Xeriscapes can be useful as well as beautiful. In addition to color, texture and shade, they can provide fresh, organic food. Here are a couple of edible, drought-tolerant plants for your consideration. Check to make sure the type you choose is appropriate for your local climate.
Adriatic, Mission and Kadota figs are Common Fig types that do well in Mediterranean climates with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. Fig trees need well-drained soil, plenty of sun (8 hours or more) and heat to ripen the fruit.
In addition to the fruit, the large fig leaves are also edible. They have a coconut smell and flavor. You can use them to wrap fish, chicken or pork to give them a coconut flavor.
The trees can grow to 15-30 feet in height. With a wide canopy, fig trees provide welcome shade during the summer. They require minimal water and are drought tolerant, once established.
The serviceberry produces a blueberry-like fruit. It can grow to between 6 and 18 feet tall and can be pruned to look more like a tree. It can also be used as a windbreak or a nice alternative to a fence. Beautiful white blooms appear in the spring before the fruit is produced.
The bush grows well in full sun to partial shade. It needs six hours of sunlight, but also needs shade to prevent the berry skins from becoming tough.
Serviceberries appeal to birds too. If you plan to eat the fruit, be sure to cover the berries with netting before they ripen.
These are just two of a wide variety of edible, drought-tolerant plants that are appropriate for xeriscapes. Check with your local nursery or ask around to find those that will thrive where you live.
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