Part three of our article series explores a fascinating concept: edible xeriscape plants. Yes, you read that correctly.
Xeriscape Plants That You Can Eat Part I: Cacti
As we said in an earlier article, most people think of a cactus when they think of xeriscaping plants. They’re spiny and have pretty flowers, however, but can you eat them? Absolutely. So, let’s start there. A lot of people know that the fruit of the prickly pear cactus is edible, and that it is made into a lot of different products including candies, jelly, and even wine. The pads are used to make nopalito, which is often eaten for breakfast.
What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that the fruit of the saguaro cactus is also edible. The fruit are a bright red, ripen in June, and are harvested by many local tribes, including the Tohono O’odham. A cactus garden can include a saguaro cactus, however, be prepared to pay a bit for one. A saguaro cactus doesn’t grow arms until it is 50-75 years old. And even a small saguaro can be about $200. Cacti, however, aren’t the only plants that pop up in xeriscaping.
Xeriscape Plants That You Can Eat Part II: Herbs, Fruits, and Veggies
Many herbs thrive in hot and arid climates like Arizona, so they’re perfect for xeriscaping. Marjoram, oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary are just some of the herbs that do well here. Hmm. Anyone want some nopalito parmesan?
There are a lot of veggies you can grow as part of your xeriscape landscape design including onions, garlic, radishes, broccoli, and cabbage. Okra grows well here, as do canteloupes as well. But what about the fruit?
Well for one thing, figs grow very well in Arizona. So do Asian pears, loquat, and persimmons. The most surprising xeriscape fruit that grows here are blackberries. So as you hopefully have seen, xeriscaping is so much more than just a cactus and a yucca.
This concludes our three part series on xeriscaping. Be sure to read part one and part two as well.
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