can we be friends? a basic guide to companion planting part II: flowers

Flowers. Colorful and attractive parts of many gardens. They are also appealing to beneficial insects, such as bees and hoverflies, and birds like hummingbirds. Unfortunately, they are often left out of garden plots used for food production. However, they can be useful and beautiful additions that help to create a more complete ecological system. This in turn works to improve the disease and pest resistance abilities of many plants and contributes to the overall health of the garden. Here is a simple guide to many of the most versatile and easy to grow flowers that are options when using a companion planting system:

bee balmBee Balmperennial that attracts beneficial insects, can be susceptible to powdery mildew

Friends – improves the growth and flavor of most crops, but particularly beneficial for tomatoes

Foes – none known



chrysanthemumChrysanthemum coccineum varieties kill bad forms of nematodes, leaves and flowers from C. cineraruaefolium varieties can be used as a pesticide, white blossomed plants repel Japanese beetles






cloverCloveracts as a living mulch when inter-planted with an assortment of crops, attractive to beneficial insects and pollinators alike, attracts predators of the wooly aphid, attracts ground beetles which prey on cabbage aphids and the cabbage worm, increases soil fertility

Friends – apples, cabbage, grapes,

Foes – gladioluses


dahliaDahliathe flowers come in a wide variety of shapes and colors which make them attractive to pollinators, the plants kill harmful nematodes





Geraniumsdeters Japanese beetles and cabbage worms, may confuse leaf hoppers which have been shown to carry the curly top virus, the foliage of white geraniums (pelargonum family) is deadly to Japanese beetles

Friends – grapes, roses, corn, tomatoes, peppers and cabbages

Foes – none known


chamomileGerman Chamomileannual that easily reseeds, provides shelter for hoverflies and wasps, ideal addition to compost piles as the plants accumulate calcium, potassium and sulfur

Friends – broccoli, Brussel sprouts, improves the flavor of onions and cucumber, as well as the growth of cabbage, increases the oil production in herbs

Foes – none known

nasturtium.yellowNasturtiumsrepels aphids, deters beetles, squash bugs and other pests that attack low-lying fruits, recommended as a natural form of protection from white-fly infestations in greenhouses, requires very little calcium, the entire plant is edible

Friends – apples, beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, cucumbers, kale, melon, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, squash, tomatoes

Foes – none known

marigoldMarigoldsdeters aphids, bean beetles, maggots, nematodes, and squash and bean beetles, improves the growth and flavor of all garden crops, repels white-flies when used in greenhouses

Friends – asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, collard greens, eggplant, kale, parsnips, peanuts, potatoes

Foes – cabbage, beans (French Marigolds)


morning gloryMorning gloriesfast growing annual with very attractive flowers attract beneficial insects including hoverflies

Friends – corn

Foes – none known



petuniaPetuniasannual, repels hornworms, Mexican bean and asparagus beetles, and certain varieties of aphids, a strong insecticidal soap can be made from the leaves

Friends – basil, potatoes, sweet peppers, tomatoes

Foes – none known


sunflowerSunflowersattracts hummingbirds which consume white flies, ants will herd aphids onto sunflowers (which are strong, resilient plants) which keeps them off of other plants

Friends – chives, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, peanuts

Foes – potatoes


zinniaZinniaattracts most pollinators including bees and hummingbirds which eat whiteflies, can be used as a trap crop for Japanese beetles



Looking for more information about companion planting?  Check out these additional posts:


4 thoughts on “can we be friends? a basic guide to companion planting part II: flowers

  1. I love this post!! I made the amateur mistake of leaving flowers out of my spring plot, but have planted some in my summer and will plant more in the fall. I just figured, as you hinted at, that growing something “inedible” in my food garden was a waste of space and time. The things is, many of the flowers on your list are edible or can be dried for tea!! Tea – bee balm, chamomile; edible – mums, clover, some geraniums, nasturtiums, marigolds, sunflowers

    Great post!

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