12 Edible Flowers (Yes, Edible!) You Can Grow in Your Own Garden

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edible flowers: a bowl of flowers.
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Those pretty annual flowers and perennials you planted can do more than add beauty and attract pollinators to your garden. Some can liven up your lunch, too. Edible flowers have been used in cooking for centuries, so you’ll be in good company with the ancient Romans, Queen Victoria and many other cultures if you snip off a few to make your dishes and drinks more attractive and appealing.

Typically, you’ll use the petals and flowers only, not stems or the inner parts of flowers, such as anthers and pistils, because they are bitter. Also, avoid picking flowers from the roadside or using those you buy at nurseries or florists. You have no idea if those have been treated with pesticides and chemicals, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And skip using chemicals in your own flower garden (the pollinators will thank you, too) as well. Finally, although many different flowers are edible, be sure to positively identify what you’re choosing to use. This is when the botanical name is helpful for selecting the right plant!

You can use edible flowers to top salads and soups, decorate cakes or freeze in ice cubes for gorgeous additions to iced tea and cocktails. Pick flowers fresh, rinse with cool water, then use. Or rinse and place small flower heads in ice cube molds. The ice cubes will last for several weeks in your freezer.

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Ahead, our favorite edible flowers you can grow in your own garden:

edible flowers pansy
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1. Pansy (Viola x. wittrockiana)

  • How Much Sunlight It Needs: full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight) but will tolerate afternoon shade, especially in hot climates
  • Flavor: strong, sweet floral

These annuals add brilliant color to the spring and fall garden. In cooler climates, they’ll hang on all summer, especially if you give them some shade. Some types self-sow and will pop up in your garden again next year. It’s a fun garnish for salads, baked goods, drinks and dinner plates.

edible flowers rose
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2. Rose (Rosa)

  • How Much Sunlight It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: sweet to bitter floral undertones

Remove the base of each flower, which is bitter, and use only the petals. They’re so pretty on baked goods or tossed on salads.

edible flowers lavender
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3. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • How Much Sunlight It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: lightly perfumed

Lavender needs full sun and good-draining soil, but the buds of this perennial are lovely baked in scones or added to iced tea or lemonade for a slightly floral-sweet flavor.

edible flowers borage
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4. Borage (Borago officinalis)

  • How Much Sunlight It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: cucumber

Borage is easy-to-grow from seed. Though it’s an annual, it readily self-seeds for subsequent years. Its fuzzy leaves aren’t appealing, but the bright blue flowers are gorgeous floated in cocktails or frozen in ice cubes.

edible-flowers: a bowl of flowers.
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5. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: spicy, peppery

Nasturtiums come in every color from hot pink to salmon, orange, red and yellow and are easy-to-grow from seed. They can be trained up a trellis or allowed to grow as a groundcover. Both the leave and flowers of this annual are edible. Add to fresh salads for a nice kick of flavor.

edible flowers chives
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6. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: strong onion

Of course, you know the foliage of chives are edible. But the purple or pink florets of this perennial herb also are edible. Take them apart and sprinkle petals on salads for an onion-y flavor, or use as a pretty garnish if they’re too strong for your taste.

edible flowers arugula
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7. Arugula (Eruca vesicaria)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: nutty, spicy

If you love growing arugula, you know its season can be short. Once it begins to warm up, the plant starts to “bolt,” or develop flowers. Don’t let them go to waste! Cut those flowers to top mixed green salads.

edible-flowers: basil plant.
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8. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: fresh, peppery, mild

Once your basil goes to flower in the heat of summer, don’t give up on it. Snip off the tiny white or pink flowers to use in soups or salads.

edible flowers dill
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9. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: fresh, somewhat citrusy and grassy

Dill is easy to grow from seed, but it tends to go to flower quickly, so don’t waste the blooms. Snip them off and use as you would the foliage on soups and salads, or mince and add to butter for use an herb spread, adding a dab to grilled fish or chicken.  

edible-flowers: a salad with orange flowers.
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10. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: Tangy

These bright orange annuals, also called pot marigold, have a slightly peppery flavor that goes well on salads. Just pinch off the petals for use. They grow easily from seed.

edible flowers squash blossoms
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11. Squash Blossoms (Cucurbita spp.)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: mild squash or floral flavor

Squash blossoms are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world and can sometimes be found in farmer’s markets. They’re often deep-fried or stuffed. But remember if you cut off the blossoms, you won’t yield any fruit later in the season—so plant a few extras so you’ll have plenty of blossoms and fruit.

edible flowers scarlet runner bean
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12. Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)

  • How Much Sun It Needs: full sun
  • Flavor: mild bean

This heirloom bean is easy to grow from seed and has the most gorgeous bright red blooms that hummingbirds love. It’s also a climber, so it will need a trellis for support. Of course, allowed to mature, you can pick the beans young and eat fresh, or let the pods get larger, then shell or dry them. But snip off a few blooms here and there to top salads.

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Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...