Skip to main content

10 Edible Plants for Early Spring

Amelia has been an avid gardener since childhood and enjoys experimenting with natural and sustainable gardening methods.

Here are some beautiful plants to grow in early spring that are are as appealing to the mouth as they are to the eye!

Here are some beautiful plants to grow in early spring that are are as appealing to the mouth as they are to the eye!

Edible Spring Plants

The edible landscape can be rather dull near the start of spring, so it is worth giving this part of the year special attention when planning your yard. Here are ten stars of the early-spring edible landscape, along with planting tips to get you started:

  1. Tulips
  2. Serviceberry
  3. Honeyberry
  4. Mounding Raspberry
  5. Rhubarb
  6. Strawberry
  7. Chives
  8. Sage
  9. Horseradish
  10. Daylily
Tulips are planted as bulbs in the fall.

Tulips are planted as bulbs in the fall.

Tulips

After a long, cold winter, nothing makes me happier than tulips coming up in spring. They come in so many wonderful colors, and they really brighten up an otherwise dull yard. Because they die back in late spring, they offer a huge impact for an almost negligible sacrifice of space. Also, because the blooms are short-lived, it's your chance to use colors that wouldn't work with your summer-time color palette.

While the bulbs can be poisonous, the petals are edible if not treated with chemicals, and they make beautiful garnishes. They have a pleasant mildly sweet flavor. However, I cannot bear to eat them; they are so beautiful!

These serviceberries are just two years old and already showing off.

These serviceberries are just two years old and already showing off.

Serviceberry

Although almost all fruit and nut trees have showy blossoms in the spring and are wonderful choices for the edible landscape, the serviceberry is special for several reasons. Serviceberries:

  • are an excellent choice for alkaline soil,
  • grow into lovely hedges or small trees, and
  • have orange foliage in autumn.

They come in many varieties with varying names such as juneberry, Saskatoon blueberry, shadbush, shadblow, and sugar plum. Some varieties are designed to have showier blossoms or brighter autumn foliage. I am growing several Saskatoon blueberries and several purple juneberries.

Plant honeyberry in full sun.

Plant honeyberry in full sun.

Honeyberry

Growing rapidly in popularity, these hardy berries deserve a place in a spring landscape because their dainty foliage appears so much earlier than most deciduous plants. Along with the leaves appear attractive little yellow bell-shaped flowers followed by bluish berries that resemble elongated blueberries. They are also called Haskap or Blue Honeysuckle.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

Give mounding raspberry some space.

Give mounding raspberry some space.

Mounding Raspberry

Bramble berries tend to burgeon earlier than many other fruiting plants, but for an edible landscape, I specifically recommend mounding raspberries so as to avoid the disorderly appearance of most bramble berries.

Rhubarb requires a good amount of water

Rhubarb requires a good amount of water

Rhubarb

Rhubarb has so much to offer an edible landscape, aside from the tangy pies, sauces and pickles that can be made from the ruby-red stems. Here in southern Idaho, they begin to appear almost as soon as the tulips emerge. I am enchanted by the huge leaves that are so uncommon in a temperate, edible garden and add a great deal to the texture thereof.


Strawberry often stays green all winter if it doesn’t get too cold or if it is protected from the cold by snow.

Strawberry often stays green all winter if it doesn’t get too cold or if it is protected from the cold by snow.

Strawberry

This humble plant often stays green all winter if it doesn’t get too cold or if it is protected from the cold by snow. Fresh green leaves appear around the time the tulips bloom. They make a good, edible ground cover to give your landscape some negative space and replace the ubiquitous lawn. From May until frost, we savor those sweet gems every day.

Chives spreads quickly.

Chives spreads quickly.

Chives

Blooming right after the tulips, this grassy-looking plant also offers a texture that is unusual in an edible garden. All parts of the chives are edible, and the lavender flowers are lovely in salads and omelets. The benefits of chives extend beyond the visible (and edible) to aromatic properties that repel or confuse potential six-legged predators and protect surrounding plants.

Sage blooms shortly after the tulips but has the added benefit of being a broadleaf evergreen.

Sage blooms shortly after the tulips but has the added benefit of being a broadleaf evergreen.

Sage

Like chives, sage blooms shortly after the tulips but has the added benefit of being a broadleaf evergreen. I adore the smell, and so I plant it where I will brush by it from time to time. Sage also comes in purple, golden and white variegated varieties.

This horseradish was planted a year ago.  It will spread into a large clump and roots will grow down fifteen feet or more.

This horseradish was planted a year ago. It will spread into a large clump and roots will grow down fifteen feet or more.

Horseradish

This leafy plant appears about the time the tulips bloom and will spread over time to form a large cluster. In addition to the early greenery, this herb is a mineral accumulator, sending roots down more than 15 feet and bringing up minerals from this depth. These minerals become available to surrounding plants as horseradish leaves drop and decompose.

This daylily's grassy leaves are decorated by a nearby tulip.  Even before the profusion of blossoms, this plant brings life to the early spring landscape.

This daylily's grassy leaves are decorated by a nearby tulip. Even before the profusion of blossoms, this plant brings life to the early spring landscape.

Daylily

Daylilies are typically grown as ornamentals, and that is the way I grow them. However, most sources agree that every part of the daylily is edible and apparently quite delicious (do not confuse with the deadly lily!). Stella-de-Oro daylilies also provide lovely grassy foliage early in the season and bloom from late spring until frost.

Conclusion

I endeavor to make every season beautiful in my front-yard edible landscape, and I delight in the change that comes with the turning. However, I always feel a certain urgency as spring arrives, and I look forward with much anticipation to this cast of characters. What is your favorite edible to appear in early spring?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Amelia Walker (author) from Idaho on April 13, 2019:

Quite so, Sarah. Thank you for pointing this out. Rhubarb is high in phytates and the leaves especially so. Chickens enjoy the leaves, however, and they make abundant biomass for compost.

In fact, many plants with edible parts also have poisonous parts. Nightshades, such as tomatoes, are a good example. Only the fruit of the tomato is edible; the rest is poisonous.

Sarah on April 13, 2019:

Please don't eat the leaves of rhubarb. They have are poisonous!

Amelia Walker (author) from Idaho on April 20, 2017:

Thanks, Cooper!

Cooper Harrison from San Francisco, CA on April 20, 2017:

Wow, this was really interesting!

Related Articles