Growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden

Edible flowers have a unique and transformative effect on any preparation. May it be a sprinkle of colorful petals on salads or a bouquet of cut flowers on a birthday cake or a dip made from crushed flowers.

Noting represents Gourmet better than the addition of edible flowers. Here is all you need to know about edible flowers that thrive in summer along with a guide to growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden.

Flowers along with herbs are a great addition to gardens as they not only keep the garden looking beautiful but also help you eat healthily. They are an all-in-one solution to most health problems and do not need much effort to grow.

On the other hand, summers are the best time to grow and preserve herbs and flowers that can be used all year round.

Growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden

Are all flowers safe to be consumed?

Unfortunately, NO, not all flowers are edible, in fact, a few can be poisonous. It is important to know the type of flower you are growing and consuming.

Be careful about market-bought flowers as they might have pesticides and insecticides or herbicides sprayed on them.

The best option is to grow your flowers as most variants are easy to grow and maintain.

Rose is an example of flowers that require a little care but almost all other flower variants can be grown and used effortlessly.

Read How to grow healthy roses in balcony garden

How long do edible flowers take to grow?

The time flowers take to grow depends on the variant you are planting and the blooming season of the plant. Most plants take about 40 – 65 days to bloom.

So, if planted at the beginning of summer you should have a batch ready by either mid-summer or early fall.

There are a lot of flowers that grow in the fall so you could rotate crops or plant them in advance to enjoy an early bloom.

The key to having flowers all year round is knowing the blooming season of variants you plant and planting the seeds in advance either in separate germinating vessels or in the same pot you would like to grow them.

Growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden is easy and does not take much time if it is done right and you start early.

Check, 13 Best balcony garden plants

How to use edible flowers in meals?

Using edible flowers is fairly straightforward. Simply pick them and rinse them with regular tap water. For optimum flavor and color, be sure to use the flowers as soon as they are plucked.

If you decide to preserve flowers it can be done either by drying them which will retain the flavor but will cause a significant loss in color. You can also freeze them.

After picking the flowers either consume them or preserve them leaving them unattended will cause them to lose flavor or worse go bad.

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Which flowers are safe to eat?

If you are looking for options for edible flowers that can be grown in your balcony garden this summer here are a few we recommend.

1. Borage

This is an herb with fuzzy leaves and flowers that are star-shaped and sky-blue in color. These flowers have a light cucumber taste to them and hence are an excellent addition to green salads.

They can also be frozen in ice cubes and used to cool down drinks while adding a bit of color to them. They have been known to be used since the Elizabethan age and are delightful in lemonade and cocktails like Pimm’s Cup and gin and tonic.

Borage can be planted in planters that are partially or fully exposed to the sun. They mature in about 50 to 70 days and are low on maintenance and are susceptible to very few diseases or insects.

Cuban Oregano, (5 Live Plant) Indian Borage, Mexican Mint, Spanish Thyme

Be sure to plant these away from direct winds as they are not too fond of a windy setting. Along with the flowers, the leaves of this plant can also be used in preparations like soups and salads.

2. Calendula

The Calendula is known as the “poor man’s Saffron” due to the flavors it gives out when sautéed in olive oil. These are easy to grow in the balcony garden as they are not high on maintenance.

They grow in 40 to 60 days and love the sun. The colors these blossoms come in range from yellow to orange and red.

They bloom continuously from early summer to late fall and hence making it perfect for a summer garden.

Environet Hydroponic Calendula Growing Kit, Self-Watering Mason Jar Garden Starter Kit Indoor, Grow Calendula from Organic Seeds

Like marigolds, these plants repel insects and hence they are the best companion plants to add to your balcony garden.

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3. Lavenders

These perfumed flowers that have a sweet taste are known to have a calming effect. Other than this, these flowers go well with champagne and cocktails. You could also have them over desserts and chocolate cakes or even ice cream.

Lavenders grow in full sun and moist soil. These are a great addition to a balcony garden as they are fragrant and welcoming.

The Three Company Live Lavender Herb (3 Per Pack) Aromatic and Edible Plant, Improves Sleep and Relaxation, 1 Pint Pot

4. Pansies and Johnny-jump-ups

These, violet, mauve, white and yellow flowers are known for their wintergreen taste and make a lovely garnish. If you are planning a grand-looking desert glaze it with warmed jelly and these little jewels.

These plants self-sow and are low on maintenance. On the other hand, they are thin plants and you can plant a number of them in the same planter.

The Three Company Live Flowering 1 Quart Pansies (3 Plants Per Pack), Fall/Winter Garden Essential, Assorted Colors

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5. Chamomile

These daisy-like flowers are known for their calming and relaxing properties just like lavender. The tea prepared by infusing these flowers in water has become a new favorite in the recent past.

They have an apple-like flavor and are a great addition to desserts. There are several health benefits associated with these flowers including soothing the pain of teething babies.

Bonnie Plants 202144 Chamomile, White/Yellow

These plants grow easily in planters and require partial to full sun and bloom in about 40 to 60 days.

Read How to grow Jasmine plant in a balcony garden

6. Marigolds

Marigolds are easy to grow and maintain and have a citrus taste. These blossoms take drinks to the next level with the flavor they add to them. These plants love the sun and bloom in about 50 to 80 days.

The most important reasons these flowers need to be added to a balcony garden is that one they are bug replants and two they bloom all season round.

