Vegetable garden companion plants

Top Ten Companion Plants

These are plants which can be included in your vegetable garden, planted near their companions or planted around the garden where they fit. These plants will benefit a variety of vegetables by increasing their flavor, improving growth, and deterring pests. Many of the following companions have edible parts and add beauty to the garden.

1. Basil

This fantastic herb is a great companion to tomatoes. Is said that basil improves the flavor and growth of tomatoes and repels tomato hornworms. Basil also repels certain insects, including flies and mosquitoes.

2. Borage

This edible flower attracts beneficial insects, is a companion to strawberry plants, and deters tomato worms. It improves the growth and flavor of squash.

3. Dill

Dill is a good companion to members of the Cabbage Family. It improves the growth and health of cabbage and attracts beneficial wasps that control cabbage pests. Dill can be grown with lettuce and onion. It is a trap crop for tomato worm.

4. Marigolds (Tagetes species)

Also known as French marigold or common marigold, these flowers can be planted all over the garden, especially near tomatoes. Marigolds deter nematodes, Mexican bean beetles, and many other insects. They are good companions to bush beans, potato, kale, and Chinese cabbage. (Be sure not to confuse the common marigold with pot marigold, Calendula officinalis).

5. Mint

Mint plants spread rapidly, yet a pot of mint can be buried in the ground near its companions. They grow well with tomatoes and cabbage, improving their health and flavor. They are companions to cauliflower and broccoli. Their flowers attract many beneficial insects. Spearmint and peppermint repel ants, aphids, flea beetles, and white cabbage butterflies.

Nasturtiums, a great garden companion

6. Nasturtium

Edible leaves and flowers of this plant make an excellent addition to salads. They deter stripped pumpkin beetles and other pests of the Cabbage family. Nasturtiums grown near squash are said to repel squash bugs. They can be used as a trap crop for aphids. Nasturtiums are companions to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, pumpkins, radish, squash, tomato, and potato.

7. Onion Family

Members of this family make excellent companions. They promote the health of other plants. Chives have edible flowers and leaves and grow well with tomatoes and carrots. Onions are companions to beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, leeks, Swiss chard, and tomatoes. Garlic deters Japanese beetles, aphids, weevils, fruit tree borers, and spider mites. Onion family members are good insectary plants, attracting predatory insects that feed on pest insects.

8. Oregano

This aromatic herb is a wonderful herb for the garden. It deters many insects, especially those of the squash family such as the squash borer. Oregano also repels flea beetles and is a good companion to broccoli.

Radishes are a good companion of cabbage.

9. Radish

Radish is a companion to many vegetables, including bush beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, parsnips, pea, pumpkin, squash and spinach. Radishes are often used as trap crops. They can be planted near cucumbers and squash to lure away cucumber beetles. They can also be used to keep flea beetles away from other members of the cabbage family.

10. Sunflower

These beautiful plants can be used to shade vine crops and greens, support climbing vines and attract birds to the garden. Sunflowers are companions to cucumbers and deter the armyworm when planted with corn.

Their height makes sunflowers ideal companions to many plants.

Please note: Much information about companion planting comes from gardening folklore; few companion planting interactions have actually been researched. Try these suggestions in your garden and see how they work for you!

Companion Planting

A table of companion plants

TROPAEOLUM

Bright, bold, and cheerful, nasturtiums are among the easiest flowers to grow.

‘Canary Creeper’

With only a hint of care and attention, these fast-spreading annuals put on a summer-long show of vibrant, beautiful flowers.

And they’re entirely edible! Every part of the plant, including seeds, leaves, and flowers, has a tasty, distinct flavor.

The flowers and leaves of the Tropaeolum have a refreshing, peppery taste, and pickled seeds make an excellent substitute for capers. In addition, both flowers and leaves make a gorgeous garnish on any summer plate!

One species, T. tuberosum, even produces an edible tuber, and is an important food source in the Andes mountains of South America.

Nasturtiums belong to the Tropaeolum genus of the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family, and numerous popular garden cultivars are available, including dwarf, bush, climbing, and trailing varieties.

The plant goes by various common names including Indian cress, Mexican cress, and Peru cress.

The Nasturtium genus is also a member of the Brassicas, but this botanical classification properly refers to watercress plants.

