Marigolds as companion plants

Marigold Companions: What To Plant With Marigolds

Marigolds are dependable bloomers that add a spark of bright color to the garden throughout summer and early autumn. Gardeners value these popular plants for more than their appearance, as many think they have pest-repellant properties that help keep nearby plants healthy and free of harmful bugs. Read on to learn about companion planting with marigold flowers.

Benefits of Marigold Plant Companions

Scientific research doesn’t always back up claims that marigold companion planting repels pests, but gardeners with years of hands-on experience say otherwise. Your mileage may vary, so experiment with different combinations to discover what works best in your garden.

It certainly never hurts to try planting a few marigold plant companions in your garden. In fact, Cornell Cooperative Extension says that marigolds just might

keep a number of pests in check, including:

  • Aphids
  • Cabbage maggots
  • Potato beetles
  • Corn earworms
  • Cucumber beetles
  • Flea beetles
  • Japanese beetles
  • Nematodes
  • Squash bugs

Marigolds have a distinctive aroma that may even discourage rabbits from nibbling your prize posies.

What to Plant with Marigolds

There are a number of vegetable plants that can benefit from the addition of marigolds in the garden. Here are some common vegetables that enjoy marigold companions:

  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Eggplants
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Onions

When planting flowers and foliage plants as marigold plant companions, select those that share the same growing conditions. Marigolds are drought-tolerant plants that thrive in sunny, hot weather. They aren’t fussy about soil type, but well-drained soil is an absolute must.

Consider size as well, as marigolds range from petite, 6-inch French marigolds to 3-foot African marigolds that show up best in the back of the flower bed.

While you can plant marigolds alongside flowers of similar hues, you can also choose plants in complementary colors. For example, blue and purple flowers are complementary for orange and yellow marigolds. A color wheel can help you determine what complementary colors might work in your garden.

Here are a few ideas to help you decide what to plant with marigolds:

  • Allium
  • Coreopsis
  • Dusty miller
  • Angelonia
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Asters
  • Salvia
  • Lantana
  • Bachelor buttons
  • Lavender
  • Clematis
  • Roses
  • Geranium
  • Zinnias

Passionate Gardener: With Companion Planting, Marigolds Are Just the Beginning

Some plants just naturally enjoy a relationship as they grow in close proximity to each other. Roots growing at different levels allow some plants to thrive together since they are not competing for nutrients or water. Light requirements are equally helpful in confirming which plants can grow together, needing similar conditions. Companion plants tend to supplement each others’ needs by other means as well, including attracting and repelling insects and providing ground cover to keep the soil moist, not to mention keeping weeds down.

Try any of the following combinations in your garden to provide not only better yields but an aesthetic appeal during those times of the season when our gardens don’t look their best.

Asparagus is one vegetable usually contained in its own plot or area and generally planted alone. True, other plants would tend to get lost in the thick, tall fronds in the middle of the asparagus bed, but the borders can be planted successfully. Use any combination of annual herbs such as basil, dill, coriander or parsley. Tall annual flowers like cosmos and sweet Annie also work well. Edging plants like nasturtium, salad greens and calendula are another nice idea. Calendula (“pot marigold”) tends to deter asparagus beetles. I’ve read quite a bit about tomatoes being good companion plants to asparagus, and although I’ve never seen them grown together, tomatoes also tend to repel asparagus beetles.

Beans grown with potatoes reduce problems with Mexican bean beetles and Colorado potato beetles; this has been confirmed in recent studies through the Cornell Cooperative Extension. If you can plant goldenrod, dill or tansy nearby, their flowers attract spined soldier bugs and certain wasps that will eat bean beetles. Beans also do well interplanted with beets, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower. Do not plant beans with chives, onions or shallots, as they tend to inhibit bean growth. Pair beans with peas as they are in the same family and have similar needs. Plant also with corn, cucumber, squash and eggplant.