David's Garden Seeds Flower Marigold Giant Orange 1883 (Orange) 50 Non-GMO, Hybrid Seeds

7. Honeysuckle

These flowers make a beautiful addition to salads. There are two variants available, the bush and the climber. Both require lots of water and sun. they bloom early to mid-summer and are the sweet flowers to every balcony. 

Note: The berries of this plant are poisonous.

Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera Japonica Live Plant in 4" Pot with Soil

Read 10 Best Herbs that can grow easily in your Balcony Garden

8. Nasturtiums

These blossoms have a spicy peppery flavor and a similar taste like the watercress. These flowers make a tasty addition to salads and garnishes. Like most flowers, the leaves of this plant can be used in preparations as well.

Tall Trailing Mix Nasturtium - 100 Seeds - Made in USA, Ships from Iowa.

9. Scarlet runner beans

The scarlet runner beans flowers come as an excellent addition to salads or they can be mixed in steamed vegetables. The bright red color adds a hit of color as well as flavor to the dishes they are part of. These plants like the sun and grow well in pots.

Heirloom Scarlet Runner Beans Seeds - 20 Large Bean Seeds Non GMO - Marde Ross & Company

Read 8 Best flower plants for balcony garden

10. Daylily

The buds and flowers of Daylily taste a bit like asparagus. They can be made into fritters or used as a filling. These flowers are also good for garnishing and stir-fries. In balcony gardens, they do not occupy much space and need partial to full sun to grow. 

Premier Plant Solutions 10550 Daylily (Hemerocalis) Happy Returns, 19cm

11. Hibiscus 

Hibiscus flowers are not only eye-catching but also come with several health benefits. The tea prepared from these flowers has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be used throughout history for its healing properties.

These plants have several variants but the most commonly used variant is the Hibiscus sabdariffa which can be grown easily in balcony gardens in partial to full sunlight and is commonly used for making tea, syrup, and preserves.

Live Hibiscus Tree Braided Fiesta - Overall Height 34" to 40" - 3 Gallon Pot - Tropical Plants of Florida (Plant Only)

Read Best vegetables for balcony garden

12. Roses

Rose plants are the most common plants in most balcony gardens not only here in the US but all over the world. These fragrant beauties are used in a number of preparations and can be grown in full to partial sun in balconies.

The petals are sweet-smelling and can be used in several desserts as well as in cosmetics. They can also be used to make jams, soups, and teas.

Not sure how to consume edible flowers? Here are a few flower recipes that you can try.

Ma Cherie Roses - Don Juan Climbing Rose - 1 Gallon Rose - Live Rose Plant Ready to Plant

  1. Honey Lavender Ice Cream: This is an interesting twist to plain old vanilla or any other ice-cream you fancy. Simply mix in a few petals in your favorite ice-cream and serve it up with butter cookies or brownies. Add fudge, chocolate sauce or toppings of your choice. 
  2. Johnny jump cake: Cakes and pastries are all-time favorites with both young and old. Add a hint of Johnny Jump flowers to a cream cheese cake or any store-bought cake mix. These flowers taste almost like a minty gum and are a perfect addition to any light cake. These flowers can be used along with glaze on the toppings and there you have it a colourful Johnny jump cake.
  3. Lavender cupcake: These beautiful flowers make a dull looking cup-cake colourful and beautiful. if you wish to add lavender flavour to the cake a store-bought essence will be required as these flowers alone will not give you the sweet lavender flavour. This being said they are an excellent cupcake beautification tool.
  4. Honey Suckle Cordial: Honeysuckles are known for their sweet nectar and almost all of us are guilty of sucking this nectar. If that fresh taste is what you are looking for why not try making cordial directly from this sweet flower and fresh lemon.
  5. Flower Popsicles: Its summer and all you want is a cool popsicle. But what if you could add flowers to this cool treat? Yes, its possible simple boil a few flowers or dry them and add them to popsicle containers with either the water used to boil the flowers or a store-bought popsicle mix. Freese it and enjoy a gorgeous treat.  
  6. Dandelion Bread Pudding: bread puddings are the best way to use left-over bread. But imagine a twist in the regular pudding when Dandelions are added to it. This flower is loaded with earthy flowers and go well with the creamy pudding.
  7. Lavender Honey Grilled Chicken: a simple addition to chicken marinate can take it to the next level in terms of taste and aroma. One of these additions is lavender infused honey that can be used in chicken marinates. This not only gives it a lovely taste but the honey gives the chicken a beautiful colour when grilled. Once the chicken is cooked garnish it with a few flowers and you are in for a real treat.

How to prepare flowers for cooking?

When preparing flowers to be added to recipes, pluck them right before you are about to use them or they will lose some of their color and flavor.

After plucking them wash them gently in a large bowl of cold water and let them air dry on a paper towel.

Either use them right away or freeze them. They can also be stored in air-tight containers lined with damp paper for up to a week.

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In conclusion

The addition of edible flowers in cuisines was as popular in the ’60s as it is today. Right from sautéed day lily buds to johnny jump-ups adding color to your cakes and desserts. Or Camomile or lavender teas that soothe a restless mind.

The addition of a few colorful flowers is always welcome. Growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden is not a difficult task but at the same time, these plants require love and care as you will not be able to use damaged leaves or flowers.

Pay attention to diseases and pest infestations, early detection is key to treating them on time saving the plant from harm. If you have a small balcony you can plant these flowers indoors in a place that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.

All in all Edible flowers are a great addition to balcony gardens as they not only look beautiful but also taste lovely. I hope this detailed post on Growing and caring for edible flowers in your balcony garden helps you to know about edible flowers.