Seed Pantry’s Guide to Edible Flowers

The wonderous florets of cauliflower, broccoli, calabrese and artichoke are only the beginning when it comes flowers we’ll happily nibble on! Familiar faces such as pansies and nasturtiums are wonderful adornments for cakes, salads and more. Why not give some of these more unusual edible flowers a whirl too?

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Are all flowers safe to eat?

Not all flowers are edible, some can even be poisonous, so stick to the ones on our list below or make sure you do your research thoroughly! Here are our top tips for choosing edible flowers safely:

  1. A lot of flowers look very similar, so only eat flowers if you are certain they are edible.
  2. In this guide the whole of each flower listed is edible, with the exception of calendula where only the petals can be eaten. Make sure you remove the calyx, pistil and stamens of these before consumption.
  3. If you suffer from hay fever, pollen or plant allergies either remove the stamen from the flowers before eating or avoid entirely.
  4. Avoid picking blooms from the side of the road or where they may have been sprayed with fertilisers or pesticides.

The Seed Pantry team top edible flower picks

Calendula (pot marigold) – The petals add a lovely bright-orange dash to plant and cooking pots alike. Sprinkle over salads use in rice, where they bring a taste similar to saffron… for a fraction of the price! Be careful not to confuse them with marigolds (Tagetes species) which is best kept as a companion plant.

Viola – The pansy-like faces will bring a colourful, sweet and fragrant twist to salads. Thanks to their long flowering periods, they’ll grace dishes from mid-summer right through to winter. They’re also a stunning addition to baked goodies and desserts.

Pansies – Unlike violas, their taste is a quite savoury; slightly salty, peppery but fresh taste. Try adding them to cabbages, carrots and fish dishes in all their rainbowiness.

Borage – Eating these beautiful blue flowers is said to make us more courageous by stimulating adrenaline release! Tasting a little like cucumber they’re brilliant in salads or frozen into ice cubes for summertime Pimms. They also supposedly help us forget our troubles… which coincidentally is a rather great side-effect of Pimms too.

Nasturtiums – Curiously this super easy-to-grow flower is a cousin of the Brassica family. The young leaves, flowers and fresh seeds are edible and have a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavour. The leaves make a great pesto and the fresh seeds are super duper tasty when pickled like capers.

Cornflower – With a slightly spicy, clove-like flavour and subtle sweetness. Their blue petals look especially lovely mixed with calendula in summer dishes. They’re wonderful sprinkled over ice-cream like confetti too!

Sunflower – Not only do the large lemon-yellow petals look fab in salads, they also add a mild, nutty, bittersweet flavour. In fact, you can eat everything from root to leaf, sprout to stalk! Steam whole flower heads and eat them like artichokes, crunch on the celery-like stalks with hummus or peanut butter or steep the leaves for sunflower tea. After that, you can eat seed kernels raw or toasted… or share them with the birds!

Herb flowers – The flowers of most herbs are edible; you’ll find they taste very similar to the leaves but usually a little stronger or milder. Fennel, dill, thyme, oregano and chive flowers are all rather delightful.

Courgette If you need easing-in to the idea of eating your floral friends try stuffing the flowers with cream cheese. You can also deep fry them, or simply steam and marvel at their peppery scrumptiousness.

Top tiPS For using edible flowers
  • Harvest young buds and flowers in the morning to keep their intense colours and flavours, before the midday sun can dry them out.
  • When harvesting edible flowers, make sure you wash them thoroughly before use. Dip them in a bowl of water and gently shake to remove any stubborn insects that may be hiding inside.
  • Flowers taste and look their best on the day of picking but you can pop them in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

The Seed Pantry team 🌼

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WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

A Seed Pantry Guide to Growing Flower Bulbs Indoors

Use this guide to growing your Seed Pantry flower bulbs indoors and enjoy those spring-time blooms inside at Christmas and over the winter period.

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Planting our Seed Pantry prepared bulbs.

Autumn is the time for planting bulbs in the garden, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, iris and crocus are all popular in Grow Club boxes now. Whilst you’ve been busy planting bulbs outdoors in the garden, it’s a great idea to pot up and grow flower bulbs indoors too!

So what is ‘forcing’ and what are ‘prepared’ bulbs?

A ‘prepared’ bulb is one that has been pre-chilled so that it will flower indoors out of season, only 8-10 weeks after being planted. The cold period mimics winter time and the ‘chilling’ period they need; Tricking the plant into thinking that it’s Spring time out of season! Time the planting right, and you can use your flowers as a stunning, fragrant home-grown Christmas centrepiece!

