Create Your Garden

Edible Flowers: 16 Varieties to Beautify Your Garden and Plate

Edible flowers like daylily, lilac, rose, chives, and sunflower turn ordinary dishes into colorful, gourmet experiences.

Edible flowers, Nasturtium, Pansy, Violet, Viola, Roses, Calendula, Chamomile, Chives, Daylily, LiLac, Carnation, Hibiscus

Many flowers are not only beautiful. They can also be edible, adding flavor, texture, and color to salads, soups, pasta, desserts, or drinks. There is a wide range of colors, forms, and sizes of edible flowers. Gardeners often grow many as annuals in garden beds, raised beds, and patio containers for their ease of cultivation.

Edible flowers are an excellent way to add color, flavor, and excitement to many dishes. It is most rewarding to pick them right from your garden.

Edible Flowers You Should Grow In Your Garden

From the peppery zest of nasturtiums to the subtle sweetness of violets, these natural garnishes offer a spectrum of tastes, colors, and textures to elevate culinary creations. Marigolds and pansies bring vibrant hues to salads and desserts, while lavender and chamomile infuse teas and baked goods with soothing aromas. Roses, with their classic elegance, impart a delicate flavor to syrups and jams. Including chive blossoms, calendula, and borage not only diversifies the garden’s palette but also introduces a range of herbal and cucumber-like tastes to the table. Embracing edible flowers encourages a garden-to-plate lifestyle, promoting sustainability and the exploration of unique culinary landscapes.

Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borago Officinalis,  Borage, Cool Tankard, Talewort, Tailwort, Blue flowers

Borage (Borago officinalis) is a spreading annual with abundant racemes of star-shaped, bright blue flowers from early summer to early fall. It is one of the easiest and most enjoyable annuals for a sunny border. The beautiful blossoms are edible with a fresh cucumber flavor. You can harvest the wrinkled, gray-green, fuzzy leaves of the foliage for use in salads and cold drinks. Borage has a diuretic effect in large quantities.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, Pot Marigold, English Marigold, Poet's Marigold, Common Marigold, Scotch Marigold

Among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in the garden, Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold) is a showy, hardy annual with aromatic foliage and a profusion of pretty daisy-like flowers over a long season. Prized by gardeners, it has also been used for many centuries for a range of culinary and medicinal purposes. The flowers have a slightly bitter, tangy, and peppery flavor. Sprinkle their petals on soups, pasta, rice dishes, and salads.

Chamomile

Matricaria recutita, Scented Mayweed, German Chamomile, Horse Gowan, Sweet False Chamomile, Wild Chamomile, Drought tolerant perennials, White perennial flowers,

Chamomile has been used for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomachs. The two main types of Chamomile are German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Chamomile flowers have an apple scent and flavor. You can use them fresh or dried to make a popular calming tea or flavor jams, candies, and desserts.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives, Best Chives, Garlic Chives, Planting Chives, Growing Chives, Harvesting Chives, Allium schoenoprasum, Allium tuberosum

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a popular culinary herb in the home garden. Grown for the mild onion flavor of their leaves and pretty flowers, chives attract bees and other pollinators to the garden while helping deter damaging insects such as Japanese beetles. People have used chives in cooking for over 5000 years, also cultivating them for their ornamental value in flower gardens and traditional medicinal properties. All parts of the plants are edible and primarily eaten in salads. Float or sprinkle flowers on soups, salads, and vegetables.

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Hemerocallis Ming Toy, Daylily Ming Toy, Day Lily Ming Toy, Ming Toy Daylily, Reblooming Daylily, daylilies, Daylily, Day Lilies, Red flowers, Red day lily, Red Daylily, Red hemerocallis

Every part of the daylily (Hemerocallis) is edible. The flavor is a combination of asparagus, peas, and zucchini. You can use the young shoots as a substitute for asparagus, boil the tubers like potatoes, and use the flowers as pretty salad toppers. You can also chop them for sautéing or stir-frying. Be careful: do not confuse daylilies with tiger lilies or commercial lily varieties, as some may be toxic. Make sure you have correctly identified the plant before eating it.

