After considering its soil, water, and light requirements, the next most important factors to consider when planting this summer bloomer are lavender companion plants. Companion plants are plants with similar growth requirements, that bring out the best in each other when planted close together. Whether visually or functionally, placing these friendly plants together will help you make the most of your home garden.
Planting lavender is any gardener’s delight. Both draught and cold-tolerant, lavender is so easy to care for that it essentially raises itself, while the gardener gets all the credit. Lavender plants thrive on poor to moderately fertile soil, so the only care it needs is a light sprinkle of water once in a while. Because companion plants thrive in similar conditions to each other, lavender’s favorite companion plants are just as easy to grow!
A Little About Lavender
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), also known as English lavender, is a perennial flowering plant in the Mint family. It is well known for its purple, fragrant flowers that bloom in the summer. Its flowers produce one of the most iconic and soothing essential oils used in aromatherapy but are also popularly used in potpourris and flower arrangements.
Not only the flowers but the whole plant is fragrant. This makes it a great favorite of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. What’s more, its essential oils naturally repel bad bugs like mosquitoes, aphids, and moths that feast on humans and plants alike.
Lavender grows best in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9, which translates to a wide tolerance for the worst weather and climate conditions. It can be grown almost anywhere in the world with the right care. Growing lavender requires little time and attention. It thrives in poor soils and is tolerant to drought. Light watering once a week will keep your shrubs happy for years. Lavender plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunshine per day and do not do well under shade. Well-draining soil is a strict requirement for healthy, flourishing plants.
The right companion plant for lavender must be just as tough and sun-loving for a healthy companionship.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is an age-old practice wherein farmers grow certain plants near each other. The decision to companion plant is based on whether the plants do well in similar environments and on any positive effects they might have on each other. The positive effects may include providing nutritional support, attracting pollinators, repelling bugs, or simply looking good together.
Companion planting is widespread in themed gardens, but is also a great practice for home gardens. Companion planting makes sure that plants that have similar growth requirements are planted close together thus easing the gardener’s work of caring for them. When done right, companion planting is an efficient way of growing making the garden healthier.
What Are the Best Companion Plants for Lavender?
Lavender pairs well with its fellow hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano, as well as other sun-loving summer flowers that are well suited to poor conditions, such as roses, daisies, and coneflowers. Your lavender will also look stunning next to zinnias, marigolds, or blanket flowers.
Teaming up your lavender bushes with other strong-smelling plants like alliums and sage bushes can also help ward off nasty insect pests from your vegetable garden. At the same time, planting lavender bushes close to your fruit trees will attract pollinators that will help them flourish.
Lavender Companion Planting Chart
Lavender Companion Flowers
Pairing up lavender with other flowers is a great boost to any garden, and not just because they look great. Flowers that grow well around lavender often have similar benefits. Planting lavender with any of its companion flowers will multiply lavender’s insect repellent effect and bring in more beneficial pollinators. Some flowers that are compatible with lavender include the following.
Blooming lavender makes the classiest backdrop for those dramatic rose blooms. You don’t have to worry about keeping these two must-haves apart when landscaping that flower garden since they are compatible companion plants.
Just like lavender, roses love full and direct sunlight. They also require well-draining soil, though they are slightly more water-loving than lavender. To meet each of their needs, you can keep a bit of space between their roots while planting.
Depending on the variety, roses grow well between USDA zones 2 to 11. It is important to pick the varieties best suited for the location to go with your lavender shrubs. Hardy shrub roses are the most common choice of companion for lavender.
There couldn’t be a more compatible partner for lavender than Echinaceas. Both enjoy the same amount of sunlight, and coneflowers are even more drought-resistant than lavender. They require similar patterns of watering and care, making them the perfect pair for an outdoor garden.
Coneflowers also have many of the same benefits as lavender. They are great for attracting pollinators and songbirds. Adding the combination of lavender and coneflowers to your garden will benefit fruiting plants and help increase the overall appeal.
Echinaceas come in many beautiful variants, any of which will do well growing next to lavender. Their purple stems also add vibrancy to the garden even after the flowering season.
3. African Daisies
African daisies are colorful, showy daisies with unique petals that are also great for pairing with lavender in outdoor gardens. Their petals come in vibrant shades of pink, orange, bronze, and white, sporting a contrasting color at the base for a stunning overall effect.
Like lavender, they love warm climates and well-draining soil and thrive best under full direct sunlight. It is necessary to let the soil dry between waterings for the best results. Together, lavender and African daisies make great additions to a drought-tolerance-themed garden.
In addition to being easy to care for, African daisies make great companion plants for lavender because they keep the garden looking cheerful even when lavender flowers are not in bloom. Their flowering season runs through spring and early summer and returns in the late summer through fall.
