Edible flowers are an often-overlooked aspect of any kitchen garden. Not only do they provide food for pollinators but they also level up any summer dish you prepare. They are easy to grow and add bursts of color to liven up your yard. Needless to say, why wouldn’t you add these to your garden.
These are my favorite edible flowers to grow in my garden.
Nasturtium are the perfect spiller plant. They look best when randomly placed about as they are not a formal looking flower. The plant spilling amongst rocks is the perfect place for them to be. They look casual but add so much beauty wherever they are placed.
The seeds for these flowers are large so they are super easy to plant. In addition, they need very little if any work. As long as they get water and sun, they are good to go. They are an annual but they tend to just reseed themselves so that they pop up year after year.
The flowers of these are edible but so are the leaves. Both the leaves and flowers can be added to rice, couscous or pasta dishes. The flowers also add such a pretty touch to any green salad.
Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
Marigold plants are so beneficial to any garden. They attract beneficial insects to your garden that in turn protect your plants from aphids and other harmful pests. I always recommend using them around your tomato plants as marigolds protect them from pests, most likely from the marigold plant’s scent pests.
Marigolds are notorious for being very forgiving flowers. They can tolerate sun, heat and most soil conditions. The seeds for these are also pretty easy to plant but marigolds are also really easy to get as a 6-pack at a nursery. The flowers will provide color in the summer and well into the fall season.
Surprisingly, there are a number of other health benefits that marigolds provide such as treating burns, bug bites as well as reducing digestive symptoms. I personally like to make tea with dried marigold flowers. However, for a quick and easy use, throwing them on the top of a fresh green salad will immediately make your salad more special.
These are my son Chase’s favorite flower. They are so simple and delicate but they really add such an interesting touch to a garden bed. With their unique “faces” they make you draw closer to take a good look at them.
In our zone, (Zone 9) pansies are perennials meaning they will come back year after year. These flowers are usually the first flowers to peek out in spring and brighten up our gardens. They come in so many different colors that gardening with them is so much fun.
I like to use both pansies and johnny jump ups in salads but also really like to make ice cubes with johnny jump ups in them. A cocktail with a flowered ice cube will be the talk of the party for sure.
Lavender is such a common flower in most gardens. In my option it can easily get overused, however, the flower is so easy to grow and so drought tolerant that it is a great choice for beginning gardeners. The smell of lavender is intoxicating and is touted for its stress relief. In a garden setting, lavender draws beneficial insects and is usually the center of bee activity in the summertime.
Just like marigolds, lavender has a myriad of health benefits from its antiseptic to its anti-inflammatory properties. For me, lavender is my favorite essential oil scent as I associate it with sleep and relaxation. However, I also really enjoy adding dried lavender to summer cocktail drinks such as lavender martinis. There are also some great recipes for meat marinades and breads that include lavender in the ingredients.
Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
Coneflowers are my most favorite flower from this list. The color, shape, and height of these flowers just stand out in my mind. As a perennial, I love having them come back year after year. They are no fuss at all requiring very little and handling heat, drought conditions, and lots of soil conditions. I love these so much that as long as pink is in a client’s plant palette then I almost always include them in the design.
You may know coneflowers more from their botanical name of Echinacea spp. Yes, it is the same echinacea that is used in teas and as a supplement. It is well known that echinacea can help with fighting infections such as the common cold. However, coneflower is also an important habitat plant. It is large flower with a great landing pad that provides nectar and pollen for pollinators such as butterflies, bees and birds.
I personally like to use coneflower petals in salads. The deep pink is a real show stopper in any salad. I also sometime include echinacea when making tea with marigold and usually add a bit of honey and lemon to it. Very easy but with lots of health benefits.