Lavender is a beautiful perennial which adds a visual as well as olfactory complement to any garden. It gives a soft touch to rose and lily gardens, and provides wonderful protection against weeds and common pests to harvestable crops such as tomatoes and peppers.
In addition, it plays well with other common kitchen herbs so that the possibilities of companion planting with lavender are many as long as you keep it in full sun and in well draining soil!
What To Plant With Lavender
Lavender grows optimally in full sun, requires low water-retentive soil and little fertilization. Other plants which meet the same criteria and would be beneficial to planting with lavender including decorative flowering plants such as roses, coneflowers, blanket flowers, irises, day lilies, and sedums; and herbs such as sage, oregano, and thyme and some fruit and vegetable plants.
Rose gardens are an excellent place to plant lavender. Not only do the purple flowers complement especially blue/purple variety roses, but lavender also provides a natural deterrent for ants and aphids which might seek to destroy roses.
Lavender also attracts pollinators such as bumblebees and honeybees, which are beneficial to any flower garden to improve health and bloom abundance and to improve pollination rates for all the garden plants that flower & fruit.
In addition, lavender makes a great companion plant for vegetables which share the same environmental preferences.
It provides protection from common insect pests such as aphids as exhibited in a study that companion planted lavender with sweet pepper plants.
FYI – another study performed in India observed the effectiveness of lavender’s oil as a herbicide, used to deter the growth of common crop weeds such as black nightshade and red-root amaranth.
Companion Plant Lavender With Herbs
Most herbs thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil and are optimal companion plants with lavender. Similar to lavender, most herbs also fare better in less fertile soil especially if designated for culinary use since highly fertilized soil tends to produce less flavorful plants.
Sage, oregano, basil and thyme are commonly planted together with lavender as they require the same growing conditions and are naturally pest resistant. Rosemary is another herb that grows well with lavender and are often interchangeable in terms of companion planting with other fruiting and flowering species, although lavender is considered hardier in the garden.
Not only do they share the same light preferences, but also both lavender and rosemary favor slightly alkaline soils which make them very compatible.
Companion Plant Lavender With Tomatoes
Lavender makes a great companion plant for tomatoes. They share the same needs in terms of full sun and high soil drainage. Lavender also provides an excellent weed barrier for tomatoes and has been shown to effectively reduce the number of aphids in neighboring plants which are a common pest for tomatoes.
On page 56 of this pdf it says that ants will not go near lavender.
The natural oils in lavender are responsible for repelling unwanted bugs, but also for attracting much desired insect visitors such as pollinating bees.
A word of caution when planting these two together – lavender grows best with little to no fertilizer while tomatoes usually require a moderate amount of fertilizer to thrive. It may be useful to buffer the tomatoes a bit so that the lavender does not become over fertilized from any additional plant food the tomatoes might need.
What Not To Plant With Lavender
Since lavender thrives in full sun and low water conditions, it is best to avoid planting it with shade plants and plants which require constantly moist or wet soil conditions.
Without full sunlight, lavender growth and flowering production may be negatively affected. If grown in poor draining soil, lavender can become infected with a type of fungus known as root rot, which will kill the plant.
Although most herbs and fruit plants require full sun, a few prefer the shade so it’s best to avoid planting lavender with species like witch hazel, ginger, and strawberries, as their preferred growing conditions are likely to kill lavender.
Other shade plants that are commonly grown in the yard that should not be planted with lavender include select species of maple, magnolia, and oak trees, climbing vines, and groundcover ferns.
Impatiens, coleus, and begonias are also common shrubs that complement a lot of flower gardens, but require partial to full shade, thus would also not pair well with lavender.
Certain herbs such as lemongrass and mint prefer moist soil, which is not suitable for lavender, so those are best to avoid partnering up as well.
In addition to its soil preference, mint also tends to choke out any other species grown within its proximity.
Please comment below with your own thought of growing lavender as a companion plant!