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10 Must-Grow Edible Flowers

Anyone can decorate a cake with frosting (well, maybe not me but I’m sure other people can). But, using edible flowers for color and design? That's next level.

Edible flowers aren't limited to garnish. Whether as a main ingredient in a savory dish, a flavoring in a hot or cold drink, or even frozen into ice cubes, these flowers deserve a try in your kitchen. If you're already growing these plants, including them in your recipes is another way to enjoy their bounty and connect with your garden.

Adding flowers to your dish adds unique flavor and fantastic color.  When using edible flowers, the sky's the limit for creativity. Many of the selections below grow well in containers for those limited to small spaces or balcony gardening.

A note of caution: ensure any flowers you eat are pesticide-free. Many plants purchased from greenhouses have been treated with chemicals, and some of them (systemic pesticides) are absorbed and kept in the tissues of the plants. Look for chemical-free plants, organic labels, or grow your own if you intend on using flowers in recipes. 

Easy-to-Grow Edible Flowers

You don't have to be a gardening guru to grow edible flowers! These plants are easy to grow and provide bright colors and flavors for the palette. If a plant-and-forget flower that can be used in the kitchen is what you’re looking for, give these bright and tasty blooms a try. 


Bright orange and yellow blooms with soft green foliage are what this plant is known for. An annual in most of the country, they’re perennial in USDA zones 9 and warmer. Nasturtiums are available in bush or trailing vine growth habits. They like full sun but will be okay with partial shade. They grow well in containers (lovely in hanging baskets and window boxes) and taste slightly peppery. 

Nasturtiums are one of the most popular choices when growing edible flowers. Use them in salads or garnish for dishes that work well with pepper.


Grab a flat of pansies from the garden shop, or better yet, start your own from seed. Pansies like the cooler weather of spring and autumn and grow quickly. Breeders have developed varieties in blue, purple, red, yellow, and even bicolor hues. Pansies like partial shade, making them a great color boost for beds and planters with limited sun. 

Pansy flowers have a slight grassy flavor that works well as a salad topping or as decoration on cakes and pastries. Some people claim they taste like mint, but your taste buds may vary. 


French, African, and signet marigold petals are all edible, but the signet marigolds are most commonly used for cooking. Use only the petals, as the base of the flower will give you a bitter, unpleasant flavor. 

These three marigolds are annuals and easy to start from seed. They grow well in the ground or in containers. Pinch marigolds to help them form a bushy, dense habit and deadhead frequently. 


These plants belong to the "plant once, enjoy forever" garden must-haves. While we're familiar with using the leaves for an oniony flavoring in tons of dishes, from scrambled eggs to soups, the flowers have a delightful garlicky taste. 

My chives are one of the first perennials to poke their shoots out after a long winter, and with some trimming, they keep me in tasty treats all growing season long. The blossoms are best harvested when still closed and not fully open. 

After a couple of years, divide your chive plants for even more green and purple goodness. Use a soil knife, garden trowel, or spade to split the clump and replant it or give it to a friend. 

Herbal Flowers for the Kitchen

While many culinary herbs are grown for their foliage, like oregano and sage, the flowers are often tasty, too, and the flavor frequently mirrors that of the herb. For low-effort herbs with edible, tasty flowers, try these three ideas.


Many people are familiar with the gentle nature of chamomile tea, but don't limit this perky plant to just a teapot. Chamomile flowers are subtle but tasty, with a light floral presence. If you have a home ice cream maker, try chamomile-honey ice cream. Use it as a flavoring for pound cake, freeze into ice cubes, in biscuits, or as a garnish for fish. 

Chamomile is deer-resistant and will grow in poor soil, but it does want a sunny spot. It also grows well in containers, and the white daisy-like flowers add a cheerful atmosphere to any garden corner.


This Mediterranean herb is easily found in garden centers as a young plant or can be started from seed. Many varieties are perennials in USDA zones 5 and warmer. However, for those in colder climates, it can still be grown as an annual. 

Lavender does very well in a patio container. If you fall in love with lavender, plant it en masse in sunny spots with excellent drainage. Once established, lavender is drought tolerant and won't need fertilizer. 

The flowers can eventually become bitter, but make a fantastic addition to cookies, cakes, teas, lemonades, cocktails, and a sparing garnish on a salad or chicken dish. 


This easily grown annual herb is also called star flower. Its sky-blue flowers on a fuzzy plant are adored by bees. The delicate flowers taste like cucumbers and are used as a garnish in salads and pastries and as a decoration floating on top of a cool summer drink.

Plant borage in full to partial sun. It likes well-drained soil (don't we all) and grows well in a wide variety of soil pH. Borage is an herb easily grown from seed and perfectly blends with a cottage garden theme. 

Something a Little Different

Try a few of these ideas if you're looking for edible flowers a little off the beaten path. A bit of lilac jelly spread on a biscuit on a cold winter day brings the reminder that spring will return, eventually. And the color is simply amazing. If you haven’t had bread flavored with hops, you’re missing out.


The flowers from these vigorous vines resemble a conifer cone. Brewers use them dried or sometimes fresh as a bittering ingredient in beer, but they're also used as edible flowers in cuisine. For cooking, choose aromatic or dual-purpose hops and use them to marinate chicken, make simple syrups, or work into homemade bread. 

Many hop vines are hardy in colder climates, and they can be long-lived and quite low maintenance. Give them something to climb and watch them grow. Hops can make an excellent privacy screen when allowed to climb a trellis or lathe screen. 


Tired of fighting with dandelions in your yard? Get sweet revenge by harvesting their sunny yellow flowers for use in dandelion wine or dandelion fritters. The flowers have a faint honey flavor but avoid the very bitter stems. The young greens are tender and mild, perfect for tossing into your greens mix. Since these grow as weeds in the yard, be mindful of possible weed-killer spray treatments. 


Okay, this one is a shrub, but the flowers impart that same bright, floral essence of their scent to cordials, pastries, ice cream, simple syrups, and jellies. This is one flower to definitely add to your home-made goodies. These long-lived woody shrubs are fantastic for pollinators, smell amazing, and make excellent cut flower bouquets. They often spread, so you may be able to dig up a few suckers from a neighbor and transplant them.

When harvesting, cut the entire spray of flowers and separate the petals from the green bases. They make an excellent wine, too, and the color is one you won't stop staring at.

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