Printer Friendly

IN THE GARDEN MAKE YOUR HEDGE A FRUITFUL ENDEAVOR.

Byline: JOSHUA SISKIN

If you have been thinking about growing a hedge, but are looking for something more exotic than ficus or privet, you might want to consider edible selections such as strawberry guava, pineapple guava, Valencia orange, 'Oro Blanco' grapefruit, 'Eureka' lemon, loquat or pomegranate.

Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) is frost-hardy and bears dark burgundy red, strawberry-size fruit. It is an evergreen whose leaves change from bronze to shiny yellow-green during the course of the year. The related lemon guava has nearly lemon-size yellow fruit with pink flesh.

In the Valley, pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) is more distinguished by its edible flowers than its fruit. The soft, snowy white pineapple guava flower petals are as sugary sweet as hard candy but more nutritious by far. The fruits of this plant are small and blue-green but seldom reach maturity in our climate.

Citrus trees make wonderful hedges. The trick is to allow their lower and lateral shoots to develop while keeping their top growth continually pruned.

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a pome fruit, which means it is related to the apple, pear and quince. However, it has long, dark evergreen leaves and fruit that is the size and consistency of an apricot. Although loquats pop up as volunteer seedlings all over the Valley, bearing clusters of small, somewhat insipid fruit, there are tastier, named varieties of larger size that are available in the nursery trade.

Pomegranate trees are deciduous, but if you can abide a few months of leaflessness, you will find them easier than any other fruit tree to train into a hedge. Pomegranates sucker profusely, which means that new growth is continually sprouting from the base of their trunks.

To grow a hedge in a hurry, you will want to plant as densely as possible. Trees separated by 3 feet will grow together more rapidly than those installed 5 feet apart. Fifteen-gallon trees are significantly larger and will fill in much more quickly than 5-gallon trees.

For a flowering hedge in full or partial sun, my favorite Valley selection would be the blue potato bush (Solanum rantonettii). Planted 3 to 4 feet apart from 5-gallon containers, you will have a 6- to 8-foot-tall hedge within a few years' time. The blue potato flowers most of the year and, once established, requires little water or fertilizer to stay in bloom.

Butterfly bushes also make excellent tall hedges, although they are most appreciated when allowed to grow informally without being boxed. If they become rangy, do not be afraid to cut them back to a 3-foot-height in late winter. As spring begins, they will quickly grow back to full size. Flower colors include pink, lilac, purple and white.

One of the best low-flowering hedges for full sun to partial shade is the firecracker or cigar plant (Cuphea ignea). It always seems to be in bloom. The bat-faced cuphea (Cuphea llavea) has red and purple flowers and blooms virtually nonstop as well.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Although summer is nearly over, you can still plant tomatoes, available as containerized plants at nurseries and home centers, and expect a continuous crop for the next two months at least. In the Valley, cherry tomato plants, trained up as vines, have been known to produce fruit throughout the winter.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 18, 2004
Words:546
Previous Article:THE BUZZ MARILYN FOR SALE.
Next Article:AIR APPARENT POINT MUGU READY FOR ANNUAL SHOW.


Related Articles
GARDENING : BUCKTHORN OFFERS EROSION PROTECTION, PRESERVES PRIVACY.
IDEA TAKING ROOT; COMMUNITY GARDEN EFFORT IN FULL BLOOM.
Everything's coming up rose.
FRESH PICK WHAT TO PLANT THIS WEEK.
DODGERS SALE NOT NEAR REPORT ON CHECKETTS DEAL DENIED.
The kindest cut of all: picking peonies and giving away gladiolas teaches a lesson in generosity.
It's beautiful, it's edible, it's in your own backyard ... it's edible landscaping!
Thank you for consistently reflecting the heart, soul, spirit, and post-Katrina determination.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters