vegetable garden
Published November 3, 2022 by Danielle Boss

Your Guide to Planting Flowers in a Vegetable Garden

Filed Under:
flower garden
flowering plants
pollinator garden
companion planting
organic gardening
flowers in vegetable garden

Flowers in a Vegetable Garden Are Essential

In my experience, when most people plan out their backyard kitchen gardens, what comes to mind are edibles… herbs, vegetables, maybe even some fruit shrubs or trees. Many home gardeners don’t think to consider flowers, and that is a mistake! Flowers can provide so many added benefits to your kitchen garden.

flowers for vegetable garden

4 Reasons to Plant Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

Here are the top reasons I consider flowers a necessary part of any vegetable garden or kitchen garden:

Flowers Add Beauty

First of all, flowers are pretty! Don’t you want your garden space to look beautiful and inviting? Well, add some flowers! You will get so much more color and texture and variety by adding these in among your veggies.

Flowers Attract Beneficial Insects

Another reason to plant flowers is to attract beneficial insects and predators. Of course, you want pollinators like bees and butterflies, but you also want predatory wasps, lady beetles, lacewings, and more to help keep all your pesky pests away. Flowers can absolutely do this for you.

Flowers Improve the Overall Health of Your Garden

A third reason to include flowers is to improve the quality of the surrounding space and soil. Clovers and phacelia flowers can act as a green manure and add nitrogen to your soil. Borage has large roots that can break up and aerate the soil. Nasturtium spreads to cover the ground and act as a weed deterrent and shade cover.

Flowers Can Be Food for People Too!

And lastly, you should have flowers in your kitchen garden so you can use them in your kitchen! There are loads of edible flowers that you can eat and use in recipes for salads, teas, baked goods, and more.

edible flowers to plant in vegetable garden

5 Tips for Planting Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

There are some things you want to consider for adding flowers to your vegetable garden. Here are some general tips:

Planting Flowers Tip #1

Just like you know your seasons for veggies, there are seasons for flowers, as well. Try to pair cool-season flowers with cool-season veggies, and warm/hot-season flowers with warm/hot-season veggies.

Planting Flowers Tip #2

Know your flowers’ growing requirements. Most will want lots of sun and regular water. Make sure you put them in a spot where they will thrive.

Planting Flowers Tip #3

Know your flowers’ sizes. Some get very tall and others spread out wide. Keep this in mind with planting as you don’t want to shade or shove out your vegetables.

Planting Flowers Tip #4

While many flowers help plants grow, others can hinder certain plants. When in doubt, double check. Sunflowers, for instance, can inhibit growth of potatoes, so pairing these together is a no-no.

Planting Flowers Tip #5

Think outside the garden box! You can add flowering vines on a trellis and trailing flowers along the raised bed edge; you can hang flowers in baskets around the garden or in pots along the fence, and so much more. Believe me, I always find a way to add in more flowers. Remember, less bare dirt = fewer weeds!

flower and vegetable garden layout

The Best Flowers to Include in Your Vegetable Garden

Of course there are so many flowers you can plant in your garden, so let’s narrow down our focus to ones that will deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and provide value to our veggies, all while being fairly easy to get started and grow.

The Best Flowers to Plant in a Vegetable Garden to Deter Pests

The best flowers for deterring pests are marigolds, sage, lavender, borage, catmint, and geraniums. Marigolds are probably the most well known of these options because of their natural ability to repel nematodes. This aids in the growth of many fruiting veggies such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, etc.

marigolds repel garden pests

The other flowers are very smelly and can keep things like hornworms, aphids, cabbage moths, Japanese beetles, and squash bugs away. There's also nasturtiums, which don’t necessarily repel pests, but they can attract them away from your precious vegetables, especially aphids and cabbage worms.

Infographic: Flowers to Plant in a Vegetable Garden to Deter Pests

The Easiest Flowers to Grow from Seed Outdoors to Attract Pollinators

There are many flowers that will attract pollinators, but my favorites for a vegetable garden are sunflowers, salvia, zinnias, borage, and wildflowers. All of these are easy to start from seed and grow in your garden, and the bees and butterflies go crazy for them. Just be sure to look into sizing, as some of these can get quite tall, and salvia and borage can spread out pretty thick.

easiest flowers to grow from seed outdoors
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The Best Flowers to Plant in a Vegetable Garden to Attract Ladybugs and Other Predatory Insects

Flowers that do well at attracting predatory insects are ones from the carrot family, such as Queen Anne’s Lace, dill, anise, fennel, and parsley. Wasps and ladybugs love these flowers and will gladly peruse your veggies for other foods, as well. Many of these plants are also hosts for butterfly larvae, so they can serve a double purpose.