Because of its intense flavor, watercress got dibs on the name – which means “twisted nose,” originally from the Latin phrase nasus tortus. Apparently, a twisted nose was a common reaction to eating their pungent leaves!

The flowering garden annual was also given the common name “nasturtium” because it produces an oil with a similar peppery flavor to that of watercress.

Native to South and Central America, this fast-growing herbaceous annual has numerous round, green leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers, often with intense tropical colors, that sit atop long, slender stalks.

A Garden Trophy

Tropaeolum was introduced to Spain from the Americas in the mid-1500s, and was commonly used as a salad ingredient in the same way as that of garden and watercress.

Famed Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named the genus Tropaeolum because they reminded him of a Roman custom of raising a trophy pole (or tropaeum) after a victorious battle. The round leaves made him think of military shields, while the deep red flowers conjured images of bloodstained helmets.

Flowers come in deeply intense hues of cream, yellow, orange, and red, which are set off beautifully by the sea of green leaves.

Photo by Lorna Kring

Highly useful, this annual has many attractive applications in the garden.

Nasturtiums can be grown in the landscape or containers, and they make an ideal ground cover in areas with poor soil. They also do a yeoman’s job of being a companion to other plants, and make an attractive addition to floral arrangements, with the flowers giving a light, fruity scent.

Simple and easy to grow, with over 100 varieties available, they come in cascading, climbing, and bush forms. Nasturtiums require an absolute minimum of care, and will thrive even when neglected.

Truth be told, if grown in soil that’s too rich, or after the application of fertilizer, abundant foliage will result – but with few flowers. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

The fast-growing greenery makes a good seasonal screen for hard-to-grow areas, such as under decks and in other shady spots, or for areas with poor soil.

Choose the old-fashioned climbing and trailing varieties for their long-limbed use in vertical spaces, like on trellises or fences, or as sprawling ground covers and weed barriers.

T. peregrinum gives us cultivars such the yellow ‘Canary Creeper,’ while the ‘Moonlight’ series of climbers comes from T. Lobbianum.

T. minus is a small bush species that makes an excellent aphid trap to protect beans, squash, and other plants in the veggie patch.

Plant near the crops you want to protect from the sap-sucking pests, then hose off aphids or apply a gentle and natural insecticidal soap.

To make your own safe, pest-busting soap, use a pure, additive-free brand like Castile’s, available on Amazon. Mix in a ratio of 1 tablespoon soap per 1 quart of water. Or drop a bar of Ivory into a gallon of water overnight.

Shake gently, and pour into a mister. Give the solution another good shake, then apply to infested areas.

Or, the use of a few 10-inch planted pots that can be easily moved is a good option for small spaces.

Use compact trailing varieties from T. majus – such as the fire engine red ‘Empress of India’ and the multi-colored ‘Fiesta’ blends – as spectacular spillers to trail from window boxes and hanging baskets, or over rock walls.

For the Dinner Plate

And remember to grow some for your kitchen garden – they add a fresh, peppery taste and a touch of bright beauty to the dinner table. Of course, they need to be grown naturally and without the use of chemicals!

For an appy (or an “app,” for the American readers), stuff flowers with softened cream or goat cheese mixed with fresh herbs. Serve on a tray scattered with nasturtium leaves.

Minced leaves and flowers are delicious when blended with lemon butter to accompany steak, seafood, veggies, or fresh artisan breads.

And to add a piquant flavor to salads and pastas, use whole or shredded leaves and flowers.

You can also pickle immature green seeds. Known as “poor man’s capers,” they make an excellent substitute for the real thing.

Plus, as a plate garnish, their bold beauty is delightful!

Care and Cultivation

Nasturtiums do best in poor to average soil, slightly on the acidic side. And good drainage is a must.

For the most abundant flowers, grow in full sun. In partial shade, the foliage will be bigger, but with fewer flowers, and plants will tend to sprawl more.

Seeds should be sown after danger of frost has passed at a depth of 1/2 inch – and they need the darkness, so make it a true 1/2 inch. They will germinate in 10-14 days.

Photo by Lorna Kring

For faster sprouting, soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight. Plant directly in the ground, or in containers where you want them to grow.

They can also be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date; however, they sow and sprout so eagerly, this is usually unnecessary.

Ensure the seeds are kept moist during the germination period, and water in dry weather.

Tougher than they look, once established, nasturtiums can handle periods of drought and high temperatures – although they can suffer from scorch in excessively hot afternoon sunshine.

