Best flowers for vegetable garden collections offer benefits beyond beauty. When planted strategically among crops, the right flowers attract pollinators, beneficial insects, and birds that aid in pest control and higher yields.
In this guide, we’ll cover flowering plant companions for common vegetable garden plants and how to utilize them to boost your harvest. If filling unused corners with vibrant blooms or turning an entire plot into an edible oasis is your plan, flowers play an important role in creating an insect-friendly environment and nutrient-rich soil for a thriving vegetable garden.
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- Best Flowers for Vegetable Gardens for Your Collection
Best Flowers for Vegetable Gardens for Your Collection
Marigolds are indeed excellent companion plants for vegetable gardens. The strong aroma of marigold flowers repels many common pest insects like aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage worms. The volatile oils and chemicals released by marigolds disrupt the sensory perception of these pests, making it difficult for them to find and infect nearby vegetable plants.
Studies have shown that marigold-infused foliage and flowers significantly reduce pest pressure on neighboring crops. At the same time, marigolds attract beneficial insects that predate on pest insects or pollinate vegetable crops. Ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, and honey bees are drawn to the nectar and pollen of marigold flowers.
Once these insects have fed on marigolds, they often move on to forage on other plants in the garden, including crops that need pollination or pests that need controlling. Marigolds provide a food source where beneficial insects can replenish themselves before tackling crop pests.
Planting marigolds around the edges of vegetable beds creates a barrier that pest insects must cross in order to infiltrate the crop plants. Many pests will be deterred or trapped by the marigolds before they can cause damage inside the garden. Placing pots of marigolds at garden entrances also intercepts pests before they can enter the vegetable plots.
For best effect, interplant marigolds amongst and between vegetable plants. The greater the proximity and density of marigolds, the stronger their pest-deterring abilities and the higher their “lure and trap” potential for beneficial insects. Mixing marigolds in with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other brassicas helps control pests that target those crops like cabbage worms and loopers.
The vivid color and cheerful disposition of marigolds also enhance the visual appeal of any flower or vegetable garden. Their long bloom time, from summer through fall, ensures a constant supply of benefits throughout the main growing season. The flowers provide colorful additions for cut bouquets featuring produce and other flowers from the garden.
Not only do marigolds protect crop plants and attract beneficial insects, but the petals are also edible, adding nutrients, color, and visual interest to salads and dishes made from vegetables in the garden.
Nasturtiums are an excellent companion plant for vegetable gardens with many benefits. The brightly colored flowers in orange, yellow, and red attract insects like bees, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps that prey on pests. As the flowers age, they produce seeds that attract seed-eating birds to control overwintering insects.
The leaves and flowers of nasturtiums are edible and make colorful additions to salads harvested from the vegetable garden. You can plant nasturtiums at the base of the tomato cages and trellises where the vining plants attract beneficial insects, add visual appeal, and require little care beyond watering.
As the nasturtiums bloom profusely, you can enjoy snipping the bright blossoms to add to arrangements featuring flowers from the vegetable garden. Overall, nasturtiums boost the beneficial insect population in the vegetable plots while providing you with edible leaves and colorful blooms.
If you want to attract beneficial insects while also having colorful blooms for cut flower arrangements, calendula is a superb choice for the vegetable garden. The bright orange and yellow calendula flowers have a mild garlicky aroma that repels pests while also attracting pollinating insects like bees and hoverflies.
Calendula blooms last for months in summer and fall when you need the most pollinators for the edible flowers and fruits. You can plant calendula around the potted marigold, borage, and zinnia plantings for the best companion planting mix to draw in helpful insects.
The lacy blooms of the cosmos come in pinks, whites, and oranges that create a lovely, feminine ambiance in the flower garden. The light, airy petals attract a host of pollinators including bees, hoverflies, and butterflies to help fertilize the vegetable crops.
You can plant cosmos as a trap crop around the tomato and pepper plants to distract pests from dining on the main crops. In just a few short months, the cosmos will grow large, bushy plants covered in blooms perfect for picking and enjoying indoors as a cut flower. Cosmos add a charming, whimsical touch to any vegetable garden.
