Multipurpose Ornamental Plants
Multipurpose Ornamental Plants
Designed by Lynn Smythe
All Rights Reserved
The plants mentioned in this article serve a multitude of functions.
They have ornamental foliage and flowers, they can be used for culinary
and/or medicinal purposes and they attract a plethora of wildlife to your yard.
The following is a listing of my top ten favorite multipurpose ornamental plants
all of which I have growing in my USDA Zone 10 garden in subtropical SE Florida.
False Roselle (Hibiscus acetosella)
-Japanese maple-type burgundy foliage
-leaves can be eaten in salads or stir-fires
-AKA red-leaf hibiscus, bronze hibiscus
The September 2003 issue of Better Homes and Gardens shows false Roselle in a planting along with yellow-green ornamental grasses and silver-leaved Artemisia. I have mine planted along side a giant clump of lemon grass.
Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Jerusalem artichokes have no problem growing during our hot and humid south Florida summers although they donÂ’t start to flower until the early fall. They grow extremely tall, I have mine planted next to 8Â’ tall sections of lattice trellis for support. They are a perennial that spreads prolifically unless you harvest every last bit of the tuber. This is not a problem if you are growing the plant to harvest the tubers for culinary purposes but I would not recommend growing it for solely ornamental purposes unless you have a large piece of land.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
My favorite variety is Alaska which has beautiful variegated cream and green colored foliage.
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Â‘burgundyÂ‘)
WhatÂ’s a vegetable doing on this list you may ask!?! IÂ’m talking about the burgundy variety of okra. It gets pretty hollyhock-like flowers. You can eat the immature seed pods in a variety of dishes including my favorite - chicken gumbo. The mature seed pods can be harvested for their seeds and planted for next years crop. The mature seed pods with the seeds removed can be dried and used in a plethora of dried arrangements and potpourri blends.
Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens Â‘variegataÂ’)
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans)
Pineapple Sage Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife or two knives until it resembles the texture of coarse cornmeal. Stir in the milk and the pineapple sage leaves. Spray 18 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup approximately 3/4 of the way with the scone batter. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 18 scones.
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
lizards like to hide in the base of the plants which provides endless hours of entertainment for the neighborhood kids that like to see who can be the first to catch one.
Rosemary Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
1/2 cup confectionerÂ’s sugar
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the sugar and the softened butter using a large mixing spoon. Add the flour 3/4 cup at a time. Add the vanilla extract, pistachios and rosemary and mix until well blended. Roll the dough into large marble sized pieces using 1 level tablespoon of the dough and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 17 to 20 minutes until light brown. After the cookies have been removed from the oven and have cooled off slightly roll each one in confectionerÂ’s sugar. This recipe makes approximately 2 Â½ dozen cookies.
Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
Society garlic makes a wonderful edging plant for your garden beds. I purchased my plants from the Home Depot.
Winter tarragon (Tagetes lucida)
Try growing one or more of these wonderful multipurpose ornamental plants in your own garden. The next time you are thinking of adding plants to your landscape research additional varieties which have multiple uses.