Nasturtiums don’t require fertilizer, and even when grown in containers, they won’t require the same amount of feeding as other annuals.

If the plants get a bit strung out or lanky, prune back to a desirable size and they’ll quickly produce new growth. The occasional grooming or deadheading of flowers will also prolong blooming.

Grown in containers, they benefit from the occasional trim to maintain a compact shape, and to keep flower production high.

Very adaptable, nasturtiums can succeed in poor soils, dry conditions, and shady areas, making them the go-to flower for those stubborn spots where other plants struggle or perish.

They also set copious amounts of seeds with abandon, and will self-seed readily. Collect ripened seedpods from the ground from late summer until winter. Store seeds in a paper envelope in a cool, dark environment until ready to plant the next spring.

Once they’ve found a happy spot (which is pretty much anywhere), nasturtiums will produce a rich supply of flowers until touched with frost.

In addition, their pretty fragrance and longevity make them a good option in a vase of cut flowers.

Largely disease free, powdery mildew may appear in wet conditions. Thin out infected areas and allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

And because of their many outstanding characteristics and quick growth, nasturtiums are always a good choice for children’s gardens.

Garden Companions

As mentioned, nasturtiums are a natural trap crop for aphids, and work well for this purpose when planted with green beans, runner beans, and squashes.

They also deter other pests like whiteflies and cucumber beetles, and attract beneficial predator insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps (teensy, non-stinging wasps).

They’re also a good garden buddy to Brassicas (such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower), cucumbers, melons, radishes, squash, and tomatoes.

Tropaeolum Plant Facts

  • Edible – leaves, flowers, and seeds can all be used in the kitchen.
  • A premier no-fuss plant!
  • Prefer poor soil and need no fertilizing
  • Will grow in sun or shade.
  • Can withstand dry spells when mature.
  • A hardworking companion plant in the veggie garden.
  • One of the easiest plants to grow from seed.
  • A must for children’s gardens!
  • Benefits from pruning to restore shape and flower production.

Where To Buy

Remember, if you plan to use nasturtiums for edible purposes, buy organic seeds like this ‘Kaleidoscope’ mix of bright reds and oranges with swirled bicolors from David’s Garden Seeds. And use natural, non-toxic pest control practices in your garden.

Organic ‘Kaleidoscope’ Mix, available on Amazon

For something that provides a unique pop of color, try ‘Baby Rose.’ This cultivar has dark green foliage and deep rose-colored flowers. Unlike other vining types that are eager to spread, this variety has a tightly mounding habit with blooms that are held upright, so it’s perfect for containers and makes a nice addition to the herb garden as well. Full spread maxes out at 10-12 inches.

Packets of 50 seeds each are available from Burpee.

For window boxes, hanging planters, rockeries, and xeriscaping, try trailing types like this open-pollinated trailing mix of red, orange, and yellow blossoms from David’s Garden Seeds, available on Amazon.

David’s Garden Seeds Nasturtium Trailing Mix

For ground covers, trellises, or fences, a climbing type such as the scarlet ‘Spitfire’ fits the bill.

Climbing ‘Spitfire’ Nasturtium Seeds

You can find it at Renee’s Seeds, also available on Amazon.

Finally, ‘Peach Melba’ is an heirloom variety that you might enjoy, marked by yellow blooms with decorative blotches toward the center of each in a darker shade that ranges from orange to maroon. Another compact variety, its spread maxes out at 10-12 inches, so it will behave in containers and small spaces.

Packets of 50 seeds each are available from Burpee.

The Twisted Nose

It’s easy to understand why nasturtiums are so highly valued in the garden – they pack a lot of versatility into their growing season!

Simple to grow from seed, hardworking and versatile, these no-fuss annuals also provide dazzling color from spring until frost.

They can be used as ground covers, as spillers from hanging pots, for climbing, as trap plants for the veggie patch, and for cut flowers. Plus, they are entirely edible with a lively, piquant flavor. Now, that’s one talented plant!

Remember to keep seeds moist while germinating, provide a sunny location for the best flower production, give them excellent drainage, and water when dry. And when the cold weather looms, see our guide on how to care for your nasturtiums during winter.

And ease up on the fertilizer! Unless you want to use the foliage as a fill-in plant for tricky spots, no feeding is required.

