There can only be one! (OK maybe two) - A guide to landscaping with fruit

I am looking to make a list of the current ideal edible landscape specimen trees, another type of “the best of the best” for each type of fruit that we grow. I’m not necessarily saying “Daisies are pretty, plant daisies!”. I’m more looking along the lines of “This peach tree makes “edible” fruit but it has beautiful flowers and you don’t need to spray it 5 times a year to get fruit.”
Or “This specific cherry should make fruit “more edible” and better than wild cherries but it’s blooms are beautiful” and you don’t need to spray it. Both of these examples may be hypothetical, but I don’t know and that’s part of the reason why I’m making this thread.

Some preferences would include:
-using no spray (or very low spray if absolutely necessary) to have a good crop.
-ornamental flowers, bark, foliage (including variagation or other unique features)
-unique or unusual growth habits such as contorted or dwarf or weeping which make the tree desirable for landscaping

Also-for fruits that are generally already “no spray”, what are the best varieties from an ornamental perspective?

Flavor is a good metric to include where multiple choices exist, however not the primary driver for this landscaping focused thread.

If this thread garners enough interest, I would be willing to put together a shared spreadsheet which includes a range of zones each option can grow in (another important metric to include if applicable). Marginal zone listings for zone pushers should be noted if applicable and known, either for cold hardiness or pushing with heat tolerance.

I’ll start.

Pawpaw Asimina triloba (z4? z5-z8 z9-10?) for reference
Flowers - Regulus is supposed to be unmatched, rarely making vegetative buds. Weeping form possible from heavy fruit set.
Foliage - NC-1 is supposed to have the best landscape appeal due to its large dark green leaves and usual growth habit. There are also a few variegated varieties floating around for areas of the yard in the shade.

Mulberry for reference
Morus alba (z4? z5-z7 z8+?)
Girardi- only true dwarf mulberry currently available
Weeping- trainable to a very nice weeping landscape tree at any height, 1 meter up as tall as you are willing to work on it
Morus macrura (z7+?)
Pakistan - Semi dwarf form easily maintained to ~5 meters

Jujube (z5? z6-z8 z9+?)
Contorted, also known as “SO” - ornamental contorted, slow growing and thus easy to maintain the size of this variety. Even leafless it is attractive in the winter

“Flying Dragon” hardy trifoliate orange

Hybrid Persimmon Diospyrus virginiana x kaki (z5-z8+?) Persimmon Varieties for general reference (needs work, PLEASE add your knowledge to this and make it better!)
JBT-06 heavy fruit set, dwarf/semi dwarf size tree. Weeping from the heavy fruit set.

Asian Persimmon Diospyrus kaki (z6? z7+?)
Most are 5 meters or less, with large fruit and little spray or maintenance needed

for z6, I have seen Inchon mentioned more than once along with Miss Kim. Z5 would REALLY be pushing it.

Cornelian Cherry Cornus mas
Pioneer (red fruit) is supposed to be good, others have yellow fruit if you want something different.

American Highbush Cranberry Viburnum trilobum (z3-z8?)

Strawberry bush (z7+)

Mahonia reptans (z7+)

Northern highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum (z3? z4-z7)
Many options

Southern highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum x (z6? z7-z8+?)
Many options

Rabbiteye blueberry (z6? z7
Many options

NJ Tea Ceanothus americanus

Contorted quince

Figs Ficus carica (z6? z7+)
Hundreds, probably thousands of options. Many threads available here.

No Spray Apple List please make suggestions for red leaved disease tolerant varieties, pretty flowers, etc

Similarly for other “normal” fruits, I need help selecting the “best of the best” for landscaping focus + still edible. Also, importantly, the links to nurseries I shared don’t necessarily reflect the “best” place to buy that particular plant, but they DO give a reasonable description at the time of writing. Do your research on sourcing once you figure out what you want.


I’ve had a paycheck … several actually…doing edible landscaping. Honeyberries, blueberries, columnar apple trees, highbush cranberries among the planting.

Serviceberries a no-brainer, too.


Specify the SO that originated from Just Fruits and Exotics nursery. It is much more contorted and aesthetic and the fruits are better. (It does have larger thorns though)


Yeah, those contorted’s thorns are evil! Should be contemplated behind glass panels, haha
The thorns complement the contortions with a maleficent-vibe making it the most popular conversation-piece of the yard in winter


Most fruit trees can be beautiful if their pruning/shaping factors in aesthetics rather than just pure functionality.


Speaking from zone 6.

Maypop/passiflora incarnata, saffron crocus, and schisandra/magnolia vine must be added to this list. Schisandra pictures to come within the year or next. Goumi is also supposed to have beautiful foliage but I have yet to acquire it

Maypop (Richter’s Nursery)

Saffron crocus (Fedco or black creek farm & nursery)


Indian Free peach has really nice bright pink flowers. They are much bigger and showy than the Elberta, frost, Muir and Charlotte peach I have in my yard. Plus Indian Free has not had any peach leaf curl for me yet in rainy PNW. I don’t spray mine at all.

Persimmons can be really nice also with their deep glossy leaves and orange fruits in fall. Usually pretty healthy also.

I can grow olives here so I count those as an edible ornamental for sure.

I like russetted pears and apples as an ornamental as they are different and rustic plus may have less disease and pest pressure due to russet skin.

Black currants are also very healthy and disease and pest free for me. They have dark green leaves and act as a nice shrub with edible fruits. Plus they can grow in shade.

Evergreen huckleberries are nice as they are glossy evergreen shrubs that can live under conifer trees and shade. They have small berries but are delicious. No disease or pest pressure for me yet.

There are also lots of herbs that can work in the right sunny hot dry spot like rosemary (both upright and trailing types), lavender, oregano, thyme.

Hall’s Beauty blackberries have very large showy white blossoms which can look nice espaliered like a climbing rose.

Elderberries, which come in green and black foliage, can be good also. Their flowers and berries are edible when prepared. They grow fast and don’t have much disease pressure here.