How to: grow an edible hedge
Trade up from murraya and lillypilly to a hedge you can eat!
These four flavoursome options tick the boxes for pretty, practical and productive.
Have your hedge and eat it too!
1. Chilean guava
Deep-green, waxy leaves make this a handsome hedge plant in sun or shade, and pruned to any height. In mid-autumn it’s smothered in red, strawberry-scented, berry-like fruit, which can be eaten fresh, baked or preserved in jellies or jams. There are no pest, disease or bird issues and it will take temperatures to -10 C. You might find it called ‘tazzieberry’ in Australia and New Zealand.
Chilean guava is also known as Tassiberry.
You might not get around to roasting your own homegrown coffee beans but how good is it to know you could! Coffea arabica is related to gardenia, ixora and coprosma. It has glossy, wavy-margined green leaves and jasmine-scented white flowers that appear along the stems in summer-autumn. As the fruits develop along the stem, they turn from green to bright cherry-red, finally maturing to a dark brown. Left alone, coffee will grow to about 5m, but you can prune it to whatever height you need and it can be grown as a hedge, shrub, standard lollipop or pleached hedge (hedge on stilts). It dislikes frost.
You might not roast your own homegrown coffee beans but they have many other uses.
Citrus make great productive hedges. Plant individuals 1m apart and hedge them to any height, or train their limbs flat along a paling fence in a north- or west-facing garden as an espalier. The bonus is a harvest of zesty fruit all through winter. Try finger lime, limes, lemons, oranges and mandarins. Regular feeding and watering is necessary, as is a spraying regime of Eco-oil to keep it looking its best.
There's nothing quite like your own 'Gin & Tonic Wall'. Photo - Robin Powell
4. Lemon Myrtle
This native offers a taller hedging option to screen a two-storey house or new development. The evergreen foliage is lemon-scented and the ivory clouds of flowers are handsome all summer long. Infuse the leaves in hot water for a refreshing lemon-scented tea, or in a hot bath to clear the head and promote relaxation.
Lemon Myrtle. Photo - Tatiana Gerus