How to grow Edible flowers: Edible flowers Growing Guide
Multiple varieties of Edible Flowers
A surprising number of flowers are edible and offer a wide range of delicate flavours and colours. Use this selection to add a sparkling note to salads and cake decorations, or include them in any dish as a garnish.
How to grow Edible Flowers
When to buy Edible Flowers
Buy flowers when they are in season, from spring to summer. Violas and pansies include spring/summer- and winter-flowering varieties, which together will supply you with blooms year-round.
Light & heat of Edible Flowers
All these flowers need a sunny spot to bloom well. Spring flowers last longer in cool conditions, while summer flowers thrive in warmer temperatures.
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Watering Edible Flowers
Keep all edible flowers well-watered, but guard against waterlogging, which will cause many to rot.
Aftercare for Edible Flowers
Feed flowers weekly with a balanced fertilizer unless you are using a potting mix already enriched with plant food.
Harvesting Edible Flowers
Remove the flower and its stalk when the blooms have fully opened. Picking the blooms frequently encourages more flowers to form (except with tulips).
Varieties of Edible Flowers
to try There are many delicately flavoured edible flowers, but these are among the best for growing indoors. Check the plant labels first for more specific care advice on those flowers you wish to grow.
ENGLISH DAISY FLOWER
Bellis perennis These spring flowers are cousins of the common lawn daisy, and you can use the petals as a colourful garnish on desserts or soups, or in salads. Do not eat these flowers if you are a hayfever sufferer, though, as they may trigger an allergic reaction.
Viola species The pretty blooms of both pansies and dainty violas have a delicate lettuce-like flavour, and there are even varieties that flower in the winter months. The flowers can be crystallized and used on cakes, cookies, and desserts, or use the fresh petals on salads.
Tulipa species Tulip petals have a surprisingly sweet, pea-like flavour, but some people have a strong allergic reaction to them, so take care before sampling. The most flavorful is the single, early-flowering tulips. Never eat the poisonous bulbs.
Primula species This group of edible spring flowers includes polyanthus, cowslips, primroses, and primulas. All have a subtly sweet taste and are ideal to crystallize for decorations for cakes and desserts. Remove the stalks before using the flowers.
Lavandula species The aromatic flavour of lavender flowers complements both sweet and savoury dishes. Add them to a bag of sugar to enhance cakes and desserts, or pop a few blooms into a glass of sparkling wine or champagne. Lavender flowers also work well in meat dishes and in ice cream.
Dianthus species Pinks, Sweet Williams, and carnations all fall into this edible flower category, and most have a spicy, clove-like flavour, especially the more fragrant varieties. Remove the white heel at the base of the petals before use, as this part of the flower tastes bitter.
COOK TIPS OF EDIBLE FLOWERS
Colourful gems Tulip petals make pretty canapés when topped with a little beet or goat cheese dip. Add colour to your pancakes by sprinkling pansy petals onto the batter during cooking. Pair violas with primroses and scatter the blooms over lightly dressed iceberg lettuce leaves for a delicately flavoured salad.
To crystallize edible flowers such as violas and dendrobium orchids, use a clean paintbrush to cover the petals with whisked egg white, then dip in granulated sugar and leave to dry for about 24 hours until hard (see also p51). Scatter primrose petals over a salad of lettuce leaves, cucumber, walnuts, grapes, and goat cheese to add colour and flavour.
Cultivation Guide: Edible Flowers
Fun facts About Edible Flowers
- Nasturtium originated in Peru, where the leaves, as well as the flowers, ate the Incas.
- People have been cooking with flowers for centuries, but the idea became especially popular in the Victorian era. Crystals or jams from flowers were especially popular for decorative treats.
- The Aztecs used marijuana in their religious ceremonies and as a medicine to treat hiccups.
- When we eat broccoli heads, we are actually eating tree flower buds!
Do you think there are separate lines between vegetable patches and flower gardens? Think again! Some plants carry edible flowers that can add colour and spice to food and drinks as well as the beauty of the garden. Below are descriptions of plants that are easy to grow and carry edible flowers.
It is best to grow them in your vegetables or in containers. Be sure to label them when planting; This is especially important if you choose to grow them in a garden bed with inedible flowers.
Important Note of Edible Flowers
- Not all flowers are edible! A few are poisonous, including common garden flowers like Datura and Foxglove. Learn to check with your or any other knowledgeable adult before eating baby flowers.
- Be aware of possible allergic reactions. People with seasonal allergies may want to avoid eating flowers.
- Make sure flowers and neighbouring plants are not treated with pesticides.
- Slow down while presenting edible flowers to the kids by offering them in one kind of small batch at a time.
- In most cases, eat only the petals. Refrain from eating pistils and steamers which are often bitter and may contain pollen which can cause allergic reactions.
- Collect flowers in the morning after the dew has dried.
- If possible, eat the flowers as soon as they are picked. If you gently wrap them in damp paper towels and keep them in sealed bags or airtight containers, they can be refrigerated for several days.
- You have regularly Collect flowers to keep the plants flowering.