19 Edible Flowers for Your Garden

Do you love the idea of using flowers in the kitchen but aren’t sure where to start? In this article, gardening expert and food lover Melissa Strauss shares 19 of her favorite flowers to use in the culinary arts.

Small violas in yellow, red, pink, and white adorn a green salad.


I can think of nothing else that makes a statement in the kitchen in the same way as edible flowers. There is something unexpected about the flavors. The idea of eating something so beautiful feels very elegant and refined.

Enjoying the delicate flavor of flowers is not something we do every day, which makes using them as food feel memorable and distinctive. A delicate tea cake with sugared flowers is evocative of taking tea in a Victorian parlor on a pristine velvet settee. It’s even better if the tea itself is made from flower petals or other ingredients from the garden!

Flowering plants are common in the culinary arts. Most of the vegetables and herbs that we eat come from flowering plants. There is something different about eating the flower that comes before the fruit or the flower that doesn’t produce a fruit at all. Here are 19 wonderful flowers that can be used in the kitchen to decorate and enjoy.


Close up of a single small daisy like flower with white petals surrounding a yellow center. The background is blurred with lush green leaves dappled and sunlight.
These small flowers are usually brewed in teas but can also be used as a garnish on baked goods or salad.
botanical-name botanical name Bidens spp.
genus genus Bidens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6”-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

If you want an abundance of small edible flowers that attract butterflies, I highly recommend planting some bidens in your yard. There are several different species of bidens, and they are very hardy little plants that bloom for a long time, typically from spring until frost. 

Bidens are perennial in zones 8-11 and can be grown as annuals elsewhere. Their small, daisy-like flowers come in shades of white, pink, yellow, and orange. These flowers are lovely for decorating cookies or other baked goods, sprinkled on a salad for a pop of color, or made into a soothing tea. 

The flavor of bidens flowers is described as green and rich and sometimes peppery and spicy. Some describe the flavor as resinous, and others as honey-like. Pollinators adore the Bidens alba species, a taller plant with small white flowers. Bidens are exceptionally sturdy and easy to grow. 

Butterfly Pea

Overhead view of a tall glass of dark blue tea set on a banana leaf. Floating in the tea, there are ice cubes and a single blue flower with a single large petal that has a white center and the smaller petal growing in the front. There is a small round dish with a lemon half in the center, Half way surrounded by more of these blue flowers, resting at the base of the glass. Next to the dish is a small cutting board with the other half of the lemon face down.
The indigo blooms of the butterfly pea make vibrant teas.
botanical-name botanical name Clitoria ternatea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Butterfly pea, also called Asian pigeonwing, is an edible flower with health benefits. The stunning indigo blooms have a velvety texture with a hint of yellow or white in the center. These pretty flowers can be used decoratively or combined with other flowers or leaves to make tea. 

The flavor of butterfly pea flowers is very mild, resembling a very weak green tea in flavor. While the flavor profile doesn’t bring much to the table, these flowers have several positive effects on the body. This addition to morning tea can help energize your body and influence digestion

Butterfly pea is easy to grow from seed and grows quickly. It is only perennial in zones 9-11 but can be grown in containers or as annuals elsewhere. Score your seeds and soak them overnight before planting to speed up the germination process.


Calendula adds a pop of color and a slightly bitter taste when used in a salad.
botanical-name botanical name Calendula officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Another plant with edible flowers and health benefits, calendula is a cheerful addition to the garden. It can be grown as a perennial in zones 9-11 and as an annual plant elsewhere. It grows easily from seeds and likes consistently moist soil. This species of calendula in particular is sometimes known as the “pot marigold” due to its shape and growth habit.

The most common colors for calendula flowers are orange and yellow, but they come in most warm colors, including some bi or tri-colored varieties. It has an easygoing nature and blooms consistently for about four months, depending on the time of year they are planted. 

The leaves and petals are edible and have a slightly bitter flavor that works well when added to salads. They make a lovely garnish as well. The flowers have a high anti-oxidant content and are considered an excellent natural anti-inflammatory agent. 