Do you folks have any questions or nasturtium problems we can help you with? Drop us a line in the comments below, or join us on our Facebook page!

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Photos by Lorna Kring. © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via David’s Garden Seeds and Renee’s Seeds. Uncredited photos: . Originally published on August 4, 2017. Last updated: December 29, 2019 at 20:19 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Lorna Kring

A writer, artist, and entrepreneur, Lorna is also a long-time gardener who got hooked on organic and natural gardening methods at an early age. These days, her vegetable garden is smaller to make room for decorative landscapes filled with color, fragrance, art, and hidden treasures. Cultivating and designing the ideal garden spot is one of her favorite activities – especially for gathering with family and friends for good times and good food (straight from the garden, of course)!

I live in the UK and I have dabbled at growing melons in my unheated greenhouse a few times over the years, with mixed results. This year however, I have found a UK based seed company that offers watermelon seeds for the UK climate. So I’m looking at watermelon companion plants and I’ll share them with you here.

What Are Watermelons?

Watermelons are members of the curcubit family which includes pumpkins, squash, melons, cucumbers, and gourds. They are sweet flavoured and as the name suggests, very juicy. Watermelons develop differently to other members of the same family.

They have less dense flesh with a much higher water content and sugar content than squashes. Cucumbers also have a high water content but not as high as watermelons, and their sugar content is lower too.

Watermelon Companion Plants

The following list is suitable for all members of the curcubit family but with special emphasis on watermelons.

Legumes and Watermelons

Members of the legume family including peas and beans. These plants fix nitrogen in the air so will not take nitrogen from the soil. Leaving all that extra food for the hungry watermelon plants.

Try to grow bush variety beans and lower growing peas to not block sunlight from the watermelon plants.

Alliums and Watermelons

This family includes onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives. Alliums deter many pests including aphids (black fly, white fly etc…), flea beetles and many others but these are the specific ones that can affect watermelons.

Radishes and Watermelons

These wonderful little plants make great companions for watermelons. They don’t take up much space, are harvested long before the watermelons are in need of more space, and they provide ground cover to suppress weeds. Radishes attract flea beetles so can be grown as a sacrificial crop but don’t grow them too close to watermelons if flea beetles are a problem.

More importantly radishes deter squash beetles which can cause untold devastation to your watermelon plants. The first evidence will be the death of the plants so prevention is definitely better than cure.

Marigolds and Watermelons

A good all round companion plant, the marigold attracts beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. They also deter many harmful pests including aphids and nematodes. Slugs and snails are also attracted to marigolds so keep this in mind and don’t grow them too close to watermelons.
Click this link to find out more about companion planting marigolds.

Oregano and Watermelons

This aromatic herb will improve the health of watermelons and any other plant just by growing in companion with them. It’s strong smell will help to disguise the watermelon plants from harmful predators whilst attracting good pollinators like lacewings and hoverflies. It’s also of much use in the kitchen.

Nasturtiums and Watermelons

Another great plant for repelling squash beetles and for attracting helpful pollinators. Be warned though, they also attract aphids so grow at the edge of plots to reap the benefits.

Borage and Watermelons

A wonder plant, as far as I am concerned you can never have too much borage. This dynamic accumulator digs deep for extra nutrients and attracts beneficial pollinating insects to your plot. Borage also repels squash beetles and cucumber beetles which can kill all members of the curcubit family.

Zucchini (courgettes) and Watermelons

These Summer squashes benefit from the same growing conditions as watermelons and so can be grown in companion with them. The only caveat to this is if you were wanting to save seeds from either crop as they will cross pollinate.

Winter Squash and Watermelons

As all squashes need similar conditions to grow, Winter Squash and Watermelons will make good companions. Unfortunately as they are of the same family, they will cross pollinate which is a problem if you are seed saving.

Sweetcorn and Watermelons

Part of the original three sisters companion plants, sweetcorn can be grown in companion with watermelons. Just remember that watermelons need full sun to develop into tasty fruits so allow them enough sunlight. The sweetcorn will benefit from the spreading nature of the watermelon vine to suppress weeds.

What Not To Grow With Watermelons

Never grow potatoes with watermelons

Due to their need for lots of nutrients, potatoes will compete with watermelons and both plants will suffer. Also many varieties of potatoes need lifting before the watermelons are fully grown. This will cause disruption and damage to the watermelon plants and subsequent crops.

