Sure, you can go to a big box store for an apple tree.

But that doesn’t always mean it’s going to do well where you live.

Selecting cultivated foodscaping plants that are well-adapted to your zone is the way to go for an abundant, ecologically-friendly, and low-maintenance foodscape.

The list below was curated by the team at Custom Foodscaping in St. Louis, which is located in a zone 6b hardiness zone. These plants are beloved for their natural pest resistance (they rarely require spraying), superior water retention capabilities and resilience in the face of current and future of climate shifts.

We think this might be the most useful guide we can offer any pro or newbie foodscaper!

Now on to our master foodscaping plant list…

Recommended Foodscaping Plants for Zone 6


  • Pawpaw- The largest native with fruit banana/mango flavor. Tons of great grafted cultivars make big fruits. Try to plant at least 3 in close proximity (<10’) for best pollination. Slow growing at first. Has a pleasing ornamental shape. Can be planted in full sun despite its common place in the shady woodlands. Hand pollination helps fruit set.

  • American Persimmon- The sweetest fruit we can grow! Be sure to get grafted varieties like Early Golden, Prok and Yates to get big fruits. Amazing fruit but foliage can quite often look tattered and black. A tall tree that lends itself to big open areas like parks and rural properties.

  • Hybrid Persimmon- Shorter than the American. Nakita’s Gift, Kassandra & Rosseyanka are winners. Bigger fruit than the American. Quite ornamental like the Asians. Fruit hangs on deep into the fall. These are edible landscape all-stars!

  • Asian Persimmon- Many very ornamental varieties. Look for only the cold hardiest varieties like Ichi Ki Kei Jiro. They may experience some dieback after very cold winters. As our climate warms, Asian persimmons may become 5-star edible landscape trees in the St. Louis area.

  • Jujube- Easy to care for fruit tree. Fruit tastes like freeze dried apples. They benefit from staking. We recommend using a 10’ t-post to stake. Prune early to get a strong central truck before allowing for branching. Some varieties have a weeping habit. Beautiful contorted shapes. Watch out for the thorns!

  • Asian Pear- Fire blight-resistant varieties like Shinko and Korean Giant are some of our absolute favorites. Early to bear, heavy yielders, and fast growing. Works well as an espalier fruit

  • Pear- fire blight resistant varieties like Magness, Maxine, Potomac and Blake’s Pride. Delicious fruit with few pest and disease issues. Neither fast growing or ornamental. Works as an espalier fruit

  • Apples - These most iconic fruit trees are impacted by several pests and diseases. However, disease-resistant varieties like Liberty, William’s Pride and Arkansas Black provide a better chance to produce a harvestable crop. They work as an espalier fruit wall. Also noteworthy are edible Crabapples, which produce huge blooms that help pollinate other varieties. Many are super disease-resistant and quite delicious despite their smaller fruit size.

  • Mulberry- The easiest fruit to grow! Prune the trunk at about 3’ early in life so multiple main branches can easily be reached. This way you can shake the branches and get fruit to fall on tarps below. There are many white fruited varieties that are absolutely delicious and don’t create any stains.

  • Pie Cherry- Northstar, Meteor and Carmine Jewel are natural dwarfs. Most are easy to grow as beautiful small fruit trees. The bright red fruits put on a stunning show. We recommend a lot of pie cherries. Can sometimes suffer from late-summer leaf drop.

  • Serviceberry- Native to zones 5-9. Easy to grow and wonderful edible landscaping plants. Prune to keep branches within reach. A “go-to” street tree. Can also be grown as a tall multi-stemmed shrub.

  • Che- A nice ornamental that is related to fig. Fruits look look like big raspberries that grow on trees and bear in fall. Get a seedless female variety. Fruit drops in early years. Yummy fruits with few pest or disease challenges!

  • Peach- The beloved summer fruit! Many varieties can suffer from fungal disease but some of the tougher varieties can often withstand and be grown successfully. Often they are hit or miss but when they hit there is nothing like them! Fast growing and huge yields. Quite ornamental when properly pruned. Dwarf varieties like the Bonanza Patio Peach are gaining popularity and can be really great for small spaces.


  • Elderberry- Get cultivars that make big flowers and fruit. A multi-stemmed shrub that is great as a hedge. Grows very fast! Can be cut way back each winter to keep size under 8’. Send underground suckers away from plant base.

  • Bush Cherry- Easy to grow, prolific cherries. Varieties like Carmine Jewel and Nanking are big winners. Despite not being as sweet as sweet cherries, these have a complex flavor can be enjoyed fresh out of hand

  • Aronia- The highest antioxidant fruit native to North America. A truly beautiful landscape shrub with stunning spring flowers and equally beautiful clusters of late summer fruit. Some varieties stay under 3 feet, making for an especially short woody edible. Fruit is best processed due to its astringency.

  • Gerardi Dwarf Mulberry- Sweet and reachable bush mulberries. Makes a nice specimen “bonsai-like” tree. Be sure to prune off root suckers below graft union in early years.

  • Weeping Mulberry- One of the very few weeping fruit trees. Such a neat looking specimen tree. Little kids love to play under the tree and eat the easy-to-pick fruit.

  • Fig- Chicago Hardy is the most proven variety.Needs some winter protection in zone 6. The more you protect each winter, the bigger the plant will grow and the more fruit. Beautiful ornamentals with few pest or disease issues.

  • Trifoliate Orange Flying Dragon- The only hardy citrus we can grow in our climate . These small oranges taste lemon-limey! Gorgeous, contorted, seedy, thorny. This one is a favorite conversation piece.

