If you want to add some color to your veggie patch as well as your salads and other dishes then why not grow some edible flowers. They’re easy to grow and will add a surprise element to your cooking. Here are 5 of the best and how to grow them. The list below are all annuals so they fit really well into a vegetable garden.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) – Nasturtium flowers have a peppery flavor and with a variety of colors from white to red. To grow nasturtiums you can either grow them from seed – they take about 2 – 3 weeks to germinate – or you can purchase them at nurseries or garden centers. They prefer a sunny, well drained position which is perfect for your veggie patch. Pick flowers frequently to encourage the plants to continue producing more.
Pansy (Viola spp.) – Pansies have a sweet flavor and also come in a variety of colors. Pansies can be grown from seed or purchased in punnets. They prefer a sunny spot but can be grown in semi shade in hotter climates. They do like to be well watered so make sure they don’t dry out. Pick flowers regularly to encourage continuous flowering.
Petunia (Petunia hybrida) – Petunias have a mild flavor and come in a variety of colors. You can grow Petunias from seed or purchase seedlings. They also prefer a sunny spot in the garden and like to be well watered but avoid over wetting the flowers as it tends to spoil them. Pick the flowers often and if the plants become a bit too leggy cut them back by about ½ and they will begin to flower again profusely.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) – Pineapple sage as its name suggests, has a sage flavour with pineapple undertones and is red in color. Pineapple sage can grow up to 5 feet tall with dark red trumpet like flowers. It also prefer a sunny spot and plenty of watering. You may need to stake the plants once they start growing so they don’t fall over in windy conditions. You can also use the leaves of this plant in drinks or fruit salads. This plant can also be grown from cuttings just in sand as it roots very easily.
Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) – Scented geraniums are available in various flavors and colors so you can have a good choice of which to grow and use in your cooking. Pelargoniums are actually a herb and their leaves as well as their flowers can be used in the kitchen plus they have the benefit of having delicious scents as well adding not only color but fragrance to your vegetable garden as well. They also do really well in pots and cultivate very easily from cuttings so once you have your first plants you can continue growing more for the following season. They do prefer a good amount of sunlight and a well drained soil.
When preparing your edible flowers to use in salads, wash them gently as they can be fragile and remove the pistil and stamens as the pollen can have a bitter taste and some people can be allergic to it. It is generally only the petals of these flowers which are eaten. To refresh flowers which have wilted a little just dip them in a little icy water.