7 Best Companion flowers for vegetable garden

By: Khaja Moinuddin

Author Bio: Khaja Moinuddin is a full time gardening blogger at Homesteadgardener.com, who shares his experience on growing houseplants and vegetables in container and raised garden beds.

Gardening isn’t just about growing plants; you should be smart enough to utilize every empty space in your gardening area. Companion flowers for vegetable garden not just adds beauty and fragrance to your backyard, it can actually deter pests, attract pollinators and prevent soil erosion.

Though some best flowering plants don’t add beauty or smell to your veggie garden, other benefits it brings to your patch of garden can’t be ignored. As a gardener, you must do your research before planting flowers in your vegetable garden to find out the perfect pairing of companion flowers. Fortunately, we did your part and listed best of flowers that can benefit your veggie plants to maximize the yield.

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Why you should plant flowers in your vegetable garden?

It was pandemic time, which made many of us to start gardening. By now, we all knew that the dreamy view of gardening can’t be achieved without trial and error methods. However, there are few things that are worth learning from experienced gardeners. Growing flowers among vegetable plants is one of them. Below mentioned are important benefits of using flowers in veggie garden.

Attracts Pollinators

Study show when pollinators like bees invade the garden it can significantly increase the yield. Bees, butterflies, birds and wasps spread the pollen, this increase pollination rate. In few cases it is shown that continuous supply of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season can extend yielding period.

Repel Insects & Bugs

Certain flowers are known to produce chemicals and strong scent that repel insects from feeding plant leaves, fruit and flowers. For instance, marigold flowers in your garden can repel nematode that feed on plant roots. 

Deter Pests

Flowering plant attracts benefits insects that can feed on aphids and powdery mildew. For example, Nasturtiums are known to protect plants of cabbage family by distracting pests. You don’t have to use chemical induced pesticides; planting companion flowers will do the work to avoid pests.

Improves Soil Health

Certain flowering plants benefit bacteria that help to lock nitrogen from the atmosphere and save it for plant use. Nitrogen being an essential nutrient, it can benefit most vegetable plants.

Adds Aesthetic Appeal to Your Garden

Apart from producing edible fruits, planting flowers amongst veggies can be visual appeal and its fragrant smell can uplift your mood.

Suppress Weed Growth

When the empty gardening area gets exposed to sunlight, it triggers weed growth. Planting companion flowers shades the soil area and suppress weed. Eventually, it contributes in healthier vegetable plants.

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7 Best Companion Flowers for Vegetable Garden

Above listed benefits aren’t just confined to veggie that are planted in ground, you can get benefited from companion flowers in raised garden bed. Apart from repelling pests and attracting helpful insects, companion planting boosts nutrients in the soil.

Now, let check the best flowering plants that can be grown among vegetable plants. Note: A scientific report that claims, bee pollination is known to increase quality and quantity of the yield.

Nasturtium Plant

This annual herb is known to attract certain type of caterpillars, aphids and squash bugs. It acts like a trap crop for these bugs. Signs of bugs on this flowering plant can alert gardeners to save their vegetable plants.

In simple words, it takes pests and insects on its chest (leaves) to save your vegetable garden. You should be alert enough to act swiftly and get rid of these insects.

Planting nasturtium along with cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplants help to cover the empty space and when this companion plant dies back it return nutritional value to the growing medium in the form of mulch.

Marigold

Reports state that African and French marigold contain pyrethrins, a chemical that is known to repel pests. In case of bugs, it is a decoy plant to trap slugs. You can use beer trap to catch these slugs and get rid of them.

Apart from this, it also attracts pollinators that are known to contribute continuous pollination, which eventually increase the yield. 

Sunflower

These are golden sentinels of your garden. Sunflower plants are known to provide shade to plants in hot summer and can also attract pollinators to eventually increase the yield. Standing tall with its unique charming stature, sunflowers blooms are known to allure butterflies, bees and birds. Just hanging sunflowers around vegetable garden can help to stop birds from feeding on your veggies.

However, there are few veggies that don’t go well with sunflower plants. For instance, you shouldn’t plant sunflower besides potato, pole beans and bush beans. It can be excellent companion plants for tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lettuce & peppers.

