Bootstrap Farmer's Edible Flower List (A-C)

Bootstrap Farmer's Edible Flower List A-C

There are hundreds of plants that produce edible flowers. While we cannot list every one of them here, we have tried to include a lion’s share of the most popular and some of the often overlooked but valuable additions to any farmscape. Some genuses of flowers contain one or two edible species but the majority are toxic. We have intentionally left the easily confused ones out of this guide. This resource will be updated as we learn of new varieties or learn important facts about old standbys. If you know a flower we have missed, please let us know in the comments, and we will include it in our next round of updates.

Explanation of terms used:

Warm Season Annual - Often referred to as tender annuals as well, these plants thrive in the heat of summer but will die off at the first frost. They need to be planted out after all danger of frost has passed. Think sunflowers, zinnias and basil.


Cool Season Annual - These hardy plants can be planted in the fall for spring blooms in milder zones or 6-8 weeks before your last frost date in the early spring. Think bachelor buttons, calendula and snapdragons.


Biennial- Plants in this family usually will not flower until their second year of growth. Most need a certain amount of cold to stimulate flowers the following year. Carrots, garlic chives and many other Alliums fall into this category.

Tender Perennial- In harsher growing zones many of these types of plants can be grown as annuals. In milder climates they will come back year after year even though many will look “dead” in the winter. Depending on your growing zone and the use of crop protection these plants can provide important blooms in seasons of dearth.

Perennial - Living more than 2 years these plants are often used in landscaping or food forests. Some produce blooms year round with a little extra love. Just like their tender cousins they can provide flowers in the shoulder seasons, when annuals are waiting to go in or on their way out. Blueberries, fruit trees, and shrubs like abutilon all fit here.

Spp. - when you see this next to a genus name it means there are multiple species that are used.

Variegated - Flowers with this designation often come in varieties that are a combination of other colors available.

Easy to Grow 😎 Sell in Water 🏺 Desirable Dried 🥀 Container Grown ◼️

Allergen Warning ❌

Cool Season ❄️ Warm Season 🔥 Grow under protection🍙
Invasive warning❗️ Tree or Bush 🌳 Herb 🌿 Vegetable 🥕 Poisonous relative/look alike ☠️ Partial Shade🌤-  Shade 🌥  Full Sun☀️-  Partial Shade🌤 Full Sun☀️
Foliage edible 🍃  Petals edible 🌼 Cocktails 🍸 Best for cakes 🎂 Good Shelf Life 👍 Multi-colors available🌈 Use sparingly 🔸  Great flavor 🤤 

A

Abutilon - (Abutilon pictum or Abutilon hybridum, milleri)

Abutilon - (Abutilon pictum or Abutilon hybridum, milleri)


😎❄️🔥◼️🌳☀️🌤🌼🍸🎂🌈👍These perennials are hardy in zones 8-11 but can be grown as container plants as well, allowing them to be brought in for protection during harsh winters. The flowers on some varieties are large at around 2-3 inches across and resemble hibiscus blooms. They have a mild, slightly sour flavor and good texture. Striking on cakes or floating in a cocktail, abutilon are a great addition to landscape planning with an eye towards edible flowers. Remove the sepals from the flower before serving. Because they will bloom throughout the year in temperate weather they offer value as an edible crop while providing vital pollen and nectar for beneficials when little else is available.
Allium

Alliums

🔥◼️🥕☀️🌤🌼🍃🍸🤤👍Onions, garlic and chives all produce edible flowers. See individual listings for special considerations. This also includes elephant garlic and society garlic.

Alyssum - (Lobularia maritima)


😎❄️🔥◼️☀️🌤🌼🍸These sweet little flower clusters are mild in flavour and are actually part of the brassica family. They are low growing and do well in hanging baskets. Ranging from white to all shades of purple they are reliable producers in the spring and early summer.


Amaranth - (Amaranthus spp.)