Dianthus

January Birth Flower, Birth Flowers, Birth Month Flowers, Birth Flower, Month Birth Flower, May Birth Flower, June Birth Flower, July Birth Flower

Most Dianthus flowers (carnations, pinks, and sweet william) are edible and have a pleasant spicy, light clove-like or nutmeg taste. Cooks often crystallize them with sugar for cake decorations, adding lovely visual appeal as a garnish to soups, salads, and summer drinks. Since the 17th century, carnation petals have served as a secret ingredient in the French liqueur Chartreuse.

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sisensis)

Tropical Hibiscus, Annual Hibiscus, Hibiscus Tree, Hibiscus Bush, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Prized for its beautiful flowers, people use Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) medicinally in China for various ailments. They consume both flowers and leaves as an exotic tea. The edible flowers, with their mild cranberry-citrus flavor, feature in salads across the Pacific Islands.

Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavandula x Intermedia Hidcote Giant, Lavender 'Hidcote Giant', Lavandin 'Hidcote Giant', Fat Spike Lavender 'Hidcote Giant' , Purple flowers, Drought tolerant plant, Summer blooms, Deer resistant plants, fragrant flowers

Lavender, renowned for its soothing fragrance and striking purple blooms, is also celebrated as a culinary delight. This versatile edible flower adds a hint of elegance and subtle floral flavor to many dishes. From infusing sugars and honeys to creating aromatic teas and lemonades, lavender’s distinctive taste enhances both sweet and savory recipes. Cooks sprinkle its dried buds over salads, bake them into bread, or blend them into desserts like ice creams and sorbets, offering a unique twist on traditional flavors. Beyond culinary uses, people value lavender for its therapeutic properties, as it promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being with its gentle, calming aroma. Incorporating lavender into your cooking not only elevates the dining experience but also brings a piece of the tranquil, aromatic garden into your home.

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Lilacs, Small Gardens, Fragrant Shrubs, Small Shrubs, Syringa vulgaris, Common Lilac, Dwarf Lilacs, Reblooming Lilacs

Hardy and vigorous, Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are terrific shrubs that reward us with an abundance of exquisitely scented flowers in mid-spring. The edible blossoms have a delicate, slightly bitter, lemony flavor with floral, pungent overtones. However, flavors vary depending on the cultivar, from no taste to a true floral lilac flavor. They make a beautiful garnish for salads and desserts.

Linden (Tilia)

Tilia, Linden, Lime, Basswood, American Linden,  American Lime, American lime, European Linden,   European Lime,  European,Caucasian Linden,  Caucasian Lime, Crimean lime

Linden (Tilia) are dense, deciduous trees adorned with heart-shaped leaves and clusters of creamy-white flowers in spring or summer. Their flowers have a sweet, honey-like flavor and are commonly made into tea. They contain antioxidants, and linden tea is often used for colds, coughs, and sore throats. Hives placed around some Tilia species yield a prized fragrant honey. The leaves are also edible. They taste like lettuce and are an excellent substitute for salads or sandwiches.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) 

Nasturtium, Tropaeolum, Nasturtiums, Common Nasturtium, Indian Cress, Garden Nasturtium, Orange Flowers, Red Flowers, Yellow Flowers, Annuals, Annual plant, deer resistant flowers

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is a popular trailing to upright annual plant that rewards you with months of summer blooms. Nasturtiums rank among the most common edible flowers. The delicate blossoms have a sweet, peppery taste similar to watercress. Leaves and unripe seed pods add a citrusy and peppery flavor to salads. Flower buds contain mustard oil and may be used for seasonings. The flowers add eye-catching beauty to the plate and can be used to garnish salads, platters, and savory dishes.

Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia)

Tagetes Tenuifolia,Marigold, Marigolds, American Saffron, Signet Marigold, Slender leaf Marigold, Striped Mexican Marigold, Lemon Gem, Orange Gem, Tagetes Signata, Annual, Annuals,

Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) is a showy, single-flowered marigold with small but profuse, richly colored blossoms that generously cover the finely divided lacy foliage. You will love running your fingers through the flowers and foliage to release their lemony fragrance as you walk by. The flowers are edible and have a citrus flavor. Mix the petals in salads or teas, and enjoy! This marigold can also be used as a substitute for saffron. It may be harmful in large amounts.

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Garden phlox, Perennial Phlox, Phlox paniculata

With its showy, sweetly fragrant flowers and long blooming season, Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a garden classic considered by many as the backbone of summer borders. The flowers have a slightly spicy and sweet taste. They are great in fruit salads and look beautiful when candied and added as a decoration to cakes or desserts. Not to be confused with the annual phlox that is not edible.

Rose

Edible Flowers, Roses, Red Roses, Pink Roses, Red Rose, White Roses, Rose Bushes, Heirloom Roses, Pink Rose

Unsurpassed in beauty and fragrance, Roses are a key element of the summer garden. All roses are edible, but those with the sweetest fragrance will likely have the most flavor. And the flavor is more pronounced in the darker varieties. Rose petals have a very aromatic, floral flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples, with overtones ranging from cinnamon to mint. They can be eaten raw and mixed into fruit or green salads. Rose petals can also be used in rose-infused beverages, jams, and jellies or added to sugar or butter.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflower Types, Annual Sunflowers, Perennial Sunflowers, Helianthus annuus, Helianthus salicifolius, Helianthus maximiliani, Helianthus occidentalis

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are fast-growing annuals boasting huge, brilliant flowers with yellow petals surrounding a dark chocolate central disk. These showstoppers are edible from flower to leaf to root if grown organically. The petals have a bittersweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw. The stalks taste like celery, and the young leaves are excellent when baked, sautéed, or added to salads. Unopened buds can be steamed like artichokes. Sunflower roots can be roasted, fried, steamed, or eaten raw in salads. Seeds are used widely in oils, snacks, and muesli.

Violet and Pansy

Viola x wittrockiana, Pansy, Garden Pansy, Shade plants, shade perennial, violet flowers, plants for shade, fragrant perennials

Invaluable for their winter, spring, or summer blooms, Violets and Pansies (Viola) are also the most popular edible flowers, adding beauty and flavor to dishes and drinks. They have a sweet, honey-vegetal taste and can be eaten fresh in salads and candied in desserts. They also make an excellent garnish for any dish and float beautifully on cocktails. Unlike many edible flowers, the entire flower can be eaten, not just the petals. The heart-shaped leaves are also edible and tasty when cooked like spinach.

Important Considerations Before Eating Any Flower

  • Not all flowers are edible. Some could make you very sick. Eat a flower if you are sure it is edible. Do not use non-edible flowers as a garnish to avoid confusion about what should be eaten on our plates.
  • Before eating a flower, check with a medical or plant professional.
  • Only edible flowers grown organically can be eaten. Never eat flowers grown with pesticides or chemicals. Choose plants labeled as ‘certified organically grown’ or, better yet, grow your own flowers from seed.
  • Plants from garden centers and nurseries may have been treated with fertilizers and pesticides.
  • For most edible flowers, it is best to eat the petals. Remove pistils, sepals, and stamens before eating. Violets and nasturtium can be entirely eaten.
  • Pick edible flowers at their peak freshness before they are fully open or starting to wilt. Harvest them the day they will be used.
  • Do not pick flowers from the side of the road. They may have been treated with chemicals or polluted by car emissions.
  • Use new edible flowers sparingly at first to avoid any digestive issues. Introduce new flowers into your diet in small quantities until you see how your body responds. Some people may have sensitivity or reactions to plants deemed safe to eat.
  • Pair flowers with food for complementary flavors.
  • When serving edible flowers fresh, add them to your dish just before serving.

Guide Information

Plant Type Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs
Genus Dianthus, Hemerocallis, Helianthus, Syringa, Tropaeolum, Viola, Calendula, Rosa, Phlox

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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