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  • Ellen Mary

Indoor and Outdoor Edible Plants

This year one of my new talks is about the endless possibilities of indoor and outdoor edible plants. To start the garden show year off you can find me at RHS Malvern Spring Festival on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May talking and providing demonstrations about many fun and exciting edibles.

There are so many edible plants which can be medicinal, nutritious or just pretty as decorations. We grow and eat a huge amount of edible plants but there are many which are lesser known and used but may have many valuable properties. Plus it’s fun experimenting (safely)! So when I talk about edible plants it’s a whole mix of exotic fruits and vegetables, to more common garden plants which many people don’t realise are edible along with some fun plants, including colour changing cocktails and no waste plant based treats. 

Here's a few fun edibles to grow and cook with:

Carrot tops

Many people grow carrots and know the health benefits of eating them. I love growing purple carrots for the antioxidants and because they look so cool! But most people tend to chop the carrot tops off for the compost bin without knowing how tasty carrot top pesto is! Really easy to make and incredibly tasty, this is one of the demo’s I’ll be doing at the show. 


The Dahlia obsession on social media is still going and there’s no wonder why with the vast array of varieties available but did you know the flowers are edible? I wouldn’t say delicious but how much fun to use Dahlias as stunning garnishes or on cakes? Just think what dinner guests would say! 

Oxalis triangularis (purple shamrock)

A beautiful houseplant that is actually edible. The butterfly shaped purple foliage tastes like lemon and the flowers can also be used as a garnish on salads. Adding the purple leaves gives dishes and interesting colour and they are great to decorate cakes as well.


In Hawaii a root vegetable similar to Colocasia is grown for their edible tubers, called Taro, which is an important food crop. Colocasia and taro are good sources of dietary fibre and various nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. Both of these must be cooked properly to avoid toxins and don’t muddle these up with Alocasia! 


The pretty ballerina shaped flowers are edible as are the berries which make an excellent jam. Fuchsia gained an ‘old fashioned’ reputation but there are now so many different varieties available now hopefully this perception changes and everyone tries some jam. 

Cyclanthera pedata) Achocha

This is an annual vine which I have grown for some years now. The flowers are an absolute magnet for bees but it’s the cucumber tasting fruit that is harvested. Smaller fruits can be eaten raw but mature fruits should be deseeded and stuffed and cooked just like a pepper. 

*always be sure what you are eating is edible, non toxic and there are no contraindications with your medications or health.


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