Growing herbs in your garden doesn’t just have to be about cooking, spices or medicinal uses. Many of these practical plants can also be quite beautiful and showy. Many flowering herbs sport gorgeous blooms that can add variation and color to your herb garden. Blooming herbs come in many shapes, sizes, and shades and brighten any yard.
Take a look at some of these blooming herb choices, and add a few to your yard or garden. Even if you don’t cook with them, you’ll love the way they look.
Don’t miss our complete list of herbs from A to Z.
- Gorgeous Purple Blooming Herbs
- Striking Red and Yellow Flowering Herbs
- Daisy-Like Flowers
- Learn more about herbs:
- Flowering herbs
- 10 unusual ornamental herbs to grow
- Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
- Australian mint bush (Prosanthera rotundifolia)
- Creeping pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- Curled mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa)
- Dittany (Dictamnus)
- Hedge germander (Teucrium x lucidrys)
- Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium yezoense var. hidakanum ‘Purple Rain’)
- Pygmy borage (Borago pygmaea)
- Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
- Woad (Isatis tinctoria)
- More unusual herbs to grow
- What to Do With All That . . . Dill
- How to Use Dill Flowers
- Dill HerbCompanion Plant & Traps PestsTreats – Gas, Indigestion, Colicky Baby
- Trap Crop For Pest Control
- Why You Will Love To Eat Dill
- Grow Dill Herb
- IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
- Are you looking for more information on edible flowers? Check out these books on Amazon:
- Start cooking with your own edible flowers
- How To Choose Edible Flowers – Edible Flower Chart:
- Related posts:
Gorgeous Purple Blooming Herbs
Probably the most well-known of all herbs with beautiful blooms is lavender. The most popular version of this shrub-like herb boasts spikes of deep purple flowers; however, colors of other varieties can range from white to pink to deep blue hues.
Lavender is hardy and drought-resistant once established. It does well in a garden or container and makes a great pop of color in a flowerbed. Its shrub-like shape also lends well to small borders or hedges. Lavender plants prefer well-draining soil and full sun.
Known for its fragrance, lavender produces blooms that can be dried and used in flower arrangements, perfumes, soaps, lotions, candles, potpourri, beverages, and sauces. The perennial blossoms throughout the summer, and faded flowers can be trimmed to encourage further blooming.
Rosemary is a shrub-like evergreen that consists of dark green needle-like leaves that resemble fir or spruce trees. In the summer, the rosemary plant blooms with small white or purple flowers that add bright pops of color to the green of the bush.
Though it is a perennial, rosemary does not do well outdoors in the winter. Plants should be brought inside before the first winter frost. For this reason, rosemary thrives best in containers so it is not being constantly uprooted when the time comes to move indoors.
Once inside, the rosemary will do best in a sunny, cool spot. Rosemary has a tendency to dry out, so keep it away from vents and heaters that could further dry out the plant.
Rosemary is widely used in cooking. The leaves can be stripped from the branches to add to marinades, sauces, and seasoning blends. The leaves can also be dried and stored, frozen in water, or infused into oil for later use.
Chives grow similar to other members of the allium family, such as onions and garlic. Sprouting in bunches from bulbs, this herb can grow to be a foot tall. In summer chives sprout round, pinkish-purple blooms. The flowers of chive plants look whimsically like small puffballs of purple fuzz.
The perennial will do well indoors or out as long as plants get full sun. Be aware that chives can spread and take over a garden if the flowers are not removed from the plants before they fade and fall off allowing them to seed. That should be no problem, however, because chives are delicious and grow and taste best when cut for use throughout the season. They can be used in salads, dips , cheeses, and to flavor many other dishes. The flowers can even be used as an edible decoration.
Catmint is another herb variety with bluish-purple blooms. The flowers grow throughout summer and can be cut back to encourage further blossoming.
Though catmint does not have culinary or medicinal uses, the blooms can be trimmed and added to flower arrangements for their pretty purple color. This herb makes a great addition to any garden. It does well as a border plant in well-draining areas, and much as its name suggests, it may attract a few new feline friends to your garden.
Spearmint boasts spikes of light purple, nearly lilac-colored, flowers in the summer. These spikes of flowers can grow to four inches long and are beautiful in combination with the bright green leaves of the mint plant.
Spearmint does well in partially draining to well-draining soil. Once established, spearmint is invasive and very quick to spread and take over a garden. Because of this tendency, many gardeners suggest growing it in hanging baskets or containers. It is possible to keep control of spearmint out in the garden, but it requires constant vigilance to keep the persistent plant from taking over. Spearmint leaves can be dried and used in teas and other recipes.
Striking Red and Yellow Flowering Herbs
Herbs with bright blooms not only add color to your landscape but can help attract pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The presence of these creatures to help pollinate your plants can be extremely beneficial—not to mention, they’re a lot of fun to watch as they flit between flowers.
Pineapple sage can add shocking red bursts of color to your garden. Named for the pineapple-like scent the plant gives off, this variety of sage also produces tall shoots or bright red flowers in late summer through the fall. So when most of your flowering herbs are at the end of their blooms, pineapple sage will rise up, bringing color and vitality to your herb garden throughout the fall.
The leaves can be used as a garnish, dried, or included in teas. The red flowers are even edible and can be used in flower arrangements, salads, teas, and as a garnish.
The bright red blooms will also attract the attention of hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden to help with pollination. Pineapple sage prefers full sun and well-draining soil. The soil should be kept moist but never soggy.
Yarrow is an easy, no-fuss perennial herb that blooms into packed clusters of yellow, pink, or red flowers. Yarrow is drought-resistant. It is also resistant to most pests. Its brightly colored flowers are good for attracting butterflies and honey bees to your garden.
Yarrow prefers hot and dry areas, so full sun is ideal. Yarrow will not do well in wet soil, so be careful not to overwater. Yarrow is believed to have calming qualities and can be brewed in a tea. It can also be used to treat skin conditions, such as sunburns.
Dill is an herb that can be used in many ways in the kitchen. Often used as in a seasoning or used to add flavors to things like salads and cheese, but most notably in the pickling of cucumbers to create delicious dill pickles.
Dill is an annual herb that produces tall clusters of bright yellow flowers. Dill does well in the garden or containers and prefers full sun. It needs to be planted in well-draining soil, and you will want to let the soil dry between watering to ensure you are not overwatering.
Echinacea, also known as coneflower, has large domed daisy-like blooms that can come in a range of white, pink, and even yellow. The plants grow one to two feet tall and bloom through the summer. Once the flowering herb petals fade and are shed, the center domes remain through the fall to add russet and copper colors to your garden. The bright blooms of this perennial are great for attracting pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, to your garden.
Echinacea plants do well in light shade or full sun. They are resilient and drought-resistant but prefer adequate soil moisture. Echinacea is a medicinal herb that can be used to treat skin conditions and rashes by adding it to potions or creams. It can also be used internally to boost the immune system by brewing it in a tea.
To add beautiful and simple daisy-like blooms among your herbs and plants, add chamomile and feverfew into the mix.
Chamomile boasts small white flowers with yellow centers that look just like miniature daisies. Chamomile comes in two varieties, Roman chamomile or German chamomile. The blooms on both plants are similar. The difference between the two varieties is how they grow.
Roman chamomile grows low like a groundcover and is a perennial, whereas German chamomile grows taller, is more bush-like, and is an annual. The two flowering herb varieties, though different in appearance, grow well under the same conditions. The herb thrives best in cooler conditions, so part shade is ideal, but chamomile also thrives in sun, as it likes dry soil. Like many other herbs, it is drought resistant and doesn’t require much upkeep. Chamomile is believed to have calming properties, and the flowers can be used in a tea to help you sleep.
Feverfew, like chamomile, has small white blooms with yellow centers. It looks so much like chamomile that the two flowering herbs are often be mistaken for one another. It has many medicinal qualities and can be used to treat fevers, cramps, common colds, and even migraine headaches. All parts of the plant can be harvested to be used to help with these ailments.
Feverfew does well in the garden or in containers. It is happiest in partial to full sun and requires regular watering. The soil for feverfew should never be completely dry.
These beautiful herbs can add an array of blooms and colors to any herb garden, container garden, or flower garden. In the sea of green leaves that is usually associated with growing herbs, these plants offer a brighter variation. Their beauty combined with their usefulness makes them the perfect one-two punch for any gardener looking to create a visually stunning and practically beneficial garden to work in.
Shellie Elliott is a freelance writer and new mom based in Dallas, TX. She grew up gardening with her grandmother and has worked as a florist. She is currently obsessed with cacti and container gardening in small spaces.
Learn more about herbs:
How to grow rosemary
Essential herbs you should grow at home
How to grow feverfew
How to grow chamomile
How to grow chives
10 Ornamental Herbs
Last updated on 3 November 2016
These flowering herbs make a gorgeous addition to flower beds. As a bonus, they’re low maintenance, drought tolerant and beneficial in the garden
With its bright, cheerful orange and yellow flowers, calendula is sunshine in a blossom. A compact annual, it grows to about 60cm high and blooms profusely.
Planting pointers: This versatile, spicy herb is easy to grow and flowers from late autumn throughout winter into early summer. It grows well with pansies.
Growing tips: Grow it from seed in full sun to semi-shade in well-drained soil. It likes being planted in big groups. It will self-seed but never becomes a problem plant.
Uses: Known as ‘poor man’s saffron’, the flowers colour food yellow and have a spicy, tangy flavour, similar to saffron. Although calendula has a wide range of medicinal uses, from an astringent to a menstrual regulator, it’s primarily used in creams as an anti-inflammatory and to heal cuts, stings, rashes and fungal conditions.
Lavender is a popular and ancient herb. With its grey-green spiky leaves and wide range of flowers, it adds interest, colour and fragrance to a flower garden.
Planting pointers: This hardy perennial flowers nearly all year round. It likes full sun and is drought tolerant.
Growing tips: Grow lavender from seed in seed trays or purchase young plants. It dislikes being damp and if its roots are constantly wet it could die. Plant it in well-drained soil with plenty of space for air circulation. Prune in early spring, cutting back about 8cm of the growth.
