Flowers add beauty, color, and fragrance to our world while bringing a natural element to gardens and landscaping. When it comes to eating these blooms, did you know that there are some edible flowers you can grow in your garden?
Aside from fruits and vegetables, edible flowers add nutrients and a variety of benefits to your diet. They also look beautiful and add a unique component to delicious dishes of all kinds.
Read on to discover more about these amazing flowers and how you can grow and use them at home.
What are Edible Flowers?
Before growing edible flowers, it’s essential to know which flowers are safe for human consumption. Edible flowers are flowers you can eat in a salad, on cakes, and in a variety of other amazing recipes.
Most edible flowers can be eaten raw, but there are some species that you can cook, too. It’s important to know more about which parts of the flowers you can consume.
Some edible flowers can be enjoyed from the petals all the way to the root. In contrast, others have just specific parts that you can eat safely or won’t have a bitter taste.
The key to enjoying edible flowers is to know how to identify them and how to prepare them. Pick your flowers once they’re fully bloomed and before they start to wilt.
When preparing the flowers, be sure to rinse them under cold water to remove any insects, dirt, or fertilizer. Believe it or not, pollen has a lot of flavor, so try to preserve the pollen whenever you prepare your beautiful, edible blooms.
How to Use Edible Flowers
Here are some ways that you can use and enjoy your edible flowers:
- Dried: You can dry out your flowers and use them as a flavoring agent in pickles, jams, flavored oils, or marinades.
- Garnish: Add some beautiful edible blooms to your favorite dishes to create a gorgeous garnish. Be sure to remove the stamen and pistil before you place them on the plate. They add a lovely touch to desserts, particularly cakes.
- In a salad: Edible flowers add luscious color and unique texture to salads. Simply pluck and rinse your flowers, then add them to your favorite salad as a delicious and unique ingredient.
- Beautiful beverages: Place some edible petals in an ice cube tray and freeze them with water. This creates a lovely touch when serving drinks to your guests.
- Candied: You can add candied or crystallized flowers to desserts or as a decorative component to various recipes. They also make lovely table decorations too.
- Recipes: Some flowers can be cooked before they’re eaten. Look for recipes that you can make at home that incorporate edible flowers for a unique spin on classic dishes.
Best Edible Flowers List
These are some of the most popular edible flowers you can grow in your garden:
With their vibrant colors and citrusy flavor, marigold varieties like Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem are an excellent addition to salads and desserts.
Here is our How to Grow and Care for Marigold Guide.
These gorgeous blooms have a pleasant minty flavor that’s perfect for cakes and other desserts. They can also be glazed with a warm jelly to give them a beautiful jewel-like appearance.
This edible flower is easy to grow, and it works well in salads. Remove the petals from the center of the flower, then sprinkle some onto your salad to boost nutrients and beautiful color.
A member of the mint family, bee balm produces red, purple, and pink mint-flavored flowers that can be added to a wide array of recipes.
Check out our guide to growing bee balm for everything you'll need to know.
With its small, daisy-like flowers, chamomile produces a mild apple-like flavor that’s perfect for drinks and sweet treats. Here is everything you need to know to grow chamomile and enjoy its health benefits.
Zucchini Blossoms are large, orange-colored flowers come from the zucchini plant and are perfect in stir fry recipes. Squash Blossoms can also be filled and fried thanks to their large size and soft, luscious texture.
You might think of this flower as a weed, but it’s actually one of the most popular edible flowers available. When picked young, the flowers of dandelions have a mild, sweet taste. You can eat them raw in salads or enjoy them steamed over rice.
Learn more about Benefits of Dandelion and How to Control it in Your Garden.
Grow tuberous begonias to enjoy a citrusy, sour taste in salads and desserts. These flowers are completely edible, and the stems can also be used as an alternative to rhubarb.
Steep some carnations in wine to make candy or use them as a colorful cake decoration. The petals have a sweet flavor, while the base of the flower is more bitter. You can also sprinkle the petals from carnations on salads.
Edible Flowers Nutritional and Medicinal Benefits
Besides bringing a beautiful look to your plates and desserts, edible flowers add nutritional value to your meals. They can usually contain riboflavin, Vitamin C, vitamin A, Niacin, and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
Some of them even provide medicinal benefits; these benefits are contained in the essential oils and resins of the flowers.
Calendula, for example, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is often used to treat skin ailments such as eczema, wounds, rashes, and some use it simply as a moisturizer.
Calendula oil is easy to make, infusing calendula petals into a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil.
Dandelions are highly nutritious flowers containing fiber, vitamins, and minerals in their roots and blossoms. They are a great source of vitamins containing a few B group vitamins such as folate and vitamin E, C, K, and A.
