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For The Garden

Plants With Showy Fruits or Berries

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: December, 2011, Page 100
Chile peppers
(Capsicum species)


Chile peppers
(Capsicum species)


Best traits—Coveted not only
for its culinary flavor, the vibrant fruit of the chile pepper plant also puts on a festive show, with colors that range from green and yellow to orange and red. Capsicum attracts birds, bees and butterflies, is easy to grow and low-maintenance. Its deep-green foliage and small white flowers make it an excellent option for flower beds. 

Growing tips—Plant seedlings when danger of frost has passed. (Seeds should be sown six weeks prior to setting out.) For best results, buy plants without any fruit or blossoms (or be sure to remove blooms before planting). Grow in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Avoid crowding or over-watering. Allow fruit to ripen before harvesting.


Loquat
(Eriobotrya japonica)
Loquat
(Eriobotrya japonica)


Best traits—Prized for its yellowish-orange fruit, edible nuts, tropical-looking leaves and tiny fragrant flowers, this ornamental evergreen tree is easy to grow. The sweet fruit has a taste similar to apricot and can be eaten fresh, juiced or made into jams and jellies. Loquat is attractive to bees, birds and butterflies, and is hardy to 12 degrees.

Growing tips—Plant in full sun with some afternoon shade. Although drought-resistant, it prefers regular watering during summer months for good fruit production. Loquats can be harvested from late March through April. Note: Ripe fruit may need to be protected from hungry birds.


Heavenly Bamboo
(Nandina domestica)
Heavenly Bamboo
(Nandina domestica)


Best traits—Although heavenly bamboo is not a true bamboo, this hardy evergreen shrub, with its tall cane-like growth, looks like one. Producing bronzed-red foliage, creamy white flowers and long-lasting red berries, it offers attractive year-round interest. Taller than it is wide, the low-maintenance shrub is ideal for narrow spaces, privacy screens, hedges and containers. The deer-resistant plant is low-water-use and suitable for fire-wise landscapes.

Growing tips—Plant in sun to partial shade, and water regularly until established. Prune and fertilize in spring. Note: Some Nandina varieties may be invasive. Check with your nursery before purchasing.


Fig
(Ficus carica)
Fig
(Ficus carica)


Best traits—This low-branch-
ing deciduous tree is grown for its edible fruits and large, attractive leaves. Depending on variety, ripe figs range in color from greenish-yellow to reddish-brown to purplish-black. Some tree types produce fruit that is better eaten fresh, while others yield fruit that tastes best dried; many bear fruit twice a year.

Growing tips—Plant in full sun. While fig trees are tolerant of poor-draining, infertile soil, they do best with regular fertilizing, as well as deep watering twice a month. Fruit can be harvested July through September. Good bets for the Phoenix area are Brown Turkey, Conadria, Kadota, and Mission. Note: Leaves may irritate skin.

Other favorites: desert hackberry, devil’s claw, duranta, liriope, natal plum, pittosporum, pomegranate, pyracantha
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