Vegetables as Attractive, Edible Bedding Plants

The beautiful colors of Swiss chard with fennel in the background.

Are you tired of filling your flower beds with the same thing every year?

Do you need new ideas for filling your flower beds?  Well you may be surprised to discover that vegetables make great bedding plants and as an added bonus – are edible!

Cauliflower and Ornamental Cabbage

The type of vegetables you plant is up to you. I recommend planting vegetables that you enjoy eating.

Of course, I do have some favorites such as using cauliflower and ornamental cabbage, which can be planted in spring in northern climates and in fall in warmer areas.

Cilantro planted around a tree.

Wouldn’t it be nice to step outside and clip some cilantro for your favorite Mexican dish?  Or perhaps, you would prefer parsley?

Young Fennel

One of my favorites vegetables to use is fennel because the bulb, leaves and seeds are edible.  I also love the yellow flowers that come in the summer…

Fennel Flowers

To grow fennel, simply sow seed in spring.


I like artichokes because of the large size of the plant and the beauty of the artichokes themselves.  You can even take the artichoke heads and dry them and use them in ornamental arrangements -but of course if you do that, it means you wouldn’t get to eat this delicious vegetable.

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

I have a lot of red and green leaf lettuce growing in my cool-season vegetable garden. I just love the color contrast, don’t you?

Other ornamental vegetables you can try are broccoflower (a broccoli/cauliflower hybrid), eggplant, parsley, peppers and shallots just to name a few.

You can also grow many of these ornamental vegetables in containers as well.  Instead of regular planting soil, use a ‘planting mix’  instead to fill the container with before planting because it drains better.

So, as you decide on what to add to your planting beds this year, how about looking at vegetables?  They are aren’t only edible, they are attractive as well.

What are your favorite vegetables to grow?  Have you ever tried using them as ornamental plants?

  1. Sharon says

    I love mixing edibles with ornamentals…I use most of the plants pictured here as well as as leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, and herbs. I like to intersperse them or use as a border around flowes. They look great and confuse the bad bugs too!

  2. Betsy Ramey says

    Does anyone know where I can find ornamental sweet potatoes such as “Blackie” “Black Heart” “Tricolor” or Marguerite


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