A popular addition to both floral and herbal gardens, lavender is also a good companion plant.
When planning a garden it is a good idea to plant specimens that work well together. This mutually beneficial relationship encourages growth and productivity whilst also reducing the amount of maintenance work that you need to do. It is a great way to create a productive pollinator or wildflower garden.
There are a number of good companion plants for lavender or Lavandula. Some of the most common combinations include parsley, tomatoes and garlic. As well as explaining the benefits of companion plants, this article is designed to highlight some of the best companion plants for lavender. We will also highlight some combinations that you should avoid.
Lavandula is a popular ornamental plant.
The Benefits of Companion Planting
Commonly described as companion planting, there are many benefits to be derived when you plant mutually beneficial specimens together.
One of the main benefits of combination planting is that it provides an organic method of repelling pests. This helps to keep plants healthy and problem free. This is particularly useful when cultivating herbs and vegetables or fruit trees where the yield may suffer if the plant is unduly stressed.
For example, planting any Lavandula cultivar alongside tomatoes helps to keep the destructive tomato hornworm away from your tomato plant. Many Lavandula cultivars also deter larger pests such as rabbits and deer, keeping them away from your vegetables or flowers.
As well as keeping away pests, Lavandula flowers also draw pollinators such as bees to your flowers and vegetables. This helps to increase pollination rates and yield.
Lavandula flowers draw pollinators to your garden.
Many Lavandula cultivars are also a good choice for providing floral ground cover. Most cultivars rarely exceed 2 ft in height meaning that they won’t deprive taller specimens like tomatoes or sunflowers of light. They will, however, keep the soil cool, helping to protect the taller plant from heat stress during warm periods.
Many companion plants also help to restore nutrients to the soil. For example, growing Beans is a great way to restore nitrogen to the soil. This is important if you are cultivating heavy feeding specimens such as peppers and tomatoes. Adopting a crop rotation system also helps to keep your soil healthy.
Finally some companion plants also help to improve flavor. Basil and tomato is a good combination. When grown in close proximity, the flavor of both mint leaves and tomatoes improves. Interestingly, growing mint close to cucumber plants causes the cucumber to change its flavor.
10 Companion Plants for Lavender
A perennial plant, most Lavandula cultivars are hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9. The plants thrive in well draining, sandy or rocky soils, Lavandula plants are best placed in a warm, sun filled position.
A pleasingly drought tolerant specimen, if you want to learn more about cultivating Lavandula specimens, our How to Grow lavender guide is filled with useful tips and information.
The best companion plants for lavender share some or all of the plants growing preferences. The following are 10 of the best companion plants for lavender.
1 Cruciferous Vegetables
Many members of the Cruciferous or Brassica such as cabbages make great companion plants for lavender. In turn growing Lavandula cultivars close to Brassicas helps to repel pests such as the cabbage moth.
These destructive little insects lay eggs on the lower leaves of brassicas. After hatching the larva feeds on the leaves, destroying your crop. A natural repellent growing a Lavandula plant close by is a good way to keep your brassicas healthy and problem free without resorting to chemical controls.
Companion planting can be used on its own, or in combination with FARAER Ultra Fine Garden Mesh Netting, this offers further protection from potentially harmful pests whilst still allowing lots of light and moisture to access the covered vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables benefit from planting in close proximity to Lavandula plants.
Other members of the Cruciferous family include:
There are also ornamental, flowering cultivars in the Cruciferous plant family. Two of the most commonly grown are stock and sweet alyssum.
2 Fruit trees
A wide ranging category, fruit trees come in a range of shapes and sizes from tall, elegant specimens to smaller dwarf cultivars or those ideal for incorporating in a living fence.
Cultivating Lavandula specimens closeby is a great way to increase the yield of your fruit trees. When in flower, lavender is one of the best plants for attracting pollinators to the garden. Using Lavandula cultivars to draw pollinators to your fruit trees increases your yield.
Planting your Lavandula companion plants under the canopy of the fruit tree also helps to deter pests such as whitefly and codling moths.
When planting, do not plant Lavandula any closer than 12 inches away from the tree trunk. Underplanting too close to the fruit tree deprives smaller specimens of light and nutrients, stunting growth and deterring flowering.
Underplanting can help to increase fruit tree yield.
A staple of the ornamental flower garden the rose comes in a range of shapes and sizes from small, compact or dwarf specimens to vining cultivars or the classic, heavy flowering shrubby plant.
