Eat the flowers. Yes, really. If you love to eat from your garden but have low light, edible shade flowers come to the rescue. Shade flowers you can eat provide wonderful color and flavor as garnishes and additions to salad. Just make sure your flower variety is safe to eat and don’t use pesticides or herbicides around edible crops.
As someone who has cooked plenty, especially with blooms from the garden, it’s only natural to want to share some of my favorites with others. And for anyone plagued by a shady landscape, it’s only natural to seek plants suitable for those conditions, making edible shade flowers a win-win for all.
Shade Flowers You Can Eat
There are many varieties of edible blooms, some of which will even produce flowers in the shade. Most edible flowers that grow in the shade need some sun during the day, but just a few hours will suffice. Even low light spaces can surprisingly produce tasty blooms.
Edible flowers for shade are few and far between, but do exist. Here are my top picks for shade flowers you can eat:
Violas – Johnny Jump Ups
One of the most classic include members of the Viola family like johnny jump ups. These little guys will freely reseed, so you will have a crop of them every year. The tiny pansy-like flowers are not only attractive but dress up baked goods, salads, cheese, and more. The flavor is lightly minty and the tender texture mixes well with a variety of foods. Best of all, they produce blooms in very little light, frolicking merrily in either containers or across a garden bed. They are also great for interplanting in a shady vegetable garden. Their cousins, wild violets, will also thrive in shade and you can eat those too.
Looking for more edible flowers for shade? Some varieties of nasturtiums fare well in shady locations. Their sunny colors brighten any dish and they have a lightly sweet green taste.
Coneflowers and Calendula
Purple coneflower has medicinal and edible properties. You will get more flowers in full sun, but the few produced in shade make a delicious tea when dried. The same is true of calendula, but you can also use the petals in a salad for a refreshing flavor and color.
Borage and Hyssop
Borage is an extremely tough herb that will grow in partial shade. It produces tasty blue flowers with a flavor similar to cucumbers. Another partial shade option is anise hyssop. It has a delicate licorice flavor, which I love.
While considering edible flowers that grow in shade, don’t forget daylilies. That’s right – daylily flowers will not only tolerate shade but you can eat them too! These may get a bit obnoxious over time, but you can eat the shoots, roots and flowers. Roast or braise the tubers (which develop a nutty flavor). The young spring shoots have a lightly oniony flavor, great for adding to a salad or other dishes. The buds and flowers have a cucumber note and can even be stuffed much like squash blossoms. When added to soups or stews, they act as a thickening agent while imparting a delicate fresh flavor. Daylilies are hardy, tenacious and delicious.