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List of Edible Flowers

By Julie Bawden-Davis
Edible flowers add a decorative touch to desserts and entrees.

Known as edible flowers, blooms you can eat make a decorative, tasty addition to any meal. Add flowers to salads and stir fries and use them to make a wide variety of foods such as herbal tea, jellies, spreads, vinegars and marinades.

Using edible flowers is easy. Simply harvest blooms right before eating and gently rinse. Don't apply pesticides to flowers intended for consumption, and be absolutely certain that a flower is edible before eating it, advises North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. There are a wide variety of edible flowers from which to choose.

Calendula

Calendula flowers can be eaten when fresh or dried.

Commonly called pot marigold, calendula has tangy-flavored orange or yellow flowers. It requires full sun and prefers a well-draining loam soil. Water weekly during dry weather and feed monthly with an all-purpose plant food. Calendula blooms continuously summer through fall if flowers are harvested one to three times per week, according to Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Dianthus

Dianthus blooms are fragrant and flavorful.

Also called Sweet William, dianthus is an annual, biennial or short-lived perennial that comes in a wide variety of vibrant color combinations. Blooms have a clove-like flavor and appear spring through fall. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension recommends locating dianthus in an area of the garden that receives at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Dianthus requires a well-drained, alkaline soil and should be harvested weekly to encourage continual bloom.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium flowers, leaves and seed heads are edible.

Nasturtium is an annual with red, orange or yellow flowers that brightens up salads. Blooms have a spicy, peppery flavor that tastes like arugula or watercress. Grow nasturtiums in a full-sun to partial-shade location in light, sandy soil. Water weekly when there is no rainfall, and fertilize just once at the beginning of the growing season with an all-purpose plant food. Excessive nitrogen will produce foliage but no blooms, according to Floridata.com. Nasturtiums flower from early spring through early summer.

Pansy

Pansy flowers are often candied.

Botanically known as Viola wittrockiana, edible varieties of pansies come in a wide variety of color combinations. The blooms have a mild vegetable flavor and are often used to decorate cakes and salads. Pansies grow in the cool weather of fall, spring and winter. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service advises planting pansies in full sun to partial shade in a well-draining location. Water weekly when there is no rainfall. Feed with a well-balanced fertilizer at planting time and then monthly.

Tulip

Tulips can be stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.

The eye-catching blooms of tulips have a mild, vegetable flavor. This spring-blooming bulb naturalizes in areas of the country that experience winter freezing. The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends planting tulips September through November in a well-draining site that receives spring sunlight. Add a bulb fertilizer at planting time and again when shoots emerge in the spring. Irrigate tulips after planting. Water occasionally in winter during dry conditions and then weekly in spring.

 

About the Author

 

Julie Bawden-Davis is an accomplished writer, who specializes in home and garden. Since 1985, she’s written for a wide variety of publications, including “Organic Gardening,” "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Parents," "Family Circle" and "The Los Angeles Times." Her books include "Fairy Gardening" and "Reader's Digest Flower Gardening." Bawden-Davis holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and is a certified master gardener.