Fantastic Vegetable Combinations to Grow in Containers

Are you looking to plant your own vegetable container garden?

One of the keys to growing a successful container garden is to make sure you combine the right vegetables to grow together. Oftentimes vegetables do better when they have companions, but that isn’t always the case.

Some vegetables love lots of water, while other vegetables thrive in dry environments. Knowing the right vegetables to combine together will help your container garden grow.

Vegetables that Grow Well In Containers

Let’s start off by listing off vegetables that grow well in containers.

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Chard
  • Eggplants
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Herbs

Fantastic Vegetable Combinations

According to Gardeners.com, here are a few combinations to try,

  • Beans, Carrots, and Squash
  • Eggplant and Beans
  • Tomatoes, Basil, and Onions
  • Lettuce and Herbs
  • Spinach, Chard, and Onions

Garden Guides adds on these combinations to the list,

  • Tomatoes, Basil, and Carrots
  • Cucumbers and Lettuce.

Combinations to Avoid

Gardeners.com recommends avoiding the following combinations,

  • Beans, Onions, and Garlic
  • Carrots with Dill or Fennel
  • Tomatoes or Squash with Potatoes
  • Onions with Beans and Peas

More Resources for Growing Container Gardens

  • Growing an Editable Container Garden Made Easy: Want to grow fresh herbs in your container garden? This article was what you need to know.
  • 3 Amazing Herbs to Grow Indoors: Need a little green during the winter? Learn how to grow three herbs inside with this article.
  • 5 Reasons Container Gardening Is Right For You: Find out all the benefits to growing a container gardening by clicking on the link above.
  • Delectable Vegetables You’ll Want For Your Spring Garden: This article has 5 vegetables that won’t just grow great in a spring garden but also in a spring container garden. Click on the link above to find out more information.
  • Gardening Made Easy: Grow Your Own Food in a Window Box: You can grow your vegetables in a window box. Check out this article to find out how to do it.

Summary

If you are not sure what vegetables to pick for your container garden, consider checking out the Dirty Dozen list. These are the vegetables with the highest levels of pesticides.

Companion Planting: How To Deter Pests and Encourage Beneficial Insects

Flowers among the vegetables are more than just a colourful addition. They attract pollinating insects to fertilise the flowers of beans, peas, tomatoes and all those crops that depend on pollination to produce a crop.

In some cases they may act as a decoy or a repellent to harmful insects such as aphids. Some are beneficial to and attract predatory insects such as ladybirds (ladybugs), wasps and hoverflies. These are particularly useful in controlling pests naturally without your intervention.

Some also act as soil improvers: either by fixing nutrients in the soil or acting as green manures if dug into the ground at an early age. Some just look pretty, attract the bees and provide some lovely blooms for cutting for the house.

1. The hardy pot marigold, calendula looks at home in the vegetable garden or alongside vegetables in raised beds or containers. The petals can be used as a lively addition to salads.

Bees and other pollinators will visit for the nectar and pollen. Grow single flowered varieties and allow it to seed itself. It is a hardy annual so will pop up year after year on most soils.

2. Nasturtium always looks at home amongst vegetables, especially later in the year. Both flowers and leaves are edible, as are the seeds which are sometimes used pickled as an alternative to capers. Visited by bees it is also a magnet for caterpillars, so a good indicator plant.

3. Poached egg flower, Limnanthes douglasii is the ultimate flower to grow anywhere around crops that need pollinating.

It forms a low cushion of feathery foliage smothered in shining flowers. Bees swarm to it, as do hoverflies which will prey on those pests.

4. Practically all simple daisies are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, hoverflies and predatory wasps.

Camomile fits in anywhere in the open ground, raised beds or containers. You can use the flowers to make a fragrant, sleep-inducing infusion.

5. I’ve mentioned the prairie flower giant hyssop, agastache many times for its spikes of blue flowers in late summer. It is not often recommended as a flower for the vegetable garden, but it is a magnet for bees and looks lovely with orange and yellow marigolds.

6. French and African marigolds are used to deter aphids, they contain some natural pyrethrins. They are also pungently aromatic and are supposed to repel nematodes in the soil.

They attract hoverflies which prey on the aphids and the single and semi-double varieties seem to be popular with bees.

7. Phacelia, sometimes called scorpionweed, can be grown as a green manure; in other words you dig the green plant into the soil as a fertiliser.