Close-up of a field of flowers that are each daisy-like in appearance with thin white petals that surround a large slightly cone-shaped, golden-yellow center. Each flower grows at the top of a thin long green stem. The sun shines brightly on the flowers.
The most popular use for chamomile is in tea as a calming sleep aid.
botanical-name botanical name Matricaria chamomilla L.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8”-24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

When I was a child, my mother grew chamomile in her garden to make a tea that was a sleepytime soother and an effective mosquito repellant. This herbaceous perennial is cold hardy to zone 4 and can tolerate the heat of summers in zone 9.

Chamomile can be grown from seeds, but planting divisions and starts is usually more effective. The flowers are small, white, and slightly fragrant. The flowers have a mild, slightly sweet, earthy flavor, while the leaves are grassy and slightly bitter.

Chamomile is often made into tea, which may help regulate blood pressure, reduce stress, and promote good sleep. It can be harvested repeatedly and preserved by drying or freezing it for future use. 


Close-up of an open blooming flower that grows from a three-leaf clover. The flower is globe-shaped with bright pink petals that fade to white as it nears the center. Another globe-shaped flower is in the blurred background but the petals are dried and browned.
The entire clover plant, including the flower, stems, seeds, and leaves, has culinary uses.
botanical-name botanical name Trifolium spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4”-8”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Clover is a wonderful plant that helps out the garden and the gardener. Clover plants are nitrogen-fixing. They draw nitrogen down into their roots, replacing the nutrients in the soil. This makes it a wonderful cover crop to prepare the garden for next season’s vegetables and flowers. 

Clover flowers are edible with a sweet flavor and are often used to make teas and jellies. The leaves, stems, and seeds are also edible and have a flavor similar to snap peas or green beans. The flowers of the red clover plant are especially nutritious, as they contain a host of nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, niacin, and potassium.

Clover makes an excellent ground cover and is shockingly frost-tolerant. Planting clover in the fall will mean green through the winter and flowers in the spring that provide a wonderful food source for pollinators. 


Three flowers growing among tall thin green blades of grass. Each of the three flowers is yellow with small but long and thin petals grow outward insert of a mop head fashion. A slightly thick green stems supports each flower head, and there are long shapely, green leaves that grow from the base of the stem.
Dandelion flowers and leaves are edible, and the roots are sometimes roasted as coffee substitutes.
botanical-name botanical name Taraxacum officinale
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Love them or hate them, dandelions are here to stay. No matter where you live, there is a pretty solid chance that these cheery little flowers will pop up in your yard at some point. But are they a nuisance or a blessing in disguise? 

Dandelions are exceptionally easy-to-grow perennials. A single plant can live up to 13 years and produce thousands of seeds. Not only are both the flowers and the leaves edible, but they offer some great health benefits, like stimulating the appetite and aiding in digestion, in addition to their known use as a diuretic. 

Dandelion greens are one of the most nutrient-dense greens, outperforming spinach and kale. They have a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that is delicious when sauteed with garlic and works well in salads. The flowers, unsurprisingly, taste mildly of honey. Even the roots of the plant are edible!


Close-up image of a sweet William or dianthus flower with velvety petals and a slightly textured surface. The edges of the pedals are slightly fringed and white as a splash of pink emerges from the center. The leaves are green, elongated, and narrow surrounding the flower.
These pretty little flowers are commonly found sweetened as cake decorations.
botanical-name botanical name Dianthus spp.
genus genus Dianthus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4”-36”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

The best-known Dianthus species are commonly called carnations, although pinks and sweet William are also part of the Dianthus genus. They like plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Because they are sometimes susceptible to fungal diseases, air circulation is important for these flowering plants. 

Dianthus flowers are fragrant, with a slightly spiced aroma. The petals, similarly, taste slightly of cloves and sweet florals. These flowers are typically eaten sugared and used to decorate cakes. They taste pleasant raw, and they hold the sugar well without wilting beneath the weight.

Don’t eat the foliage from the dianthus, though, as it is slightly toxic and can cause stomach upset. The base of the petals is not edible either and has a bitter flavor that serves as a warning to wildlife. 


Close up of two clusters of vibrant red flowers from overhead, standing out against the backdrop of lush, deep green leaves that have a unique shape and texture. Each blossom boasts five velvety-rich petals with distinctive darker veins.
In warm sunlight, geraniums exude an enticing, earthy fragrance that can also be tasted when used in the kitchen.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4”-48”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Scented geraniums are a favorite of mine where edible flowers are concerned. They come in bold, bright colors and have a wonderful flavor. While their flavor is similarly floral and sweet, with just a touch of green grass, some fragrant types have a lemony flavor.