In addition to flowers from the carrot family, flowers like cosmos and daisies attract lacewings, which, like ladybugs, can be ferocious predators in your garden.

plants to attract ladybugs to garden

The Best Flowers to Plant in a Vegetable Garden to Improve the Soil

If you are looking for flowers that can improve your soil, add in things like comfrey, dandelions, or clover. These flowers are great for insects, and you can dig them into the soil when needed to add nitrogen. Their root systems also aerate the soil and loosen it up to improve drainage.


Summer Skye Gardens

Summer Skye Gardens brings garden design and native landscape services, plus one-on-one coaching, to Spring, Texas. Their mission is to help people become confident and successful gardeners in their own backyard kitchen gardens.

A General Timeline for Planting Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

Let’s take a look at the different seasons and when you might want to include certain flowers in your garden.

Planting Flowers in Fall

Fall is a wonderful time to add in any perennial flowers, as well as plant any wildflowers or cool-hardy annual flowers here in the south. In more northern zones, depending on your frost/freeze dates, you can plant in the fall or wait until early spring. Cool-hardy annual flowers that are good in the veggie garden include things like dill, Queen Anne’s Lace, anise, fennel, parsley, coneflower, larkspur, and yarrow.

best flowers to plant in fall

Planting Flowers in Spring

If you're in a colder climate, try to get your cold-hardy annual flowers in about 6 weeks before your last frost. For all climates, spring is a great time to start things like zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, nasturtium, lavender, catmint, daisies, marigolds, borage, and other warm-season flowers. Many of these will continue to grow into the summer, while some will fade with the heat.

best flowers to attract butterflies

Planting Flowers in Summer

You can definitely continue sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds throughout the heat of summer, and most sages and salvias do great in the heat, as well. I like to succession plant the annual flowers so I have fresh continuous blooms into the following fall.

zinnias are easy annual flowers to grow from seed

Tips for Planning a Flower and Vegetable Garden Layout

I think one of the easiest ways to get started incorporating flowers in your kitchen garden is to plant in pots, bags, or hanging baskets around the area. You can designate these as a flower zone and use them as stopping posts for insects making their way through your garden. Almost all of the flowers mentioned in this article can be grown in containers, and this makes it easier to control them and their location and growing conditions.

If you want to grow flowers in the same beds as your veggies, here are some great pairings:

  • Marigolds with tomatoes, peppers, or squash: Tuck the flowers at the base of the veggie plants.
  • Borage with strawberries: Place the borage at the corners of the bed and strawberries in the middle.
  • Sage or lavender with cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower: Put the flowers in front of the larger brassica plants in the bed.
  • Nasturtiums with okra: Plant the nasturtium at the base of the okra plants, and it will spread amongst them.
  • Sunflowers with green beans: Put the sunflowers in between the beans.
  • Zinnias or cosmos with summer veggies like zucchini or melons: Put the flowers at the back of the bed and the veggies in the front.
  • Wildflowers with fall veggies like lettuces or root vegetables: Put the wildflowers at the back of the bed and the veggies in the front.
  • Violas or pansies with fall and winter veggies: Tuck the flowers amongst the larger veggies.
planting flowers in vegetable garden

Time to Add More Flowers to Your Vegetable Garden

I hope all of this gives you some good ideas to add flowers into your kitchen garden. I may be biased as a huge proponent of cut flower gardens, but don’t flowers just make the world a better place?

easiest flowers to plant from seed outdoors

Meet the Author, Dani Boss

Dani Boss of Summer Skye Gardens

Dani Boss — Summer Skye Gardens

Dani is a Gardenary-certified garden coach and proud owner of Summer Skye Gardens in Spring, Texas. She loves giving tips for how to grow your own plants from seed or how to set up your own pollinator garden, complete with cut flowers and roses.

As a garden coach, she's passionate about helping families get started growing their own food with confidence and success in their very own backyard gardens. She offers design service, one-on-one coaching, and consultations.

Follow Summer Skye Gardens on InstagramFacebookYouTube, and Pinterest to see how Dani is helping others grow in health and happiness. If you're in the Spring area, sign up on her website to receive a free seasonal planting guide and see how Dani can help you make your kitchen garden dreams come true!

Photo credits belong to Dani Boss and Gardenary.


Summer Skye Gardens

Summer Skye Gardens brings garden design and native landscape services, plus one-on-one coaching, to Spring, Texas. Their mission is to help people become confident and successful gardeners in their own backyard kitchen gardens.

Learn More About Flower Gardening

Your Guide to Planting Flowers in a Vegetable Garden