Edible Plant Lifecycles

Planting out a kitchen garden takes planning and a knowledge of each edible plant’s lifecycle in the region you are in.

It might seem obvious that some plants just won’t grow where you live. Less obvious is that plants may behave differently if your climate is not their native one.

There are three main classes of edible plants that we need to know about.

Perennials

Edible plants that live for more than two years and are therefore not annuals or biennials (that die after one or two years respectively) are called perennials. The class is further broken down into herbaceous or evergreen with the former appearing to “die off” in the cold months, regrowing in spring from rootstock.

Evergreens by contrast do not “die off”  but may loose their leaves and or stop producing fruit/edible leaves and flowers.

Perth climate edible perennials include lemongrass,  rosemary, jalapeno chili, curry leaf tree and citrus trees. Perth is in a temperate region and can have cold winters. Therefore some perennials such as tomatoes have to be planted as if they are annuals.

We discuss this and true annuals in the next section.

Annuals

A true edible annual is one where the plant completes the germination from seed to growing, fruiting and production of seed within one year. The plant then dies. As mentioned in the previous section, some perennials are planted out as annuals depending on their tolerance to the extremes of climate in areas that they are not native to.

Perth climate edible annuals include basil and coriander.

Biennials

Edible biennials are often planted out as annuals too. This class of edible takes up to two years to complete the germination to seed production cycle.

Perth climate edible biennials include fennel and parsley.

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