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Edible Landscaping: 23 Flowers You Can Eat

Cynthia is a foodie who enjoys cooking and testing out new kitchen tools and storage solutions.

You can eat the buds, petals and seeds of a sunflower.

You can eat the buds, petals and seeds of a sunflower.

I bet, if you have flower beds, you have plants growing that you can eat! Let's get started and find out if you have any nutritious plants growing that you can eat.

Opting for alternatives to regular gardening is key to adding additional food for your family in a doomsday or survival scenario. Plus, these flowers are just downright beautiful! Many of the plants you can eat will also add some lovely vibrant color to your landscape and aid pollinating insects and butterflies!

The average person sees flower beds as an ornamental focal point to lawns and landscapes, not giving a second thought to whether or not the plants provide nutrients. I decided a few years ago that I no longer wanted to waste my time growing anything I could not eat. Read on to learn more about which edible plants I grow and how I use them.

23 Flowers You Can Eat

Name Scientific Name

1. Daylilies

Hemerocallis

2. Dame's Rocket

Hesperis matronalis

3. Cornflower

Centaurea cynaus

4. English Daisy

Bellis perennis

5. Dandelions

Taraxacum officinalis

6. Carnations

Dianthus caryophyllus, or Dianthus

7. Tuberous Begonias

Begonia X tuberosa

8. Wax Begonias

Begonia cucullata

9. Roses

Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis

10. Snapdragon

Antirrhinum majus

11. Tulip

Tulipa

12. Sunflower

Helianthus annus

13. Marigold

Tagetes tenuifolia—aka T. signata

14. Pansy

Viola X wittrockiana

15. Johnny Jump Ups

Viola tricolor

16. Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica

17. Impatiens

Impatiens wallerana

18. Hollyhock

Alcea rosea

19. Peony

Paeonia lactiflora

20. Phlox Perrennial Phlox (the non-annual variety)

Phlox paniculata

21. Scented Geranium

Pelargonium

22. Primrose

Primula vulgaris

23. Nasturtiums

Tropaeolum majus

A Word of Caution

Never eat any plant unless you are 100% sure it is edible! Plants can kill you people, do not mess around! When in doubt, throw it out!

Unless they are grown organically, I do not suggest eating flowers or shrubs, you do not want to be ingesting pesticides, bug killers, or any chemicals for that matter. I suggest steering clear if you did not grow them yourself! If you have a skin reaction to any plant, even one that is edible, you should never eat it. Steer clear of anything growing in industrial areas or on roadsides, as these have likely had chemicals and pesticides used on them.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the list!

1. Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Native to: Asia, primarily eastern Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan

Notes on Daylily:

  • They're like squash blossoms.
  • They're naturally sweet, making for a great treat or dessert.
  • Eat these in moderation, otherwise they have a laxative and diuretic effect. (Good to keep in mind if you get backed up!)
  • Before eating them, cut the tops away from the bitter white base of the flower. (Please take note that many Lillie's are not edible as they contain Alkaloids.)

2. Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

Native to: Eurasia

Notes on Dame's Rocket:

  • To avoid bitterness, pick these when they are young.
  • The young blossoms have a sweet honey like flavor.
  • The plant and flower are edible, although very bitter.

3. Cornflower (Centaurea cynaus)

Native to: Europe's more temperate regions.

Notes on Cornflower:

  • Commonly known as bachelor buttons.
  • They have a clove like, sweet and spicy flavor, often used as a garnish for other dishes.
  • The bloom is also a natural food dye.

4. English Daisy (Bellis perennis)

Native to: Europe

Notes on English Daisy:

  • These flowers have a bitter taste, so make sure to use them as a garnish.
  • They go well with salads or stir-fry.
Flowering dandelions

Flowering dandelions

5. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)

Native to: North America

Notes on Dandelions:

  • It's a common weed.
  • The flower and the greens are edible.
  • It's best harvested when the greens are young and the flowers are still buds.
  • They're great steamed or added to a spring salad.
  • Their petals are delicious sprinkled over rice.
  • In the spring, when the shoots are at least two to three inches high, they can be substituted for asparagus.
  • Dandelion jelly is very common in my area and is made from the petals of this plant.

6. Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus, or Dianthus)

Native to: Mediterranean countries of Croatia, Greece, Italy (including Sicily and Sardinia), and Spain

Notes on Carnations:

  • It's been used as a secret ingredient in Chartreuse (french liquor) since the 17th century.
  • They are surprising sweet, if cut away from the bitter base.
Begonia x tuberhybrida

Begonia x tuberhybrida

7. Tuberous Begonias (Begonia X tuberosa)

Native to: Central and South America

Notes on Tuberous Begonias:

  • While they have a sour and citrus taste, the flowers, leaves, and stems are all edible.
  • Stems are often used in place of rhubarb.
  • The petals are great with salad.
  • Please keep in mind that the stems and flowers contain oxalic acid and you should not consume them if you suffer from kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism.
A flowering begonia

A flowering begonia

8. Wax Begonias (Begonia cucullata)

Native to: South America

Notes on Wax Begonias:

  • Flowers and fleshy leaves are edible raw, or cooked.
  • You will notice a bitter aftertaste, I suggest pairing with another dish as a filler to eliminate the aftertaste.

9. Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis)

Native to: Rosa rugosa is native to eastern Asia, in northeastern China, Japan, Korea and southeastern Siberia, where it grows on beach coasts, often on sand dunes. R. gallica officinalis is native to Europe.

Notes on Roses:

  • The flavor profile of roses varies with type, soil condition, and color.
  • They are often sweet with subtle undertones of mint, spice, or fruit (such as strawberries or green apples).
  • All roses are edible, and the darker they are, the more pronounced their flavor.
  • The use of roses is very common in the culinary world.
  • You can make rose petal scones, jam, and tea.
Antirrhinum majus, from Thasos, Greece

Antirrhinum majus, from Thasos, Greece

10. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Native to: The Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern France, and east to Turkey and Syria

Notes on Snapdragon:

  • They are often bitter and bland in flavor.
  • This would likely be a "last resort" for frequent eating.
Red Tulipa × gesneriana flowers

Red Tulipa × gesneriana flowers

11. Tulip (Tulipa)

Native to: Southern Europe all the way to Central Asia

Notes on Tulip:

  • The petals are edible, and often taste like cucumber, sweet lettuce, or peas.
  • Some people do have a negative reaction to eating these—if you get a rash from touching them, never, ever eat them.
  • Never eat the bulb either.

12. Sunflower (Helianthus annus)

Native to: North America

Notes on Sunflower:

  • When picked at bud stage, their flavor resemble artichokes.
  • They can be steamed to open the petals, then be used in salads. And, as we all know, the seeds are edible too?

How does your garden grow?

Tagetes tenuifolia

Tagetes tenuifolia

13. Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia—aka T. signata)

Native to: Mexico as well as Central America, Colombia, and Peru

Notes on Marigolds:

  • It has a citrus flavor to it.
  • It pairs well with salads.
  • This flower also can be used as a substitute for saffron. So, it's a frugal-friendly flower!

14. Pansy (Viola X wittrockiana)

Native to: Temperate Northern Hemisphere and are also distributed in Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in South America

Notes on Pansy:

  • It has a slightly sweet, but grassy flavor.
  • If you're eating just the petals, the flavor is light. But, if you're consuming the whole flower, the flavor intensifies.
  • These are great in soups and as garnishes for leafy salads, fruit salads, and desserts.
Wild Pansy/Johnny Jump Ups

Wild Pansy/Johnny Jump Ups

15. Wild Pansy/Johnny Jump Ups (Viola tricolor)

Native to: Spain and the Pyrennes Mountains

Notes on Johnny Jump Ups:

  • Flowers have a mild wintergreen flavor.
  • They pair well with tea, desserts, soup, and salads.

16. Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Native to: Temperate zones of both hemispheres, but they also grow in the Himalayas, southern Asia, and North Africa

Notes on Honeysuckle:

  • First, I want to be clear that the berries are poisonous do not eat them!
  • I remember eating honeysuckle often when I was growing up. They have a sweet honey-like flavor to the flower. Only eat the flower!
Impatiens scapiflora

Impatiens scapiflora

17. Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)

Native to: The tropics of Asia

Notes on Impatiens:

  • Very sweet in flavor.
  • It's good for drinks and desserts.

18. Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

Native to: Asia and Europe

Notes on Hollyhock:

  • These are very bland in flavor.
  • I would suggest using it as a filler in soup or other recipes.
Paeonia lactiflora

Paeonia lactiflora

19. Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

Native to: Asia, Europe, and western North America

Notes on Peony:

  • It's often used in China as a tea time delicacy.
  • They are great in salads and drinks.
Garden phlox

Garden phlox

20. Phlox Perrennial Phlox (Phlox paniculata)—Not Annual!

Native to: New York to Iowa, south to Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas

Notes on Perrennial Phlox:

  • The annual variety is not edible! This is the taller high growing phlox (usually three to four feet high).
  • It has a spicy taste.
Hooded-leaf Pelargonium

Hooded-leaf Pelargonium

21. Scented Geranium (Pelargonium)

Native to: Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants that are commonly known as geraniums or cranesbills. They are found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region.

Notes on Scented Geraniums:

  • First off, the citronelle variety is not edible.
  • For the other varieties, their scents will generally correspond with their flavors.

22. Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

Native to: Western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and parts of southwest Asia

Notes on Primrose:

  • Commonly know as cowslip, this flower has a sweet, but bland, taste.
  • Flower buds pickle well, you can also ferment them into wine or cook them as you would a vegetable.

23. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)

Native to: Mexico, Central America, and northern South America

Notes on Nasturtiums:

  • This has a peppery, often sweet and spicy, flavor.
  • These are great for many dishes!
  • You can pickle the seed pods for a frugal alternative to capers.
  • The peppery stalk is great in salad.
  • You can stuff the whole flowers with a savory filling, or use them to garnish cheese, sandwiches, or savory dishes.
  • It's not a bad plant to have if you forgot to stockpile pepper!
Consider making rose jelly for a delightfully fresh taste.

Consider making rose jelly for a delightfully fresh taste.

What Do You Prefer?

edible-landscaping-hiding-food-in-plain-sight-doomsday-prepping-survival

Edible Landscaping and Dietary Changes

It is important to take into consideration the dietary changes involved here. You should never drastically change your eating habits. Instead, gradually add new unfamiliar items, but only if you are 100% sure they are safe for human consumption! Eating a large quantity of plants can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

You should also remove the stamen prior to consumption as well. The pollen on the stamen can have a negative effect and flare up your allergies. Much more so than just walking outside when the pollen count is up!

I hope that you are intrigued by the possibility of edible landscaping. Many plants offer frugal alternatives to common expensive store bought items like saffron and capers! When you purchase seeds for this coming planting season, stop and think, can I eat that? If so, then it is a great buy! While flowers are beautiful to look at, I much prefer knowing I can eat them if I need to!

This can also work double duty with companion gardening. Pairing your fruits and vegetables with edible flowers will increase the amount of food you are growing, and improve the soil conditions (requiring little or no work on your part).

Thank you for reading my article. I welcome any comments and feedback, I appreciate them all (good or bad).

Comments

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 24, 2016:

Thank you kenneth avery, I love plants, especially dual purpose ones I can eat! I can't take credit for the art, I use pixabay.com it offers free photos for public domain use, or there are some photos you can pay for. I hope you are as excited for planting season as I am!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on November 11, 2015:

Cynthia,

Absolutely marvelous hub. Artwork and all. Especially the art. Wish I had your art source. Great topic. Actually flowers are my weakness. It was with my dad. He loved roses. So do I. I would vote you a 10 if you had a voting slot.

Keep up the great work.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 21, 2015:

AliciaC Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed my hub! I love sharing information that people may not be aware of!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 21, 2015:

This is a very useful hub! Thank you for sharing all the information about edible plants as well as all the precautions. I learned a lot from reading your article. I had to smile when I reached the nasturtium section of the hub. My father loved growing these in our garden when I was a child. He introduced me to the idea that ornamental plants like nasturtium could be edible.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 19, 2015:

The deer here eat my apples and luckily leave my flowers alone! These flowers are stunning on cakes too :)!

DebMartin on March 19, 2015:

Really stunning photos. I have a nice flower garden but I guess I'm more interested in looking at the flowers than eating them. Nice to know though that much of what I have is edible. The deer eat enough. I guess I'll leave the rest for viewing.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 28, 2015:

mysweetlittle6, this article only covers a small portion of the edible plants available. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope to publish more articles in the future covering many more edible plants.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 28, 2015:

Pamela, I am also really exciyed for gtowing season to start. I imagine feasting on a salad of flowers at some point this summer.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 28, 2015:

Thank you Matt! It is amazing the amount of edible plants there are. We were once a society of hunters and foraging as a lifestyle. Crazy how something so simple has changed over time.