Bright, sunny marigolds lend a warm vibe to lavender bushes during the summer and stay on till the end of fall when lavender will have stopped blooming. Marigolds make great companion plants for lavender because they do well in the same conditions that lavender favors.
Marigolds’ fragrant bushes also help attract butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as deter deer and rabbits. And since lavender attracts bees and wasps, lavender and marigolds are a formidable pair for improving pollination and repelling pests organically in any garden.
However, not all types of marigolds are tolerant to dry, well-draining soils. Some marigolds also require light afternoon shade, which lavender dislikes. The “African” marigold (botanical name: Tagetes erecta) is the most compatible variant of marigold for lavender.
Growing yarrow with lavender brings the best out of the yarrow plants as dry, well-drained soil helps to control their growth, and direct sunlight encourages compact growth with many blooms.
Yarrow has delicate, fern-like foliage that smells amazing even when dried. Its pretty white flowers complement lavender buds nicely both on the field and in dried flower arrangements.
Yarrow is often mistaken for a weed due to its aggressive growth, so its value is usually understated. Yarrow plants are perfect for filling decorative hanging baskets and for lining walkways. Planting yarrow outside also helps draw pollinators and songbirds into the garden.
Alliums, or ornamental onions, are members of the onion family cultivated solely for their aesthetic value. Their purple bobblehead blossoms look splendid towering over lavender bushes.
Like all onions, alliums do well in sandy, well-drained soil. Getting as much sun as possible improves the quantity and vibrancy of the flowers, which means alliums benefit from being lavender’s companion plants.
Alliums bloom in spring, so they are great for pairing up with lavender in a year-round garden. After the flowering season is over, alliums help repel insect pests, rodents, and deer with their pungent smell.
Lavender Companion Herbs
Mediterranean herbs are the best, most compatible companion plants for lavender. Having the same origins, these plants thrive in the same conditions and require similar care routines. Most are hardy plants that take no effort to grow and they smell amazing. Their delicious smells are not only pleasing to humans, but they also help attract pollinators while confusing pests and keeping them at bay.
Fragrant Rosemary shrubs/bushes are one of the most common companion plants for lavender. They are similar in almost every way and they are both very easy to care for.
Rosemary’s value in the kitchen is undeniable, but did you know it also sprouts beautiful, purple or blue blooms throughout the spring and summer seasons? Its flowers also happen to be edible.
Thyme leaf is well-known as a versatile, indispensable spice, and the plant it comes from can be even more useful. Its creeping stems work great as ground cover, making a beautiful pink lawn that doesn’t need watering or mowing. Its flowers are rich in nectar and attractive to bees and butterflies.
Because of its pungent scent, it is never bothered by any insect pests, even deer and rabbits. Thyme plants are perfect for companion planting with lavender in herb gardens, rock gardens, and pollinator gardens.
Another delicious spice that grows well around lavender is oregano. Oregano is a Mediterranean spice that does well in dry, well-draining soil and loves getting a full day of direct sun.
Its strong fragrance naturally helps to keep away flying insect pests from the garden. Its erect cultivars also make great border plants, especially around vegetable gardens.
Sage bushes are also a great choice for companion planting with lavender. Apart from being a tasty addition to a herb garden, sage also fits well in native, rock, and butterfly-themed gardens.
Sage’s pretty flowers remain in bloom throughout spring, summer, and fall, so they’re great for adding color to the garden during the late season. Like other fragrant herbs, they also help repel bad bugs.
For a pop of color that goes well with lavender, plant a few basil bushes nearby. Not only are lavender and basil well-matched in terms of cultural conditions, but some ornamental basil variants also have gorgeous deep purple foliage that highlights lavender’s blossoms in the summer.
However, basil likes a little bit more water than lavender so it’s best to keep their roots slightly far apart when planting.
The only non-Mediterranean herb to feature on this list, fragrant lemongrass makes a great companion plant for lavender as it tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Just like lavender, lemongrass enjoys a full day of sunlight and does well in well-draining soil.
Not only do they do well together in the garden, but the flavors of lemongrass and lavender make the perfect blend in a cup of tea.
Lavender Companion Fruit Trees
Lavender is a highly beneficial companion plant to many fruit trees. Because of its beautiful fragrance, lavender attracts bees, butterflies, wasps, and other pollinators that help fruit trees produce a plentiful harvest. Lavender also repels aphids and moths that bother fruit trees. Here are a few fruit trees that do well with lavender.
Apple trees love well-draining soil like lavender. They also happen to grow in very similar environments (USDA Zones 3-9).
