We all like having someone by our side who makes us feel calm, don’t we? Well, plants do as well, as the presence of the right companion planting flowers, herbs, or vegetables has a positive impact on their overall development and well-being.
Even scientists have confirmed that certain combinations have mutual benefits to those plants, such as prevention of disease and pest infestation. In addition to this, those sometimes unusual combinations do make a lovely sight and add more authenticity to your garden.
In this insightful guide, you will learn more about companion planting flowers, which plants are labelled as the perfect matches and can be kept in the same bed, what are some of the key benefits of companion planting, how to avoid common mistakes, and much more. Stay with me and enjoy!
- What Is Companion Planting?
- How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes?
- These 8 Flowers and Flowering Herbs are Excellent Companion Plants!
- Borage (Borago officinalis)
- Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
- Sunflowers (Helianthemum annuum)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Red Clover
- Top 10 Combinations of Companion Planting Flowers
- Roses and Garlic
- Thyme and Roses
- Marigold and Melons
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and Cucumbers
- Tall Flowers and Lettuce
- Sweet Alyssum and Potatoes
- Dwarf Zinnias and Cauliflower
- Catnip and Collards
- Strawberries and Nigella damascena
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Carrots
- Bonus Part- A Couple of More Great Companion Herbs and Vegetables
- Final Thoughts
What Is Companion Planting?
Before I introduce you to a couple of ideal matches, allow me to explain what this practice is about. When different types/ species of plants are grown together for mutual benefits, that’s called companion planting. In most cases, this type of companion planting focuses on vegetable garden and herbs, but ornamental plants and flowers are used as well.
As you know, some of the facts that have to do with plant keeping are based on science, while the others result from observation, or trial and error methods. What you do is combine two or more plants, see how they influence each other, and then draw a conclusion on whether they make good companion plants or not.
Keep in mind that this impressive system of biodiversity is full of challenges and unpredictable moments. All the plants are connected and depend on each other, but the environmental conditions also determine the tempo of progress and development.
Related: Best Houseplant Care Apps
Companion Planting Comes with Lots of Benefits
Be it herbs, flowers, or vegetables, each of the plants has its own set of benefits. With herbs and vegetables, you always have ingredients and spices to make a delicious lunch, while flowers are there to make your room brighter and well-decorated.
Also, soil fertility is significantly improved when different plants are kept side by side. Plus, tall plants provide natural shade to crops and smaller species and protect them from direct sunlight. Some companion plants can even significantly diminish weed.
On top of that, the scent of some plants, especially aromatic herbs, deters unwanted insect pests, spider mites, annoying worms, and curious (and hungry) wildlife. If you make the right combinations, it would be as if some sort of security officers is guarding your garden and ensuring general pest protection.
This process is also known as polyculture. Biodiverse ecosystems and planting schemes with a high level of diversity make the plant more resilient. Compared to the mono-crop counterparts, many plants grown in groups look healthier and stronger.
Related: How to Keep Houseplants Healthy?
How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes?
You can compare it with neighbors- with some of them you do get along well, while some of them you simply cannot stand. Some species are ideal partners, while the other plants are the deadliest enemies you can imagine.
There are many reasons why plants cannot get along well. For example, they have similar needs and requirements (water, soil type, nutrients, light, space…), so they will compete, to say so, which one will dominate the space.
That’s why you need to analyze their needs well, so as to be able to make a good match. You should make sure none of the plants will suffer. They need enough space to be able to develop well, so organize them so that they don’t inhibit each other’s growth and flavor.
Bear in mind that the climate and environment are also important factors when thinking of which plants to combine. Perhaps one of the species thrives in such conditions, while the other requires lots of adjustments. That’s why it is very important to think well about which combo is the one that comes with the highest chances of success.
Also, don’t forget to check toxicity to pets or children. Avoid highly toxic plants. Finally, take allergies into account, of some of your family members or you are struggling with those.
Related: Ultimate List of Pet-Friendly Plants
These 8 Flowers and Flowering Herbs are Excellent Companion Plants!
What follows is the list of a couple of popular companion plants which are known for being excellent companion flowers and flowering herbs!
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Having the reputation of a bee-loving flower, this one’s edible too. Believe it or not, it’s an excellent trap crop for aphids, and its delicious nectar attracts insects that feed on aphids. In addition to being a great companion plant, it can be used to make a liquid fertilizer or as a great addition to compost.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
Just like the previously described species, this one produces lots of nectar so it’s a bee-friendly plant. Its nectar contains chemicals that attract Microplitis mediator, one of the crucial parasitoids of the cabbage moth. If you belong to birds fans as well, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the European goldfinch loves cornflowers.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
This flower has a strong scent that intimidates flea beetles and aphids which could prey on neighboring plants. Also, it is loved by hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybirds, which are known for thriving on aphids. Quite a fantastic companion, isn’t it?
With the ability to self-seed readily, Phacelia spreads rapidly. It attracts bees, hoverflies, and other pollinators. Representing the sort of a living mulch, this cute flower protects the soil and makes it more nourishing for the plants.
Sunflowers (Helianthemum annuum)
If you are looking for a friendly plant that can provide enough shade for the smaller ones, sunflowers are the ideal choice. Be careful with them, as they can inhibit the growth of some weaker plants, so don’t combine them with potatoes, for example.
