8 Flowers to Grow in Your Vegetable Garden


by Erin Marissa Russell

When you’re choosing flowers to grow in your vegetable garden, you have an opportunity to make the most of your space. For this list, we’ve carefully selected edible flowers and flowers that are good companion plants with vegetables. This way, even the prettiest plants in the garden will serve a dual purpose. That’s really getting the biggest bang for your gardening buck. 

Chrysanthemum

Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9

These petal-packed beauties of the fall garden come in hues including orange, pink, red, white, and yellow. The plant is bushy with an upright growth habit.

Not all chrysanthemums taste alike. You can find flowers in a spectrum of flavors similar to mild brassica (like cauliflower) to peppery like arugula. The base of the flower is bitter and should be removed before preparation. Use chrysanthemum leaves to infuse flavored vinegar, or blanch the flower head and sprinkle the petals to top a salad.

Chrysanthemums are versatile and can be planted in lots of different soil types. However, the plants do need full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting chrysanthemums in wet spots or wet climates.

Find out more about growing chrysanthemums in our article How to Grow Chrysanthemums.

Honeysuckle

Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9

You may know that honeysuckles are edible from your childhood. Children in neighborhoods across the US pick the flowers to suck the sweetness from the base.

Only the blossoms of the honeysuckle plant are edible. The petals share the same sweet honey flavor as the liquid you can suck from the base.

Honeysuckles come in either vining or bush varieties. They will really flourish when given full sun (at least six hours of sunshine per day), but the plants will also tolerate some shade. Honeysuckle is not picky about the type of soil it is planted in.

Find out more about growing honeysuckle in our article How to Grow Honeysuckle.

Johnny Jump Up

Hardiness Zones: 3 through 8

You may have already seen these cheerful cousins of the pansy in a seed catalog or at the garden center. The blossoms of Johnny jump ups have a pretty pattern of purple, white, and yellow.

Only the petals of Johnny jump ups are edible. The flowers can be candied with egg white and sugar to use as a cake topper, added to salads, or used to complement soft cheeses. The blooms of Johnny jump ups have a slight wintergreen flavor.

Johnny jump ups flourish in sunny spaces in the garden. They need soil with plenty of drainage that is rich in organic material.

Find out more about growing Johnny jump ups in our article How to Grow Johnny Jump Ups.

Lavender

Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9

The scent of lavender that humans love so much does double duty in the garden. Not only can you harvest and dry the lavender to make scented sachets, the blooms’ fragrance is also repellent to some garden pests, like moths.

In addition to the classic shades of purple or purple tinged with blue, you’ll also find lavender that blooms in hues like pink, white, and yellow. 

Give lavender full sun, which means at least six hours of sunlight per day. The plants also need alkaline soil that offers plenty of drainage.

Find out more about growing lavender in our article How to Grow Lavender.

Lilac

Hardiness Zones: 3 through 7

The tips of lilac branches are hung with clustered blooms. Lilac blossoms can range in color from pink or purple to bronze and even variegated, depending on the variety.

Lilac blossoms can be added to salads or candied with egg white and sugar to top baked goods. The petal’s flavors vary from one plant to another and are slightly bitter and floral with a noticeable lemony kick.

Lilacs do best in cooler parts of the country. They need a period of cold weather each year in order to flourish. Give lilacs full sun and acidic or alkaline soil that drains well.

Find out more about growing lilacs in our article How to Grow Lilacs.

Marigold

Hardiness Zones: 2 through 11

Marigolds are a common addition to organic gardens. This is because they have the natural ability to repel pests. That’s why you’ll often find these golden beauties planted next to rows of veggies. Marigolds are also used as a trap plant for slugs because the slugs love them so much. The blossoms of marigold plants also attract beneficial insects, such as pollinators.

Marigold flowers are also edible. You can use marigold as a substitute for saffron in recipes or include the petals in a salad to showcase their citrus flavor.

There are sturdy African marigolds that are well suited to drought or more delicate French marigolds that will tolerate a bit of moisture. Give marigolds full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sun each day, and soil with plenty of drainage.

Find out more about growing marigolds in our article How to Grow Marigolds.

Nasturtium

Hardiness Zones: 2 through 11

These versatile garden favorites are available in strains that trail or upright varieties. All nasturtiums have beautiful blooms in red, orange, or yellow.

You can eat the blossoms of nasturtiums, add the peppery leaves to salads, or pickle the seed pods for a treat similar to capers. The flowers are often used in salads, on cheese tortas and other open-faced sandwiches, or to garnish platters.

Nasturtiums are known for being easy to grow. Give nasturtiums full sun (at least six hours of direct sunlight each day), and they can also be planted in partial shade, though their blooming will suffer. Also offer nasturtiums soil with plenty of drainage.

Nasturtiums are recommended as a companion plant for cucumber vines. The scent of the nasturtiums is believed to repel garden pests like insects. They also serve as a trap plant for many pests, attracting them away from the growing vegetables.

Find out more about growing nasturtiums in our article How to Grow Nasturtiums.

Sunflower

Hardiness Zones: 4 through 9

Tall sunflowers can be used between rows to provide shade to garden vegetables. The tall flowers also make good borders. If you have vining vegetables like climbing beans, they can also ramble up the sunflower stems.

Of course you can grow sunflowers for their healthy seeds. You can also harvest flowers that are still in the bud stage for their mild flavor, which resembles that of artichokes. You can treat the buds like artichokes in the kitchen, steaming them before the petals open. The petals of the open flower have a bittersweet taste and can be used as you would chrysanthemums.

These sun-loving plants require full sun, which means they must be planted in a spot that gets at least six hours of sunshine per day. They are a bit picky about soil and must be given moist soil that drains well, contains potassium and phosphorus, and is not too high in nitrogen. Keep the sunflowers planted far from the potatoes, however, as sunflowers can inhibit potato growth.

Find out more about growing sunflowers in our article How to Grow Sunflowers.

Whether you choose flowers to add to your vegetable garden because they are also edible or because they deter pests, you’re getting double duty out of these garden beauties.

Learn More About Growing Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden:

https://adamsfarms.com/growing-snapdragons/#:~:text=Snapdragons%20are%20tender%20perennials%20that,in%20the%20low%2070s%20Fahrenheit.

https://www.almanac.com/plant/chrysanthemums

https://www.americanmeadows.com/wildflower-seeds/violet-seeds-viola/johnny-jump-up-seeds

https://www.americanmeadows.com/wildflower-seeds/sunflower-seeds/all-about-sunflowers

https://www.countryliving.com/gardening/news/g4188/companion-planting/

https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/219/

https://gilmour.com/growing-honeysuckle#:~:text=What%20hardness%20zone%20does%20honeysuckle,may%20require%20additional%20winter%20care.

https://gilmour.com/growing-marigold#:~:text=Marigolds%20grow%20well%20in%20planting,even%20later%20in%20the%20winter.

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/gardening/blog/companion-planting-flowers-to-grow-with-vegetables

https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/flowers-vegetable-garden/

https://www.thespruce.com/common-lilac-growing-tips-3269207#:~:text=The%20common%20lilac%20prefers%20USDA,many%20of%20the%20prized%20blooms.

https://www.thespruce.com/flowers-for-the-vegetable-garden-1403383

https://www.thespruce.com/nasturtiums-cool-season-flowers-1402910

https://www.treehugger.com/flowers-companion-plant-vegetable-garden-5115902

https://whatscookingamerica.net/edibleflowers/edibleflowersm

marigolds in vegetable garden with text overlay eight flowers to grow in Your Vegetable Garden

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