What are some good, EDIBLE houseplants

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

So far I have a tentative list. Please let me know what would and would not work in, let's say an east facing room with a window? A north facing room?

East (2-3hrs sunlight): Vanilla, okinawan spinach, kudzu, miracle fruit, katuk

North: No idea

Does anyone else have helpful additions?

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Basil makes a good houseplant as well as some of the mints.But they do need some sun.

A variety of Plectranthus with the common name of cuban oregano that is used as a culinary herb, mainly in Europe. Wonderful smell, and a truly beautiful plant. Mine is happy in a north window. Also, the rose Geranium is very aromatic and there is an old time cake recipe that you can substitute the Geranium for the rose petals. They do like a quite a bit more sun, though. Avocado is another one, though it is really hard to get them to fruit indoors. Lemons will grow, but again they fruit much better outside. Ornamental peppers fruit well indoors and they are edible, but they are extremely hot. That is what I could come up with off the top of my head. I will post again if I think of anything else. Good luck.

Toronto, Canada

A tasty annual flower is nasturtium, which also grows well indoors in trays. It has a nice peppery/celery-like taste. Mix the flowers in salads for a burst of colour and flavour!

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4a)

2 to 3 hours of sun is equal to partial shade - think of planting plants under a good sized tree. They won't be as vigorous or lush.

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

Chilean Guava. It likes partial shade, small, compact and the most delicious berries you ever had. It isnt a real Guava. It has beautiful bell flowers as well.

You can also try Evergreen Huckleberry, Honeyberry, Salal and Currants can all take partial shade but they need some winter chill to fruit.

Fucshia, Cocona, Naranjilla, Alpine Strawberries might work.

Kumquats can be pruned to be smaller and can produce in partial shade although the fruiting will be less than normal. They do require some winter chill so you will need to put them outside when the temps are between 35-45F.

The dwarf June Plum will bear incredible amounts of fruit and some sites say it does well partial shade.
riversendnursery.com carries it.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

"Chilean guava"? I assume you're talking about Ugni candollei or Ugni molinae. Which one? I just came across these in my recent research, so it's funny you should mention them. What makes you think they grow well in the understory? This DOES have the advantage of being drought tolerant.

Fucshia? Latin name?

Naranjilla would work, but cocona needs full sun.

Alpine strawberries are a good idea. Fragaria chiloensis might be a good species.

"June plum" = Spondias dulcis

Overall some good recommendations. How did you come across these botanical gems? I'm especially curious as to how you learned of Ugni.

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

Ugni molinae
I was researching shade tolerant fruiting plants. There are quite a few but most that I found were either deep tropical or cold natured. I found out that the Chilean Guava was hardy to 14F and that it fruited very well in partial shade. My "Fruit and Nuts: A Comprehensive Guide to the Cultivation, Uses and Health Benefits of over 300 Food-Producing Plants" book agreed with that. By the way, that is one of the best books ever for edibles. No other book comes close to detailed documentation with pictures. I purchased Chilean Guava from OneGreenWorld.com and BayFlora.com. Both plants produced the first year and the fruits were just insanely good. So much rich flavor in such a small berry. It tastes like a little smoke is mixed into the berry. Queen Victoria declared them the most delicious fruit in the world. Sadly, they all died last year when it got to around 13-14F so I bought some more this fall. Do not put them in full sun over 95F or they will fry.

This is really the tip of the iceberg for me. I am getting seeds of very little known plants around the world that are safe for import. I also have an orchard of unusuals as well.

If you want to try inside vines that like shade, try Chilean Bellflower (Lapageria rosea) or Zabala (Lardizabala biternata). I just came across those recently and have planted some seeds. You can get seeds on Daves, Amazon or EBAY.

Whoops! Almost forgot about Appleberry from Australia. You can get them from OneGreenWorld.com as well. They are shade tolerant and the berries look like tiny white, pink and neon blue Apples. The taste varies from Kiwi to bleeeh.

This message was edited Feb 1, 2011 12:31 AM

This message was edited Feb 1, 2011 12:33 AM

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Interesting thread! I want to get my hands on a copy of that book... I didn't have much luck growing Nasturtiums inside, even with my nice sunny south windows in R.I. They sprouted and shot up fast enough, but they were REALLY leggy - I'm talking vine-like! The leaves were kinda tasty, but I never got a flower either. Avocados I am fairly sure you need to have TWO trees that are at least five years old (if you grew 'em from pits) to get them to fruit.

Jujube, does the Appleberry have a different name it goes by on Onegreenworld.com? I went to see what neon apples looked like, but didn't see it listed under the fruiting trees and shrubs section.

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)


Tasmania Vine
Billardiera longiflora


Toronto, Canada

If you'd ever like to try the nasturtium again, start the seeds under a light, 1-8" above the plants (depending on heat emitted from the lamp). This will ensure they stay more compact. once they get to a mature size, a south-facing window would probably be enough.

Laie, HI

cress.....micro greens

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

More about the Tazmania vine:

Huntsville, AL

that much sunlight + 1 supplemental fluorescent light will be a killer environment for several aquatic plants-- spirulina is the noted one, but freshwater aquariums (what Im familiar with) can produce protein or veggies-- one veg often touted as such is duckweed.
The creator of very professional applesnail.net says that Far Eastern markets sell asolene spixi snails like escargot--I'll let you know how they taste after the apocalypse.

Coon Rapids, MN(Zone 4a)


Chula Vista, CA

Quote from insipidtoast :

Alpine strawberries are a good idea. .

Alpine Strawberries? Don't strawberries need LOTS of sun?

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

Alpine Strawberries do not. Some reports even say that they prefer partial shade.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9a)

Rosemary is easy to grow and does well in partial shade. Also lemon balm.

Dwarf citrus plants, pineapples, and certain dwarf tomato plants...but they need more sun.

Leaf lettuce and spinach can grow near a window.

San Marcos, TX(Zone 8b)

I grew Spinach in heavy shade this year and I got the biggest Spinach crops of my life. It only received morning sun because I planted it on the North side of the house. It was very big and deep green.

Santa Barbara, CA(Zone 10a)

jujubetexas, where did you get seeds for Lardizabala biternata? PM me, and perhaps we can talk about a trade.

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