Uses: Lavender flowers and leaves are delicious in baked goods, jams, jellies and cordials – it’s strongly flavoured so use it sparingly. The flowers are used medicinally in infusions, creams and oils to calm and soothe.
With attractive daisy-like white flowers and insect-repelling properties, feverfew is both pretty and useful.
A perennial, it grows to 60cm high and flowers from spring through to early autumn.
Planting pointers: Feverfew grows easily from seed and will self-seed in the places it likes best. It prefers well-drained soil in full sun. It works well in informal gardens and its clusters of white flowers balance the stronger colours of flowers such as pink phlox and chrysanthemums.
Growing tips: In very hot weather, keep it well watered. It dies back over winter in colder areas but springs up in warmer weather.
Uses: This extremely bitter herb is more often used medicinally. As its name suggests, one of its uses is to reduce fevers, although it is more commonly used in infusions to treat migraines and headaches associated with menstruation.
With its feathery leaves and clusters of flowers ranging from white and pale pink to deep crimson, yarrow adds delicate splashes of colour to the garden.
Planting pointers: An upright perennial, it grows to about 60cm high and flowers from late spring through to early autumn. Yarrow accumulates nutrients and recycles them, improving soil quality and benefiting all nearby plants. It combines well with grey plants such as Dusty Miller.
Growing tips: A hardy plant, it likes full sun. Other than needing plenty of moisture while becoming established, it can survive dry spells. It is easier to propagate by division or seedlings than from seed.
Uses: The young flowers and buds can be added to salads and stir-fries. The flowers contain powerful anti-allergenics making them a useful treatment in infusions for bronchial problems, hay fever and asthma.
Ranging from golden orange to pale cream, the versatile California poppy adds glowing sunny colour to an informal cottage garden.
Planting pointers: This hardy plant flowers from spring to early summer and again in autumn and winter. Sow in situ in spring or autumn in full sun.
It grows well with geraniums and scented pelargoniums.
Growing tips: It is an easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant perennial that grows to about 60cm high in all types of soil. It will self-seed without becoming invasive.
Uses: The edible petals can be added to salads. The whole plant has sedative qualities. Use it in infusions to treat nervous conditions, especially insomnia. It is also a pain reliever, particularly for toothache.
Adapted from Jane’s Delicious Herbs (Sunbird Publishers) janesdeliciousgarden.com
10 unusual ornamental herbs to grow
Many of us grow herbs for their culinary medicinal value – but why not grow herbs that also look good in the garden too?
Despite the popularity of sun- and heat-loving herbs like lavender and rosemary, there are many herbs that can be grown in shady aspects, too, so you can achieve beautiful borders and containers in sun or shade.
- Eight shade-loving herbs to grow
- How to divide supermarket herbs
- Culinary herbs to grow
At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we asked growers to highlight some of their favourite ornamental herbs, which offer attractive foliage and/or flowers. Find out more, below.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Bright green Angelica flowers
This architectural plant, which can exceed 2m in height, is equally at home in the border or the herb garden. Angelica archangelica prefers, moist, humus-rich soil in dappled shade. Its stems and roots are edible.
Australian mint bush (Prosanthera rotundifolia)
Purple-flowering Australian mint bush
In late spring, this tender shrub is smothered in bell-shaped, purple flowers. Its foliage has a very strong menthol smell, and the leaves can be used in oils and infusions. Prostanthera rotundifolia reaches around 2m tall and needs protection in a cool greenhouse over winter.
Creeping pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Creeping pennyroyal foliage
This tiny, low-growing mint looks lovely planted in cracks in a pathway, and is said to repel ants and mice. It’s similar to spearmint and has purple-lilac flowers in summer. In Spain creeping pennyroyal is traditionally added to black pudding and to sausages.
Curled mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa)
Crinkle-edged leaves of curled mint
This unusual mint has smaller leaves than other mints, with attractive, curly-edged leaves. It has a spearmint flavour and can be used in mint sauces, desserts and drinks. It produces small spikes of lilac flowers in summer. Grow curled mint in shade and keep well watered.
White dittany flowers
Dittany is known as the gas plant or burning bush, as a flammable gas can evaporate from it in hot weather. This hardy perennial has spikes of white or pale purple flowers. It’s a good border plant and likes a sunny spot. The roots were traditionally used to treat skin conditions.
Hedge germander (Teucrium x lucidrys)
Textural hedge germander foliage
This shrub is often used in knot gardens, as it responds well to clipping in spring or autumn, and can make a good alternative to box. It also makes a good hedge and has purple-pink flowers in summer. Hedge germander can be used to flavour liqueurs, vermouths and tonic wines.
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium yezoense var. hidakanum ‘Purple Rain’)
Purple flowering Jacob’s Ladder ‘Purple Rain’
Jacob’s Ladder used to be used for all kind of medicinal purposes but today, it’s mostly grown as an ornamental. This variety has unusual bronze leaves and bright blue flowers and makes an excellent border plant.
Pygmy borage (Borago pygmaea)
star-shaped white flowers of dwarf borage
Borage can reach a quite a size in the garden, so if space is at a premium, try this dwarf variety, which reaches 30cm x 30cm. The star-shaped blue or white flowers have a cucumber taste and can be added to summer drinks and salads. Bees adore it.
Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
Salad burnet in bloom
This semi-evergreen perennial has small, red, globe-shaped flowers and leaves that have a cucumber flavour – use it in salads. Salad burnet does best in sun or partial shade and makes a great border filler. If you’re growing it for its foliage, remove the flowering shoots.
Woad (Isatis tinctoria)
A mass of tiny yellow woad flowers
This hardy perennial has a froth of yellow flowers in late spring that are reminiscent of oil seed rape or rocket flowers. It’s a member of the brassica family and reaches 3-4ft so is good for the back of the border. Woad roots used to be fermented to make a blue dye.
More unusual herbs to grow
Puple shiso leaves
- Shiso (pictured) – also called perilla. A sun-loving herb with a flavour that combines mint and cinnamon
- Winter savory (Satureja montana) – a perennial, semi-evergreen herb with summer flowers and a peppery flavour
- Ajmud (Carum roxburghianum) – grown for its seeds and leaves that can be used in curries and chutneys
- Papalo (Porophyllum ruderale) – the leaves of this annual herb have a flavour somewhere between rocket and coriander
- Stridolo (Silene inflata) – a fast-growing perennial herb used in Italy to flavour dishes
What to Do With All That . . . Dill
If you are also growing cucumbers, the obvious move is to make dill pickles or dill relish. (Always use a trusted recipe, and follow it exactly. You need to make sure the contents of your pickle jars have a pH less than 4.6, in order to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria.) Whole fresh dill heads can be safely substituted for dill seeds at a rate of 1 fresh dill head for 1 tablespoon of dried seeds. These can look quite decorative in the jars.
In Greek cuisine, cucumbers and dill come together in tatziki, a sauce based on Greek yogurt. To make a batch two cucumbers are seeded, then minced (or in more modern terms, whirled in a food processor) together with a clove or two of garlic and a tablespoon of fresh dill, along with about three cups of Greek yogurt. Taste it, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours to allow the flavors to mingle. Serve this sauce on gyros or other Mediterranean dishes.
Dill is also lovely in combination with potatoes. My favorite way to combine them is to take a dozen small new potatoes, which I scrub well and then quarter. Then steam them until tender. Place the potatoes into a large bowl, then toss them with a blend made of three tablespoons of softened butter, a generous pinch of salt, a tablespoon of fresh dill weed and a clove worth of pressed garlic.
Dill and lemon combined with butter or olive oil can also be tossed with other vegetables, such as carrots or green beans.
Dill is commonly paired with eggs. Sometimes this is accomplished by adding dill pickles or chopped dill relish to dishes such as egg salad, deviled eggs or egg-laden potato salad / chicken salad. A “fresher” tasting version of these dishes can be made using fresh dill and lemon juice.
Perhaps the simplest dill preparation is scrambled eggs with dill. Make the eggs as you would normally, only toss in a teaspoon of dill. For a creamier result, also add a tablespoon of either mascarpone or cream cheese.
Goat cheese is another cheese that blends naturally with dill. This flavor translate well to a quiche. A lot of people make quiche versions that highlight salmon with the dill and goat cheese, but you can make a vegetarian version filled with pieces of asparagus, mushrooms and roasted garlic, or carrots and Vidalia onions.
In Scandinavian regions, they do a sweetened dill sauce with a spicy mustard base. It is served with gravlax (salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill, a preparation which echoes the flavors of the sauce).
As the salmon example shows, dill goes perfectly with fish (think about the dill note in tarter sauce). You can blend fresh dill weed with butter, spoon it into mounds on a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for a few hours to serve with seafood. You can also make an easy dill sauce by blending sour cream or mayonnaise (or a combination of the two) with dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper and roasted garlic.
In Austria, a dill sauce is commonly served with schnitzel (breaded pork cutlets). The pan the cutlets were cooked in is deglazed with chicken stock. Dill and salt are mixed into sour cream, then the sour cream is added to the pan to make the sauce, which is then served over the cutlets.
There are a number of different recipes available for dill and onion bread. I prefer the ones with cottage cheese, honey and wheat germ (they sneak in a little extra nutrition).
Dill is a key ingredient in Polow, a Persian (Iranian) rice dish. The rice is cooked, then combined with yogurt and saffron. It is then layered into a pot (the middle layer being made of dill and pistachios) and then steamed.
Dill is such a versatile herb, yet many people think of it as just “that pickle herb.” You can use it for so much more that that. The ideas I’ve presented here are just a few to get you started. Try something new with dill today.
How to Use Dill Flowers
Roughly resembling Queen Anne’s Lace, the flower of the dill plant is spiny, yellow and, like the leaves and seeds, edible. The flower has a slightly stronger taste than the needle-like leaves. The fresh flowers don’t last long once picked, so it’s important to preserve them after harvesting if they won’t be used right away. Harvest the flowers when they’re just starting to open up, leaving a few flowers behind if you want to harvest seeds from them later.
Submerge the cut dill flowers in cold water and agitate gently to remove any dirt.
Spread out paper towels and lay the wet dill flowers on top in a single layer. Lay another sheet of paper towel on top and press lightly to dry.