Zinnias are dependable and long-blooming annual flowers for vegetable gardens. Their compact plants branch out to produce dozens of colorful blooms in reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and whites. Zinnias are a favorite among pollinators like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies who enjoy the nectar-rich flowers.
The long stems make zinnia blooms perfect for arranging edible flowers as well as enjoyable cut flowers to brighten up the home. You should plant zinnia seedlings around the squash, cucumber, and melon crops to provide an abundant source of pollinators when the cucurbits need them most during the warm summer months.
Nothing brightens up the vegetable garden more than beautiful petunias cascading down from hanging baskets and containers. The lush display of colorful, single, and double blooms in purple, pink, and white produce a sweet fragrance that fills the air and draws in bees and butterflies.
The large, trumpet-shaped petunia flowers make these plants an excellent trap crop for aphids and other vegetable garden pests thanks to their abundant nectar supply. You should plant wave petunias in pots around the bean and pea crops to provide maximum pest deterrence and constant flowering appeal from spring through summer. The showy petunias are truly the stars of the flower garden that pair beautifully with the vegetable crops.
Sunflowers are a classic flower for vegetable gardens, especially if you want to attract pollinating insects. The large, seedy flowers produce abundant nectar that draws in beneficial insects like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies.
As the flowers age, sunflowers provide a source of seeds for birds to feed on during winter, which helps control insect pest populations the following spring.
You can plant shorter sunflower varieties between the tomato and pepper plants each year to attract pollinators when the fruit crops need them most during the summer months. The towering blooms add geometric interest and a cheerful glow to the flower garden all season long.
Daisy-like flowers include Shasta daisies, Gerbera daisies, and painted daisies — all of which make superb companion plants for the vegetable garden. The simple, bowl-shaped blooms in white and pastel colors produce abundant nectar that draws in pollinators like bees, hoverflies, wasps, and butterflies.
Plus, daisies tend to be pest and disease resistant, which means less hassle for yourself! Plant daisies in between the tomato and pepper rows to provide a pollinator magnet while also adding informal charm and gentle grace notes to the vegetable plots. Daisies tend to self-sow, which means more flowers return each year to keep providing nectar for pollinators and visual appeal for the vegetable garden.
The tall, spiky stems and unusual flowers of cleome make it a unique and interesting addition to any vegetable garden. The flowers attract useful insects like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies who flock to the nectar-rich, pink, purple, and white blooms.
Cleome makes an excellent trap crop, its lanky stems towering over nearby crops and distracting pests from lower-growing vegetables. The foliage of cleome plants makes an unusual addition to the vegetable garden cut flower arrangements with their feathery, fern-like leaves.
The cheerful-faced blooms of pansies make them a wonderful companion plant for vegetable gardens in spring and fall. The five-petaled flowers appear in shades of yellow, purple, and blue that attract pollinating insects like honey bees, solitary bees, and hoverflies. Pansies brighten up the green vegetable plots with their sunny disposition and joyful colors during the cooler seasons when not as many pollinators are active.
The abundance of nectar and generous flowering habit of pansies help provide a welcoming first or last stop for beneficial insects in the companion-planted vegetable garden. The small bloom size also makes pansies a perfect choice for growing edible flowers that you can pinch and add as garnishes to salads harvested from the vegetable garden.
Snapdragons make excellent companion plants for vegetable gardens for their ability to attract pollinating insects and deter pests. The flowers appear in a rainbow of colors and ruffle when touched, living up to their “snapdragon” name. The snapdragon blooms provide ample nectar rewards for bees, butterflies, and hoverflies who then help to pollinate nearby crops.
The strong scent of snapdragons also works as a deterrent to repel pests like aphids and cabbage worms from vegetable beds. You enjoy planting snapdragons around the bean, pea, and squash crops where the vertical spikes of color pair beautifully with the vining growth habit of the vegetable plants while attracting pollinators with their irresistible blooms.
The long-stemmed snapdragons also make perfect cut flowers for the home when harvested fresh from the vegetable garden.
12. Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera daisies make fantastic companion plants for vegetable gardens thanks to their beautiful, bold blooms and ability to attract beneficial insects. The large, saucer-shaped flowers appear in warm hues of yellow, orange, and red that draw in pollinators like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies who then visit neighboring crops.
