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Double Duty Plants: 20 Edible Flowers for Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Companion planting is a wonderful way to create a healthier garden, naturally. Growing certain plants close to other plants can help to deter pests, promote pollination, and yield larger, healthier crops. Companion plants come in many forms, but today we are focusing on companion plants that also have edible flowers. Growing edible flowers in the same bed as your veggies is a great way to promote growth through companion planting, as well as to try adding new flavors of flowers to your plate. Grow a companion planted kitchen garden this year, complete with vegetables and flowers you can eat!

20 Edible Flowers for Companion Planting

Emily Murphy, author of the fabulous Grow What You Love: 12 Food Plant Families to Change Your Life, is a seasoned companion planter with a flair for creative gardening. She’s been kind enough to share her extensive knowledge of companion plants with edible flowers with us. Read on to learn more about companion planting and find a list of Emily’s favorite edible companion flowers to grow interspersed with vegetables.

Companion Planting for a Healthier Garden

by Emily Murphy

There is more than one thing at work in a garden. Some might argue that the soil is the heart and soul of growing, but what would a garden be without flowers? With­out fragrance and color, the sound of bees, ladybug sightings or the quiet work of butterflies? And how lucky we are that there’s such a long list of edible flowers that pair well with herbs and vegetables. When you include these companion plants in your garden, they’ll help you manage pests, create pollinator havens and support the overall health of your garden — all while looking pretty in the process.

Photograph © Emily Murphy / Josh Murphy

Companion plants are combinations of plants that grow better together. They have a variety of roles, from repelling bad bugs and attracting good ones to mask­ing the scent of one plant with another. The benefits can also be structural. For instance, vining plants like pole beans can find support in tall, sturdy plants like sunflowers; squash can be grown to trail along at their feet, protecting soil mois­ture and preventing weeds from growing.

Companion Plants with Edible Flowers

Here are some beneficial companion plants and how to use their edible flowers.

Agastache. Add to cakes, syrups and beverages for an anise taste.

Arugula and other brassicas. Generally mild in flavor, they add wonderful color to salads and garnishes.

Basil. Wonderful in everything, the flowers of basil can be used as you would the leaves. They’re especially good in salads or sprinkled over roasted vegetables.

Bee balm. Add these sweet and spicy flowers to jellies, salads, tea, rice, or pasta.

borage flowers are edible and attract bees to the garden
Photograph © Emily Murphy / Josh Murphy

Borage. The beautiful blue star-shaped flowers taste like honey. Add them to salads, on top of cupcakes, or as a garnish for your favorite summer drink.

Chamomile. This is a wonderful flower for a soothing tea.

Chives. Their mild onion flavor pairs perfectly with most savory foods and dressings.

Cilantro. Toss flowers over dishes as you would the leaves. Try them in tacos, on roasted veggies, or with anything in need of a fresh kick.

Dill. Add dill flowers to pickles, scramble them with eggs, layer on fish, and sprinkle over potatoes and other veggies.

Fava, pea and green bean flowers. Mildly sweet and vibrant, these flowers make an everyday salad come to life.

snipping flowers from a companion plant garden
Photograph © West Cliff Creative

Fennel. Make a fennel flower oil for braising or grilling; pair with fish, meats, greens or anything that could benefit from its natural licorice flavor.

Lavender. My favorite is lavender vanilla ice cream, but lavender is also lovely in soups and other savory dishes.

Lemon balm. Infuse in tea, add to dressings, or toss into roasted vegetables at the last minute.

Marjoram. Milder than oregano, it makes a lovely tisane or a fragrant addition to vegetables or fish.

Oregano. Use oregano flowers as you would the leaves. Sprinkle over pizza or pasta, mix into breads, or stir into butter or soups.

gathering sunflowers from the companion planted garden
Photograph © West Cliff Creative

Rosemary. Use rosemary flowers as you would its leaves in savory pastries or breads, in dressings or sauces, or sprinkled over roasted vegetables or meats.

Roses. Brew into a tisane, make rose petal jam, or crystallize the petals to use in desserts.

Sage. These flowers are lovely with both summer and winter squash or when mixed into dressings, vinaigrettes, or sauces.

Squash. Stuff squash blossoms with cheeses and vegetables, try them in quesadillas and pasta dishes, or add them to soups.

Thyme. Much like oregano, these flowers are a welcome addition to soups, breads, pasta dishes, and dressings.

How to Companion Plant in the Home Garden

Add any combination of the above plants into the bed where you grow your vegetables. They will help the vegetables grow by attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects, deterring pests, improving the soil, and reducing disease. Plus, you’ll get a big harvest of delicious edible flowers along with your veggies so you can bring some new and exciting flavors to your culinary creations.

Excerpted with permission from Grow What You Love: 12 Food Plant Families to Change Your Life by Emily Murphy © 2018. Published by Firefly Books.

Grow What You Love by Emily Murphy

About the Author

Emily Murphy, Author of Grow What You Love

Emily Murphy is the author of the foodie-centric garden blog Pass The Pistil, and one of Garden Design Magazine‘s “most loved” blogs of 2015. Emily is a web series host, a contributor to Better Homes and Gardens, a garden design and organic gardening consultant, and a teacher of organic gardening. Emily holds a degree in Ethnobotanical Resources from Humboldt State University where she also studied botany and environmental science.

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  1. Chives! They are one of the first herbs to flower and a beautiful, purple harbinger of warmer days to come. They impart a mild onion flavor which goes well in all savories, salads, and makes for great herbal butter and mixes well with cream cheese for tea sandwiches. And the butterflies seem to like it, too!

  2. I remember attending a fundraising luncheon in a beautiful garden. A simple tuna salad was adorned with chive blossoms and so lovely on the table. This was enough encouragement to get me moving forward with planting tomatoes and strawberries amongst my herbs, edible flowers, and pollinators. Now I’ve started expanding the veggie varieties too!

  3. I have to say, I don’t know my favorite flower yet but I’m very interested in learning & this year I have interspersed more flowers amongst the veggies in my garden just because I love flowers so much! Looks like a wonderful book! Thank you for offering it. ????????

    • I have garlic chives growing throughout my yard, and love to snip off a piece for a snack on my way to the garden. Chamomile is one of my favorite teas and a pretty plant, too. We share our property with a resident deer herd, so I plant lots of herbs they detest in the unprotected areas of our yard: lavender, oregano, thyme, marjoram, lemon balm, rosemary, and sage.

  4. Bee balm is my favorite. I always have it in my garden. I use it mostly for teas but I have also experimented with using it in a chicken recipe.

    • My favorite edible flower is wood violet( the ones that grow on you lawn,in the woods etc,just make sure no
      insecticides or pesticides) I make Violet vinegar,jelly,and use the leaves and blossoms in spring mix salads.always am asked for recipe for my violet salad dressing.People are always surprised that you can eat them
      My other favorite is nasturtiums. Again,I use flowers and leaves in salads,the buds in place of capers and make an herb infused .vinegar

  5. I’m interested in adding flowers to food but have not yet – enjoy using herbs however. Would like to read your book!


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