Cut the flowers from the stem and add to a soup, stew or the bottom of pickle jars. For dips and sauces, chop the flowers before adding them. Dill flowers can be used in place of sprigs of fresh dill weed in recipes; use one to two flowers for each sprig.
Place left over dill flowers into zip-top sandwich bags and put them in the freezer to preserve. When fresh dill is needed, use frozen dill instead.
Dill HerbCompanion Plant & Traps PestsTreats – Gas, Indigestion, Colicky Baby
How is the this herb a good companion plant?
Dill, among other companion plants is great to plant with the Brassicaceae family like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, and kohlrabi – even rutabaga and turnip.
It improves their general health and attracts beneficial insects. The good insects need the nectar when they’re not eating the harmful insect like aphids, squash beetle, thrips, and stink bugs to name a few.
Where not to plant it…
Do not plant it near carrots or if you do pull the edible plant before it flowers. Dill is easy to plant with onions, lettuce and cucumbers. Honeybees love it too!
Trap Crop For Pest Control
Dill is a good trap crop for tomato hornworms.
Plant dill early before planting your Brassicaceae family and if you see moths that sound like hummingbirds and are about the size of one – then it’s a hummingbird moth. They are giant with gray or brownish coloring.
These insects lay small green caterpillars that grow to about 5 inches and eat tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, peas, okra, squash, grapes, datura, nicotiana and petunias.
But their absolute favorite of all the herb plants is Dill!
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Why You Will Love To Eat Dill
Dill – Anethum graveolens – This herb plant is an annual, self-seeding herb that grows to about 5 feet high with beautiful yellow tiny flowers. It can even be grown indoors for your indoor herb garden.
This edible plant is great for pickles, cabbage, butters and breads. Use the seeds, flowering tops and leaves for many culinary dishes.
It’s been said to alleviate hiccups too.
Make dill water to help with indigestion, flatulence, hiccups, stomach cramps, insomnia and a colicky baby.
Dill is great is herb bread, dips and teas.
Grow Dill Herb
Dill in full sun, protected from high winds and in rich, well-drained soil. It willcross pollinate if it’s planted near fennel.
If you save the seeds and store them in a coin envelope the seeds should last from 3 to 10 years.
Grind up 2 teaspoons of seeds and to boiling water to make on infusion. Strain and enjoy the benefits. Adults can drink up to 3 cups per day and babies over 3 months, allow the infusion to cool. Then give them 1 to 3 teaspoons at a time up to 4 times per day.
Serve some dill seed at the end of rich meal to help with digestion.
Or chew some seeds to freshen your breath, naturally.
Since, it is rich in mineral salts substitute salt with dill for a salt-free diet.
Add the edible flower when pickling cucumber and/or cauliflower.
Chop finely and add to potato salads, soups, stews, cream cheese, eggs, grilled meat and salmon or fish dishes.
I have found dill helps me with an upset stomach from eating fish. There’s something about fish that doesn’t agree with me and when dill is added it makes a world of difference.
So, plant this wonderful dill herb with other companion plants and enjoy the benefits of this amazing herb.
Top of page-Dill Herb
Learn more about…Culinary Herb Garden!
Photo of edible flowers picked in Linda’s garden in July (lavender, thyme, dill, cilantro, day lily, squash blossom, Nasturtiums, chives, and basil).
BEFORE CONSUMING ANY PLANT OR FLOWER, CHECK WITH A MEDICAL OR PLANT PROFESSIONAL.
NOT EVERY FLOWER/PLANT IS EDIBLE – In fact, sampling some flowers can make you very, very sick.
You also should NEVER use pesticides or other chemicals on any part of any plant that produces blossoms you plan to eat.
Never harvest flowers growing by the roadside.
Identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers.
Always remember to use flowers sparingly in your recipes due to the digestive complications that can occur with a large consumption rate. Most herb flowers have a taste that’s similar to the leaf, but spicier. The concept of using fresh edible flowers in cooking is not new.
Are you looking for more information on edible flowers? Check out these books on Amazon:
The Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by “Wildman” Steve Brill with Evelyn Dean
Edible Flowers: From Garden to Palate by Barash, Cathy Wilkinson
Start cooking with your own edible flowers
Natures Blossom Edible Flower Grow Kit
Organic Culinary Lavender Flowers
How To Choose Edible Flowers – Edible Flower Chart:
Begonia – Tuberous begonias and Waxed begonias –
Tuberous Begonias (Begonia X tuberosa) – The leaves, flowers, and stems are edible. Begonia blossoms have a citrus-sour taste. The petals are used in salads and as a garnish. Stems, also, can be used in place of rhubarb. The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism.
Wax Begonias (Begonia cucullata) – The fleshy leaves and flowers are edible raw or cooked. They can have a slight bitter after taste and if in water most of the time, a hint of swamp in their flavor.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – Also called Marigolds. A wonderful edible flower. Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery. Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Mans Saffron). Has pretty petals in golden-orange hues. Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butters, and salads. Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs. Only the petals are edible.
Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus – aka Dianthus) – Carnations can be steeped in wine, candy, or use as cake decoration. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Dianthus are the miniature member of the carnation family with light clove-like or nutmeg scent. Petals add color to salads or aspics. Carnation petals are one of secret ingredients that has been used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur, since the 17th century.
