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Deter Pests Naturally by Companion Planting With These Super Flowers

Just like superheroes, there are some planting flowers that have some pretty amazing superpowers. Learn about companion planting with 5 of the best flowers that keep bugs away from your garden.

Super flowers that work great for companion planting

Did you know that flowers have superpowers? Some stop nematodes in their tracks. Others attract aphids away from your veggies. And, some are just so darn powerful that they will repel every tick, cockroach, and bedbug in sight! 

Pretty and powerful? Now that’s the kind of organic gardening I can get behind. These 5 super flowers repel bugs in the garden and add their own special brand of style too.

What is Companion Planting?

First, let’s talk about companion planting. Companion planting is taking advantage of the strengths of some flowers by planting them near certain veggies. Some flowers have benefits for your garden that go beyond a pretty face. Those benefits include:

  • Aiding in pollination
  • Providing habitat for beneficial insects
  • Pest control
  • Increasing productivity of crops

Adding flowers to the veggie patch is both pretty and practical. You can add these five super flowers to the vegetable garden to send pests running.

companion planting with flowers

Top 5 Flowers To Use For Companion Planting

These hard workers will add beauty to your garden while doing some very important jobs. Learn about my favourite flowers for companion planting.

Borage

Plant borage near your tomatoes to deter tomato hornworms. In addition to preventing those pesky little fellows, borage makes a lovely ornamental with its delicate star-shaped light blue and pink flowers. 

Bonus: Borage is edible! The flowers taste like a mild, sweet cucumber and are a good addition to summer salads along with those pest-free tomatoes growing beside them.

Light Needs: Full sun to partial shade

Water Needs: Moist, well-draining soil

Start From Seed: Sow directly into the ground after the threat of frost has passed

Companion Benefits: Deters tomato hornworms and cabbage worms; attracts bees

Companion Planting: Plant near tomatoes, squash, and strawberries 

borage growing in a vegetable garden

Nasturtium

Aphids are attracted to nasturtiums. We know, we know, you thought this was supposed to be about deterring pests, not attracting them, but hear us out. Aphids are so attracted to nasturtiums that they prefer them over your more prized veggies, such as peas or beans. This means they will leave the vegetables alone and simply head to the nasturtiums planted nearby to feast. 

Then… all those aphids hanging around in one spot will in turn attract beneficial insects like ladybugs that will eat the aphids and benefit the garden in other ways too. Nasturtiums also deter whiteflies, squash bugs, and potato bugs, so they are a great choice to add to any vegetable patch.

Light Needs:  Full sun to partial shade

Water Needs: Moist, well-draining soil

Start From Seed: Sow indoors and transplant or sow directly into the ground after the threat of frost has passed

Companion Benefits: Deters whiteflies and cucumber beetles; trap crop for aphids; attracts predatory insects

Companion Planting: Plant near cucumbers, radishes, melons, Brassicas, squash, and tomatoes

nasturtiums

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums contain a natural insecticide called pyrethrum, which means they keep away silverfish, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas, lice, and even ticks. Talk about a powerhouse pest repellent

However, pyrethrum will also deter beneficial insects, so you may not want to plant too many around the garden if you are trying to encourage good bugs.

Light Needs:  Full sun 

Water Needs: Moist, well-draining soil

Start From Seed: Sow directly into the ground after the threat of frost has passed

Companion Benefits: Repel ticks, silverfish, ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas, and lice

Companion Planting: Plant near any plant to you want to deter pests from 

mums deter pests in the garden

Marigold

Plant some marigolds next to your tomatoes to keep them healthy and happy. Marigolds contain a phytotoxin called alpha-terthienyl which prevents nematodes (AKA roundworms) from munching on the roots of your precious tomato plants. 

Marigolds also work wonders planted near Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower because they will prevent cabbage worms from joining the party.

Light Needs: Full sun

Water Needs: Moist, well-draining soil

Start From Seed: Start indoors or sow directly into the ground after the threat of frost has passed

Companion Benefits: Deters nematodes, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, tomato worms, and cabbage worms; attracts slugs away from your vegetables

Companion Planting: Plant near carrots, cucumber, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes – most vegetables other than beans.

Marigolds planted for pest control

Petunia

Petunias are gorgeous and come in every colour of the rainbow. As if that weren’t enough, they also protect beans from most pests and work to prevent squash bugs, potato bugs, and are a good general pest deterrent that keeps most bug baddies at bay.

So go ahead, brighten up your vegetable garden and protect it at the same time with petunias in every bed.

Light Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: Moist, well-draining soil

Start From Seed: Start indoors because they are slow to germinate

Companion Benefits: Deters squash bugs, potato bugs, general pest deterrent

Companion Planting: Throughout your garden

This list of Modern Petunia Varieties is amazing

I hope this helps you know which flowers to plant in your garden to take maximum advantage of their superpowers! And while we are talking about natural pest control, take a look at this post on organic ways of getting rid of pests in the garden.

a garden full of companion planting flowers

More on Companion Planting:

Comments

  1. This is a great round up (pun intended, lol) of pest deterrents! I will be adopting the use of the petunias near anything edible to have a multipurpose use of protecting from soil erosion, pest deterrent and pretty! Nasturtiums were so perfect in addition to my first garden’s cucumbers last year. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. This was a good article for me on these flowers. And I love the idea of a secret place and without bugs and beautiful flowers sounds like a good getaway. Thanks for all your advice I love to get your newsletter and it has really helped my yard.

    Reply
  3. I wish you could come up with a list of plants that deer hate. I am over run with them. they destroyed my tomatoes by eating the tips of the vines. we are not allowed to shoot them in the spring & summer when they are a pest. when hunting season opens they vanish into thin air or it seems that way.

    Reply
    • 2 or more pie plates on a rope or stick. the noise scares away the critters. scarecrow also works. we had wood peckers pecking at our house and an plastic owl deterrent from Walmart stopped it in its tracks.

      Reply
  4. I’m wondering if you can clarify something under marigolds. In that section you wrote “Marigolds also work wonders planted near Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower because they will prevent cabbage worms from joining the party.” So broccoli is listed as a vegetable they benefit.
    But then under companion planting section for marigolds, it states in there that they can be planted with nearly any vegetable EXCEPT beans and brassicas.
    Broccoli is a brassica.. So should marigolds be planted near them or not??

    Reply

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