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Companion Planting

Enhance Your Vegetable Growth by Companion Planting with Edible Flowers

My childhood memories of our family veggie patch consist of rows and rows of boring looking plants! I wish I had known then how different it would look if I knew about companion planting with edible flowers. In this article I will detail some of the best and most common and easily grown edible flowers that your vegetables will love as a companion plants.

After seeing pictures of bright, colourful flowers in an otherwise neutral looking veggie garden, I was filled with excitement at the thought of companion planting with edible flowers. This was going to change my otherwise boring looking garden into a visually appealing patch just by including some beautiful and beneficial edible flowers as companion plants.  I mean why not “kill 2 birds with one stone” – not that I could ever kill a bird – let alone 2!

The concept of companion planting is not a new one, but more and more anecdotal information is being made available as to what plants work with which vegetable. This now includes information of how some edible flowers are very, very good at encouraging the growth and development of vegetables. These benefits vary between encouraging pollinators, beneficial pests, soil improvement and even to act as sacrificial plants.

Best Ways to Integrate Companion Planting with Edible Flowers into Your Vegetable Garden

  1. The first and most obvious consideration is to make sure that you choose plants that like the same environment and conditions, such as sunlight, water, and temperature needs. 
  1. Another thing to consider is the height and growing habits of the plants, and then create a planting plan that will benefit all the plants in the area. Some of my favorite edible flowers do have the tendency to take over! You must be mindful of where you plant these ones!
  1. If you don’t have a garden, you can grow your vegetables in containers on a balcony or courtyard. Integrate companion planting with edible flowers in your containers for a flourishing courtyard veggie patch.
  2. Also, not all plants necessarily “like” their companions! When considering your companion planting strategy then think about the compatibility with nearby vegetables. I will explain below which vegetables like which edible flowers as companion plants.

What Benefits Do Companion Planting with Edible Flowers Bring to Your Vegetable Garden

  • There is a definite synergy between companion plants and the local eco system of your veggie patch. Companion plants can help with natural pest control and pollination and also boost soil health and fertility.
  • When considering “pests” then we need to remember that our gardens are part of a natural food chain which we can influence naturally by the plants that we include in the patch. Bear in mind that your garden is a fantastic little ecosystem of its own. Allow it to look after itself by planting plants that attract beneficial insects and birds and let nature do its thing.
  • Companion planting with edible flowers is an ideal solution to creating a productive and thriving garden full of edible flowers and vegetables, by encouraging insects, natural pest control, increased pollination and maintaining good soil health.
  • Part of the beauty of using edible flowers as companion plants is that you can plant these flowers throughout your veggie garden. Use them to fill in any spare space. The less spare areas there are the less weeds you’ll have.  

Some of the edible flowers I’ll tell you about are self-seeding and very easily grown. You don’t really need anything that is picky or high maintenance! 

edible flowers growing happily with vegetables

The Best Edible Flowers as Companion Plants for Your Vegetable Garden

Most edible flowers will grow happily with vegetables provided they like the same conditions but there are some that have got additional benefits other than being pretty.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)

Nasturtiums are my all-time favourite, I just had to include them in this post! They are possibly the most well known of our edible flowers and a fantastic companion plant. I couldn’t go past without mentioning them!

  • Easy to grow, very low maintenance and will self-seed
  • Its trailing nature means that it will act as a ground cover squeezing out any weeds that may want to grow 
  • Its ground cover growing style will also help reduce soil dehydration
  • Acts as a sacrificial plant that protects your vegetables  – attracting aphids, caterpillars and white fly that prefer it to your veggies!
  • Secretes a mustard oil that some insects such as the cabbage white moth find attractive. This draws the moth away from laying its eggs on the brassicas
  • Bees also love the bright flowers so attract an increase of pollinators to this patch. This will then increase pollination of your beans, zucchinis and cucumbers
  • Best companion plant to:
    • Lettuces, beans and tomatoes
    • Brassicas, including cabbages, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower
    • Cucumbers, potatoes, radish, squash, turnips, zucchini, asparagus
    • Raspberries

There are numerous ways to use nasturtiums as all parts of the plant are edible. The flowers, leaves and stems can be used in canapes, salads and to garnish platters

bright, edible flowers that have a peppery taste

French Marigold (Tagetes patula)

A very common and very effective companion plant for your vegetables is the French Marigold.

Plant these edible flowers as close as possible to your vegetables as most insects and pests don’t like the strong smell. Planting one or two won’t do the trick, so you will need to plant them quite thickly to prevent the insects attacking your vegetables. But they are short and compact so should fit right in, filling in spots between and around your vegetables.

