Tag Archives: indoor edible plants

Tropical Edibles – Wish List, Part 2

To continue with my conservatory trip and all the things I’d love to have space for, below are a few more plants that can be grown indoors in zone 5.



Vanilla orchid at the conservatory

At the beginning of the year, I purchased a tiny 3″ vanilla orchid cutting
. Vanilla often forms areal roots, so cuttings are a method of propagating the vanilla orchid. Unfortunately, my cutting was not well established. The dryness of the house in January and the lack of roots caused my orchid to die.

Orchid can easily be grown in pots when established. It requires a humid environment (misting indoors) and a well-draining orchid mix. Weekly misting of a foliage fertilizer will improve growth, however, fertilizing should be done only when actively growing. Medium light is necessary, and vanilla will do well in indirect light.

Huge Vanilla Orchid

Huge Vanilla Orchid

To propagate a vanilla orchid, dust an areal root with rooting hormone, and wrap with damp Sphagnum moss. Moss can be misted daily or every other day for moisture. Roots will grow into the moss, and when roots appear established, this section can be cut and planted into an orchid mix. A cutting with 3 or more nodes can be cut directly, and placed in moss as well, without waiting for roots to form.

At the conservatory, it’s easy to see how absolutely huge vanilla vine can grow. Their plant is easily over 100ft long. It travels to the top of the tree, and back down, and then up some more.

Barbados Cherry


Barbados Cherry

Barbados Cherry, or Acerola, is a natural source of vitamin C, and is used in many vitamin C supplements. It is native to the warm climates of South and Central America. It grows as a woody shrub or small to medium tree, and has a shrub-like growth pattern. Barbados Cherry can be kept small by pruning and makes an interesting bonsai specimen due to it’s thin branches, small leaves, berry-like fruit, and curled growing habit. Fruits are bright red, edible, and have good flavor. Continue reading

Tropical Edibles – Wish List, Part 1

Last week, we had a few days in the mid-60s, and we were able to get some yard cleanup completed, and some early planting.  The bulbs and perennials were beginning to green.  This morning we woke up to an inch of snow, and freezing temps.  Took a trip to a local conservatory.  Where better to shed some of that spring fever.

Papaya tree with unripe fruit.  Papaya can be grown in containers.

Papaya tree with unripe fruit. This tree was about 7ft tall

Every time I visit, I’m reminded of all the amazing edibles that I’d like to add to my collection.  Below are a few of my favorites.


Papaya, or Carica papaya, is a New-World tropical. It grows as a single-stalked, non-woody, tree-like plant with unique leaves and fruiting habit. The tree is easily grown from seed that can be gathered from store-bought fruit.

Small papaya tree with fruit.

Small papaya tree with fruit. Papaya can be grown in containers.

The full sized varieties of Papaya can grow rather large (30ft or more), but there are dwarf varieties available that remain under 10ft. Plants are male or female, so for indoor fruiting, often two plants are necessary. There are some self-pollinating varieties of papaya.

Dwarf papaya can be grown in medium sized pots and size can be kept to 5-6ft. I’d like to grow this for the foliage alone, as it reminds me of a tropical forest.
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