Whether placed indoors or outdoors, edible plants and flowers are an exciting addition to any collection. In the kitchen, they offer brightness and beauty, culinary variety and even a range of health benefits. When placed outdoors, you’ll often discover a new connection with nature in the process of placing them in the right location, nurturing their growth and then going out to pick them. With plants and flowers that bring spaces to life all year round, there’s something for everyone here. In this article, we’re going to show you everything you need to know!
Edible plants and flowers around you
Edible plants and flowers through the seasons
The key to a healthy garden is a range of plants that flower at different times in the year; the secret to a beautiful indoor space is the seasonal plant that enlivens it. If you’re into seasonal cooking, it definitely helps to know which edible plants and flowers you can enjoy at different times of the year! Beyond just asking which flowers are edible, it helps to have a curated list for each season- from late summer through to the depths of winter- and that is what we will be providing here.
Starting with a plant that often flowers in autumn, though its edibility is less widely known, we have one of the largest families of plants- orchids. Orchids are not only beautiful and varied in appearance, but a hidden gem in the world of edible plants and flowers. While the fruit bearing orchid produces vanilla beans or pods, all orchid flowers are actually edible and most of them are delightfully sweet. These make a great addition to salad leaves- another type of edible plant perfect for fall- and are full of vitamin C.
While perennial plants- certain types of orchids being one of them if looked after correctly- will bloom all year round, winter calls for consideration of new edible plants and flowers. From salad flowers such as calendula officinalis to oriental vegetables like pak choi and herbs such as borage. There is plenty that can be grown in cooler weather that will be a great addition in the kitchen.
In spring, as the temperature starts to warm up and new flowers start to blossom, there is lots to explore. From roses- which make beautiful additions to desserts or teas- to chickweed, a true salad staple, spring brings a fresh array of flavours.
When heading into summer many of the outdoor plants which flower year round will have to be brought inside. This is also, a great time to pick and taste them. Aloe vera is a great, though less well known example of an edible summer plant which provides a healthy kick to smoothies and sauces. In the season of salads, you’ll find plenty of flowers to grace them- from the nasturtium flowers that provide a peppery kick to the mild-tasting pansies that compliment rocket leaves. These can also be frozen into ice cubes and added to drinks!
Edible plants and flowers for your garden
If you’re a little overwhelmed by the wide choice of indoor and outdoor plants year round, focusing on easy to grow edible plants for your garden is a great approach. This guide provides you with a few staple plants and flowers to consider.
The first category to look into is easy to grow vegetables. Globe artichokes are low maintenance and will grow in any soil type your garden might offer. Zucchinis – which can grow throughout summer through to autumn- just requires some sun and a well-drained spot to thrive. Onions are easy to grow from sets (baby onions) and will provide a full flavour year round. Adding a few of these vegetables to your garden will provide you a base from which to enjoy huge variety of edible plants and flowers.
Cultivating a herb patch in your garden also doesn’t need to require a great deal of work. Sage, rosemary and thyme are a great place to start- a flavourful trio that have been attributed a range of health benefits including strengthened organ function and improved digestion. Fennel is also fairly easy to cultivate, providing you have drained soil, and looks great in your garden. Chives are easy to grow and, as any chef will know, they offer a delicious base to a range of meals. They’re also perennials which means that they will come back year after year!
Of course, flowers should not be neglected. Here is a list of easy to grow flowers that will brighten your garden and freshen up your meals:
Alliums, Borage, Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Zinnia, Calendula, Lavender, Scented Geraniums and Roses.
If you’re starting with a new patch or garden, begin by choosing just a few plants that are easy to grow. You can also buy fully grown plants; these will contribute to the overall appearance of your space and give you the confidence you need to get gardening!
Indoor edible plants and flowers
When it comes to growing edible plants and flowers indoors, a similar approach is beneficial. Whilst experienced gardeners might have edible plants coming out of every nook and cranny in their kitchen, if you’re in early stages of cultivating your space, you’ll want to focus on a few easy to grow plants.
Lavender is a great one to start with. With a delicious taste and a scent that fills up the room, having a pot of lavender is sure to soothe your senses. Violas, nasturtiums and pansies can all be grown inside and are great as quick additions to grab for a smoothie or salad. As plants with white flowers, nasturtiums look particularly lovely in a bright indoor space as well as in your garden.
To grow plants like these indoors, you will need to purchase a few pots or seed trays and carefully consider drainage methods. There should be holes in each tray or pot and you need to be careful to avoid drowning the roots in water. Most indoor plants will like to be placed where there is light, but not in a spot that is too warm. You’ll also want to make sure to avoid placing your plants directly under the air conditioning. It is also important, of course, to consider how many feet tall your plant may grow to as this could impact upon an indoor space.
When looking at indoor edible plants, you can also take the approach of bringing a few outdoor plants and flowers in from your garden. As mentioned, this is often particularly important in summer months. From borage to scented geraniums, many of the plants we outlined in the last section will thrive inside at various times of the year.
Considering the question “are orchids indoor or outdoor plants” makes clear the importance of carefully choosing the location of your plant at different times of the year depending on species. Whilst some species of orchid thrive under bright light and warm sun, others don’t but still require humidity and warmth. Caring for more complex indoor plants like orchids means paying attention to specific needs.