Beets will grow with other root crops, such as onions and carrots, as well as with cabbage and kohlrabi. Or try planting them with salad greens as they can be harvested with the beet greens. Pots of catnip or mint nearby help repel flea beetles.

Cabbage family plants all love to grow together: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Chinese cabbage. Borage is an excellent companion, protecting these crucifers from some common pests. Other good companions are celery, chamomile, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, zinnias, asters and marigolds. It’s also a good idea to under-plant with a thick seeding of sweet alyssum to block weeds and attract beneficial insects, particularly syrphid flies. All cabbage family plants can be planted with beets, onions and potatoes.

Carrots can be planted with onions and related crops such as chives as they tend to repel (or at least confuse) the carrot rust fly. They can also be planted with other root crops like beets and radishes. Marigolds, fennel, chamomile and herbs such as caraway and coriander are great companions. Coriander (cilantro) is a favored annual among a variety of beneficial insects including lady beetles, green lacewings and parasitic wasps.

Cucumbers can be planted with squash, cabbage, lettuce, beans and spinach. Nasturtiums provide shelter for beneficial spiders and ground beetles. Interplant with radishes and marigolds. The radishes repel striped cucumber beetles and squash borers. Borage is said to improve their flavor!

Tomato, eggplant and peppers all do well with basil, dill, borage and parsley. Companion flowers include asters, cleome, cosmos, marigolds and nasturtium. But do not plant fennel near tomatoes, eggplant or peppers.

Growing a diversity of companion plants that offer a succession of blooms from early spring through fall will help keep beneficial insects in your garden, not to mention the varieties of color and texture that will make your garden look great all season long.

Marigold Companions

Growing Marigolds

(tips on growing marigold in your garden)

Blooming Marigold

Bright orange flowers add a splash of color to your garden. But, those lovely marigold flowers can also provide a natural pest deterrent as well as strength to other plants.

We talk about a number of plants that make great companions for marigold and have found two vegetables that experts disagree on. After you check out the rest of this marigold companion guide, be sure to also check out our guides on growing marigold and companion planting guides.

Marigold Companion Planting

Marigold companion planting enhances the growth of basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Marigold also makes a good companion plant to melons because it deters beetles.

Beans and cabbage are listed as bad companion plants for marigolds.

Marigolds, Cabbage & Broccoli.

As you might have noticed, I listed cabbage on both the good companions and the bad companions lists. Like so many things in gardening, the experts often have differing opinions. Cabbage and I suspect it’s fellow Brassica broccoli appear to be questionable companions. Since neither of our conflicting sources mentioned why they felt positively or negatively about cabbage as a companion, it might be best to assume the worst and consider both broccoli and cabbage as bad companions for marigolds.

Marigold & Insects

Marigolds have traditionally been used as borders around treasured flower beds and vegetable gardens. Scented varieties of marigold will deter beetles, beet leaf hoppers, Mexican bean beetle and nematodes. Pot marigold repels asparagus beetle and tomato worm and Mexican marigold is thought to repel rabbits.

We found out the hard way that the newer hybrid marigolds have not retained this natural pest controlling scent. We purchased some light yellow plants and the ravenous aphids promptly destroyed them. Of course, I suppose, you could argue that the nasty little things were so busy eating our marigolds that they left our vegetable garden unmolested.

Not all the news about marigold is good though. They do tend to attract spider mites and slugs.

Marigolds as a Natural Pesticide.

The roots of French marigolds produce a chemical that is so strong it is an effective pesticide for years after the plants are gone.

Mexican marigolds produce a stronger version of this chemical which has the potential to inhibit the growth of some of the more tender herbs.

Additional Marigold Information

(Calendula officinalis, Linn.)

To learn more about growing marigolds be sure to check out our marigold fact sheet.

Further Reading

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore marigolds. Their colors are so bright and striking in a garden. But, when it comes down to it, many of us plant them in hopes that they will be able to chase away harmful garden pests or at least keep them away from more valuable things like our prize tomatoes. If you are trying to keep your garden pesticide free, The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way might offer some additional ideas to winning the war against aphids or whatever little insect demons are plaguing your garden.