M. Winters from United States on February 28, 2015:

What an interesting hub. I did not know all those flowers were edible. I knew some of them were. But I would have never guessed on a couple of them. Very good to know!

Pamela on February 27, 2015:

I didn't realizes you could eat quite a few of these flowers. Several of the plants that you mentioned also can be used medicinally ~ Dandelions, Calendula (marigolds family),Primrose.... so double the duty. This is what I am looking toward this growing season. Plants with more than one use. I look forward to future articles.

Matthew A Easterbrook from Oregon on February 27, 2015:

Keep up the excellent writing. Great topic and well researched.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 27, 2015:

My pleasure. I'm glad I caught that and you got it fixed.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 27, 2015:

It was an oversight, I remember having to pause while writing. I am not sure how I managed to not finish and moved on to the next one, but I fixed it! Thanks again!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 27, 2015:

No problems. You're welcome. I just thought it was odd or an oversight. Anytime.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 27, 2015:

Kristen Howe, thank you for noticing I totally missed it! I will get it fixed ASAP! I appreciate you letting me know! Thank you so much for voting it up too!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 27, 2015:

This is an interesting hub. I noticed there's no information on the wax begonias, since it was left blank or unfinished. Great stuff here on edible plants as in plants and weeds. Voted up!

Marina from Clarksville TN on February 26, 2015:

Yes Cynthia and I was amazed that some of the weeds I had pulled are so antibacterial. I look forward to your new article.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 26, 2015:

Marina7 you are absolutely correct, many "weeds" are medicinal and edible. Plantain (the weed, not the banana like fruit) has a wealth of medicinal purposes and antibacterial functions. I may focus on "weeds" in my next article. There are so many edible and useful plants!

Marina from Clarksville TN on February 26, 2015:

Those light pink flowers look like Rose of Sharon but it does not look like a hedge. I wish I had some hollyhock seeds. I did read another hub that said that some weeds are also useful and beneficial in antibacterial properties.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 26, 2015:

Rachel L Alba, thank you so much for the vote and feedback! Through research I found that I too am growing many edible flowers! So many flowers I never thought about eating before! I can't wait to finish the next article! I also have issues with birds on the farm. I just decided to beat them to it and feed them. A bit of an expense but it beats them eating all my crops!

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 26, 2015:

poetryman6969 I thoughf it was important to let people know what they could garnish those Zombie dishes with! Thanks for the vote!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on February 26, 2015:

What an interesting hub. I grow most of those flowers around my house and yard, but never realized that you can eat them. I love the picture with the field of sunflowers. I always wanted a field like that. I grew sunflowers a couple of times, but the birds always found them before I could harvest them. Great hub, I voted up, useful and interesting.

poetryman6969 on February 26, 2015:

This is a clever take on an alternate way to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. I like the idea of growing your own food without appearing to do so. And with all the nice detail you gave a person could attempt what you are talking about. I voted this one up.

poetryman6969 on February 26, 2015:

This is a clever take on an alternate way to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. I like the idea of growing your own food without appearing to do so. And with all the nice detail you gave a person could attempt what you are talking about. I voted this one up.

Matthew A Easterbrook from Oregon on February 25, 2015:

The Marines do focus a lot on survival skills and I have used them my entire life. Thank you Cynthia and today is a great day.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 25, 2015:

Thank you Matt! There are so many plants I am finding that I never new I could eat, researching pays off! I am sure being in the Marines, you could teach us all a lot about survival skills! I hope you are having a great day!

Matthew A Easterbrook from Oregon on February 25, 2015:

Very educationsl hub Cynthia. I was in the Marines and I found your hub to be very informative. I knew about a lot of plants, but you listed a few I never knew I could eat. Yes it is good to be prepared for an emergency at all times.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 25, 2015:

Whitney Rose Wood, this is just a small list of edible plants too. There are so many more! O always loved honeysuckle too! Cygnetbrown you are absolutely correct, cattails have a wealth of survivle used and are edible too! Thank you both for taking the time to comment!

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on February 25, 2015:

Other plant that I think is great to have around are cattails. Add a fish pond with koi and put cattails around it, and you have a complete meal right at your doorstep. Also, bamboo is easy to grow. (So easy you have to keep it contained or it will take over!

Whitney Rose Wood on February 25, 2015:

I used to love eating honeysuckle as a kid. I would never have guessed so many other flowers are edible... especially the dandelions. I think I am going to have to add some honeysuckle to my garden now.