‘Forcing’ a bulb into flower sounds rather mean, but when you think about it you’re actually putting your bulbs up in a 5 star hotel complete with central heating and a watering-on-demand sort of room-service. Asking for a bloom out of season in return seems rather reasonable, don’t you agree?

Narcissus papraceus

Grow Narcissus papyraceus – ‘Paperwhite’

Perfect for newbie gardeners Narcissus papyraceus (a.k.a. the ‘Paperwhite’ daffodil) is a fast and easy, fragrant indoor pot plant with delicate white flowers. They’ll make a beautiful centrepiece for Christmas, or cheer up any windowsill on a dark winters day.

How to do it

  1. Plant several bulbs in each pot, pointy end up, with the tip of the bulb just below the surface. Any multi-purpose compose will do.
  2. Water well and leave in a cool, shady room for 3-4 weeks. There’s no need to cover these.
  3. After 3-4 weeks place on a warm, sunny windowsill and wait. They should bloom 8 weeks after first planting.
  4. If the plants get a bit lanky, lend them a hand (or stick) to keep them upright.

Once your ‘Paperwhites’ have flowered, allow them to die down in a frost-free place and then plant them in the garden in a sheltered, sunny spot. Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’ aren’t hardy in some parts of the UK, so if you’re a Northerner you may want to allow them to dry off and store them to be replanted in containers later in the year.

Hyacinthus orientalis ‘China Pink’

Grow prepared Hyacinthus orientalis

Otherwise known as ‘Grape hyacinths’, orientalis will also only take a short while to bloom. Planting these beautifully fragrant flower bulbs indoors during October or early November will see you with flowers for Christmas and New Year!

How to do it

  1. Select a container deep enough to hold single or multiple bulbs and add a 3/4cm layer of well-watered bulb fibre or Seed Pantry grow medium to the pot. 
  2. Next, plant and gently firm down the bulb/s. Fill around them with growing medium, leaving the tip of the bulb showing by 1cm. 
  3. Place pots somewhere cool and exclude any light: a garage, shed, dark cool cellar, cupboard, or a place on cool floor inside in a cardboard box. 
  4. Inspect the bulbs each week to ensure the grow medium isn’t drying out or the bulbs haven’t pushed themselves out – firm back in if so.
  5. Your first leaves should be visible early December. Then place pots in a cool shady room. Leaves will green up and start to reveal the flower bud too!
  6. Wait until the flower bud is clear of the leaf tips and place wherever you want to display them! 
Top tip

You can also grow hyacinths using a glass vase, known as a bulb vase. The bulb should be slightly smaller in diameter than the vase so that it sits snugly. The steps are just as easy when growing them in this way too!

  1. Fill your hyacinth glass with water to the neck, just below where the bottom of the bulb’s base will sit. Place the bulb tip side up in the top, being careful that it’s base doesn’t quite touch the water.
  2. Leave your vase in a cool, shady place for 6 weeks until the roots start to form.
  3. When the main shoot is around 7-10cm tall, move the glass into a sunny position.
  4. Turn the glass a little every few days to prevent the plant growing lopsided, as they’ll grow towards the light. Top up the water every now and again to keep the water level stable.

After flowering

Once your hyacinths have flowered, allow them to die down before planting them in the garden at a depth of twice their own height.

Here at Seed Pantry we’ve made life easy and sourced only the best prepared indoor bulbs for you… available in the Grow Club and Seed & Bulb shop now!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

How To Plant And Grow Tulips

Summers out, bulbs are in, here comes Tulip mania 2021! We divulge our top tips on planting and growing tulips in this guide.

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Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’

It is never too early to start garden planning for next year! Here at Seed Pantry, we are always planning ahead to make sure Grow Club boxes are filled with the most amazing goodies. One thing we always excited for are our Tulip bulbs, ready to plant in late Autumn. Each year we carefully curate an amazing range of gorgeous tulips for you to choose from for your own incredible displays!

Here are our top tips on planting Tulip bulbs to help you create your own stunning Spring displays! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the flowers are likely to get plenty of sunlight. If you are planting in containers or pots, Tulips favour well-drained, semi-fertile soil. This will help aid in their growth.

2. When planting tulips it’s important that you plant them at the right depth. Place them pointy end up a a depth of around 3 times the height of each bulb; Generally at least 10cm deep. This will give the bulbs enough cover to protect them from frosts in the winter and enough depth for roots to establish and form a strong base, so they do not topple over as they grow.