It is also a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Dandelions roots are also rich in inulin, which supports intestinal health.
Chamomile is another edible flower popular for its medicinal benefits; it is often consumed in the form of dried leaves as tea but can also be consumed in its natural form, adding the flower heads to salads or desserts.
Chamomile is known to help reduce menstrual pains, reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, treat the symptoms of cold and flu, aid relaxation and sleep, and help reduce mild skin conditions such as eczema, and may assist with wound healing.
Still, chamomile can be contraindicated for some people with allergies to pollen or who have shown allergic reactions to honey.
Wild pansies are also known for their many medicinal benefits; amongst those benefits, we find a great antioxidant capacity.
It is often used as a supportive treatment for asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy, constipation, to reduce cold symptoms, and applied externally to treat skin conditions such as eczema and cutaneous eruptions.
All edible flowers have their very own set of benefits and nutritional value, make sure to research those that you find with the most benefits for your needs, and start growing them in your garden to have a limitless supply.
Gardening Supplies for Your Flower Garden
Before you grow your edible garden, you’ll need a few important supplies to ensure a successful harvest:
- Seeds: Start your edible garden with seeds to ensure that you’re growing the right plants. Look for organic seeds whenever possible to ensure there are no pesticides or chemicals added.
- Rich soil: Grow your flowers in nutrient-rich soil. Never use pesticides or chemical fertilizers when growing an edible garden.
- Pots: If you prefer to create a container garden, stock up on planters and pots. Make sure that your pots have proper drainage to prevent root rot.
It is always a good idea to have your plants potted, in case you need to move to a new home, you can move your garden with you.
- Gloves: A quality pair of gardening gloves will protect your hands while you plant or cut your flowers.
- Hand trowel: Every gardener needs a good hand trowel to help move plants, dig up weeds, or plant your flowers in containers.
- Pruning shears: Invest in a high-quality pair of sharp pruning shears so you can cut off the heads of your flowers or prune dead leaves.
(Here is our review on the best pruning shears for 2023.)
How to Grow Edible Flowers
Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have a plentiful edible flower garden:
- Most edible flowers can grow from seeds. Sow your seeds in a small pot or the ground alongside other vegetables and flowers. The sunnier the spot, the more flowers they should produce.
Check your specific zone to ensure that you’re planting the seeds at the right time to avoid frost.
- Cover your flowers with a protective net or insulative covering to keep them safe if you’re experiencing nights with frost into the spring. Once the danger of frost is over, remove the covers.
- Certain species of edible flowers will need to be moved indoors during the winter. Learn about your flowers and what they’ll need to survive and thrive.
- Always use soil that is free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Feed your flowers using compost, earthworms, or organic fertilizer.
(See our review of the Best Organic Fertilizers available on the market.)
- Once your flowers bloom, they’re ready to be harvested. Store them in an airtight container or dry them for future use.
Harvested flowers should be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to three days. However, sugared/crystallized flowers can be kept for several months.
Where to Grow Your Garden
It’s important to consider a few factors before you decide where to place your garden.
- Sun: Different flowers require different levels of sunlight, so make sure you plant yours in areas where they’ll get full or partial sun, depending on the species and what it needs to thrive.
- Drainage: Any healthy garden should have the proper drainage. Make sure you’re planting the flowers in an area where the soil will drain, or else the plants could suffer from mold or root rot.
- Wind: Flowers are delicate plants, so it’s essential to protect them from damaging winds. Use a wall or trellis if your garden is located in a part of your yard where the winds are prevalent.
- Soil: Always use nutrient-rich soil to promote healthy growth. Never treat your soil with chemicals but look for organic or all-natural options instead.
Best Time to Start Growing Your Edible Garden
It’s important to know when to start growing your edible flower garden. Here are some quick tips about the best time of year to begin your edible garden project:
- Get to know your plant hardiness zone, so you’re planting the suitable types of flowers at the right time of year according to your climate.
- Most people start planting flowers in the spring. Make sure that you begin the planting process after the last danger of frost has passed, or else the cold temperatures could kill your seeds before they germinate.
- Some flowers, mainly varieties of perennials, can be planted in early fall if you live in the North and late fall if you live in the South.
- If you’re concerned about your edible flowers during the winter, simply bring the pots indoors until spring arrives again.
For more edible plants you can grow, check out our 10 Best Edible Indoor Plants to Grow at Home.
Wrapping Up Our Edible Flowers Guide
Be sure to pick out flowers that will thrive in your climate and get ready to enjoy a unique way to eat these colorful petals in your favorite recipes.
These delicious blooms are an excellent addition to salads, desserts, and a variety of other tasty dishes. With the right tools and a bit of patience, you can grow beautiful edible flowers in your garden at home.