Flowers ! – it’s what’s for dinner !!!


a lovely summer salad !


It may be trendy, but it’s nothing new. For centuries, cultures around the world have brightened their recipes by adding flowers to dishes. In Roman times, for example, roses were used for cooking and flavoring food.


floral ice cubes – fun!


Some can be crystallized in sugar – my Grandmas’ favorite – crystallized rose petals ! Or you can add some to ice cubes, eat them in salads or used as decoration in fancy drinks, cakes and candy.


candied rose petals – easy to do !


Which are NOT safe to eat ?


But not every flower is edible – proceed with caution because several flowers, such as azaleas, buttercups, daffodils, delphinium and wisteria, just to name a few, are poisonous.

Remember to Identify the flower exactly and eat only those you are sure are edible. If you need help with that simply ask one of our Plant Specialists experts for advice! We know our flowers !!!


The stunningly beautiful but highly poisonous Delphinium





You should also go organic or grow your own – do not eat flowers treated with pesticides or other chemicals like most of those commercially sold in flower shops and grocery stores. – oh – and never harvest flowers growing by the roadside ! Plant Specialists will gladly grow them organically for you in your own garden !




Pick your flowers at a cool time of day; morning is often best. Remove the pistils and stamen, and be sure to wash petals carefully. Just to make sure there are no insects stuck inside your flowers.




There are many edible flowers !!!!! The common ones most of us know are broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes, oh and cloves! But it’s a VERY LONG LIST and includes many others – some with pictures!

Check it out below !

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) – licorice-scented, pinkish flowers borne in large umbels

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) – purple flowers with a mild licorice flavor 




Apple (Malus genus) – blossoms have an appealing but delicate flavor and scent

Arugula (Eruca vesicaria) – small, spicy, white or yellow flowers

Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) –  YUM!


yummy artichoke !


Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – white to lavender, and look stunning when sprinkled over pasta


white basil flowers


Bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) – flowers taste of mint with undertones of citrus and oregano


Bee Balm 


Begonia – Tuberous Begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida) – flowers with a slightly bitter to sharp citrus flavor

Begonia – Wax Begonia (B.semperflorens-cultorum) – Same as its cousin the tuberous one !

Borage (Borago officinalis) – blue, star-shaped flowers have a cooling taste reminiscent of cucumber

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – used instead of saffron to color rice, petals taste peppery

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – daisy-like flowers used fresh or dried to tea that tastes like apples

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) – white flowers borne in umbels with mild anise or licorice-like taste

Chicory (Cichorium endivia) – Endive ! Striking, sky-blue flowers for an earthy, endive-like flavor. The unopened flower buds can also be pickled like capers.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) – ball-like clusters of hundreds of little florets that can be separated and  scattered onto salads for color and a mild onion flavor


chive flowers


Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) – tall umbels of white flowers. These have an intensely herbal flavor

Citrus all citrus flowers blossoms have a mild delicate citrus flavor

Clover (Trifolium genus) – white flower heads have a sweet, mild licorice flavor

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) – these have a slightly spicy, clove-like flavor with a subtle sweetness

Crown daisy (Leucanthemum coronarium) – white daisy-like flowers with yellow centers, or flowers that are entirely  yellow. The petals of both types are edible and faintly tangy.     

Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) – pale Mustard flowers are always in fours with  a mild bitter flavor

Dandelion (Taxacum officinalis) – flower buds have a surprising sweetness, reminiscent of honey. The flower is edible as is the root and if you have eaten Horta in Greece then you have experienced the delicious leaf as well.

Day Lilies (Hemerocallis genus) – sweet, with a flavor resembling mild melon or cucumber

Dill (Anethum graveolens) – very small, yellow, and borne on tall umbels

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) – white flowers used as a tea for helping with cold symptoms

English Daisy (Bellis perennis) – have a bitter flavor, but are entirely edible


English daisies !


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – tall umbels of tiny yellow flowers with a mild licorice flavor

Fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrida) – extraordinary looking flowers have a slightly acidic flavor.


love love love


Garlic (Allium sativum) – pink to white, with florets that can be separated and inserted into salads for a mild garlic zing.  Flower stems can be sautéed in butter for an intense, early summer side dish.

Gladiola (Gladiolus communis) – flowers (anthers removed) have a nondescript flavor like lettuce

Geraniums (Pelargonium genus) – they have a sour citrus flavor

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) – have almost no flavor of their own, but look nice cut into salads   


so pretty 


Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) – Japanese honeysuckle is best, with its distinctly honey-like flavor Do  not eat the berries that follow as they are all poisonous

Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) – the petals are edible and have a surprisingly sweet taste


Impatiens flowers


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) –  sweet, intensely floral flavor of lavender – use with restraint

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) – have an intensely floral, almost perfume flavor with lemon undertones

Linden (Tilia americana) – pale yellow flowers dried to make tea for an upset stomach

Mint (Mentha genus) – edible flowers that may be sweet or lemons scented, or even with chocolate overtones depending on the type

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) – nasturtium have a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavor

Okra (Abelmoschus escultentus) – nutty asparagus like flavor

Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana ) – are edible and highly decorative, petals have little flavor, It has a grassy,  wintergreen undertone

Phlox (Phlox paniculata) – the tall perennial type – not the creeping one, bears pink flowers with five petals that have a pleasant, peppery flavor




Primrose  (Primula vulgaris) – is worth cultivating if only to tear its petals into a few summer salads


primula vulgaris


Rose  (Rosa genus) –  petals are intensely perfumed, their flavor is subtle and fruity, with complex undertones strawberries and green apples to mint to spice


 a salad bar ?


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – leaves contain more oil than the flowers, both similar in flavor

Sage (Salvia officinalis)  –  mild-sage flavor to salads or savory

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) – flowers have a strongly lemony flavor

Viola (Viola tricolor) – these don’t have a strong taste, but  they work well as a garnish, in a  salad, crystallized for use on cakes or deserts or in ice-cubes


johnnie jump ups 


Zucchini  (Cucurbita pepo) – harvest the male flowers (the ones on longer stems) fully opened. Delicious stuffed with ricotta, battered and fried in butter !!!!!!


zucchini flowers



Uncommon edible flowers


Durian flower (Durians genus) – the flower is light in smell, faintly sweet and fragrant

Banana Bud (Musa genus) – only the pale heart of the banana bud is eaten


banana bud


Bunga Kantan (Blue ginger flower)  – flowers are pink used as a decoration, buds are used in Malay dishes

Sesbania Flower – eaten across Asia, Larger ones stuffed with minced meat or seafood

Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana) – the petals puff up to form a puff of sweet marshmallow goodness



Have fun exploring !


Call Plant Specialists TODAY !

Our gardeners can plant your garden with all sorts of edible flowers!

Don’t delay – the sooner the better !






Article written by our Staff Horticulturist, Peter B Morris, BSc, MSc, MBA

All photographs used with permission from @SHUTTERSTOCK