Would you like to grow healthy and beautiful lavender plants in your garden? This guide to the best companion plants for lavender will help you to do just that.
One of the best ways to keep your lavender plants happy is to grow them alongside beneficial companion plants.
The best companion plants for lavender
In this article, we’ll take a look at 26 perfect companion plants to keep lavender happy and thriving – and which plants you need to avoid.
We’ll also cover what companion planting is, and the benefits it offers to your plants and the garden in general.
Read on for a guide to the best companion plants for lavender.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting involves growing different types of plants next to each other, in order to provide a range of benefits for the plants. It’s sometimes referred to as companion gardening, which means the same thing.
Some combinations of plants are really good for each other, while other combinations can actually prevent plants from growing well.
For successful companion planting, you need the plants you’re growing together to be suited to the same conditions.
If you get companion planting right, your plants can offer each other a range of benefits. These include:
- Aiding pollination – one plant attracts the pollinating insects that the other plant needs.
- Pest control – plants can repel pests from their usual host plants, or attract those pests themselves to limit damage to another plant.
- Preventing disease – some varieties of plants offer antibacterial or anti-fungal properties.
- Supporting plant growth – by enriching soil with nutrients that other plants need.
Using companion planting also allows you to cut down or completely avoid the use of chemical pest control products, so it’s a great option for gardening sustainably.
As you can see, there are lots of very good reasons to consider companion planting in your garden.
Does lavender benefit from companion planting?
Loved by gardeners and pollinators alike, lavender is a hardy perennial plant that can provide months of colour, fragrant flowers, and pollen. It’s a drought tolerant plant and will thrive in a sunny location.
Adding low-maintenance plants like lavender to a garden not only creates dimension and variety, but also attracts beneficial insects while requiring little water.
Despite being a tough, low maintenance plant, lavender will definitely benefit from companion planting. As well as helping to keep your lavender plants happy, you can use companion planting to create a beautiful display and wow factor in the garden.
The best lavender companion plants
Here are our top companion plants for lavender to help you grow a stunning, fragrant display.
Echinacea purpurea (also known as purple coneflower) produces large, daisy-like flowers on single stems from midsummer to early autumn. The large, wide flowers of echinacea provide excellent contrast next to the small clusters of flowers produced by lavender. Echinacea blooms are white or pink, so the colour contrast is great too.
The flower stems on echinacea plants can reach up to 3 feet high, which means they can make a statement next to the bushy habit of lavender plants.
On a practical level, Echinacea has similar growing needs to lavender: lots of sun, well-draining soil, and not much water. Pair these two plants for a low-effort, impactful display.
Yarrow (also known as achillea) is sometimes referred to as a weed, because it can get out of control in rich, fertile soil. However, in poorer soils you can keep it in check. As lavender is happy in poor soil, yarrow works well as a companion plant.
Achillea plants produce clumps of small flowers on tall stalks in shades of yellow, peach and white. These colours will all look fantastic next the the purple hues of lavender plants.
Yarrow also attracts predatory insects, so it will help to keep pests under control in the garden.
Sage is one of the best lavender companion plants. All types of this aromatic herb can work as an excellent companion plant for lavender in your flower beds.
Sage plants produce long fragrant oblong or slender greenish-gray foliage, depending on the variety. The tones and shape of this foliage looks great alongside lavender plants. The small flowers will also provide contrast.
White sage (Salvia apiana) works well in a lavender garden because this plant grows 3 to 4 feet tall, around the same size as many types of lavender. Other good choices include Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), which grows 2 to 3 feet tall and produces pink and purple flowers.
Salvias are ornamental sage. As such they enjoy similar growing conditions, which makes them good companions for lavender.
Salvias area available in a range of heights and shades of pink and purple. Use taller varieties to add height to a lavender display, and smaller varieties for low-level interest or in pots.
Think of sedums as a filler plant alongside your lavender. They are shade tolerant, so you can tuck them into gaps, and they’ll be perfectly happy in dry, warm conditions.
Sedums flower later than lavender, which allows you to extend the flowering season and provide a source of nectar for pollinating insects right into autumn.
Sedums are available in a range of flower colours, including white, orange, yellow and reds. As such they can provide excellent contrast to the purple blooms of lavender.
The texture and colours of shrub roses are a good complement for lavender, and they both enjoy similar conditions.
Combining rose bushes and lavender in a border will also deliver strong fragrance, so if you’re prioritising scent in the garden it’s a great addition to consider.
Lavender’s strong scent may even divert pests away from your precious roses.
Also known as Festuca glauca, this is a dwarf ornamental grass. As the name suggests, the foliage is silver-blue, which tones well with lavender.
Blue fescue forms small mounds of leaves, so it’s good for ground cover around lavender plants.
Allium bulbs (also known as ornamental onions) look fantastic in amongst a drift of lavender. The tall stems and impressive flower globes provide excellent contrast, and you can use a range of purples and whites to create a gorgeous colour palette.
Alliums belong to the onion family, so they will also do a great job repelling a number of pests.
The spherical flower heads of globe thistles will create a similar effect to alliums when paired with lavender. These plants love sun and well-drained soil, and will attract all manner of pollinators to the garden.
Also known as ostespermum, African daisies are brilliant plants for pots and garden borders. They work well with lavender’s foliage and flower colour, and are happy in full sun and drier soil.
Gypsophila is often called baby’s breath, and with its tiny, delicate flowers it’s easy to see why. Those dainty blooms work brilliantly amongst lavender, adding a touch of froth and a contrast in flower shape, size and colour.