If left to flower it is highly attractive to pollinators and its soft lilac flowers are highly attractive too.

8. Clover is a legume, in other words it is in the same family as peas and beans. This means it has nodules on its roots which contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

These fix atmospheric nitrogen providing food for the plant. Used as a green manure, or if the roots are left in the ground it feeds the soil. Clover is widely used in organic farming.

Red clover looks lovely and its prevalence as the nectar source for honey is testament to its attraction to pollinators.

9. Cosmos is an easy hardy annual to grow with feathery foliage and beautiful single or semi-double blooms that are superb for cutting.

Bees, other pollinators and butterflies love it and it is particularly useful later in the season to attract pollinators to your runner beans and tomatoes.

10. In the shadiest corner of the vegetable plot grow comfrey. You may need to contain it but it does make great ground cover.

If you have fruit trees, grow it under them. The flowers are a good nectar source and the leaves a great addition to the compost heap. Organic gardeners will brew comfrey tea: as a fertiliser for the plants.

There are so many more subjects I could include here. Why not give me your suggestions in the comments below? Which flowers do you grow with vegetables?

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Four flowers for the vegetable garden

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In the gardens of my childhood, there were always pots of geraniums, petunias, and sweet alyssum, as well as beds of cosmos, sunflowers, and nasturtiums, but there was no room for flowers in our vegetable garden. That traditional plot was a rectangular-shaped space and reserved for long, tidy rows of beans, peas, potatoes, and beets. Happily, (and in large part thanks to my fellow Savvy expert, Jessica!) flowers now play an important role in my food garden. They entice pollinators and beneficial insects, as well as provide an endless parade of blooms for the vase. Here are four flowers for the vegetable garden:

Four flowers for the vegetable garden:

Sunflowers – No vegetable garden is complete without a few cheerful sunflowers, whether the massive stalks of ‘Russian Giant’, bee-friendly blooms of ‘Lemon Queen’, or the knee-high flowers of ‘Musicbox’. If you’re into the more unusual shades, try ‘Prado Red’, a deep hued sunflower with chocolate and mahogany flowers or the pollen-less, but spectacular ‘Strawberry Blonde’, a hybrid with soft yellow tips and burgundy centers.

Cheerful sunflowers entice bees, butterflies and good buggies!

Related Post – Gorgeous sunflowers

Cosmos – Cosmos are easy to grow and incredibly floriferous, with each plant yielding hundreds of cheerful daisy-like flowers from mid summer until frost. The well-branched plants grow two to five feet tall, depending on the variety, and are popular with bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. ‘Sensation Mix’ is a classic combination of white, light pink, and magenta, with large four-inch wide flowers. Stick to the single flowering cosmos if you wish to lure good bugs and pollinators, as the frilly varieties, like ‘Double Click’ are not as appealing to these creatures.

Zinnias – Pick a colour, any colour and you’re sure to find a zinnia flower to match (ok, maybe not black or true blue, but virtually any other colour including lime green!). In my opinion, zinnias are among the top annual flowers for the vegetable garden. Some cultivars bear small, button-like blooms, while others produce show-worthy four to five-inch wide flowers. Butterflies will flock to the blossoms, which also make long-lasting cut flowers. ‘Apricot Blush’ is a large flowering cultivar with densely petalled double blooms that fall in the range of apricot-pink to salmon-blush. Or, attract attention with the quirky quilled petals of cactus zinnias. The four to six inch flowers come in bright orange, red, pink, yellow, and white and are borne on sturdy, four-foot tall plants.

Who doesn’t love the beautiful blooms of zinnias! They’re a favourite of butterflies and bees.

Nasturtiums – Nasturtiums are ridiculously easy to grow, extremely vigorous, and bloom their heads off for months. Their palette includes all the warm shades – yellows, oranges, reds, and crimson-pink – as well as tones of white with newer introductions like ‘Buttercream. Top picks include ‘Vanilla Berry’, a unique nasturtium with ivory flowers highlighted by bright strawberry splotches, ‘Cherries Jubilee’, a trendy choice with doubled rosy pink flowers, and ‘Alaska’ which offers a one-two punch to a rainbow vegetable garden as the variegated cream and green leaves are as eye-catching as the bright red, yellow, and orange blooms.

What are your go-to flowers for the vegetable garden?

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