Lavender couldn't be any bluer with a companion! While the fragrant summer herb can grow without a helping hand (or leaf), companion planting offers some benefits! Lavender companion plants can help improve your favorite summer shrub's health directly and indirectly. For instance, it can provide shade in the primary weeks of planting, keep the soil damp, or simply level up your garden style. The good thing is most of the plants are good candidates to be planted next to your fragrant herb. If you are still deciding what to plant or what grows well with lavender, you are reading the right article! Keep scrolling down as we reveal the best and the bad companion plants for lavender!
What to Plant with Lavender?
Various herbs, flowers, and veggies are excellent companion plants for lavender. No worries if you are unsure what to plant with lavender in a container or backyard! We have selected the best of the best below:
- Rosemary — Hailing from the Mediterranean, rosemary is lavender's best friend. As they share the same habitat, the growing requirements like soil texture, watering levels, and sunlight exposure are more or less uniform, making both sun-loving herbs easy to maintain. If lavender is not scented enough, the sweet rosemary aroma will undoubtedly permeate the summer air!
- Oregano — Don't say no to oregano; it makes a perfect pair for lavender! Aside from having the perfect spice for your kitchen, oregano magnets pollinators and other beneficial insects, which keep your garden healthy. They are also relatively uncomplicated plants to care for and will make a perfect border plant to surround your lavender patch.
- Thyme — Thyme doesn't want to waste its time appealing to be your lavender companion! Although both have originated from the sunny Mediterranean, thyme is more frost tolerant, making it a perfect tandem for frequently frost-hit gardens. Also, who could not appreciate its purple flowers that complement lavender well!
- Sage — Another perfect match for your lavender garden is sage. Both grow happily when planted side by side, especially in containers. In addition, sage is virtually an easy plant to grow once established, requiring only light watering from the first week of growth. Like other herbs, enjoy this sweet-smelling plant to garnish your pasta!
- Parsley — If there is an herb that compliments your lavender's eye-catching bloom, perhaps parsley deserves to be on the top spot. Its irregularly-shaped leaves will highlight your lavender's beauty. Practical-wise, your parsley will also get free pest control services from the beneficial insects attracted by the lavender flowers.
- Basil — Basils are already popular kitchen windowsill plants for their irresistibly aromatic herbs. But what's interesting is that it can jive well when grown with lavenders! As both plants emit an explosive fragrance, aphids, whiteflies, and other bugs would not even dare to hover around your garden.
- Cabbage — If you want a good summer or fall vegetable to squeeze in between your lavender patch, put your cabbage on the list! While lavender does not benefit much from cabbages, this leafy veggie will be protected from its major enemy: the white cabbage butterfly. Parasitic wasps and other predatory insects are also attracted to lavender flowers.
- Celery — Like other plants, celery is not exempted from being attacked by pests. But planting it with lavender can make it less appealing to these voracious bugs. If you want to create an aesthetic lavender garden but also want to "eat" it, celery should be on the priority list as it can accentuate your lavender's beauty.
- Onion — Onions, including their close siblings like garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives, are happy to join the garden club with lavenders. They are easy to grow and can thrive even in clutched spaces. Therefore, if space is the most significant concern next to your garden with lavender, remember to consider this healthy kitchen spice.
- Olives — Trees also make good company with lavenders if you have Mediterranean-like weather which is almost sunny and dries the whole year! Practiced by many olive farmers, lavenders can improve the soil properties such as water-retention abilities and nutrient profile. In return, olives will likely be spared from pests because of the lavender's strong scent!
- Cauliflower — Lavenders are pretty neutral and gain only a bit when planted with cauliflower. However, a backyard filled with a grove of purple flowers is a good arsenal against certain pests. As cauliflower is susceptible to many problems, it will be safe from these munching bugs thanks to the strong deterrent smell of lavender.
- Broccoli — Broccoli is another yummy treat for pests like aphids, diamondback moth caterpillars, and cabbage worms! If you have a lavender patch, consider sowing a row of broccoli next to it. As it grows, bugs are less tempted to even lay a finger (or legs) on its leaves. Hail to the Queen of the garden: lavender!
- Coneflower — Also known as Echinacea, this stunning perennial pairs nicely with lavender. As both plants have similar growing conditions like full sunlight and minimal watering, both beauties will become good best friends in your garden. Also, it is easy to take care of and can thrive with neglect (well, almost)!
- Roses — Roses are red, violets are blue, plant rose with lavender, and it will say, "I do." That is because these beautiful thorny flowering bushes are complementary with lavenders! When planted together, the scents of lavender and rose perfume the summer air. It is such as spectacular sight to see the blend of multi-layered florets of rose with the bluish tinge of lavender.
- Zinnia — Looking for an annual plant? Try Zinnias! Annual plants are great for pairing lavender if you like your garden to have various looks each season. Plus, zinnias don't have much drama when paired with lavender, which also feels the same way. Both fancy to be planted under a full spectrum of sunshine and minimal watering.
- Baby's Breath — Baby's Breaths are typical cut flower plants used as filler flowers in bouquets because of their cute and fluffy tiny flowers. When planted closely with lavender, its beauty may come with a purpose, filling the spaces and blocking the barren ground–making your living garden bouquet visually more appealing!
- Geranium — Geraniums also make a good pair with lavenders! With its stunning multi-spectral flowers, you can't go wrong with Geranium. Plant it next to a lavender patch to fill the gaps and hide the empty space. Like lavender, it also likes to be under full sunshine and about weekly watering.