The gerbera daisy’s flower structure also provides shelter and nesting places for small beneficial insects. You’ll love planting gerberas alongside the tomato and pepper seedlings where the cheery blooms perk up the vegetable crops and attract pollinators at critical times.
As the daisies bloom, they provide you with an abundance of eye-catching cut flowers to enjoy indoors fresh from the garden. The large, sturdy blossoms stand up well to the hot, dry conditions of summer when the vegetable garden needs an infusion of cheer and color.
13. Bachelor’s Buttons
Bachelor’s buttons or cornflowers make lovely, carefree companion plants in vegetable gardens. Their cheerful blue blooms attract pollinating insects like bees, hoverflies, and butterflies. The abundant flowers provide ample nectar rewards for beneficial insects, who then tend to visit nearby vegetable crops.
You can plant cornflowers throughout the vegetable beds where the loose drifts of color soften the uniformity of the straight crop rows. Bachelor’s buttons tolerate varying soil types and require little care beyond initial watering.
The flowers tend to self-sow, which means you get free cornflowers returning each year to attract beneficial insects to the vegetable plots. Snipping the blossoms also provides you with an abundance of sky-blue cut flowers that pair beautifully with more colorful blooms from the companion-planted vegetable garden.
14. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum makes an excellent groundcover flower for vegetable gardens, covering the soil and spilling over the edges of raised beds. The tiny white flowers emit a sweet vanilla scent that attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and lacewings who prey on pest insects.
You can plant sweet alyssum around the base of the tomato plants and along walking pathways throughout the vegetable garden. The profuse, nonstop blooms provide a constant supply of nectar for the predatory insects you want to visit the crops.
Sweet alyssum’s trailing growth habit also acts as a living mulch to suppress weeds, conserve moisture and keep the soil cool around the vegetable crops’ roots. You can enjoy snipping bouquets of the fragrant sweet alyssum blossoms to bring the sweet-smelling charms of the vegetable garden indoors.
Borage makes an excellent companion plant for vegetable gardens, especially where cucurbits are grown. The bright blue, star-shaped borage flowers attract beneficial insects like bees, wasps, hoverflies, and lacewings that prey on pests. The abundant nectar rewards keep these beneficial insects visiting, feeding, and breeding in the vegetable garden.
Borage’s hairy leaves repel some insect pests, which makes it a good plant to grow around crops susceptible to invasions like cabbage worms and cucumber beetles. The starry blooms and ferny grey-green leaves of borage add texture and color to the vegetable plots while attracting pollinators.
You will enjoy the edible borage flowers added to salads freshly harvested from the vegetable garden, garnishing crops that benefited from the helpful insects drawn to the borage blossoms.
Bellis daisies make delightful companion plants in vegetable gardens. The charming double blooms appear in cheery shades of pink and white and attract bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects with their nectar rewards. These pollinators then tend to visit neighboring vegetable crops.
Bellis daisies spread rapidly by stolons to form dense mats that act as living mulches, smothering weeds and conserving moisture for vegetable roots. The daisy-like flowers provide an abundance of cheerful cut flowers that you enjoy snipping to bring the charms of the vegetable garden indoors.
Planting bellis throughout the pathways and especially around crops attract similar pests like brassicas and alliums where the daisies work to attract beneficial insects while also crowding out weeds. The colorful display of bellis daisies adds a relaxed, cottage garden charm to the vegetable plots.
Lupines make for wonderful companions in vegetable gardens, especially when beans and peas are grown nearby. The spiked pea-like flowers of lupines, ranging in colors from blues and whites to pinks, attract helpful insects like beetle predators, parasitic wasps, and fly species that feed on pest larvae. As a legume, lupine fixes nitrogen in the soil, which aids in fertilizing surrounding vegetable crops.
You can plant lupine amongst the bean rows and trellises where the tall, spiked flowers pair attractively with the climbing growth habit of the pole bean plants. The bold, showy blooms and airy foliage of lupine add a touch of wildness to the vegetable garden that entices beneficial insects to help keep the crops free from pests.
By clipping the towering lupine flower spikes, You are also provided with striking, long-lasting cut flowers to appreciate indoors, freshly picked right from the veggie patch. The lupine blossoms act as a cheerful reminder of the flourishing garden just outside.