The pretty little marigold with it’s flowers ranging from yellow, through orange, to red, is a welcome sight in any garden. Flowering from Spring and continuing to flower until the first frosts (as long as you deadhead) this annual is a good value, beneficial, cheerful plant. By planting the marigold in companion with other plants you will have a healthier and prettier garden.

What Are Marigolds?

There are 2 different types of marigold grown in the UK, 3 if you include the “pot marigold”(calendula). The calendula is not really a marigold at all but is still a beneficial plant to grow in companion with others in your garden. This post is dedicated to the Tagetes genus, which make up the other 2 types of marigold.

They are known commonly as French and African marigolds. Both of these are beneficial as companion plants and some space should be allocated in your garden for at least one of these varieties. But what I hear you ask of the Mexican or Aztec and the American marigold well all will be revealed.

French Marigolds(Tagetes patula)

The French Marigold is the smallest of the 2 and is probably the most recognisable to the average gardener. Growing to a height of 20-30 cms (10-12 inches) the French marigold is commonly grown in window boxes, hanging baskets, pots and formal garden displays and is a much favoured annual. They flower from Spring to Autumn as long as they are regularly deadheaded.

If allowed to set seed they will grow the following spring in great profusion, but allowing them to set seed will stop them from producing any more blooms in the current year. The best way around this is to grow them in large clumps and allow some to set seed whilst regularly deadheading the rest.

African Marigolds(Tagetes erecta)

Otherwise known as Mexican, Aztec or American marigolds, African marigolds grow larger plants with much larger blooms than their French counterparts. Also grown as annuals, they are much more tolerant of hot, dry conditions and their blooms can be up to 15 cms(6 inches) in diameter.

The same applies to deadheading, and seed saving as with the French marigolds. Grow African marigolds in areas which receive less rainfall than average and water sparingly because too much water will cause them to rot and die. Which ever variety of marigold you grow take care when handling as the natural oils contained in the plant can cause skin irritation.

What Are The Benefits Of Growing Marigolds?

Apart from their colourful display, marigolds offer many other benefits to the organic gardener. Marigolds secrete through their roots a chemical substance that keeps harmful nematodes like eel worms away. Once established these nematodes are difficult to eradicate as they can survive on many different roots including weeds.

To make sure an area is clear of nematodes, sow tagetes as a cover crop and hoe into the soil. The natural oils will remain in the soil for many weeks and will continue to repel harmful nematodes. The roots also encourage the growth of mycorrhizal fungi which exchange nutrients with host plants for their mutual health and growth.

According to collins dictionary, the term mycorrhiza is…

an association of a fungus and a plant in which the fungus lives within or on the outside of the plant’s roots forming a symbiotic or parasitic relationship

Marigolds also deter harmful beetles including bean beetles and asparagus beetles, leaf hoppers, white flies, tomato moths, cabbage white butterflies, cabbage moths and sweet corn moth. There have been some reports that marigolds also repel rabbits but I can find no evidence to support this. In fact there is actually evidence that supports the theory that rabbits eat marigolds.

Homemade Marigold Spray To Deter Pests

To prevent fungal diseases like blight in potatoes or tomatoes and mildew, make a marigold spray. Just add fresh marigold flowers, leaves and/or stems to a bucket, crush, and fill with water. Leave for 7 days then strain the liquid into a spray bottle,diluting with equal amounts of water.

Mix with soft soap to make it stick to your plants, this mixture will remain viable for about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks it will start to decompose and will smell disgusting. It’s them time to discard it and make some more if needed.

What Do Marigolds Attract?

For all their many benefits, unfortunately marigolds are attractive to slugs and red spider mites. This can be used to your advantage however, by growing marigolds as a sacrificial plant. Keeping the slugs and/or spider mites away from your crops.