😎🔥🥕☀️🌤🍃🌼🤤Nearly all members of the Amaranthus genus are edible including many that grow wild and are referred to as pigweed. Long popular in many indeginous cultures in the Americas, it is grown for both its greens and as a grain crop. The flowers can have very different textures depending on the stage of growth. Some are smooth and slightly crunchy while some can become spiky as the grain inside matures. The flavors likewise can range from sour to sweetly grainy. Due to their large beautiful sprays consisting of thousands of tiny individual flowers they make excellent plating elements for large buffets and charcuterie plates. The flowers retain their color when dried. There are a wide variety of colors and shapes available and we recommend trying a variety of types to see what grows best for you.

Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop - (Agastache foeniculum)

😎🔥☀️🌤◼️🌿🍃🌼🤤Sometimes known as licorice mint. Both the young leaves and the striking purple flowers have a mild licorice flavour. Pull the purple flower tubes away from the central structure of the flower and scatter them in salads or fancy drinks for a pop of colour and flavour. As part of the mint family many other species of Agastache are edible. Colors can range from white to deep purple.
apple blossom

Apple blossoms - (Malus spp.)

🌳❄️☀️🌼🤤These blooms have a delicate flavour and a mildly sweet scent. They work particularly well in fruit salads. Planting multiple varieties will extend the availability of blooms. Use sparingly as the flowers contain very low levels of cyanide. Removing the green sepals will help abate this problem.

Arugula

Arugula – (Eruca sativa, vesicaria)

😎❄️🥕🍃🌼🤤As a cool season green, arugula leaves are the most commonly used part of the plant. Hot weather will cause the plants to bolt, which is ideal if your goal is to harvest the spicy, sweet flowers. The plumes of tiny yellow or white flowers are also fantastic for attracting beneficial insects to the garden. Try mixing them into compound butter and adding them to pastas for a spicy kick. They also go great on top of pizza.
Wild Arugula (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)is also very popular with chefs and is a different species although they are grown and used similarly.

B

Bachelor button

Bachelor Buttons - (Centaurea cyanus)

👍🔥❄️🍃🌼☀️🎂 Comes in a wide variety of colors: purple, blue, pink, black (dark maroon) and white. Pull the many tiny flowers from the green sepals and sprinkle them anywhere you want to add color and visual interest. Regular harvesting will keep these blooming for multiple seasons. In mild climates they can be planted in the late fall for early spring blooms. Centaurea cyanushas been shown to significantly improve cabbage yields when planted in rows by increasing predatory insect populations that consume cabbage moth eggs and larvae.
Note: There are a number of other flowers that are sometimes called Bachelor Buttons and not all of them are edible. The only types we recommend are Centaurea cyanusand Gomphrena globosaalso known as globe amaranth.
balsam

Balsam - (Impatiens Balsamina)

❄️🔥🌿🍃🌼🤤 This flower belongs to a larger family of plants that includes inedible varieties, check the species before you plant. Only this particular type of impatiens is considered edible. The plants are widely adaptable. Balsam grows well in containers as they are thirsty plants when grown in full sun. The fragrant leaves are frequently used in curries. Seed pods will pop open when ripe, so pick early and often if you do not want them to reseed themselves.
Basil

Basil - (Ocimum basilicum, africanum)

😎🌼🍃🔥◼️🍸🤤Ultimate must grow in the edible flower garden. Most growers are used to picking the leaves before the plant has flowered. After blooming, the leaves change and become less appealing. Unlike many edible flowers which can be bland or slightly bitter, the flowers of the basil plant are fantastically flavorful when eaten raw. The flowers range from white to lavender, depending on variety. Each variety has its own distinct flavor. The blooms are stunning sprinkled over pasta. Cinnamon basil and lemon basil are favorites of chefs and cut flower farmers alike. Both have flavors that can compliment desserts as well as savory dishes.
Begonia

Begonia - (Begonia tuberhybrida, semperflorens-cultorum)

🌤🌼🍃🎂👍Both tuberous and wax begonias have edible flowers and leaves. Although they are generally tropical understory plants that prefer warm shady areas, they can be grown very successfully indoors or in a hoop house with shade outside the recommended growing zones of 7-11. The flavors can range, depending on variety, from a slightly sour taste reminiscent of sorrel to a sharp citrus flavour. Wax begonias have tiny seeds and are often easiest grown from quality organic nursery starts. Begonias are unisexual, meaning the plants have male and female flowers, with very different appearances, on the same plant. Begonia flowers and leaves contain oxalic acid, so should be avoided by people suffering from kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism.
beans