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum coronarium) – Tangy, slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow and orange. They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower. They sould be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad. The leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar. Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only. Young leaves and stems of the Crown Daisy, also known as Chop Suey Greens or Shingiku in Japan, are widely used in oriental stir-fries and as salad seasoning.
Clover (Trifolium species) – Sweet, anise-like, licorice. White and red clover blossoms were used in folk medicine against gout, rheumatism, and leucorrhea. It was also believed that the texture of fingernails and toenails would improve after drinking clover blossom tea. Native Americans used whole clover plants in salads, and made a white clover leaf tea for coughs and colds. Avoid bitter flowers that are turning brown, and choose those with the brightest color, which are tastiest. Raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.
Cornflower (Centaurea cynaus) – Also called Bachelors button. They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor. Bloom is a natural food dye. More commonly used as garnish.
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) – Also called Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet. This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals, Dame’s Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads. NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis) – Member of the Daisy family. Flowers are sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.
Day Lilies (Hemerocallis species) – Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Also great to stuff like squash blossoms. Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake. Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad. In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus. NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation.
English Daisy (Bellis perennis) – The flowers have a mildly bitter taste and are most commonly used for their looks than their flavor. The petals are used as a garnish and in salads.
Fuchsia (Fuchsia X hybrida) – Blooms have a slightly acidic flavor. Explosive colors and graceful shape make it ideal as garnish. The berries are also edible.
Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) – Sorrel flowers are tart, lemon tasting. So use like a lemon: on pizza, a salad topping, in sauces, over cucumber salads.
Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp) – Flowers (anthers removed) have a nondescript flavor (taste vaguely like lettuce) but make lovely receptacles for sweet or savory spreads or mousses. Toss individual petals in salads. It can also be cooked like a day lily.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) – Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones. Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish. The flower can be dried to make an exotic tea.
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) – Very bland tasting flavor.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) – Sweet honey flavor. Only the flowers are edible. NOTE: Berries are highly poisonous – Do not eat them!
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) – The flowers have a sweet flavor. They can be used as a garnish in salads or floated in drinks.
Johnny-Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) – Lovely yellow, white and purple blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese. They are also a great addition to drinks, soups, desserts or salads.
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) – The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant. Very fragramt, slightly bitter. Has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones. Great in salads and crystallized with egg whites and sugar.
Linden (Tilla spp.) – Small flowers, white to yellow was are delightfully fragrant and have a honey-like flavor. The flowers have been used in a tea as a medicine in the past. NOTE: Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage.
Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia – aka T. signata) – The marigold can be used as a substitute for saffron. Also great in salads as they have a citrus flavor.
Nasturtiums Tropaeolum majus) – Comes in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors. Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet,spicy flavor similar to watercress. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers. Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.
Pansy (Viola X wittrockiana) – Pansies have a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor. If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild, but if you eat the whole flower, there is a winter, green overtone. Use them as garnishes, in fruit salads, green salad, desserts or in soups.
Phlox, Perrennial Phlox (Phlox paniculata) – It is the perennial phlox, NOT the annual, that is edible. It is the high-growing (taller) and not the low-growing (creeping) phlox that grows from 3 to 4 feet tall. Slightly spicy taste. Great in fruit salads. The flowers vary from a Reddish purple to pink, some white.
Pineapple Guave (Feijoa sellowians) – The flavor is sweet and tropical, somewhat like a freshly picked ripe papaya or exotic melon still warm from the sun.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) – Also know as Cowslip. This flower is colorful with a sweet, but bland taste. Add to salads, pickle the flower buds, cook as a vegetable, or ferment into a wine.
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) – Also known as Wild Carrot and Bishop’s Lace. It is the original carrot, from which modern cultivars were developed, and it is edible with a light carrot flavor. The flowers are small and white, and bloom in a lacy, flat-topped cluster. Great in salads. NOTE: The problem is, it is closely related to, and looks almost exactly like another wild plant, Wild or Poison Hemlock, which often grows profusely in similar habitats, and is said to be the most poisonous plant native to the United States. The best way to differentiate between the two plants is to remember that Queen Anne’s Lace has a hairy stem, while the stems of Wild Hemlock are smooth and hairless and hollow with purple spots.
Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis) – Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads. NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals. Rose Petal Jam Rose Petal Drop Scones Rose Petal Tea
Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium species) – The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels. Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes. NOTE: Citronelle variety may not be edible.
Snap Dragon (Antirrhinum majus) – Delicate garden variety can be bland to bitter. Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Probably not the best flower to eat.
Sunflower (Helianthus annus) – The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) – Also known as Wild Baby’s Breath. The flower flavor is sweet and grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor. NOTE: Can have a blood thinning effect if eaten in large amounts
Tulip Petals (Tulipa) – Flavor varies from tulip to tulip, but generally the petals taste like sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor. NOTE: Some people have had strong allergic reactions to them. If touching them causes a rash, numbness etc. Don’t eat them! Don’t eat the bulbs ever. If you have any doubts, don’t eat the flower.