Interestingly enough, what we call a scented geranium is one of a handful of Pelargonium species. While there is a genus called Geranium, and it’s also part of the Geraniaceae family, the scented geraniums we eat are Pelargoniums.

Both the leaves and flowers of scented geraniums are edible. They have a more distinctive flavor and aroma than many other edible flowers, so they are commonly used as a flavoring, as well as a decoration. There are many varieties to choose from in different color combinations and flower forms.

Scented geraniums need protection in winter, but if you keep them in containers and move them indoors during cold weather, they will act as perennials, blooming again in the spring. Give them moist, well-drained soil, and place your geraniums in a sunny spot for the greatest flower production.

One thing to be aware of: while humans can eat scented geraniums, our pets should not. Geranium flowers can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.


Close up of two tropical flowers growing from above and pointing slightly downward. Each flower has five large rounded petals that start off bright red at the center, then fade to a buttery yellow toward the slightly wrinkled edges. A long stamen erupts from the center. The foliage is dense with large green leaves.
All parts of the hibiscus plants are edible.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 20′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-12

There are cold-hardy and tropical species of hibiscus, each one more beautiful than the next. If you have a hibiscus shrub, you probably know that animals like to snack on these tasty plants. All plant parts are edible, but the flowers are the most commonly consumed part. 

Hibiscus flowers are large, colorful, and sweet. Hibiscus tea is popular in many parts of the world and is known for its sweet and floral aroma and flavors. By far, the most common variety for consumption is roselle, botanically known as Hibiscus sabdariffa, but other hibiscus can be consumed as well.

The portion of the flower known as the roselle is the portion of the flower left behind after the petals fall that is made up of the calyx of the flower and the resulting fruit from the pollinated flower. Roselles are often used in the culinary world for their sweet and tart flavor. They are beautiful as well. 


A bush with silver green foliage forms a graceful mound, from which countless slender, aromatic spikes emerge. Each flower is a purple hue and grows at the tip of each stem. In the background, there's a blurred bush covered in bright yellow flowers.
Fragrant and beautiful lavender has many culinary uses.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Lavender is my favorite edible flower to add to baked goods. I have a wonderful recipe for lemon lavender shortbread cookies that always go over well with guests. Even children who are often selective about new flavors love these tasty treats. 

Lavender plants can seem tricky until you think about how they grow naturally. In their native environments, lavender plants grow in rocky and sandy soil that is not nutrient-rich. They get very little water and a lot of sun exposure. Plant your lavender in a sunny spot, in poor soil, and only water it until it is established. No fertilizer is needed; it can inhibit blooming. 

The scent of lavender is calming, and the flowers have the same effect when ingested. This flavor works exceptionally well paired with tangy citrus to balance the savory aroma of the lavender. Of the varied lavender species, Lavandula angustifolia is by far the most popular for culinary use.


Close up of delicate, cascading clusters of lilac blossoms that drape downward in an elongated cone shape. Each customer is made up of tiny, four-petaled flowers with an orange center.
The sharp and bitter flavor of lilac can be used in cream-based desserts or to flavor milk.
botanical-name botanical name Syringa spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Another flowering tree that evokes fond childhood memories for me is the lilac tree. Lilacs are best known for their stunning clusters of fragrant purple flowers. The scent of lilacs is so strong that it carries on the breeze and can be smelled from quite a distance. 

Lilac flowers are not only beautiful and fragrant, they are also edible! They are very popular among pollinators as well. If you plucked a lilac flower from the tree and popped it in your mouth, you might be surprised at the flavor. 

Lilac flowers are bitter and sharp tasting, which is a contrast to their wonderful fragrance. While the flavor can be a bit overpowering when eaten raw, lilacs make beautiful jellies. They are often used to flavor milk and cream-based desserts. 


Close up of vibrant yellow marigold flowers. Their bright, cheerful petals are akin to golden flames, surrounding a central, velvety core. These flowers stand on slender green stems. Their elongated leaves form an emerald backdrop.
The cheerful hues of marigold flowers brighten up a salad and can be used to add a pop of color as a culinary garnish.
botanical-name botanical name Tagetes patula and Tagetes erecta
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6”-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Marigolds are a deterrent for pests in the vegetable garden. You may see these flowers decorating an ofrenda during Dia de los Muertos, a celebration that honors one’s deceased ancestors in many countries, like Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, and Brazil, among others.

