Lorri is an avid Australian gardener and author who has written an extensive list of the best
edible flowers to grow in Australia, many of which can also be grown here in the US.
You can find her article below:
Today, she would like to share 10 of the easiest edible flowers to grow in the USA along with
some cooking and growing tips to make your venture into at-home sustainable gardening as
fruitful and enjoyable as possible.
10 Easiest Edible Flowers to Grow in the USA
1. Nasturtium – Tropaeolum spp.
Nasturtiums are colorful annuals that are easy to grow from seeds and are available in trailing and upright varieties that sport beautiful blooms in orange, red and yellow.
The leaves and flowers are edible, both of which feature a pleasant peppery taste that works brilliantly as a colorful garnish for salads and soups, outshining even rocket or radish leaves. The flavor will also compliment homemade butters, spreads or infused vinegar very well.
Start seeds indoors until germination then transplant them into the garden bed or a container outdoors in spring once the risk of frost has passed. Full sun and moist, well-draining soil are ideal.
2. Lavender – Lavandula Angustifolia
While all species of lavender are edible, this species is the best to use for cooking. The blooms feature a distinctive floral taste with hints of rosemary and mint.
The blooms will need to be hung and dried before use. They make fantastic additions to marinades, desserts, drinks and jellies. Add some flowers to sugar for an elevated baking experience. Be sure to use lavender sparingly as it can quickly become overpowering.
Lavenders prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sun so the garden bed will be the best position to grow lavender at home.
3. Marigolds – Tagetes Tenuifolia, Tagetes Lucida
Notorious as some of the best edible flowers, these two specific marigold species are the most palatable of the genus. The blooms boast a lovely citrusy floral flavor with hints of peppery notes.
Marigold flowers are great used as a salad garnish to add a pleasant tartness. They can also be frozen in ice cubes, sprinkled over egg-based dishes or used simply to add color to dishes.
Position outdoors in your garden bed in a spot that gets full sun with some afternoon shade, especially in the summer months. Loamy, moist, well-draining soil is preferred.
4. Cornflower – Centaurea Cyanus
Cornflowers feature brilliant blue blooms with a sweet and spicy flavor accompanied by a slight medicinal zing. They will lose their flavor when cooked so they are best used sprinkled over meals as a garnish. The blossoms can also be added to salads or used to decorate festive cakes.
These annuals are easily grown from seed and they will grow well in containers or the garden bed positioned in full sun locations outdoors.
5. Borage – Borago Officinalis
Featuring flower petals that have a cucumber-like flavor, this plant’s petals can be used to add zest and freshness to salads, soups and desserts which can even be accompanied by their nectar if you pick them early in the morning.
Be sure to remove the hairy inner parts of the flowers and use only the petals.
Plant in deep containers and place outdoors in a full sun position. Borage is tolerant of many soil types.
6. Begonia – Begonia x Tuberhybrida, Begonia Cucullata
These two tuberous varieties of Begonia are superior for eating as non-tuberous varieties can be toxic. The completely edible blooms have a tart, lemon-like flavor with a crisp texture, perfect in salads or used as a garnish.
They perform best in containers placed outdoors in full sun to partial shade. Well-drained soils are ideal. Be sure to keep the mix lightly moist but never soggy.
7. Pansies – Viola Tricolor
Pansies or violas have wonderfully spicy lettuce flavors that work brilliantly paired with sweeter dishes as they can help cut through sugars and syrups.
The dainty blooms also look fantastic on top of cookies and cakes. You can even sprinkle a few petals onto summer salads for added texture and flavor.
Plant into your garden bed in full sun to a partially shaded position in late winter. Moist, well-draining soil is preferred.
8. Dianthus – Dianthus spp.
Also known as Pinks or Carnations, these iconic lapel flowers feature a delicately sweet and spicy flavor profile with hints of cloves and pepper.
When preparing carnations for eating, be sure to remove the base of the flowers and just use the petals and intact stamens. The petals are incredible in salads or mixed into bean burgers and falafels.
Plant in your garden bed or containers outdoors. Full sun and well-draining, slightly alkaline soils are ideal.
9. Lilacs – Syringa Vulgaris
This species of lilac has one of the most iconic fragrances and when prepared properly, the flowers can add that same fragrance to summery drinks and desserts.
It is not recommended to eat the flowers raw as they are extremely bitter. Rather, stew or steep them in water first to bring out the full spectrum of flavors.
Garden bed planting is recommended in a full sun position. Loamy, well-drained soil is preferred for the best growth.
10. Hibiscus – Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis
These large and vibrant flower petals can be eaten raw or dried. They feature a subtly sweet and tart, almost cranberry-like flavor ideal for use in infused drinks like ice teas, cocktails and herbal teas.
Alternatively, the blooms also pair very well with ice cream and other desserts.
Container or garden growing is fine as long as the plant receives full sun to partial shade. Use rich, moist and well-draining soil for the best results.
Wrapping Up Our Edible Flowers Guide
So, there you have it, 10 gorgeous edible flowers you can grow without much hassle in your garden.
Not only will these vibrant flowers add lovely color to your outdoor spaces but they will also boost your cooking experience at home and help to elevate many of your dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Be sure to find the perfect edible flowers for your needs and start enjoying a delicious and sustainable gardening experience.
Hi, I’m Lorri Hopkins from South Australia and am an author on Aussie Green Thumb. I have been growing beautiful Australian plants, fruits and flowers for as long as I can remember. Sharing that passion with my kids has made it all the more special to me. Farm-to-table gardening is my forte and I’m grateful to be able to share what I’ve learned with other enthusiasts on this platform.