Marigolds also attract many pollinator insects including bees, butterflies and hover flies so it’s not all bad 🙂

Flowers To Plant With Marigolds

There are many ways to determine which flowers to plant with marigolds, by size, colour or style. As with all designs it is down to individual taste but as a guide try planting blue flowers like bluebells, anemones, violets or pansies. Or for more height try planting delphiniums, hydrangeas, or even aquilegia.

Companion Planting Marigolds With Vegetables

Marigolds make good companion plants for potatoes, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, aubergines, squash, melons, asparagus, sweet corn, chillies and peppers.
Cabbages are adversely effected by marigolds and yet, they repel cabbage white butterflies and cabbage moths. To overcome this problem, try growing marigolds around brassicas but not within their root span.

Likewise beans don’t get on too well in close proximity to marigolds but the benefits can still be obtained by applying the same principle as with cabbages. Once marigolds are finished, hoe them into the soil to repel nematodes for much longer.

Marigold companion planting Calendula

As the calendula is commonly called the pot marigold, garden marigold, and common marigold they are included in this post on the off chance they are what you’re searching for. The calendula is a hardy annual herb with a height and spread of 24 inches(60 cms). The flowers which bloom from spring through to autumn, range from yellow to orange. With light green, lance shaped leaves and aromatic smell.

These plants attract many beneficial insects including bees, butterflies and hover flies. They also attract slugs, snails and aphids. A good plant to grow as a sacrificial plant, but don’t grow them too close to your crops.

A prolific seed producer, this annual gives the impression of being a perennial and will grow in most soil types but prefers well drained soil. To keep a constant display of flowers deadhead regularly, and only allow them to set seed in late summer. Used in many culinary and medicinal recipes, the calendula is a good plant to grow in the herb garden.

Companion Planting Flowers With Vegetables

There are many flowers that can be planted in companion with vegetables to improve crops, not just marigolds. For much more information click here to go to companion planting flowers.

Commonly Asked Marigold Companion Planting Questions

What type of marigolds keep bugs away?

Both French and African Marigolds deter nematodes and white flies and many other pests.

Are Marigolds perennials?

No French and African marigolds are annuals. That being said, they produce many seeds and will sprout next year if the soil is undisturbed.

Is there any disadvantages to growing marigolds?

Yes, although marigolds repel many pests, unfortunately marigolds attract slugs and red spider mites.

Do marigolds repel rabbits?

No this is a myth. Rabbits eat marigolds.

Do marigolds have to be replanted every year?

Unless you live in a hot climate where marigolds are perennials, Marigolds are grown as annuals, so they need to be replanted each year.

Will marigolds survive frost?

As marigolds are annuals they will not survive the winter in the UK. Frost kills marigolds.

Should you deadhead marigolds?

By deadheading your marigolds, they will keep producing flowers until the first frosts. However if you leave some flowers to set seed, you will have a supply of marigolds for next season.

How do I Get Rid of Ground Elder?

Ground elder is a difficult weed to clear from the garden especially if it’s established. It’s roots can spread rapidly throughout the garden sending up new shoots as it spreads. The only way to eradicate ground elder completely is to remove every piece of root.
The Mexican marigold (tagetes minuta) will inhibit the growth of ground elder. So by growing Mexican marigolds close by and removing Ground Elder roots regularly you will eventually clear this evasive root.

Companion planting combinations

Companion planting – combining plants for the benefit of one or both of the companions – is an age-old gardening tradition.


Companion plants can help to control pests by confusing them or by attracting predators. They can also act as sacrificial plants, luring pests away from a precious crop. They can also help each other by giving support, or by adding nutrients to the soil.

Discover 10 companion plants to grow, recommended by herb expert Jekka McVicar.

Though evidence for the benefits of companion planting is largely anecdotal, many combinations make good sense and can help to maximise use your space. It looks attractive, too.

Tuck the right flowers, herbs and other edibles around your veg in the garden or in containers for a great display, healthy plants and bumper harvests.

Planting your crops among flowers can help to foil pests, attract pollinators and help plants grow stronger.