The flowers represent the sun and are placed on the ofrenda for their cheerfulness, as well as their strong fragrance, which helps lead the deceased back home to celebrate with their families. It is a magical tradition, and this flower is at the center of it.

Marigolds aren’t just beautiful and fragrant. They are also edible – well, two species, at least, as both French and African marigolds are safe to eat. Their brilliant yellow, orange, and red petals look beautiful when scattered over a green salad. The flavor is a bit citrusy, with a touch of peppery spice on the finish. 


Close up of a Nasturtium plant that is adorned with vibrant orange blossoms that radiate a warm, summery glow in the evening sunlight. It's deeply lobed round leaves contrast the fiery trumpet-shaped flowers.
These edible flowers are often cherished for their peppery, tangy flavor.

botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

One of the most cheerful plants in the garden is the nasturtium. These delicate, brightly colored flowers and their small, bouncing, lilypad-like leaves are commonly used as a lure to keep pests away from vegetable gardens and simply for their visual appeal. They also happen to be edible. 

The entire nasturtium plant is edible from the roots to the stems, leaves, and flowers. The plant is packed with healthy Vitamin C and is delicious, raw and cooked. Though they might look sweet and delicate, the flavor of nasturtium flowers is quite peppery and flavorful. 

Nasturtiums like to be planted in full sun, and they enjoy moist soil. There are many different varieties. The orange shades may be the most common, but they also come in pinks and purples. Try ‘Purple Emperor,’ which is a wonderful trailing variety. 


Close up of a round white dish placed on a white surface speckled with gray. The dish holds a silver fork on the left and a silver spoon on the right. In the center is a serving of purple rice. A beautiful orchid with five large petals rests on top of the dish. The flower is white in the center and bright pink at the edges. Two green leaves rest on each side of the flower.
These beautiful flowers are often used to decorate a dish.
botanical-name botanical name Many orchid species, particularly Dendrobium spp., Epidendrum spp, and Vanilla planifolia
genus genus Orchidaceae
sun-requirements sun requirements Varies widely
height height Varies widely
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-9

Orchids are a huge and diverse group of plants that span many continents, climates, environments, and sizes. Their flowers, however, have something in common. They are all edible and beautiful. While dendrobiums and epidendrums are often the most popular edible orchid flowers, don’t forget that one of our favorite flavors is also produced by an orchid: Vanilla planifolia produces the only edible orchid fruit!

Orchids are commonly used as garnishes to beautify a plate but can be added directly to dishes as well. Most species have a flavor that is similar to a leafy vegetable. They are mild, crisp, light, and fresh, so they are great for eating raw, which also maintains their beauty.

Orchids can be fairly difficult to cultivate, and they have a wide range of needs. They also only flower once or a maximum of two times yearly. Many types only produce a single flower or a single stalk of flowers, so it might be difficult to cut these pretty flowers off to eat them. 


Close up of several dainty flowers that each feature a face-like bloom with five rounded, velvety petals. Each flower is violet in color with a splash of yellow toward the bottom. They each grow a top fin green stems with lush velvety leaves that grow from the base of the plant. The background is blurred and brown.
One of the most common floral culinary garnishes is the pansy.
botanical-name botanical name Viola x wittrockiana, Viola x williamsiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6”-12”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

Pansies are a very popular flower among pastry chefs for their bright, varied colors and slightly sweet and mild flavor. While they don’t taste like much, they sure are nice to look at. I’ve seen the most wonderful sugared pansies decorating cakes and cookies. I’ve even used them a few times to decorate my lemon lavender shortbread cookies. 

Making sugared pansies is a cinch. Paint them with sugar water and sprinkle some dry sugar on top, and voila! It is a culinary masterpiece. These pretty flowers make a very impressive dessert table. 

Pansies like cooler weather. They prefer the morning sun and some shade in the afternoon and will tell you quickly if they get too much heat. When pansies are hot, they tend to wilt. Give your pansies extra water to get through a warm snap.