One of the more reliable companion plants for lavender, as long as you plant correctly, the fragrance combination as well as color combination that the two plants create is worth the effort. While you can combine Lavandula cultivars with all types of rose, this combination tends to work best with Shrub of Floribunda types that are hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 11.
Most types of rose thrive in loamy, well draining soil. Roses require more regular watering than the Lavandula cultivars Space your lavender and rose bushes out, or if possible, cultivate your Lavandula specimens in containers close to your roses.
As well as creating an ornamentally attractive combination, all Lavandula cultivars can also help to keep aphids away from the roses. If allowed to develop aphid infestations can cause stress, stunting growth and deterring flowering.
Roses and Lavandula make an attractive combination.
Often overlooked, echinacea or the coneflower is an attractive floral specimen. A low maintenance perennial, there are over 60 different varieties, many of which resemble daisies. As well as being ornamentally attractive, echinacea also has herbal properties and can be used to treat a range of ailments as well as boost the immune system.
One of the most attractive companion plants for lavender, not only do the two look good together, they also thrive in similar growing conditions. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9, echinacea is best planted in a full sun position and well draining soil.
A low maintenance plant, many cultivars require even less frequent watering than the average lavandula specimen. Purple echinacea and lavender are a particularly complementary combination.
Echinacea compliments the purple blooms of Lavandula.
Yarrow is a herbaceous perennial that, while unfairly described as a weed, is more properly described as a native wildflower.
A staple of the herb garden for centuries because of its medicinal properties, today the many, often showy, hybrid cultivars mean that yarrow is an increasingly popular ornamental plant. It is frequently included in ornamental planting schemes.
Typically hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9, in other climates you can cultivate yarrow as an annual plant. Flowering from early summer to the fall in shades of white, orange, yellow, gold, and red, yarrow’s foliage is also attractive. The leaves are fine cut and fern-like in appearance. Depending on the cultivar the foliage can vary in color from green to gray-green.
While large types can reach up to 3 ft tall, dwarf cultivars are more compact, ideal for small gardens and flower beds. A low maintenance plant, yarrow is best in well draining soil and full sun. Like Lavandula specimens, yarrow dislikes having wet feet or sitting in wet soil. It is also drought tolerant.
A beneficial plant, yarrow is an increasingly popular ornamental plant.
One of the most versatile companion plants for lavender, yarrow can be used in ornamental planting schemes, herb gardens or wildflower meadows. Our guide to Growing yarrow explains how you can use the plant in your garden.
Sedum, or stonecrop, is one of the best companion plants for lavender. Available in a wide range of colors, shapes and heights, sedum is a reliable border plant that thrives in rocky or sandy soils and full sun positions.
A drought tolerant hardy succulent, sedum cultivars are identified by their thick, fleshy leaves that can develop in a range of colors. The star-shaped small flowers, which emerge in mid or late summer, are popular with pollinators. These can last into the fall, providing nectar to late season pollinators.
Easy to care for, sedum is best planted in a full sun position. Some cultivars also tolerate partial shade.
A reliable pollinator plant, sedum and Lavandula share similar growing needs.
A member of the Amaryllis plant family, the allium is an attractive ornamental flower. Once the flowers fade, the decorative seed pods provide further interest. Closely related to a number of common vegetables such as onions and elephant garlic, there are a wide variety of allium cultivars suitable for a range of different planting situations and styles.
Most types of allium are hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9. A drought tolerant flower, the allium likes full sun and well draining or sandy soil. This, along with their low water needs, makes them amongst the most reliable companion plants for lavender.
When planted in combination, the tall flowers of the allium, which emerge from large bulbs, compliment the shorter Lavandula flowers.
The tall, drumstick-like blooms of the allium flower.
8 African Daisy
Similar in appearance to the common daisy, the African daisy is popular for its vibrant colors. A perennial plant, it is a great addition to landscaping and floral displays. Slightly larger than other types of daisy, the African daisy flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. As well as being a good ornamental plant, it is also a good groundcover choice for full sun areas.
Ideally the African daisy should receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. Like Lavandula specimens, the African daisy also likes sandy soil and rarely requires fertilizing. These growing needs also make it one of the most reliable companion plants for lavender.
Flowering from mid spring until late summer the African daisy is a great choice if you want to add floral, low maintenance color to the garden.
A popular hardy annual, the zinnia is prized for its ability to flower in almost every color of the rainbow, from hot pinks and reds to cool purples and pure whites. They also grow in a range of shapes and sizes.