Like lavender, gypsophila will be happy in full sun and drier conditions.
With their round flower heads and striking shades, zinnias provide the perfect pop of colour in amongst lavender plants. And this tough little annual plant is also happy to grow in the dry conditions that lavender loves.
As an added bonus, zinnias will attract many beneficial pollinating insects to your garden beds.
Another daisy-like option, gaillardia (or blanket flower) has beautiful open flowers that complement lavender nicely. It’s another bold option, with plants available in shades of orange, yellow and deep red.
Geraniums are unfussy plants that will grow well in poor soil and full sun. Their abundant, open flowers and low-growing habit make them a great partner for lavender.
If it’s bold contrast you want, marigolds and lavender will deliver. The vibrant yellows and oranges of marigold flowers will really pop against a backdrop of lavender, and these plants are well-suited to a sunny location and well-draining or sandy soil.
The red hot poker plant is native to South Africa, where it grows in a hot, sunny climate. These heat-loving plants produce stunning tall flower spikes in fiery shades, so they look amazing against a backdrop of purple lavender flowers.
A truly impressive companion for lavender plants, daylilies (or Hemerocallis) have large, trumpet-shaped flowers and spear-like clumps of foliage that contrast well with lavender.
This bushy plant produces impressive flower spikes in deep red tones and enjoys similar conditions to lavender. A good option for wow factor.
Centranthus ruber, also known as red valerian or Jupiter’s beard, has small, blue-green leaves and a sprawling, airy growth form, making it a nice contrast to the tight, bushy growth of lavender. It produces bright pink, red or white clusters of tiny flowers mid-June through August and self-sows prolifically. It grows 18 to 24 inches high and spreads to 3 feet.
Coreopsis (or tickseed) provides a real punch of colour in a lavender garden. The plant is suited to full sun and good drainage, just like lavender.
Black-eyed Susan (or rudbeckia) is a lovely plant to add to your flower garden, and it’s well-suited to the conditions enjoyed by lavender. The bright, daisy-like flowers will provide excellent contrast to the purple tones of lavender plants, while also attracting lots of bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Rudbeckia is a self-seeding annual, so it’s also a very low maintenance plant that will reward you with blooms year after year.
The Cheery white blooms and yellow centres on shasta daisies look fantastic alongside lavender. Shasta daisies are truly low maintenance; they don’t demand lots of water, don’t usually suffer from disease or pests, and can grow in dry conditions. As an added bonus, they will flower for months.
If you live in a warm climate, olives make lovely companion plants for lavender. They are suited to the same growing conditions, and look fantastic together.
Rosemary plants complement lavender really well. They enjoy the same conditions (they’re both native to the Mediterranean region), and they look great together.
Traditional Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is a hardy herb that grows 3 to 6 feet tall, and this plant can work well when planted next to lavender varieties that grow more than 2 feet tall.
Blue Boy Rosemary is a compact variety that works well with smaller lavender varieties.
Another plant that thrives in the same conditions as lavender, thyme loves heat, sun and poor soil.
The difference in size between the two plants will also create a nice visual impact, and this is equally true if you’re growing lavender in pots. Thyme is low-growing, and can fill in the gaps at the base of lavender plants. It produces complimentary purple flowers too.
Like thyme, oregano makes a great filler for lavender at ground level.
Oregano is also vital when it comes to attracting the ‘right’ insects. It’s a host for lacewings, and you definitely want those in your garden, because they prey on aphids, whiteflies and cabbage moths. In addition, bees and other pollinating insects love oregano.
Unlike most mint varieties, catmint is a good lavender companion plant. It has a similar growth habit and flower colour, so if you want to max out on the purple impact this is a great choice.
This companion planting is for the benefit of the fruit trees. Planting lavender in close proximity to your trees will attract more pollinators, which can improve your crop.
Lavender plants will also help to keep codling moths at bay – this is great news if you have apple trees in the garden.
A quick checklist for lavender companion plants
When shopping for garden plants to grow alongside lavender, look for varieties that enjoy the following conditions:
- Well-draining soil
- Low soil nutrient levels (also called ‘poor soil’)
- Full sun
- Warm temperatures
- Occasional drought conditions
Plants to avoid growing alongside lavender
Not all plants are suitable as companion plants for lavender. Here are the main ones you need to avoid.
Mint is a low-maintenance plant, but it doesn’t enjoy the same conditions as lavender.
Mint will grow well in rich soil and it likes plenty of moisture, which is pretty much the opposite of lavender. If you grow both of these plants in the same spot, one of them is going to struggle.
It’s a good idea to grow mint in a pot; you can limit it’s spread, and provide the conditions it needs more easily.
Like mint, impatiens (commonly known as busy lizzie) need moist soil, so they won’t be happy in the same location as lavender. Impatiens plants also prefer cooler, shadier conditions.
If you’re growing impatiens and lavender in pots, make sure you put them in different containers.
Camellia plants offer a wealth of flower colours, many of which would look great next to lavender. However, they need indirect light and lots of water, so they’re not an ideal neighbour for lavender plants in bright sunlight and dry soil.
Hostas love partial shade or indirect sunlight, and thrive in woodland conditions. As a result, these shade-loving plants are a poor match for lavender.
And there you have it: 26 fantastic companion plants for lavender, plus a few you need to avoid. Use this guide to inform your plant combinations and you’ll be well on the way to a beautiful garden display of healthy, complementary plants.
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