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Howard Garrett, The Dirt Doctor



DAL Edible Landscaping


by Howard Garret


I encourage gardeners to blend food crops and herbs into their landscaping. A major part of this concept is to use plants with edible flowers, as well as other edible parts. Of course, not all flowers are edible—some are poisonous, either naturally or from toxic chemical pesticides. Here are some guidelines.


• Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous. Learn the difference.

• Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible and non-toxic.

• Eat only flowers that have been grown organically.

• Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless you know they’ve been maintained organically.

• Do not eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma or allergies.

• Do not eat flowers growing on the side of the road.

• Remove pistils and stamens from large flowers before eating, and eat only the petals.

• Introduce flowers and herbs in general into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby; one at a time, in small quantities.


Note: Pregnant women should avoid all strong herbs and no plant should be ingested in excess by anyone at anytime. Edible flowers can be used to enhance food at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can also be used in teas. Here are some of the best edible landscaping choices:



Ginkgo—tea from leaves


Linden—tea from flowers


Pecan—edible nuts


Walnut—edible nuts



Apple—fruit and edible flowers

Apricot—fruit and edible flowers

Citrus—edible fruit, flowers and leaves for tea

Crabapple—fruit and edible flowers


Mexican plum—fruit

Peach—fruit and edible flowers

Pear—fruit and edible flowers


Plum—fruit and edible flowers

Redbud—edible flowers

Rusty blackhaw viburnum—edible berries and flowers for teas

Witch hazel—tea from leaves



Agarita—fruit for wine, jellies and jams

Althea—edible flower petals

Bay—tea and food seasoning from leaves

Pomegranate—edible fruit

Turk’s cap—flowers and fruit for tea



Begonias—edible flowers

Daylilies—edible flowers

Dianthus—edible flowers

Ginger—food, seasoning and tea from roots

Hibiscus—edible flower petals

Johnny jump-ups—edible flowers

Nasturtium—edible leaves, buds and flowers

Pansies—edible flowers

Peanuts—edible nuts

Purslane—edible leaves and flowers

Sunflower—edible seeds and flower petals



Beans and Peas—edible pods and seed

Gourds—edible flower petals

Grapes—edible fruit and leaves for tea and dolmas

Luffa—edible flowers, shoots and young fruits

Malabar spinach—edible foliage

Passion flower—edible fruit, tea from leaves



Clover—tea from leaves and flowers

Creeping thyme—teas and food flavoring

Gotu kola—tea from leaves

Mints—food and teas from flowers and leaves

Oregano—teas and food flavoring

Violets—leaves in salads and tea from flowers and leaves



Anise hyssop—edible flowers, foliage for tea

Blackberries—edible berries, foliage for tea

Chives—edible foliage and flowers

Garlic—edible flowers, greens and cloves

Hibiscus—edible flower petals

Hojasanta—leaves for flavoring meats and other foods

Jerusalem artichoke—roots for food

Lavender—leaves and flowers for tea

Oxalis leaves and flowers

Monarda—flowers and leaves for tea

Peppers—fruit, tea from fruit

Purple coneflower—all plant parts for tea

Rosemary—food seasoning and tea from leaves and flowers

Roses—petals and hips for teas and salads

Salvia—edible flowers, foliage for teas

Sweet marigold—leaves and flowers for tea and garnish

Turk’s cap—flowers and fruit for tea


Howard Garret, “The Dirt Doctor”, has been the preeminent natural and organic gardening expert and proponent for more than 15 years in the DFW Metroplex.For more articles like this go to

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