Violets (Viola species) – Sweet, perfumed flavor. Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and pansies now come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues. I like to eat the tender leaves and flowers in salads. I also use the flowers to beautifully embellish desserts and iced drinks. Freeze them in punches to delight children and adults alike. All of these flowers make pretty adornments for frosted cakes, sorbets, or any other desserts, and they may be crystallized as well. Heart-shaped leaves are edible, and tasty when cooked like spinach.
Yucca Petals (Yucca species) – The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke). In the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.
Most fruit trees are usually sprayed just before and during the bloom. If you are using you own flowers that have not sprayed, use only the petals, not the pistils or stamen.
Apple Blossoms (Malus species) – Apple Blossoms have a delicate floral flavor and aroma. They are a nice accompaniment to fruit dishes and can easily be candied to use as a garnish. NOTE: Eat in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors. The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous.
Banana Blossoms (Musa paradisiaca) – Also know as Banana Hearts. The flowers are a purple-maroon torpedo shaped growth appears out of the top of usually the largest of the trunks. Banana blossoms are used in Southeast Asian cuisines. The blossoms can be cooked or eaten raw. The tough covering is usually removed until you get to the almost white tender parts of the blossom. It should be sliced and let it sit in water until most of the sap are gone. If you eat it raw, make sure the blossom comes from a variety that isn’t bitter. Most of the Southeast Asian varieties are not bitter.
Citrus Blossoms (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat) – Use highly scented waxy petals sparingly. Distilled orange flower water is characteristic of Middle Eastern pastries and beverages.Citrus flavor and lemony.
Elderberry Blossoms (Sambucus spp) – The blossoms are a creamy color and have a sweet scent and sweet taste. When harvesting elderberry flowers, do not wash them as that removes much of the fragrance and flavor. Instead check them carefully for insects. The fruit is used to make wine. The flowers, leaves, berries, bark and roots have all been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. NOTE: All other parts of this plant, except the berries, are mildly toxic! They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. The cooked ripe berries of the edible elders are harmless. Eating uncooked berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Alliums (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives) – Known as the “Flowering Onions.” There are approximately four hundred species that includes the familiar onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots. All members of this genus are edible. Their flavors range from mild onions and leeks right through to strong onion and garlic. All parts of theplants are edible. The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young developing seed-heads are even stronger. We eat the leaves and flowers mainly in salads. The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in soups, etc.
Chive Blossoms (Allium schoenoprasum) – Use whenever a light onion flavor and aroma is desired. Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion flavor in a variety of dishes.
Garlic Blossoms (Allium sativum) – The flowers can be white or pink, and the stems are flat instead of round. The flavor has a garlicky zing that brings out the flavor of your favorite food. Milder than the garlic bulb. Wonderful in salads.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) – Depending on the variety, flower range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose. It has a flavor similar to licorice. Angelica is valued culinary from the seeds and stems, which are candied and used in liqueurs, to the young leaves and shoots, which can be added to a green salad. Because of its celery-like flavor, Angelica has a natural affinity with fish. The leaves have a stronger, clean taste and make a interesting addition to salads. In its native northern Europe, even the mature leaves are used, particularly by the Laplanders, as a natural fish preservative. Many people in the cold Northern regions such as Greenland, Siberia, and Finland consider Angelica a vegetable, and eat the stems raw, sometimes spread with butter. Young leaves can be made into a tea.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) -Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor. Some people say the flavor reminds
them of root beer. The blossoms make attractive plate garnishes and are often used in Chinese-style dishes. Excellent in salads.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – Depending on the type, the flowers are either bright white, pale pink, or a delicate lavender. The flavor of the flower is milder, but similar to the leaves of the same plant. Basil also has different varieties that have different milder flavors like lemon and mint. Sprinkle them over salad or pasta for a concentrated flavor and a spark of color thatgives any dish a fresh, festive look. Linguine with Tomatoes and Basil
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) – Also called Wild Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, Monarda. Wild bee balm tastes like oregano and mint. The taste of bee balm is reminiscent of citrus with soft mingling of lemon and orange. The red flowers have a minty flavor. Any place you use oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms. The leaves and flower petals can also be used in both fruit and regular salads. The leaves taste like the main ingredient in Earl GrayTea and can be used as a substitute.
Borage (Borago officinalis) – Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms and leaves have a cool, faint cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.
Burnet (Sanquisorba minor – The taste usually is likened to that of cucumbers, and burnet can be used interchangeably with borage.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) – Chervil flowers are delicate white flowers with an anise flavor. Chervil’s flavor is lost very easily, either by drying the herb, or too much heat. That is why it should be added at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state in salads. Chicory (Cichorium intybus) – Earthy flavor, eat either the petals or the buds. Chicory has a pleasant, mild-bitter taste that has been compared to endive. The buds can be pickled.
Cilantro/Coriander (Coriander sativum) – Like the leaves and seeds, the flowers have a strong herbal flavor. Use leaves and flowers raw as the flavor fades quickly when cooked. Sprinkle to taste on salads, bean dishes, and cold vegetable dishes.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – It has a star-burst yellow flowers that have a mild anise flavor. Use with desserts or cold soups, or as a garnish with your entrees.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – The white variety of ginger is very fragrant and has a gingery taste on the tongue. Petals may be eaten raw or you can cook the tender young shoots.
