Popular Flower Types
Seeds, fertilizer and a little bit of patience will give you these easy-to-grow flowers. Try these perennials and annuals to add blooms all spring, summer and fall.
Daisies are brightly colored, easy to grow and represent innocence, loyalty and love. This 4th anniversary flower is also a symbol of remembrance.
Don’t just stop and smell the roses – you can eat them, too. Plenty of easy-to-grow flowers that bring energy and beauty to your garden are also completely edible and can be used to infuse food and drinks with unusual flavors and eye-catching colors.
Before you turn your yard into a pretty pantry of beautiful blooms, though, Erin Bunting, co-author of “The Edible Flower,” recommends spending a season observing the space and its prevailing conditions, including the sunny and shady zones, the wet and dry areas, and the health and quality of the soil. If you have a culinary garden, planting flowers nearby will attract pollinators and potentially deter pests from snacking on prized fruits and vegetables. Once flowers have started to sprout, she suggests mulching the plants to keep in moisture, suppress weeds and moderate ground temperature.
And because you will be eating the flowers, Bunting strongly advises against treating plants with any nonorganic pesticides or herbicides. For blooms that will be enjoyed fresh, rather than being dehydrated, Loria Stern, author of “Eat Your Flowers,” advocates for treating them like fresh herbs to extend their life span after they’re plucked. “Wrap them in a damp paper towel, put them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge,” she says.
Here are eight edible flowers that look as good as they taste.
These romantic perennials are easy to grow in containers or the ground, as long as they receive six or more hours of sunlight a day and are in well-drained soil. Prune them in the spring for the best blooms in the summer. The dried petals are often showcased in sweets, but Stern says they work just as well in savory dishes. “In Persian culture, they put rose petals on roasted chicken or rice dishes,” she says. “I like sprinkling them on savory yogurt dips, too.” Another option is to make rose-infused salt, a condiment favored by Cassie Winslow, author of “Floral Provisions,” who uses it for an unexpected flowery accent on french fries and the rims of margarita glasses.
Plant batches of already-grown flowers early in the spring or the fall to be rewarded with several months of blooms. Most varieties favor at least six hours of sunlight daily and well-fertilized soil. “When the flowers are raw, they smell a bit like honey and have a sweet pea and cinnamon flavor,” says Stern, who uses the delicate flowers soon after plucking them because they wilt quickly. One of her favorite tricks: pressing them into cookies for a showstopping effect.
You don’t need a yard or a garden for this tea-friendly plant that thrives in pots. It loves sun and water, but doesn’t need any special care. The flowers, which have white petals and yolky yellow centers, bring a honeyed, earthy sensibility to dishes, according to Winslow, who likes weaving the flowers into apricot jam, granola and chocolate pumpkin bread.
The tubers that grow these dazzling flowers shouldn’t go in the ground until after the last spring frost and do best in areas with strong morning sun and protection from the wind. Eight weeks later, you’ll be rewarded with pompomlike flowers available in almost every color imaginable. The petals contain a high liquid content, so they aren’t the best contenders for pressing or dehydrating. “But their big leaves are great tossed in a fresh salad as if they were a lettuce,” says Stern.
“If you plant borage once, you will probably always have borage because it grows very easily,” says Bunting. Sow seeds for the annual herb in late spring, either in a container or directly into the ground, then just sit back and watch it flourish. Its periwinkle blue, star-shaped flowers have a refreshing cucumber flavor, says Bunting, who likes putting them in salads, freezing them in ice cubes or using them to garnish gin and tonics.
Sow these hardy annuals in the spring in a sunny patch of land for a summer-long supply of blossoms that can be cerulean blue, dark burgundy, white, reddish purple or pink. Bunting describes the petals as having a slightly spicy, clove-like flavor. She likes to dry them in a dehydrator or an oven set to the lowest temperature, then uses them to decorate cakes and gussy up rice dishes throughout the year.
“They’re so easy to grow, they’re almost like weeds,” says Stern. The bright, bold trumpet-shaped flowers spread quickly and bloom brilliantly as long as they’re in a sunny area. The raw petals have a peppery taste. Winslow enjoys sprinkling them on flatbreads, coleslaw and tacos.
Put seeds into the ground after the last frost in a spot that gets full or partial sun and you’ll be rewarded all summer. However, if slugs and other pests are prevalent, Bunting recommends starting seeds indoors before moving sprouts outside. These are cut-and-come-again flowers, so the more you harvest, the more flowers you will have, she says. Winslow adores the spicy kick hiding in their bright orange or sunny yellow blossoms. “I like to mix the petals with fresh ricotta, dollop that on pizza and then drizzle it all with pesto,” she says.