Beans - (Phaseolus vulgaris)

😎❄️🔥🍃🌼🤤All edible beans have edible flowers. See Scarlet Runner Beans.
Bergamont

Bee Balm – (Monarda fistulosa)

😎◼️🔥❄️☀️🌤🌼🍃🎂🤤Often called wild bergamot it is not to be confused with true bergamot which is a member of the citrus family. Flowers and leaves of this member of the mint family have a citrus/mint flavor that works very well in cakes, desserts and cocktails. Small flowers grow in large clusters. Great for attracting pollinators to the garden.
Borage

Borage – (Borago officnialis)

😎🔥❄️☀️🌤🎂🍸🌼👍Borage has fuzzy foliage and, usually, blue star-shaped flowers. Some flowers will have pink or partially pink petals. There is also a less commonly used type that has white flowers. All have a mild cucumber flavor. They hold up in a fridge fairly well, and make a great addition to salads, soups and cocktails.
broccoli

Brassicas

😎🥕☀️🍃🌼🤤 Any brassica grown as an edible vegetable will produce edible flowers. The flowers range from white to yellow with purple varieties sometimes producing purple sepaled flowers. Allowing some brassicas to go to flower in the vegetable garden will attract beneficial insects. A favorite food of aphids, they can also act as a trap crop. A few excellent varieties for edible flower production are: broccoli raab, kosaitai (a purple stemmed Yu Choy Sum), flowering pak choy, crimson tide mustard, yellow mustard.
Butterfly Pea

Butterfly Pea - (Clitoria ternatea)

◼️🌼🎂These large vining plants grow best with hot and humid weather. It will not tolerate any frost. The large blooms are used to color food and drink, the resulting blue will change to purple or pink depending on the pH of added ingredients. This effect makes them popular in the cocktail market. The blooms can also be battered and fried.

C

Calendula

Calendula – (Calendula officinalis)

😎🔥🍃🌼☀️🌤🤤🎂Also known as pot marigolds, this family has petals that range from yellow to deep orange. Remove the petals from the bitter green sepals. The petals are tangy with hints of peppery notes. Great for salads, drinks and petal confetti. Pigment from the petals can be used as dye in ice creams and frostings. In areas with mild winters they can be successfully planted in late fall for early spring blooms and are short lived perennials in zones 9-11.
Catnip

Catnip - (Nepeta cataria, spp.)

😎☀️🔥🌿◼️🍃🌼Also known as catmint, this herb produces tall sprays of white, blue or purple flowers depending on the variety. Both the leaves and flowers can be used to flavor teas and cocktails. Can be used fresh or dried. Just be sure to keep it up high where cats can’t destroy your plants. Catnip can become easily invasive and take over large areas of your garden. For this reason we recommend growing it in containers where the runners will be contained and dividing up the plants every few years.
celosia

Celosia - (Celosia argentea var.)

☀️🌤🍃🌼🌈These tender annuals are members of the amaranth family. All celosia are edible but the most popular cut flower varieties are in the argentea species. The available color palette is reminiscent of a sunset with a wide range of yellows, oranges, pinks, purples and reds. The inflorescence of these plants can be separated into many smaller “flowers” or used in their whole form for large displays. They also make excellent dried flowers that keep their bright colors and unique texture extremely well. Can be kept as a tender perennial in zones 9-12. Will also grow indoors but requires 12 hours of light for optimal flower production.
chamomile

Chamomile – (Matricaria recutita)

😎☀️🌤🌼🤤🍸🎂🌿Known as German Chamomile with idyllic small daisy-like flowers. They have a sweet, mild flavor when fresh and can also be used dried. Often used in tea, baked goods and for a mild floral flavor in drinks. These do great in containers or they can be direct sown outdoors.
Chervil

Chervil - (Anthriscus cerefolium)