Tomatoes with tagetes

French marigolds (Tagetes patula) give off a distinctive smell that whitefly hate – so planting them under tomatoes, especially in the greenhouse, helps keep this pest at bay. Buy as inexpensive plugs and pop into borders, pots or growing bags between plants, 10cm apart.

Tomatoes ripening beside marigold flowers

Dwarf French beans with kale

Kales and cabbages thrive on the extra nitrogen beans draw into the soil from the air; in return, they provide sturdy, natural support. Sow kale three weeks before the beans, then sow a row of beans alongside them, 45cm-60cm apart. This combination does well in a raised bed or roomy container.

French beans and kale planted together

Carrots with leeks

Carrot flies can zero in on a crop from a mile away with one sniff of crushed foliage, so growing pungent alliums, such as leeks, acts as a protective barrier. The distinctive scent of carrots confuses onion fly and leek moth, too. Sow plenty of each in a patchwork or thick strips and resow regularly.

Carrots growing beside leeks

Brussels sprouts with nasturtiums

Nasturtiums can swamp low-growing crops but they’re ideal companions for taller plants. They cover bare ground and lure aphids away from brassicas onto themselves. Sow direct or into modules, but wait until your Brussels reach 30cm high before planting them underneath, 25cm apart.

Nasturtiums growing beside Brussel sprouts

Broad beans with borage

Many claims are made about borage – it’s believed to make strawberries grow better and repel a host of pests. What is certain is that the flowers are magnets for pollinating insects, including hoverflies, whose larvae feast on blackfly on broad beans.

Blue-flowering borage growing beside broad beans

Fruiting veg with annual flowers

Annuals lure insects to pollinate fruiting plants, from squash and beans to tomatoes. They also attract predators to keep pests down. In autumn, sow annuals like pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) to overwinter, so they’ll flower in time for early summer crops.

A pollinating insect on a marigold flower

Climbing beans with lettuce

A canopy of climbing beans is ideal for shade-loving lettuces. Lettuce set 15cm apart covers bare ground in return for a feed, as beans add nitrogen to the soil. Young lettuce beside direct-sown beans also lures slugs away, leaving bean seedlings alone.

Advertisement Lettuces growing beneath climbing beans

Plant companion plants at the same time as your crops so that pests do not have a chance to establish.

Other companion planting combinations to try

  • Tomatoes with basil or pots of mint
  • Dwarf beans with tomatoes or sweetcorn
  • Carrots with spring onions, garlic or chives
  • Nasturtiums with cabbage, kale or sweetcorn
  • Broad beans with summer savory, or cabbage with sage.
  • Tomatoes with calendula and runner beans with sweet peas
  • Lettuce or chard with peas, kale or sprouts

The Dusty Miller Plant. To Die For.

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The Dusty Miller Plant Totally Surrounding The Garden Beds.

The Dusty Miller Plant is The One for all your garden design ideas. Not only has it all the dream attributes of hardiness, heat resistance and drought tolerance, but you can begin your garden with just this one plant. Any colour scheme you can think of goes with this gem of the gardening world. The main role of this plant is to show off all the others. And it does that rather well.

If you look at the leaves, you can see that they are actually very similar to those of the daisy, although a lot narrower. That’s because they do, in fact, belong to the same family – Asteraceae. Don’t worry if you come across several different kinds if you are choosing one, because there are several and it can get very confusing.

Well known for its versatility and endurance, this gorgeous plant will go with any colour garden scheme. It is heat and drought tolerant, it is deer resistant and looks absolutely fantastic when placed in almost any type of garden. It will grow as an annual in cold climates and as a perennial in warmer zones.

It will grow in full sun and even part shade. It is toxic if eaten so be careful of pets – not that they’d want to eat it. But the Deer just know it’s poisonous as with so many other plants, so they avoid it. Because Dusty Miller shows off other flowers so well, it is often called a companion plant. My favourite colour scheme for plants which look best with Dusty Miller is pink, purple and maybe some white, but in the photo above it looks perfect with yellow too!