  • Easy to grow, very low maintenance
  • Attracts beneficial hoverflies which feed on aphids
  • Its strong scent repels pests such as greenfly, eel worms, squash bugs, thrips, hornworms and whiteflies.
  • Root secretions are very effective against soil nematodes. You will need to leave the roots in the soil at the end of the season for maximum effectiveness. 
  • These will also self-seed if left so you won’t have to plant them again the following year!
  • Best companion plant to:
    • Very good companions for tomatoes
    • Brassicas, including cabbages, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower
    • Cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce
    • Raspberries and strawberries

Marigolds are commonly used in savoury dishes such as fish and pasta dishes. The petals are also great adding colour and interest to salads.

marigold is one of the popular edible flowers, and very effective companion plant for your vegetables

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile has pretty daisy-like flowers and is a great companion plant for many vegetables. It has excellent pest control properties due to its strong and unusual herby scent.

  • Will attract helpful insects like ladybugs and hoverflies that in turn will then feast on moisture sucking pests such as aphids
  • Chamomile has antibacterial and antifungal properties which goes some way to preventing fungal infections in neighbouring plants and particularly fruit trees
  • Its strong scent masks the smell of brassicas and so discourages pests such as the cabbage white butterfly laying its eggs in cabbage and broccoli
  • Best companion plant to:
    • Cucumbers
    • Fruit trees
    • Brassicas such as cabbages, broccoli
    • Onions

Use chamomile flowers as garnishes or decoration on cakes and biscuits. Also well known for making chamomile tea which has soothing and calming properties.

Chamomile flowers, a daisylike flower with small white petals, a yellow center, and a thin stem

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives are part of the Allium family which includes onions, garlic, leeks and shallots and are well known to be great little companion plants to vegetables. Many people swear by these onion smelling plants to keep away unwanted pests from their veggies.

Chives provide an interesting visual contrast to other leafy greens and flowers with their straight thin stalk-like leaves with pretty, compact heads of pink flowers.

  • The onion like scent deters pests such as butterflies and moths preventing the laying of eggs (which of course turn into caterpillars)
  • Repels aphids and cucumber beetles
  • A perennial which propagates easily and can be divided each year to make more plants.
  • Cut the grass-like leaves for use in the kitchen – the more you harvest, the more it will grow. Also cut the flowers for use in your recipes
  • Best Companion Plant to:
    • Lettuce
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Peas
    • Tomatoes
    • Cucumbers

Use chives in savoury dishes such as pastas, salads and fish. Anything that will be enhanced by the subtle onion flavour will benefit from the use of chives. The flowers have the same onion flavour and look very pretty as a garnish.

Allium schoenoprasum, Chives growing healthy in the garden

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

This low growing plant becomes a mass of tiny little pink, white, or mauve flowers. It is an easy plant to grow and is wonderful at filling up any little spare spaces.

  • The nectar in the little florets attract ladybugs and hoverflies which will protect surrounding plants by eating aphids and other sap sucking critters
  • Will attract bees thereby helping increase fruiting yields through higher pollination rates
  • Grows low and spreads like a ground cover this has the effect of suppressing weeds
  • Also acts as a ground cover or mulch which reduces soil dehydration
  • Best Companion plants to:
    • Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage
    • Egg plant
    • Lettuce
    • Potatoes
    • Tomato

Use sweet alyssum to decorate cakes and desserts. Next time you make ice cubes, add a few florets to your ice cube tray and produce your own flower ice cubes.

Growing sweet alyssum, an edible flower, companion plant

Try Out Companion Planting with Edible Flowers to Make Your Vegetable Garden a Thriving Ecosystem to Enjoy

Your vegetable garden can now become a special place of co-existence between vegetables and flowers, each plant forming part of the wonderful space where you can find joy and connection. Create your own thriving ecosystem by companion planting with edible flowers and feel the joy of producing both beautiful and healthy plants to eat. You can use both the vegetables and the edible flowers in the kitchen, with flowers bringing a joy and heightened visual impact to your plates. 

About the Author

Annie Albers is a self-confessed “floraholic” with an insatiable passion for gardening and flowers. Believing that flowers can be enjoyed not just in vases but also on plates, she aims to educate and inspire others in the wonderful ways of using edible flowers. As the founder of Flowersyoucaneat.com, Annie shares a wealth of inspiration, tips, and useful information, fostering a community where floral beauty and culinary experience intertwine.