🍃🌼☀️🌤🤤❄️This leafy herb is also known as French parsley. It is often grown to the flower stage for its delicate white blooms. The flowers' mild flavor and the lacey foliage, make it a stunning addition to plated dishes. Chervil has a mild anise taste that works well in the kitchen or the bar. It prefers cooler temperatures and can be grown in the winter in zones 8-10.
Chicory

Chicory

🍃🌼☀️😎🥕🤤🍸 All members of this family, which includes endive, escarole, Italian dandelion, and radicchio, produce tall stems with blue or occasionally white flowers. Flowers will not appear until the second year of growth. Plants that appear to have died back will often regrow from the roots every year. The petals can be pulled from the green sepal and added to salads or pastas. Unopened flower buds can be pickled like capers. Chicory flowers fade quickly and the petals should be collected the day of bloom. They have a distinctly bitter flavor that is mildest in the petal itself. Garnet stemmed dandelion is a prolific bloom producer.
Chive

Chives - (Allium schoenoprasum)

👍🔥◼️🥕☀️🌤🌼🍃🍸🤤👍These purple flowers have a mild onion flavour that is fantastic with cold dishes like tabouli or potato salad. Growers will harvest these before the blooms are fully open as the florets are usually separated out versus served as a full bloom. The individual florets will open over the span of many days and are better picked too early than too late as the petals can get papery when dry. As long as the seeds inside the florets are still green they can continue to be used as a stronger version of the edible flower.
Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum - (Glebionis coronaria)

☀️🌤🍃🌼🍸🤤previously known as Chrysanthemum coronarium) The edible chrysanthemum and/or garland chrysanthemum produce both edible young leaves and appealing white daisy-like flowers with yellow centres, or flowers that are entirely yellow. Some other types of chrysanthemum are considered edible like the Indian Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)which is used to make teas. The petals of both are edible and a bit bitter/tangy. While the petals of all types of chrysanthemums are technically edible some can be quite bitter. Traditional garden mums are not recommended for edible flowers as they can cause allergic skin reactions in some people. Another flower where it is very important to know which type you are growing.

Cilantro

Cilantro –(Coriandrum sativum)

🌼🍃😎🤤Conveniently for flower production, cilantro bolts very easily in higher temperatures. Planting your plants earlier in the spring will ensure they are large before they begin to bolt. The leafy herb sends out sparse umbels with little white fragrant flowers. Cilantro blooms have a light, mild flavor. The leaves, stem, seeds and flowers can all be consumed. The green seed heads are particularly pretty and flavorful.
Clover

Clover

☀️🌤😎🍸❄️🔥Trifolium incarnatum (crimson clover),Trifolium repens(white clover) Trifolium pratense(red clover) are all edible and have sweet, mild flavours. Crimson clover tastes surprisingly of watermelon while white clover is akin to licorice. All above ground parts of clover are edible but the mature plants can cause stomach upset so leaves and flowers are best eaten slightly immature. Some clovers are perennial and others will frost kill.
cosmo

Cosmos - (Cosmos sulphureus)

😎🎂◼️🌼🍃👍This is the only type of cosmos that is edible. Don’t be fooled by types like chocolate cosmos, they are a different species and poisonous. These have a more mounding habit than other types of cosmos grown for cut flowers. The petals are mildly bitter. Be sure you are getting these from a reliable seed supplier or nursery so you know you are growing the edible type.
Disclaimer:This resource's purpose is to provide general information and inspiration only. Since many of the flowers listed herein are known for medicinal properties, seek the advice of a health professional before touching or eating any plant matter that is new to you. As with any natural product, they can be toxic if misused or consumed in large quantities.BootstrapFarmer.com stresses that you do not eat any edible plants, herbs, weeds, trees, or bushes until you have verified the genus and species. If selling flowers as a consumable, it is up to you to do your due diligence to know the species of any flowers sold to consumers. No liability exists against BootstrapFarmer.com or anyone who works for BootstrapFarmer.com; nor can they be held responsible for any allergy, illness, or adverse effect that any person or animal may suffer as a result of the information in this website or through using any of the plants mentioned by BootstrapFarmer.com.

Return to Main Page

Click Here

Subscribe