upright stems make a bold backdrop for the soft leaves of lettuces.

2. Multi-Color Leaf Lettuce

Multi-Color Leaf Lettuce

The loose clusters of leaf-type lettuce often have a nice frilly appearance and come in variations of red or green. Planting different color lettuces adds interest to a container garden, plus all the salads you make will have a more interesting look. Leaf lettuces combine well with taller vase-shaped vegetables like chard and kale.

3. Purple Kale

Purple Kale

Kale can reach 2.5 feet (.8 m) tall and makes a canopy of cool color tones over smaller plants that share the same container. ‘Red Russian,’ ‘Winter Red’ and ‘Redbor’ are deceptively named—their leaves come in shades of soothing purple-green, though they combine well with deep red tones.

4. Feathery Fennel

Feathery Fennel

Fennel is a light and airy companion for the bold colors of kale and chard. Its fine-textured leaves and narrow, vertical form is a pleasing punctuation mark in a mix of broad-leaf vegetables. As they grow skyward, the lime-green stalks erupt in chartreuse flower caps, an attraction for bees and butterflies.

5. Tri-Color Beans

Tri-Color Beans

‘Snap’ beans come in more than the standard green color. Combine green, purple and yellow bean varieties in a container for a greater visual impact. Grow them up a light-colored wall or let them dangle in the air from a hanging planter as a simple summer display.

6. Peppers on Fire

Chili Peppers 'Loco'

Hot peppers turn fire engine red when fully mature, but some varieties make a firework display along the way. Peppers in orange, yellow and red stages of maturity are present simultaneously on most plants, though cultivars like ‘Loco’, ‘Basket of Fire’ and ‘Medusa’ were developed to accentuate the effect.

Do you have a favorite plant that does double duty as a beautiful and tasty edible for container gardens? Please share it with us in the Facebook comment section below.


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