Edible climbing plants

Among all edible plants, some are climbing and are perfect for small city yards as their slender shape allows to maximize the use of the available space. Most edible climbing plants can be planted in pots or directly in the ground.

They can be grown on an obelisk, arbor or pergola, or on a wall covered with trellis. Some of those plants can also be considered as trailing. Therefore, they can be planted on a green wall or in a hanging basket.

Here's a description of three edible climbing plants you must absolutely grow in your garden this summer!

 

Cowpea

(Lablab purpureus, syn. Dolichos lablab)

Height: 3 m

Width: 90 cm

Flowers: pink from July to October

Fructification: elongated dark purple fruits

Foliage: trifoliated, green with purple veins

Light: sun

Soil: easily adapts to various types of well-drained soils

Hardiness: perennial climbing plant treated as an annual

The cowpea is a climbing plant that grows very quickly. It can cover a trellis or pergola in a few weeks' time. This original and elegant edible plant produces pink flowers (throughout the summer until early fall) that then transform into elongated purple fruits looking like sugar peas.

The young fruits, which contain no seed or little developed seed, can be eaten uncooked. However, mature seed must be boiled for a long time before they can be eaten as they contain toxic cyanogenic glycosides. The cowpea's leaves and flowers are also edible.

 

Canary-bird vine

(Tropaeolum peregrinum)

Height: 3 m

Width: 1.2 m

Flowers: yellow from late June to October

Foliage: lobate, green

Light: sun, partial shade

Soil: rich and cool, well-drained

Hardiness: perennial climbing plant treated as an annual

Similar to the nasturtium that is commonly found in our gardens, the canary-bird vine is a very vigorous climbing plant that can reach over 3 meters in height in only one summer. Its edible yellow flowers have a peppery taste that wonderfully spices up Indian and Middle East dishes while adding a colourful touch.

 

Kolomikta vine

 

(Actinidia kolomikta)

Height: 5 m

Width: 1.50 m

Flowers: white in May

Fructification: green cylindrical fruits

Foliage: variegated (green with white and pink)

Light: sun, partial shade

Soil: rich and well-drained

Hardiness: hardy perennial plant in zone 3b

The kolomikta vine has a beautiful variegated foliage and produces small edible fruits. Production usually begins 4 or 5 years after planting, provided a male plant and female plant were planted together.

The plant's sweet and vitamin C rich fruits loosely resemble the hairy, green-fleshed fruits of a typical kiwi plant (Actinidia deliciosa). However, they are smaller (more like a big grape), their hairless skin is edible and their taste is less acidic.

Par Albert Mondor spécialiste horticulture

By Albert Mondor, horticulturist

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