ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Edible Flowers For Salads

Updated on June 5, 2010


There's no reason for a salad to be mostly green, predictable and bland. Give cucumbers a rest and try a fresh kind of topping: edible flowers.

Bold yet common flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums are safe to eat, and when they're mixed into a salad, they add elegance, color and spice.

Here's a guide to help you start sampling edible flowers: where to find them, what they look like, and most important of all, what those pretty petals taste like.

Edible flowers add color and spice to salads / Photo by E. A. Wright
Edible flowers add color and spice to salads / Photo by E. A. Wright
A salad of spinach, mesclun, nasturtiums and marigolds / Photo by E. A. Wright
A salad of spinach, mesclun, nasturtiums and marigolds / Photo by E. A. Wright
Yellow nasturtium flower / Photo by E. A. Wright
Yellow nasturtium flower / Photo by E. A. Wright
Orange nasturtium flower / Photo by E. A. Wright
Orange nasturtium flower / Photo by E. A. Wright
Marigolds / Photo by E. A. Wright
Marigolds / Photo by E. A. Wright


Have you tried edible flowers?

See results


  • Marigold petals taste like mild lettuce.
  • Nasturtium flowers are as spicy as they are colorful, yet they are not quite as strongly flavored as nasturtium leaves. There's also a bit of a sweet aftertaste to the flowers.
  • Cilantro flowers, which come in clumps of tiny, frilly white blooms, taste just like fresh cilantro leaves, perhaps with an extra hint of pepper.
  • Basil flowers, also white, have the same flavor as basil leaves, but it is much more intense.
  • The petals of arugula flowers are pinkish-white and laced with purple-colored veins. The flavor of the petals is mild, but the base of the flower has the spicy-bitter flavor of arugula leaves.


If you're curious to try other edible flowers, you're in luck. The blossoms of many common culinary herbs are safe to eat and will complement salad greens. So are the flowers of other garden plants. Here are some more examples:


Please be absolutely certain what you are putting in your mouth before sampling any flower! Plants with similar looks aren't always similarly safe to eat. For example, sweet peas, my favorite kind of sweet smelling flower, are not edible flowers. Yet the very similar-looking flowers of the garden pea plant are safe to eat.

  • Be careful, and don't make assumptions.


Grow your own: Try growing your own edible flowers from seed. Nasturtiums, marigolds and many culinary herbs will thrive indoors on a sunny windowsill. A few $1 packet of seeds will produce enough blossoms to garnish salads for several months. If you plan to harvest flowers from herbs you grow yourself, note that some plants stop producing new growth after they are allowed to flower.

Buy edible flowers: Edible flowers are sometimes sold in boxes in the produce section of some supermarkets. In New York City, I've seen small boxes of edible flowers for $5 at the outdoor greenmarket in Union Square.

Know the source: Be cautious about eating flowers that are sold as anything other than food products. Even if the plant itself in edible, it may have been treated, handled or stored with chemicals that aren't so good for you.

White basil flowers / Photo by E. A. Wright
White basil flowers / Photo by E. A. Wright
Edible flowers for sale / Photo by E. A. Wright
Edible flowers for sale / Photo by E. A. Wright

QUIZ: Which flowers are safe to eat?

view quiz statistics


All the flowers described in detail above are ones I've sampled and lived to tell about, but don't just take my word for it. Seek out other reliable guides to safe, edible flowers. Here are some free resources:

"Edible Flowers," NC State University: Horticulture Information Leaflets

  • This guide lists edible flowers by color and flavor, with warnings about which flowers are edible only in moderation.
  • From the introduction: "Flowers have traditionally been used in many types of cooking: European, Asian, East Indian, Victorian English, and Middle Eastern. Early American settlers also used flowers as food. Today, there is a renewed interest in edible flowers for their taste, color, and fragrance."

"Edible Flowers," Colorado State University Extension

  • This guide explains how to select and prepare flowers for culinary use. It also includes a list of common but toxic flowers.
  • From the introduction: "Do not use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides, which often occurs along roadsides, or collect flowers from plants that have been fertilized with untreated manure. Generally avoid purchasing flowers from florists, garden centers or nurseries. These flowers are not grown for consumption."

"Edible Flowers," National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

  • From the introduction: "This publication discusses some of the basic production and marketing concerns for edible flowers and offers some cautions on non-edible or toxic flowers. Also included are sources of additional information on edible flowers, in print and on the Internet."


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)