  • Serviceberry- “Regent” is a short variety for small spaces. Similar to blueberry in form and fruit. Another winning edible. Native to North America

  • Currants- One of the most reliable and easy to grow fruits! Look for resistance to white pine blister rust. Best kept in the backyard as fall foliage issues are common. Tolerates some shade.

  • Gooseberry- Most varieties are thorny but easy to grow. Tolerates some shade. Complex flavor and stunning fruit.

  • Goumi- Incredibly easy to grow, early to fruit and a nitrogen fixer. Branches drip with small tart berries. Very shiny leaves look great all year round.

  • Goji- Known for its antioxidant richness, these are easy-to-grow fruiting bushes. They look a bit “tumbleweed” like and aren’t very well suited as edible landscape plants. However, when fruit is ripe it loads up! Not very sweet but does produce reliably with few pest and disease issues. A nice late summer/fall berry.

  • Blueberry- A well-loved berry that grows in tidy shrub form. Known for its need to have acidic soil, getting the pH right can be tricky. When time is taken to properly amend the soil they are great edible landscape plants

  • Raspberry/Blackberry- These cane fruits that are some of the easiest to grow fruits. They usually fruit in their second year. A good variety selection can yield a harvest that lasts from early summer to october. A challenge to keep the canes looking tidy, be sure to use a well constructed trellis and keep canes upright. A great selection along fence lines. Kids love them!

  • Beach Plum- Oikos Nursery and Raintree Nursery have cultivars. Gorgeous spring blooms. The only plum that grows on a bush.



  • Grapes- Disease-resistant Munson varieties like Carman, Elvikand, Lukfata and Champanel produce reliably in the Zone 6 climate. Leaves often brown in the fall. Despite the popular European grape, which is disease ridden Zone 6, many grapes are native and well suited for organic growing in our climate. Oftentimes the easiest to grow varieties have a seed inside. Self-fertile.

    Muscadine Grape- A Southeast US native. Beautiful shiny foliage looks much more ornamental than the more common grapes. The fruits can be huge and so abundant . Only a handful of muscadine varieties are suitable for the Zone 6 climate. Experimentation still needs to be done to find suitably hardy varieties. As our climate warms these should become edible landscape standards.

  • Hardy Kiwi- Beautiful and vigorous vines. The Kolomikta Kiwis are less vigorous and have a pink leafed variety. Needs male + female. Hardy Kiwi is a an edible landscaping allstar when given proper support and annual pruning.

  • Maypop/Passion Fruit- This native herbaceous vine makes stunning medicinal flowers, edible leaves and edible fruit. Spreads aggressively where planted so make sure you can mow around it or plant in a pot.



  • Alliums: Perennial Leeks, Welch Onion, Egyptian Walking onion, Chives, Garlic Chives

  • Greens: Sorrel, Scorzonera, Sea Kale

  • Shoots: Hardy Ginger, Asparagus, Hosta, Giant Solomon Seal, False Solomon Seal, Sea kale, Turkish Rocket, Udo (Aralia)

  • Other: Prickly Pear (edible pads and fruit), Rhubarb

  • Perennial Herbs: Flowering Chives, Garlic Chives, Anise Hyssop, Lavender, Bronze fennel, Thyme, oregano, yarrow, Bee Balm, sage (many colors)

  • Annual herbs- The ideal low-maintenance plants to add into the landscape in early years. Favorites like Purple Basil, Shiso, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Roselle (hibiscus), Turmeric, Hot Peppers



  • Strawberries- In a league of their own as a groundcover. Earliglow, Allstar, Jewel, etc

  • Alpine Strawberries- the most delicious fruit on the planet. Non-spreading. Short lived perennial.

  • Other: Comfrey, Roman Chamomile, Nasturtium, Sweet Potato, Edible Sedum and Ice Plant


Recommended Edible Landscaping Nurseries

Now that you’ve selected your plants, you’re ready to go shopping.

But it’s not quite that simple. Unfortuantely most nurseries just don’t carry edible plants appropriate for their location. It’s hard to believe, right?

Read our post here about how to work with your local nursery to carry these plants where you live.

If you live in a region without a quality edible landscaping nursery, we recommend ordering from these nurseries.

Stark Bro’s - Started in 1816! They reliably carry our favorite varieties, plus offer quality educational videos on their site.

Peaceful Heritage Nursery A great selection of common and uncommon fruits. They continue to put out new and interesting plants.

Z's Nutty Ridge Nursery The go-to nursery for Chestnuts and Hazelnuts

Forrest Keeling - Wholesale supplier of so many of our favorites; grafted persimmons, pawpaws, chinese chestnuts, pecans and much more!

Burnt Ridge - One of the most affordable mail order nursery. They are often one of the first places we look. 

Raintree Nursery - Great all around selection.

One Green World - An industry standard. They have a lot of unique varieties.  

Fedco Trees - Based in Maine, they have a huge apple selection and their orchard tools are great. Shop for things like pruners and orchard irrigation with Fedco.

Edible Landscaping Nursery - Mad props to these folks in VA.  They started specializing in edible landscaping crops way back when.  Their availability can be poor but what they have comes highly recommended.  They sell all their stuff in pots.

Richters Herbs - An amazing selection of herbs and perennials.  They even sell really affordable “flats” of 12 or 90 for doing big plantings.

Indiana Berry Company - Affordable and tremendous selection on all kinds of berries. They give really nice descriptions in their catalog.

England’s Orchard and Nursery - Cliff England is our region’s expert on Jujubes and Persimmons.

Oikos Tree Crops - All kinds of unique “wild” seedling varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials.

Looking for a foodscaping company in your region to help you select the perfect fruit trees for your region? Check out our Foodscaper Directory for finding professionals near you. 


 Watch our free in-depth webinar about how we source plants!