Native to the grasslands of the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico, the zinnia is part of the Aster plant family. This means that they are related to a number of other popular flowering specimens such as sunflowers, daisies and marigolds.
Just as popular with pollinators as they are with gardeners, zinnia flowers are both easy to grow and, once established, pleasingly low maintenance.
Zinnia flowers do best in full sun. Too little light causes them to become leggy or even topple over. Staking taller specimens by tying them loosely to a Natural Garden Bamboo Stick with some Jute Twine helps to keep taller zinnia cultivars upright. Best planted in well draining or naturally dry soil, this preference helps to make the zinnia one of the best companion plants for lavender.
Zinnias and lavender are one of the best combinations.
Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a cheerful daisy-like plant that is one of the best companion plants for lavender. Both share the same growing needs, in short, like lavandula cultivars, gaillardia thrives in hot, dry or arid areas where other flowers may struggle. If your growing climate isn’t arid, plant your gaillardias in well draining soil.
A great choice if you want to add long lasting color to the summer garden gaillardia flowers in shades of red, yellow and orange which compliments the more subdued purple hues of the Lavandula plant.
As the name blanket flower suggests, these reliable flowers slowly spread, covering a space with long lasting color. If you want to learn more about gaillardia, including how to add it to your garden, our How to Grow Gaillardia guide is a great place to start.
The gaillardia flower is popular for its long lasting color.
Herb Companion Plants for Lavender
Lavandula has long been a popular part of the herb garden. This is because when planted in combination with a number of herbs, they enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.
Basil is a versatile companion plant for lavender, which encourages all Lavandula cultivars to grow stronger.
Rosemary shares similar growing needs to Lavandula cultivars, in particular a preference for dry, sandy soil and a high drought tolerance. Both native to the rocky soil and hillsides of the Mediterranean, these plants thrive in warm climates and sunny positions.
Requiring little water, when planted together this combination repels deer and rabbits whilst attracting pollinators. Rosemary is not as cold tolerant as lavender and may require winter protection.
Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary share similar growing needs with Lavandula.
Oregano and sage are also good choices. Many types of sage have medicinal and culinary uses. Like all Lavandula cultivars, sage is best planted in warm, sandy soil and rarely watered. Sage also draws bees to the garden.
Another, classic hardy combination is thyme and lavender. Both Mediterranean natives, thyme and Lavandula specimens thrive in hot climates and dry, sandy soil. Typically hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9, Thyme becomes dormant when the first frosts of the year hit.
With a little protection, thyme plants can survive the winter, returning again the following year. A Sunpro Plant Cover provides reliable protection from winter temperatures whilst enabling thyme to still enjoy lots of light and moisture.
If you are not cultivating a herb garden, thyme and lavender can also be used to provide attractive groundcover, the pale purple flowers of thyme compliment the darker purple blooms of lavender.
Opinion is divided on whether mint cultivars are good companion plants for lavender. Mint is easy to grow and deeply fragrant. A versatile plant, mint is typically hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 11.
While lavender keeps aphids away from mint, they are not truly compatible. Mint prefers a moist, rich soil. This is in direct contrast to the preferences of Lavandula cultivars. If you are growing the two herbs, grow them in separate pots. This also helps to control mints’ often invasive growth habit.
While growing with mint has some benefits, some growers prefer to separate the plants.
Companion Plants to Avoid
While there are a number of good companion plants for lavender there are a few that you should avoid. This is mainly because they have widely different growing needs to Lavandula cultivars, making them incompatible.
Despite being popular for its peony-like flowers, the camellia is one of the worst companion plants for lavender. Hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 9, camellias are evergreen shrubs that require lots of water and struggle in overly light or full sun positions. Our How to Grow Camellia guide explains more about caring for these attractive shrubs.
Impatiens are popular flowering perennials. Easy to care for, impatiens or busy Lizzies flowers develop in a rainbow of shades from white and coral to red, purple and yellow. Best planted in well draining soil, impatiens struggle in full sun position. Preferring a shaded position they are also sensitive to high temperatures and require regular watering.
The perennial hosta is another specimen that you should definitely avoid when selecting companion plants for lavender. Despite being an easy going, attractive plant, which is popular for its stunning foliage, the hosta is not bothered by humidity or temperature levels. However the few requirements that the hosta plant does have makes it an incompatible companion plant for lavender. This is because the hosta is best planted in rich, well draining soil and a shade or dappled light position.
Planting companion plants for lavender can benefit your entire garden, improving vegetable or fruit yield, adding color, interest and attracting a wide range of pollinators.