Its correct Botanical name is Senecio cineraria, but having said that, there are other types which I think were deliberately put there to confuse us. However, in this group, the three most popular varieties are:

‘Silver Lace’ which has very finely cut leaves and grows from 6″ to 10″ in height.

‘Silver Dust’ which also has fine leaves, but this one grows from about 12″ to 18″. This one is ideal in the centre or back of the garden.

‘Cirrus’ whose leaves are slightly broader, grows from 6″ to 10″. These two small ones are the ones you will see used as bedding and border and even rockery plants, and of course they are perfect for containers.

Being a member of the Daisy family, Dusty Miller has flowers. You may not notice them in photographs, but they are there in the summer. It’s just that they are small. And they don’t flower until their second year. The most common colour is yellow, but there are also those with pale pink and rose, lavender and even a blue.

Some kinds have larger flowers which gardeners grow because of them, but as companion plants, the flowers are not really noticeable or gardeners may even pick them off. The pink one is called ‘Rose Campion’ and is very beautiful, but it actually belongs to the Carnation family. Because carnations have the silvery grey leaves, some are often called Dusty Miller.

Looking So Elegant As A Border. Perfect.

Stunning as a border, hardy and resilient, Dusty Miller doesn’t need much attention. All it asks for is some well-drained soil and enough room to spread its leaves which grow as wide as its height. Compost-rich mulch is always a good idea for most plants, but slow release fertilizer will do every now and then. The only maintenance it needs is pinching off any brown, dead bits, especially at the bottom where this can cause rotting, and any flowers you don’t want to show up.

If you are planting a border, space plants about 6″ apart – more, rather than less. They will only need watering when necessary – when the soil dries out, because they are drought tolerant and they certainly don’t like wet feet. Portulacas are also drought tolerant plants.

There’s even a recent addition to the Dusty Miller family: Senecio cephalophorus. This is a spectacular type which has broader silvery leaves, but in summer it has gorgeous bright red flowers. It’s called ‘Blazin’ Glory’. If you want a particular type, find out what it is exactly that you want online and take the picture to the nursery with you. Because labels don’t always have the correct Botanical name and the pictures certainly aren’t always that accurate, especially with so many types of different plants called ‘Dusty Miller’. At least, find out all you can first!

Another Broad-Leaved Type.

Lychnis coronaria, Rose Campion. Also known as Dusty Miller because of its silver-grey foliage.

Home. Return from Dusty Miller Plant to Annual Plants.

On June 15, 2013 / Natural Gardening, Organic Landscaping

Companion planting is vital for organic vegetable production. It is also a type of intercropping. Intercropping and companion planting is very beneficial for flower beds too. There are plants that assist each other to grow; plants that repel harmful insects to companion plants; plants that retard other plants growth; plants that delete the soil whilst others that add to the soil.

You may have heard that “roses love garlic”. Allium is the Latin word for garlic. Vegetable alliums are chives, garlic, leek, onion, and shallots all of which are excellent protective companions for roses. The flowering ornamental alliums are of course more decorative to plant with roses and also provide excellent protection from mildew, black spot, aphids and many other pests too. Alliums repel moles and rabbits. Onions repel cabbage moths. Garlic is good against fruit tree borers.

Marigolds produce thiophenes that are released into the soil from their roots which controls nematodes and thus are very beneficial planted with tomatoes, chrysanthemums, calendulas and dahlias. Marigolds deter asparagus beetles, Mexican bean beetle and tomato worms. Marigolds deter weeds such as ground elder, bindweed and ground ivy.

Nasturtiums repel squash bugs, aphids and whiteflies. Nasturtiums benefit potatoes, radishes, cabbage family, squash family and apple trees. If aphids appear in nasturtiums this is a sign of a lime deficiency in your soil…dust the plants with lime and the aphids will disappear.

