The Best Plants for Edible Gardens

By: Sarah Fernandez

Nasturtium flowers add color and flavor to a meal.
Nasturtium flowers add color and flavor to a meal.

1. Nasturtium

An orange or yellow flower that adds a pop of color to any plate and adds a bit of a spicy flavor to salads.

2. Violas

These delicate purple, yellow, or white flowers are a sweet touch to salads or atop elegant desserts.


3. Marigolds

The petals from this bold orange flower offer a spicy tang to rice, pasta, or salads. It’s sometimes referred to as the poor man’s saffron although it is better at transferring the color of saffron to dish than the taste.

4. Lavender

The delicate purple petals from this willowy plant add fragrance to any garden and are a flavorful addition to ice cream or tea.

5. Chives

This tall plant has a pretty purple ball flower and is wonderful in savory dishes and salads to add an oniony flavor.

6. Rosemary

A favorite herb of many, rosemary has needle-like leaves that add structure to a garden and are filled with flavor that is perfect seasoning roasted or grilled meat and vegetables as well as infusing olive oil.

7. Sage

The silver-green leaves of this mild flavored herb create a bush-like plant with tall purple stalks.

8. Lettuce

There are many varieties of this easy-to-grow common vegetable, but those that have variegated coloring offer the most visual interest in an edible garden. It’s quick regrowth means you’ll never have an empty spot in the garden.

9. Cherry Tomatoes

These colorful and sweet bite-size fruit are available in a variety of shades of red, orange, and yellow and can be used on their own as a snack or in pasta dishes, salads, tarts, and many more dishes as well.

10. Strawberries

Delicate white flowers with a yellow center dot a delicate vine-like groundcover before turning into sweet, juicy strawberries.

11. Lemon Thyme

This flavorful herb has small green leaves outlined in yellow which create visual interest, and it can be used in just about any recipe that calls for lemon from marinades and salad dressings to lemon flavored desserts.

12. Basil

This leafy green herb offers big flavor that can be ground up to make pesto or is a great addition to tomato salads, pasta dishes, and pizza. It also makes a nice garnish.

More Great Links


  • “111 Herbs, Vegetables, Edible Flowers & Fruit to Plant in Your Kitchen Garden.” Organic Authority.
  • “21 Best Crops for Edible Gardens.” Sunset Magazine.
  • “Edible Garden.” The Martha Stewart Show. (April 2009).
  • “Lemon Thyme.” Bonnie Plants.
  • “Marigolds” The Old Farmer’s Almanac.