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Another one with a remarkable scent often confuses pests that prey on plants nearby. Its lovely blue flowers are attractive to pollinators and flying insects as well.
When in flower, red clover attracts beneficial insects and deters boring pests. Also, it is known as a nitrogen fixer- it attracts specific bacteria which extract nitrogen from the air and convert it into the form that can be consumed by plants.
If looking for one more flower which is known for attracting beneficial insects, consider combining chamomile with some plants. When the fall comes, you can even toss it on the soil top to decompose and enrich it.
Top 10 Combinations of Companion Planting Flowers
Now that you have a rough idea of what it takes to successfully grow companion plants, let’s see which popular flowers can be combined with other species.
Roses and Garlic
While this match may seem like one of those “Beauty and the Beast” combos on the surface, it’s actually one of the most ideal combinations- just like in the cartoon.
Bulbs can help keep the nasty pests away, the ones that tend to invade the breath-taking flowers, which is why roses and garlic are the most ideal couple you can imagine. Garlic deter aphids, so your beautiful roses will be free from unwanted visitors. Also, the small purple or white flowers of garlic look astonishing with marvelous flowers and foliage of roses.
Thyme and Roses
Thymus vulgaris deters blackfly with its authentic scent, which is why it can be paired with roses. Also, you can make tea to deter whiteflies from the cabbage family. All you need to do is soak thyme leaves and spray on the cabbage to keep it safe from enemies.
Worth adding is that roses can be combined with a couple of other species as well. Geraniums or Chives are also among the top choices.
Related: Best Rose Fertilizer
Marigold and Melons
Officially known as Tagetes patula, French Marigolds attract bees and other pollinators. Certain marigold varieties have the power to control nematodes in the roots of melon. The best part of all is that you don’t need to use any chemicals to treat your plants.
Speaking of marigolds, Calendula officinalis which is also referred to as Pot Marigold also attracts predatory insects and pollinators. Their fibrous roots protect the soil, making the plant a great choice for cover crops. In addition to this, these lovely flowering plants come with a variety of health benefits and are often used in medicine or cosmetics.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and Cucumbers
The vining stems of these lovely flowers get on well not only with cucumbers but squash plants as well. Nasturtium improve growth of other plants by keeping them free from unwanted pests. Also, Nasturtium deters aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. Plus, they can be a habitat for predatory insects.
Tall Flowers and Lettuce
Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) are some of the most popular tall flowers which can be combined with lettuce. Flowers like that provide the light shade for the lettuce- that’s precisely the one it grows best in.
Sweet Alyssum and Potatoes
Wasps are like the miniature flowers of sweet alyssum, so when planted near bushy crops, such as potatoes, it will keep them safe from common enemies such as Colorado potato beetles and others. Also, their beautiful scent makes an enchanting addition to your garden throughout the entire summer.
Dwarf Zinnias and Cauliflower
The nectar from these lovely flowers lures ladybugs and other predators, which is precisely why it is beneficial to cauliflowers- it helps protect this lovely member of the cabbage family.
Catnip and Collards
Planting catnip alongside collards significantly reduces (or even eliminates) flea-beetle damage on the collards. In addition to this, their scent repels mosquitoes, which is why they are ideal companion plants.
Strawberries and Nigella damascena
Tall, blue-flowered flowers of Love-In-A-Mist combined with juicy and delicious strawberries are quite a unique sight, aren’t they? Aside from making a memorable picture, these two plants are beneficial for each other’s growth and flavor.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Carrots
Its strong scent is excellent in repelling aphids, so you can combine it with carrots and bid farewell to the nasty invaders, such as carrot flies and others. In addition to this, lavender attracts numerous pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
Bonus Part- A Couple of More Great Companion Herbs and Vegetables
In case you are interested in growing plants in some combinations that comprise herbs or vegetables, I have a couple of more excellent matches for you. Oregano deters pests and can be used as one of the best companion plants, but there are other cool combos as well.
Tomato Plants and Cabbage
Do you know what’s diamondback cabbage moths larvae’s favorite snack is? Cabbage leaves! They enjoy chewing them and making large holes in the leaves. That’s where tomato plants step in, by repelling the nasty creatures. In addition to this, tomato plants and beans provide natural shade as they are tall plants.
Cabbage and Dill
Another “perfect date” for the cabbage family, dill matches well will other members of the family such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Dill is attractive to wasps, which are known for being excellent at controlling cabbage moths, worms, and other pests.
Corn and Beans
Leafhoppers, leaf beetles, and armyworms are just some of the pests which adore corn, and that’s where the power of beans steps in. Beans attract beneficial insects which can destroy the abovementioned enemies, and therefore keep the corn safe and undamaged.
Radishes and Spinach
Radish is excellent in deterring the leafminers, which are known for attacking greens, especially spinach. Even if the miners damage the leaves of a radish, its development won’t be affected, as it grows underground.
As you can see in my companion planting guide, combining flowers, vegetables, and herbs in the same bed indeed is an adventurous mission. It helps you understand each plant’s needs on a much deeper level. When matched well, plants can prosper, and so can you, as a happy and satisfied gardener who succeeded in combining them.
Have you already tried growing different species side by side? If so, feel free to share your valuable experience with me and the community and let us know how complicated was to find the ideal couple for companion planting. Also, don’t hesitate to share what’s your favorite good companion plant and why.