Edible flowers not only add zest to your meal, they add color and vibrancy to your garden. There are many kinds of edible flowers, and a number of them are super easy to grow.
All blossoms from the allium family can be eaten. The allium family includes garlic, garlic chives, chives, and leeks. It is safe to eat every part of these plants. Besides being good to eat, plants of the allium family help some other plants to grow better, such as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
Anise hyssop is an herbaceous perennial and grows sell in zones 4 to 9. The leaves and tiny, lavender-blue flowers taste like anise, but the plant is of the mint family. The dried leaves are often used to make a tea, and the flavorful flowers are sprinkled over a fruit salad. This plant is easy to grow from a seed and can either be started indoors or sprinkled outside in spring or fall.
Bachelor buttons, also called Cornflower, are planted outdoors in early spring. They have a variety of uses and look very pretty in fresh or dried flower arrangements. While the flowers can be eaten, they do have a somewhat grassy flavor. The flowers are usually bright blue but may come in several other colors as well. While these plants need soil that drains well, they tolerate dry soils and are somewhat resistant to disease and insects. However, they are susceptible to blight or mildew in wet weather. The petals of the flower are edible, but the bitter calyx should be avoided.
This wonderful spice is useful in many dishes (and yes, it flowers!) Tomatoes are a perfect partner. The flowers, which come in a variety of colors, are eaten, as well the leaves. They have a flavor similar to the leaves, but are milder. Basil is generally started indoors in late winter, then transplanted outside in the spring after the first frost. It likes warm, dry weather, and should not be planted outside until temperatures stay above 48 degrees. Plant in a sunny location that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day.
All roses are edible. The darker varieties have stronger flavor. The white, bitter base should be removed before eating. The petals, which have a strong, perfumed flavor, can be floated in teas, scattered over desserts, or used to make jam. Roses need a sunny spot and well drained soil to grow properly. They do not do well if the soil is very wet. Although roses seem to be able grow just about anywhere, they need special care in order to do well. The University of Illinois has a wonderful website with very helpful information on growing and caring for roses.
Nasturtiums are one of the most popular edible flowers. The blossoms are bright and cheery, and have a pungent, peppery flavor. The leaves make a great addition to a salad. Seed directly into the garden in the spring after the last frost. These plants like poor, dry soil and full sun. They do not need mulch, compost, or fertilizer. You can plant them in areas of your garden where nothing else will grow.