The nitrogen-fixing properties, pest-repelling nature, decorative flowers, and ease of cultivation make lupines an ideal companion planting option for any vegetable gardener looking to beautify their space while maximizing yields. It is highly recommended that you incorporate lupine into your vegetable garden plan, whether planted amongst beans, at the bed edges, or anywhere where extra color and helpful insects are wanted.
Coneflowers make superb companion plants for vegetable gardens thanks to their ability to attract beneficial insects and deter deer. The daisy-like blooms appear in a rainbow of colors and provide ample nectar rewards for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
These insects feed and breed on coneflower blossoms before visiting nearby vegetable crops where they help control pest populations. Coneflower’s tall plants and strong fragrance also repel browsing deer, keeping the vegetable crops safe.
You can plant coneflower amongst the bean patches, trellises, and stakes where their vertical habit mates beautifully with the climbing growth of the bean plants while attracting beneficial insects. The coarse foliage and unusual cone-shaped flowers add visual appeal and texture to the vegetable plots while drawing in the natural allies you want visiting the crops.
Lavender’s sweet fragrance and ability to attract beneficial insects make it a wonderful companion plant for vegetable gardens. The aromatic foliage and purple flower spikes draw in pollinators like bees, hoverflies, wasps, and butterflies.
These insects feed on lavender nectar before visiting crops in nearby vegetable beds where they help with pollination and pest control. Lavender’s natural oils also help deter some insect pests from feeding on vegetable crops.
You can enjoy tucking lavender plants in between crop rows and near entry pathways where the sweet perfume greets you as you enter the vegetable garden. Snipping bouquets of aromatic lavender flowers provides you with lovely cut flowers to enjoy indoors as well as fresh herbs for the kitchen, harvested straight from the vegetable plots.
Catmint makes an excellent companion plant for vegetable gardens, especially where brassicas are grown. The spikes of lavender or white flowers attract predatory insects like hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybugs that feed on pest larvae and eggs.
The aromatic foliage repels some insects and the flowers provide nectar that attracts pollinators. Catmint’s spreading growth habit acts as a living mulch that smothers weeds and holds in soil moisture that is vital for vegetable crops.
You can enjoy tucking catmint plantings amongst the cabbage, kale, and lettuce rows where the textural foliage softens the geometric lines of the crops while attracting the beneficial insects you want to feed on crop pests. As the catmint blooms open, they provide you with cheery spikes of color to snip for cut flower arrangements featuring blooms from the vegetable garden.
Violas make cheerful companion plants for vegetable gardens, especially in spring and fall. The pretty, face-like blooms appear in a rainbow of colors and attract pollinating insects like bees, hoverflies, and wasps with their nectar rewards. These beneficial insects then tend to visit neighboring vegetable crops, where they help with pollination and pest control.
Violas typically require little care beyond an initial watering to get established, which makes them a low-maintenance choice for the vegetable garden. The small flowers also make perfect edible blooms that you can pluck to garnish freshly picked crops. Overall, viola flowers add gentle notes of color and texture and attract beneficial insects to the vegetable garden.
The colorful blooms appear in shades of purple, yellow, white, pink, and bi-colored combinations. Each bloom holds five petals around a dark center that resembles a small face. The pretty blooms remain open for weeks throughout the growing season if the plants are watered regularly and given occasional fertilizers.
Planting flowers in and around vegetable gardens boosts populations of beneficial insects that help control pests and pollinate crops.
- Nasturtiums are an excellent companion plant for vegetable gardens with many benefits.
- Daisy-like flowers include Shasta daisies, Gerbera daisies, and painted daisies — all of which make superb companion plants for the vegetable garden.
- Cleome makes an excellent trap crop, its lanky stems towering over nearby crops and distracting pests from lower-growing vegetables.
- Marigolds are indeed excellent companion plants for vegetable gardens and the strong aroma of marigold flowers repels many common pest insects like aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage worms.
While companion planting with flowers requires planning and upkeep, the benefits of healthy, pest-free harvests and beautiful-cut flowers make it a worthwhile practice. With patience and observation, you’ll soon develop your own naturally balanced ecosystem in the vegetable garden, nourishing both body and spirit with gifts from the living soil!