Datura deters Japanese beetles and aids the growth of pumpkins when companion planted. Petunias deter beetles. Geraniums deter the Japanese beetles, leafhoppers and rose chafers and thus are also a good companion for roses. Geraniums interplanted with the cabbage family repels the cabbageworms and white geraniums are helpful to corn when planted nearby.

Primroses grow well with candytuft, pansies, calendulas and violas. Snapdragons like nicotiana, baby blue-eyes and alyssum. Dusty miller repel rabbits and other animals. Pennyroyal, spearmint, southernwood and tansy all repel ants. Rosemary and wormwood repel slugs and snails. Mint repels mice.

Companion planting can help your soil, your flowerbed as well as your vegetable garden to be more productive and more beautiful. It is a natural way to control harmful diseases, insects and other pests. It is a natural way to ensure balance and harmony.

What to Plant With Lantana

One of lantana’s chief advantages for southwestern gardeners lies in its drought-tolerance. Even in periods of little to no rain, the lantana will thrive and continue to bloom. Gardeners interested in xeriscaping, the practice of using drought tolerant plants in your landscape design, might want to choose other plants that need little supplemental watering. Since lantana bushes grow rapidly, they can easily reach 10 to 36 inches high and wide within a season, but according to David E. Pierson, a master gardener at the Texas Cooperative Extension, some varieties reach 5 feet high and wide. When choosing a space for your lantana, it is critical to ensure it has adequate space so that it won’t crowd out other landscaping choices. Crepe myrtles, small flowering trees, work well alongside lantana since their size means they can hold their own beside the bushy lantana plant. As long as you ensure the lantana has adequate space, you can also try a variety of other drought-tolerant perennials including lamb’s ear, sedum, purple coneflower, daylily, dusty miller, Shasta daisy, zinnia and bearded iris. Varieties of cactus such as hens and chicks or pear cactus also work well in a xeriscaped landscape alongside lantana. Ornamental grasses thrive in a xeriscaped garden, with good varieties including pampas grass as well as fountain or reed grasses.

Container Corner

Lantana is one of my favorite annuals to grow in containers. It blooms all summer with little care in hot sunny locations. Deer won’t touch it, and it is a butterfly magnet.

Lantana camara are the most commonly available species. They come in reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, and white. Lantana flowers are often bicolored or change from one color to another as the flower matures. You may also occasionally stumble across Lantana montevidensis in nurseries, which is the trailing variety of Lantana and is also well suited for containers.

Caring for Lantana

Lantana is very drought tolerant but will perform best if given regular water and a monthly feeding. Allow the soil to dry out slightly in between waterings, and use a high phosphorous fertilizer (the middle number on the fertilizer package).

It thrives in hot, sunny locations, making it perfect for those areas where more sensitive flowers get baked. No deadheading is required, but you may want to occasionally cut back unruly stems to keep the plant looking tidy. Some people are sensitive to the rough leaves, so wear gloves when handling these plants.

Some Lantana varieties can get quite large, so check the tag before purchasing to make sure you’re getting a plant that is suited for your container size. There are several varieties that have come to market over the past decade that stay more compact like Patriot Cowboy and Patriot Rainbow.

Lantana fills a container nicely on its own, but can be used in mixed plantings if the other plants are also aggressive. Some good companion plants would be Ornamental Grasses and Sweet Potato Vine. Lantana is also commonly available as a standard (a plant pruned so it grows with a single trunk, like a little tree).

Lantana Risks

Lantana is considered invasive in many frost-free areas of the world, and is not a suitable choice for those of you who live in warm climates like Southern Florida, Texas, and Hawaii. Lantana can grow into a large shrub in these areas and have begun crowding out native species, so please make responsible choices when plant shopping and only buy sterile varieties of Lantana or none at all.

Also, the berries and leaves are poisonous to both humans and animals, so keep this plant out of reach from young children and pets, or look for sterile varieties that don’t produce berries.

While deer stay away from this rough-leaved plant, rabbits will chew on the stems. Keep your containers out of reach of those sharp-toothed bunnies, as well!

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