If you can’t find Viola x wittrockiana or Viola x williamsiana, have no fear – a few other Viola species are edible as well. So, if you can’t find the ideal pansies, consider V. odorata, V. hybrida, V. tricolor, and V. cornuta, all of which are edible violas closely related to pansies!


common purslane blooms with small yellow flowers, dotted with rain.
This hearty and drought-resistant plant is often adorned with edible leaves known for their slightly tart, lemony flavor.
botanical-name botanical name Portulaca oleracea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4”-8”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Here is another edible plant from the roots to the seeds. It is a semi-succulent that is very tough and resilient as long as you can keep the squirrels and rabbits away. 

Purslane leaves can be eaten raw and are usually consumed as a leafy green, as this is their relative flavor profile. The flowers are edible as well and come in a multitude of different colors and petal formations. The flavor is a bit salty and sour.

The semi-succulent nature of this plant means that it is very low maintenance. Purslane likes plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures. It is very forgiving if you forget to water it, although it will bloom better if it gets more water. Just make sure it has good drainage to avoid root rot. 


Close up of a light pink rose with gently unfurling petals covered in drops of water. The green leaves in the back ground also are covered and drops of water.
Romantic, fragrant, and slightly fruity roses have several culinary uses.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height Varies widely
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-11

Roses are edible as well as beautiful and are commonly used to make jams, teas, and baked goods. They come in so many wonderful colors, and although they are not typically eaten whole, they have a distinctive flavor that is quite recognizable. 

Roses have different flavors, with darker varieties typically being the boldest. Some roses have fruity flavors similar to strawberries or apples. Some have a lingering finish ranging from minty and herbal to spicy or fruity. And of course, people have been enjoying the rose hips in teas for centuries, too.

Roses are sometimes considered difficult to cultivate, but there are many hardy and low-maintenance options. Even a beginner can have wonderful results with a rose bush if it is the right one for their climate. 

Squash Blossom

Overhead view of a round wooden cutting board with five squash Blossoms and grated cheese. Each of the five squash blossoms is only slightly open, the petals golden orange in color with green veins running up the center of each petal. A slender green stem comes from each flower. There is a black round bowl of flour at the top left of the image, and a cheese grater with an orange handle just beneath it.
Slightly battered and deep-fried, squash blossoms make an excellent appetizer.
botanical-name botanical name Cucurbita spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12”-40”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Squash blossoms are perhaps a more surprising entry on the list, as removing the blossoms from the squash plant reduces the number of squash the plant produces greatly. However, as squash plants produce abundant beautiful flowers, it probably won’t hurt to remove a few occasionally. And if you have a bunch of male flowers, once you’ve pollinated the females, you can eat all the male flowers to your heart’s content!

Squash is easy to grow, and if you can keep the critters away, the fruits they produce are delicious. To protect your squash from roaming rodents, Critter Cages work wonders. Plenty of sunlight and water will have your squash plants blooming profusely. 

Squash blossoms have a mild taste similar to the squash it produces. They are divine when battered and deep-fried. They have a delicate texture that contrasts nicely with the crunch of the batter.  


Field of bright and cheery yellow flowers that stand very tall. Each flower has a large brown center that is surrounded by elongated and delicate golden yellow petals and grows at the tip top of the tall and sturdy green stem.
The seeds of sunflowers are often eaten raw, roasted, or processed into an oil, and the flowers are also edible.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 25′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Everyone knows that sunflower seeds are edible and quite tasty when roasted and salted. Birds also love them, and leaving your seedheads out over the winter will attract overwintering songbirds from near and far. 

The leaves and flowers of the sunflower plant are edible as well. The leaves have a similar flavor to other leafy greens, while the flower petals have a bittersweet flavor. Leaves and flowers can be added to salads, sauteed with oil, or dried and steeped into a soothing tea.

Sunflowers are easy to grow, and their sprouts are another great way to eat these plants. They are high in protein and B vitamins, in addition to being a great source of amino acids. The name says it all when it comes to growing sunflowers. They love the sun as much as they can get.

Final Thoughts

Next time you’re out in the garden with the flowers, pluck a blossom from one of these plants and try it. You might be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised by the different flavors and textures of these most lovely plant parts. The next time you bake a lemon cake, toss a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers in the batter. I promise you won’t regret it!

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