Bright, Edible Flowers

Herbs can bring color and flavor to any garden. Learn how you can grow your own edible flowers.
Vibrant Wild Tricolor Pansies

Vibrant Wild Tricolor Pansies

Viola tricolor , or Johnny Jump-Up, is essentially a cold-weather flower and quite hardy. Its pretty little flowers are usually three-toned, with yellow, white and purple blossoms. They grow almost anywhere, in full sun to full shade and in cool soil.

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Viola tricolor , or Johnny Jump-Up, is essentially a cold-weather flower and quite hardy. Its pretty little flowers are usually three-toned, with yellow, white and purple blossoms. They grow almost anywhere, in full sun to full shade and in cool soil.

An herb garden at its peak is alive with bees and butterflies busy harvesting pollen from the flowers. Many of these are full of flavor, such as the bright nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) that can add a vibrant peppery taste to a salad. They might not look it, but both anchusa and borage belong to the same family and both look good as a garnish for soups and salads or scattered in a fruit cup. For the greatest impact and flavor, pick early in the day and, whenever possible, only select perfect blooms. There are many more edible flower types than shown here, but research carefully before experimenting, as many plants are, of course, poisonous. 

Materials Needed: 

  • 1 x packet seed Tropaeolum majus Alaska Series
  • 1 x packet seed Anchusa azurea
  • 1 x packet seed Borago officinalis
  • 1 x packet seed Viola tricolor

Border Basics: 

Size: 3x3 feet or larger 
Suits: Any style of garden
Soil: Fertile and moist but well-drained
Site: Full sun or light shade 

Planting and Aftercare

All these herbs are easy to grow and can be module sown under cover in late spring and planted out at 4–8-inch spacings into a weed-free bed once the risk of frosts has passed. Alternatively, sow seed directly into the soil in early summer and thin out once they have grown their first set of true leaves. Regular deadheading and harvesting promote further productive flowering, but reduce the amount of seed produced. Nasturtium seeds are edible when pickled, and can be collected and sown the following year, while borage may freely set seed and regularly re-emerge. 

Tropaeolum majus Alaska Series: Plants that need protection from frost over winter, Well-drained soil, Moist soil, Full sun, Award-winning plant

Anchusa azurea: Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Award-winning plant

Borago officinalis:
 Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

Viola tricolor: Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

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