Jasmine (jasmine officinale) – The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea. True Jasmine has oval, shiny leaves and tubular, waxy-white flowers. NOTE: The false Jasmine is in a completely different genus, “Gelsemium”, and family, “Loganiaceae”, is considered too poisonous for human consumption. This flower has a number of common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine, Carolina jasmine or jessamine, evening trumpet flower, gelsemium, and woodbine.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not be sprayed and is culinary safe.
Cottage Cheese-Herb Bread
Crostini with White Truffle and Olive Paste
Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender Flowers
Lavender Creme Brulee
Lavender Hazelnut Bread
Lavender Tea Cookies
Peppered Lavender Beef
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – Tiny cream-colored citrus-scented blossoms. Leaves and flowers can be steeped as an herbtea, and used to flavor custards and flans.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – Flowers are a milder version of plant’s leaf. Use as you would the herb.
Mint (Mentha spp) – The flavor of the flowers are minty, but with different overtones depending on the variety. Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) – Milder version of plant’s leaf. Use as you would the herb.
Rosemary – Milder version of leaf. Fresh or dried herb and blossoms enhance flavor of Mediterranean dishes. Use with meats, seafoods, sorbets or dressings. Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) – The dried flowers, Mexican saffron, are used as a food colorant in place of the more aromatic and expensive Spanish saffron.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) – The flowers are violet-blue, pink or white up to 1 3/8 inches long, small, tubelike, clustered together in whorls along the stem tops. Flowers have a subtler sage taste than the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish. Flowers are a delicious companion to many foods including beans, corn dishes, sauteed or stuffed mushrooms, or pesto sauce.
Savory (Satureja hortensis) – The flavor of the flowers is somewhat hot and peppery and similar to thyme.
Thyme (Thymus spp.) – Milder version of leaf. Use sprigs as garnish or remove flowers and sprinkle over soups, etc. Use thyme anywhere a herb might be used.
Did you know that broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes are all flowers? Also the spice saffron is the stamen from the crocus flower? Capers are unopened flower buds to a bush native in the Mediterranean and Asian nations. The general rule is that the flowers of most vegetables and herbs are safe to eat. Always check first, because as with anything in life, there will always be exceptions. NOTE: Avoid – the flowers of tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers and asparagus.
Arugula (Eruca vesicaria) – Also called garden rocket, roquette, rocket-salad, Oruga, Rocketsalad, rocket-gentle; Raukenkohl (German); rouquelle (French); rucola (Italian). An Italian green usually appreciated raw in salads or on sandwiches. The flowers are small, white with dark centers and can be used in the salad for a light piquant flavor. The flowers taste very similar to the leaves and range in color from white to yellowish with dark purple veins. Arugula resembles radish leaves in both appearance and taste. Leaves are compound and have a spicy, peppery flavor that starts mild in young leaves and intensifies as they mature.
Arugula, Pear and Asiago Cheese Salad
Walnut,Arugula & Gorgonzola Crostini
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) – The artichoke is considered a flower in which the leaves of the flower are eaten and the choke or thistle part is discarded.
Broccoli Florets (Brassica oleracea) – The top portion of broccoli is actually flower buds. As the flower buds mature, each will open into a bright yellow flower, which is why they are called florets. Small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness (mild broccoli flavor), and are delicious in salads or in a stir-fry or steamer.
Corn Shoots (Zea mays) – Corn shoots may be eaten when they resemble large blades of grass with a strong sweet corn flavor, which could be used as a garnish for a corn chowder. The whole baby corn in husk may also be eaten, silk and all.
Mustard (Brassica species) – Young leaves can be steamed, used as a herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach. NOTE: Some people are highly allergic to mustard. Start with a small amount. Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) – Also known as Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers and Gumbo. It has hibiscus-like flowers and seed pods that, when picked tender, produce a delicious vegetable dish when stewed or fried. When cooked it resembles asparagus yet it may be left raw and served in a cold salad. The ripe seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee; the seed can be dried and powdered for storage and future use.
Pac Choy (Brassica chinensis) – A sister of the Broccoli plant.
Pea Blossoms (Pisum species) – Edible garden peas bloom mostly in white, but may have other pale coloring. The blossoms are slightly sweet and crunchy and they taste like peas. The shoots and vine tendrils are edible, with a delicate, pea-like flavor. Here again, remember that harvesting blooms will diminish your pea harvest, so you may want to plant extra. NOTE: Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous – do not eat.
Radish Flowers (Raphanus sativus) – Depending on the variety, flowers may be pink, white or yellow, and will have a distinctive, spicy bite (has a radish flavor). Best used in salads. The Radish shoots with their bright red or white tender stalks are very tasty and are great sautd or in salads.
Scarlet Runner Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) – Have brilliant red blooms that are very tasty and can be served as a garnish for soups, in salads.
Bean pods toughen as they age, so makeuse of young pods as well as flowers.
Squash Blossoms (Curcubita pepo) – Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash. Prepare the blossoms by washing and trimming the stems and remove the stamens. Squash blossoms are usually taken off the male plant, which only provides pollen for the female.