Trellis on a wall: edible landscaping

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - 9:40am

I recently had a request from a new homeowner: she had a wall where she wanted to screen an unsightly view, and wanted to grow something edible there. What would I recommend?  I thought I would post the results of my research. Understand that she lives in Zone 8 and is dealing with sandy & clay soils.

Sunny Location:
Recommendations Maypop (Passion Fruit) and Scarlet Runner Beans.

Passion Fruit is a perennial vine. It has gorgeous flowers and delicious fruit, but can be invasive. It's the favorite food of the gulf friterary butterfly's caterpillars, which can decimate young plants, so you'd have to spray it with BT until it was established. I recommended interspersing it with Scarlet Runner Beans at first, to build up nitrogen levels in the soil. Scarlet Runner Beans, also known as "Magic beans" attract hummingbirds and make their own seeds for next year. Young pods can be used as snap beans or can be allowed to mature for shelled fresh use or dried for winter. You should keep the beans picked to encourage continuous bearing.This combination would not need as substantial a trellis as the shade choice; I suggested a plastic lattice trellis.

Partial Shade:
Arctic Kiwi Vines (Actinidia kolomikta)


The Arctic kiwi vine is a fast-growing, hardy ornamental and produces fruit (if you get a male and up to three female plants). First, it makes beautiful pink and white tipped foliage in the early summer. Then, it makes clematis-like flowers.
In the autumn heavy clusters of oval lime-sized green fruits ripen. They have almost 20 times the vitamin C content of oranges. And unlike fuzzy New Zealand kiwis, which have to be peeled, the skin of an Arctic Kiwi is tender and edible, like the skins of cherries. What's tough are the woody stems: you need a really substantial trellis to hold them up, or a stone wall. Luckily my young homeowner has a concrete wall.

Update: She chose the arctic kiwis due to the area having partial shade and concerns about the Maypop/Passion Flower being invasive.

1 Comment

maceves's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2010
Posts: 281

I almost lost my kiwis when it got hot and I didn't water them.  They are happy now with all the rain we have had recently.

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