- African Daisy — With its magnificent blooms, the African daisy is one of the excellent candidates vying to be lavender's companion! Because it blooms continuously from spring to fall, it will be a wonderful plant to pair with your lavender after it finishes flowering. Plus, lavender and African daisy share the exact growing requirements: sunny and minimal watering.
Best Companion Plants for Lavender for Different Purposes
Looking for a plant with a purpose? We’ve got you covered! Here is a list of what to plant with lavender if you want to maximize the benefits of companion planting with lavenders:
For Deterring Pests
- Catnip — Although the reeking fragrance of lavender dizzies nearby pests, having another aromatic plant-like catnip can surely double the defense. Also, Catnips are good deterrents for your fur babies in your garden!
- Marigold — With their stunning blooms, marigolds add beauty, attract pollinators, and keep pests at bay! Underground, it functions like a trap crop of root-knot nematodes, a soil worm that feeds on the roots instead of letting them feed on more precious crops like tomatoes and peppers!
For Nutritional Needs
- Green Beans — Green beans are great crops for amending the soil with nitrogen. Within the roots, nitrogen-fixing bacterium helps capture elemental N into a readily available one which can be absorbed by lavenders. Although lavender does not need much N, it might need some light nutrients during the vegetative stage.
- Pole Beans — Like green beans, pole beans also have a symbiotic friendship with a bacterium that enriches the soil with nitrogen. It could help your lavender establish better during the early growing stage and simultaneously keep your vegetable pest-free!
To Help Provide Cool Soil
- Ice Plant — This creeping succulent is a good companion plant for lavender if the soil moisture is a problem. While lavender can tolerate arid soil, the green ground cover can help reduce moisture loss, especially on hot days. Plus, you get beautiful purple or pink blooms!
- Creeping Sedum — Another versatile plant to consider planting next to your lavender is creeping sedum. It grows in rocky and dry terrains, which makes it a perfect match for lavenders. Additionally, it helps conserve moisture and increases organic matter content as the old leaves decompose over time.
What not to Plant with Lavender?
You can't just insert a plant that you like next to lavenders! This is likely because both may have different growing requirements and thus need special attention. Before committing a botanical disaster, here is a list of what not to plant with lavender:
- Mint — Although mint is easy to grow, you want this plant next to something other than lavender! It requires a lot of water and can aggressively invade your lawn if not controlled well. Keeping it in pots instead would help this creeping plant.
- Hostas — Hostas are beautiful foliage plants that deserve their own space, not planting them with lavenders. It thrives better in the shade, especially the green varieties, in contrast to lavender which prefers the full sunshine.
- Daffodils — Including other bulbous plants with aggressive growth, daffodils are best planted in a separate garden bed. The bulbs can grow year after year and can pop into your lavender's personal space.
- Camellia — Aside from being a shade plant, camellias can grow bushy and tall. Once it reaches this size, it can cast a shadow on your sun-loving lavender. Also, a bushy plant next to a lavender doesn't really look aesthetically pleasing.
- Impatiens — While impatiens boast multicolored flowers that can complement the lavenders, they are simply not meant for each other. Impatiens' flowers can wilt with direct sunlight, while the lavenders may not survive in shadowy places.
What Are the Best Conditions for Lavender to Grow?
Already have decided which plant to pair with your lavender? If so, let’s discuss how you can keep your plant thriving with the following conditions!
- Sunny location — As we have mentioned countless times, lavender is a halophyte or a plant that performs well with sunlight. Ensure it is planted in a sunny garden with at least 6 hours of direct sunshine!
- Dry and well-draining soil — In the Mediterranean, where lavender originated, the soils are chalky, calcium-rich, and well-draining. If drainage is a problem in your garden, consider planting them in a raised bed amended with lime, egg shells, or sand.
- Minimal watering — After planting lavender seedlings outdoors, they will only need moderate watering, approximately weekly, during their establishment phase. Once it has established and grown bushy, it may not need watering.
- Warm climates — Lavenders prefer warm temperatures and perform well in zones 5-9. While there are lavenders that can thrive in cooler environments, such as the English variety, consider planting them in containers so that you can put them indoors during the winter.
Key Rules of Companion Planting with Lavender
To avoid garden mishaps when planting companion crops with lavenders, apply the following golden rules:
- Plant less bushy crops or flowers.
- Cross out thirsty plants in your companion plant list.
- Consider planting only sun-loving plants.
- Don’t plant invasive or aggressive species.
Where Is the Best Place to Plant Lavender?
Lavender enjoys lots of sunshine, so it should be planted in a sunny garden as flower borders, herb gardens, or low hedging. It will not survive long in shady places. A well-draining, chalky soil is also ideal for preventing rotting.
Does Lavender Like to be Crowded?
Like most plants, lavender does not like to be crowded. Depending on the lavender varieties, it should properly be spaced out approximately 1 ft (30 cm) for Mediterranean cultivars and 3 ft (90 cm) for English ones.
Does Lavender Spread?
Lavender spreads approximately 1-5 feet (30-150 cm) in its lifetime, but this is considered insignificant to other plants that can crawl and grow uncontrollably in your garden. Seeds also will not germinate well, so there is no problem with invasion.
Which Lavender does not Spread?
All lavender species spread, but the difference is the rate at which it grows vertically and horizontally. If you have limited space, consider planting dwarf varieties, which usually stay more compact than regular ones like ‘Dwarf Munstead’ or ‘Wee One.’
What to Plant with Lavender in a Container?
Because container gardening is limited, you will want to plant a plant with similar soil and watering requirements. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, or sage are some herbs that grow well with lavender.