Companion planting with lavender will help eliminate many of the insects that often plague apple trees, like apple aphids and codling moths.
Pear has many of the same insect problems as apple trees, hence they would also benefit from having some lavender plants around.
Pears also grow in similar conditions as lavender and don’t need watering often. When they do need watering, they must be deeply watered, which is why it is best to plant lavender at a distance from pears’ roots.
Peaches and other stone fruit like nectarine love having scented plants like lavender around to help chase away egg-laying moths from their leaves. Growing lavender near peach trees would prevent attack from peach tree borers, earwigs and root weevils.
Peaches grow in well-drained soil, so getting lavender to grow around your peach tree wouldn’t be a problem.
Citrus plants benefit greatly from the pollinators that lavender attracts so would make good companion plants for lavender. Just like lavender, citruses are easy to care for once established.
When companion planting with these two, it is best to keep lavender away from the root zone of the citrus trees so as not to compete with citrus roots for nutrients. Lavender will also enjoy slightly dryer conditions than most citrus so there needs to be some space between them.
Strawberries grow in USDA Zones 5 to 9, so strawberries and lavender can often be found growing in similar environments. However, strawberries enjoy richer soil than lavender so it is better to keep their roots apart.
Strawberry plants have multiple pests and disease problems, and having lavender around will help to reduce its burdens. Visually strawberry and lavender make a great pair, with strawberry fruiting at the same time as lavender’s blooming season in the summer.
Aphids are a major problem for plum trees so having lavender around will help encourage healthier fruit and leaves.
Plum, like strawberries, naturally grows in the same environments that lavender favors, so companion planting with these two will not be a problem.
Lavender Companion Vegetables
The best way to make use of lavender as a companion plant is to plant a few bushes near a vegetable garden. Vegetables are some of the most likely plants to be affected by insect pests, and most of these insect pests cannot stand fragrant herbs like lavender. Planting them together will help protect your favorite veggies until they are ready for harvest.
Lavender is a great companion plant for vegetables in the brassica family like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, and turnips because lavender acts as a repellent for many of the insects that bother them. Aphids are an especially tenacious problem for these plants, one that can be taken care of for the most part by lavender’s scent.
To avoid over-drenching your lavender, plant lavender as a border about a foot away from your brassicas for perfectly healthy pest-free salad veggies. To improve the pesticide effect, pair lavender up with other fragrant herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Watercress or nasturtium is another salad veggie that makes a great companion for lavender plants. Nearly all parts of this spicy plant are edible so it makes a great companion for lavender in an edible garden.
Nasturtiums are hardy plants that grow best in poor soils, just like lavender. They may be affected by aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies but planting them close to lavender will help reduce these concerns
What Not To Plant With Lavender
Water-loving plants do not make great companion plants for lavender, and neither do plants that require shade. Mint plants, for example, need a good soak at least twice a week, and would wilt in the dry conditions that lavender likes.
Some other plants that would not do well around lavender are tomatoes, impatiens, camellias, hostas, and fuschias. Lavender is also incompatible with aggressive rhizome growers that would stifle its roots like bellflower, evening primrose, and lily-of-the-valley.
How Do I Plant Lavender?
The most recommended method of propagating lavender is through stem cuttings. This is because of the erratic germination habit of the seeds. To propagate lavender by stem cutting, pry a healthy side shoot off the main stem with a little strip of the bark still attached.
Remove the leaves at the lower part of the branch to make space for the roots, then spray the cleared area with rooting hormones. Plant the cutting in well-drained soil and provide humidity for quick growth. You should have a rooted plantlet in 2-4 weeks.
Are Chamomile And Lavender Companion Plants?
Chamomile and lavender make great companion plants. Mature chamomile plants are drought-tolerant therefore will thrive growing next to lavender.
Just like lavender, chamomile is very easy to grow so you’ll have a good time taking care of them both. Plus, when they both bloom in the summer, just make a few cuttings, and you have the most soothing cup of tea ever.
What Is The Best Variety Of Lavender To Plant?
The best variety of lavender differs for each garden based on climate, temperature, humidity, available soil type, and sunlight.
English lavender featured in this post is a hardy variety and can do well in many conditions as long as the soil is dry, but French and Spanish lavender would perform better in humid climes like the UK or the tropics. Other popular, hardy lavenders include Lavandin, phenomenal lavender, Provence, Hidcote, and the white flowering Nana Alba.
What Grasses Can I Grow With Lavender?
Many ornamental grasses are drought tolerant when established and enjoy a full day of sun exposure, therefore most are compatible for companion planting with lavender.
Some examples are Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Side Oats Gramma (Bouteloua curtipendula), Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), Upland River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), and Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra).
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