3. Space each bulb around 10cm apart from each other to give them each enough space to develop. If you are planting in containers, you can plant them slightly closer together, just make sure not to overfill it with bulbs or none of them will have the resources they need to grow.

4. Simply cover the bulbs over with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen!

Top Tip

Tulips need very little care or maintenance but if you want to help them along when they start forming flowers, add a weekly feed of balanced liquid fertiliser to the pot.

Tulip Garden Design 🌷

Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’ and ‘White Elegance’

Tulips are so special that the varieties are separated in to 15 groups, depending on their characteristics; flowering time, shape, size and colour. Shop our ready-to-plant Tulip collections at the Seed Pantry Tulip shop, or use our quick Tulip groupings guide to help you understand the different Tulip groups.

Single-coloured tulips can be striking with individual splashes amongst green foliage, you could match light pastels or hot colours. Contrasting colours can work beautifully together too, for example purple and yellows. Multiple mixed colours can be added together if you wanted to create a homely cottage garden theme too.

Sometimes, it can be hard planting and designing spring flower bulb displays in the garden. Where do you plant this and when!? Well, a bulb lasagne is a sure-fire way to create a stunning spring flower display in your own garden spaces, big or small. Check out our video below to create your own! You can read all about them here too!

Neil’s How to make a Bulb Lasagne video

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

How To Plant And Grow Alliums

This Autumn in the Grow Club, we have gone all-in on fabulous ornamental onions, and have an amazing range of new and classic bulbs to choose from!

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Ambassador’

Alliums are stunning unique flowers that no other quite compares too. Their large pompoms make them sensational additions to any garden adding structure and form. Pair that with the fact they come in gorgeous decadent blues, purples and stylish whites with star shaped flowers, they are a favourite of choice for all our Grow Club members. Not to mention they’re a favourite with our lovely honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies too!

Here’s a quick planting and care guide for your Alliums! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the plants are likely to get plenty of sunlight. Also make sure you know how tall the alliums will grow, as the difference in size between one variety to another can be drastic. Best planted in well-drained soil, as they do not like heavy, clay or damp soil.

2. Planting depth is important for alliums as their tall stems need support to stand upright when fully grown. Check the required depth of your bulbs with the Seed Pantry guides, before planting, but in general, they need to be planted around 3 times the height of the bulb.

3. Spacing alliums correctly is equally important as the larger types require far more space in order to grow well. Plant smaller growing alliums 7-10cm apart, while the taller ones need at least 20cm between each bulb. If you are growing in pots make sure that they are deep enough to give plants the space needed so that they get enough water – often 40cm deep or more is great for containers.

4. Place your bulbs in the space pointy end up and simply cover the bulb with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen! Alliums are so easy to grow, they make a very stylish display and the bees love them too!

Alliums in Garden Design

White Alliums used as a single colour pallet look beautiful.

There aren’t many plants that can be considered dainty AND bold, however smaller Allium flowers certainly fit the bill. These flowers will stand out wherever you plant them, their tall pompom like heads makes them immediately eye-catching in any garden display and are perfect for planting amongst flowers and green perennial foliage. They come in such a variety of colours, heights and sizes and once those summer blooms have faded their impressive structural seed heads will continue to spark interest!

Join the Grow Club, add some Alliums to your Grow Club box this month or treat your garden to a few ornamental Onions at the Seed Pantry Allium shop!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Seed Pantry’s new Grow Club Discovery Subscription Box

Delivered at the right time to grow, we’ve launched Seed Pantry’s brand new monthly subscription service – the Grow Club Discovery Box, perfect for anyone keen to grow fresh food and flowers at home in any spaces.

Delivered just in time to your door and keeping you up to date with everything to do in the garden, this is really convenient and is mapped out for the year in tune with the seasons.

Designed to inspire growers with beautifully curated monthly boxes and easy to follow grow guides – it’s great value and each month you can make six choices, from 10, of expertly selected food and flower plants to grow.  Discover new to market varieties, heirloom and new, best in show cut flowers, and the best food flavours for super healthy fresh food.

Our new Grow Club Discovery Box keeps you bang up to date with the latest gardening trends, so you get to discover new plants as they become available.

Gifting options are available for 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions and the Grow Club Discovery Box is priced at just £12.99 per month with FREE delivery.

To find out more visit Seed Pantry