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Sweet Pea

Fragrance of sweet pea plant can fill the air in your garden with sweet and mesmerizing aroma that can captivate those who encounter its beauty. Not just humans, its vibrant colors attract pollinators to your vegetable garden. You can grow this flowering plant along with edible peas, cucumbers, spinach, carrots, turnips and pole beans.

Dahlia

With its vibrant and intricate petals, dahlia plant is a showstopper for pollinators like butterflies in your vegetable garden. As this flower attracts other pests, you should also plant flowering plants that repel pests.

Lavender

Lavender plant has both captivating and soothing beauty. Without doubt it attracts pollinators to your vegetable garden and is also known to keep deer away. Well, in some cases it has seen deer eating away them. However, I think companion planting is something that needs to be tired once before implementing in on the real garden.

Catnip

Catnip is known to release a chemical called nepetalactone that can repel pests like tiny flea beetles. Along with this, it attracts bees and butterflies to carry out pollination work in your vegetable garden.

How to Plant Flowers in Vegetable Garden?

It is important to follow few things before planting flowers as companions. There are few flowering plants that don’t well with few veggies. It may do more harm to the garden than benefit. To get benefited from companion flowers, a simple way is to grow these flowering plants in pots and place near your raised gardening bed.

Even hanging baskets near the veggies plant can allure benefitting pollinators. Or, you can just plan a flower zone around the veggie garden to act as a stopper for pests and bugs. Apart from this, you also need to be choosy while planting flowers. Here are some important tips that do help in your companion gardening.

  • Choose cool-season flowering plants to grow besides cool-season veggies. This will ensure both plants get favorable climatic conditions to grow at the same time.
  • Similarly, grow hot or warmer season flowers with warm-season vegetable plants.
  • Like your veggies, flowers need to be cared to provide essential requirements like sunlight, water and fertilizers.
  • Some flowers grow taller, which blocks sunlight from reaching vegetable plants. So, ensure your veggies are getting enough sun exposure.

Note: Know growing requirements of both companion plants and ensure to provide. After all, both are grown for mutual benefit.

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Annual or Perennial Flowers for Vegetable Garden?

Annual flowering plants complete its life cycle after completion of growing season. While perennial flowers, come back year after year without replanting. Depending on the requirement of your vegetable garden, you can choose any of them. I personally recommend planting perennial or annual flowers in pots. So you can just arrange these flower pots around the vegetable garden as a decoy for pests and pollinators.

  • Garden should be a collection of different type of plants. I think you should maintain a balance of annual and perennial flowers in your raised vegetable garden.
  • Both annual and perennial produce colorful blossoms that entice helpful bugs. But, perennial last for longer time. So, choose a spot for this type of flowers strategically, to ensure they aren’t disturbed with annual vegetable plant rotation.
  • Annual flowers like marigold, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums.
  • Perennial include lavender, bee balm, daylilies and coneflowers.

Conclusion

Companion planting is encouraged by most gardening experts and its benefits are backed by many studies. Similarly, companion flowers for vegetable garden are proven to increase the yield and add aesthetic appeal to your gardening. Growing flowers in pots or containers make it easy to relocate when needed.

Few gardeners also tired hanging flowers besides veggies. It attracts pollinators, helpful insects and repels pests. Not just this, it suppress weed growth, improves soil nutrients and provide shade for veggies that can’t survive intense sunlight. Also read: Essential Companion Planting Guide for Your Raised Garden Bed

FAQs

What flowers pair well with vegetables?

There are number of flowering plants that can be grown along with vegetable plants. Above mentioned are few of them. For instance, marigold, borage, sunflower, calendula, dill and chives can be planted amongst veggies.

Are marigolds good for a vegetable garden?

Yes, they are best for vegetable garden. They attract pollinators, which eventually increase the quality of the yield. It also deter pests and improve growing soil.

Can I plant tomatoes next to flowers?

Yes, you can plant flowers with tomatoes. In most cases, it is proven to benefit this vegetable plant. Nasturtium, marigold and calendula can be planted next to tomatoes.

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