Sunday, March 11, 2018

Perennial Food Plants

I was sitting down sowing seeds yesterday and I got to thinking about perennial food plants. These are things that I don't have to sow over and over again. Looking over the farm, these are the perennials here. Many are grown as annuals in colder climates, but can be managed as perennials here. 

The obvious ones are trees:
Avocado, guava, banana, orange, tangelo, tangerine, lemon, lime, allspice, clove, cinnamon, Surinam cherry, tree tomato, chaya, apple, peach, sapote, mulberry, eggfruit, papaya (short lived), coffee, moringa, mamaki

Stick Oregano.......
Various mints
Sweet potato (for greens) 
New Zealand spinach
Okinawan spinach 
Cholesterol spinach 
Mexican oregano......
Taro - I have a Caribbean variety that can be managed as a long term perennial
Celery, kale, and some collards can be managed as perennials. Peppers are often perennials here. 

There might be a few more growing on the farm, but I can't think of more at this moment. Down on the seed farm I also have mango and breadfruit. 

There are several more that I could be growing but haven't added them to the inventory yet. Every year I try to make a point of expanding what I'm growing. I'm not sure what will be my next additions, but I'm open to suggestions. You can post your suggestions here on the blog, or you can email me at

ps- I forgot sugar cane, fig, loquat, macadamia nuts, persimmon, and mountain apple. Plus roselle and strawberry, though these both need to be managed and actually repropagated. 


  1. I'm a huge fan of perennials and self-seeding annuals. There are so many low maintenance options that I hardly bother with annuals at all! Just densely plant an area with multiple layers, and the patch pretty much takes care of itself, only needing harvesting to keep growth of different species balanced.

    A great blog from the Puna area, at 800': Tropical Self Sufficiency

    From my own experiences at 200' and 500' also in Puna, I'd suggest as additions to what you already have:

    Perennial greens & herbs:
    - Cassava
    - Chaya
    - Culantro
    - Edible hibiscus
    - Honohono (you may already have it as a weed — delicious!)
    - Katuk
    - Mitsuba
    - Sissoo/Brazilian spinach
    - Vietnamese coriander
    - White & yellow gingers (edible flowers)

    - Poha (a perennial ground cherry)

    Staple foods:

    - Air potato
    - Malabar chestnut

    Plant/replant roots:

    - Cassava
    - Uhi
    - Yacon

    1. Thanks for all thanks for all the suggestions! I didn't know that honohono was edible. That's interesting!