There is plenty of information out there about companion planting for your vegetable garden. You know how it goes–plant basil with your tomatoes and carrots with your onions. There are many benefits to doing this kind of planting from improving the flavor of one or both of the companions, to controlling the types of insects that chose to hang around.

If you love to grow veggies and want to have pretty flowers at the same time, you could think about interspersing some of these otherwise ornamental flowers into your veggie patch. They can do some great jobs for you and your harvest.

Marigolds

Source: Project Diaries/YouTube

Not to be confused with calendula, which is commonly called pot marigold, marigolds (Tagetes Spp) are a superstar companion flower for your veggie garden, and they come with quite the resume. Not only are they bright and pretty flowers, but these self-seeding annuals are also planted in gardens to deter whiteflies, nematodes, and Mexican bean beetles. They also act as sacrificial plants, selflessly luring slugs away from your cabbages. As well, they are beloved by the local pollinator scene!

You can find marigolds for sale at nurseries, or you can start them easily from seed. Start them indoors a few weeks before the last frost, and plant your transplants out around your tomatoes and squashes. Alternately, you can direct sow your seeds after the last frost. Marigolds require full sun. Keep your marigolds deadheaded for a summer full of blooms.

Calendula

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is another bright and sunny flower friend. Though it is used as an ornamental, many folks grow calendula for its medicinal properties. As well as being good for you, it is also a great companion plant for your veggies.

Calendula is often planted as a pollinator attractor. It is also said to attract aphids, so it can be planted as a deterrent plant. It is a very easy plant to grow and self-seeds prolifically. You can start the seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost or direct sow them after the last frost. It is not a fussy plant. Again, keep them deadheaded to encourage more blooms, but leave some to go to seed if you are happy for volunteer seedlings next season.

Cosmos

Source: Sarah Raven/YouTube

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) is a very pretty, delicate-looking plant that is a prolific bloomer. These flowers come in an array of colors and are adored by pollinators. As well, they are known to attract green lacewings, which feast on aphids. Plant cosmos around your brassicas and other aphid-prone plants.

Cosmos is another annual that is easily grown from seed. Your plants will need a sunny spot in the garden. You may also need to stake them up, as they tend to get long and leggy and can easily fall over.

Lupines

Source: Garden Clips/YouTube

Lupines (Lupinus spp) are a member of the pea family. However, it should be noted that they are not edible. They are stunning flowers that come in a range of pinks, blues, and purples. They are very easy to grow and need little tending once established.

What makes them a great companion plant is that, because they are indeed a member of the pea family, they are a nitrogen-fixing plant. This means that the plant can harvest nitrogen from the air and make it available to the soil through nodules on its roots.

Lupines prefer full sun with well-draining soil. Plant them around your nitrogen-loving veggies, such as your cucumbers and leafy brassicas.

Nasturtium

Source: Epic Gardening/YouTube

There is a whole list of reasons to grow nasturtium in your garden, not least for the fact that they make a delicious salad green and have pretty edible flowers for spicing up salads and decorating desserts. They are low maintenance, and they self-seed like crazy, meaning that you’ll have them popping up year after year.

Nasturtiums make great sacrificial plants in your brassica beds. Cabbage moths will often choose nasturtiums over cabbages to lay their eggs. They are also planted to help deter squash beetles from your zucchinis and attract aphids away from your prized kale.

Nasturtiums are not thought to transplant well, so direct sow your seeds after the last frost. You will do well to soak your seeds before planting them to help with germination, but it is not entirely necessary.

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