10 Flowers That Protect Vegetables (You Should See These…)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Flowers do not only serve the purpose of prettying up your garden, they can also protect your vegetables from pests and diseases.

This type of flowers are often referred to as companion or trap crops.

Planting them in and around your vegetable garden will not only serve to beautify the landscape but they will also pull the bad guys from your precious plants. 

Let us look at 10 flowers that protect vegetables. They come in different shapes and sizes and grow under various conditions, but they are easy to plant and grow. 

1. Marigold

Marigolds are popular choices for vegetable gardeners looking to add some color to their beds.

Not only do their vibrant petals add color and beauty to your vegetable garden, but they also attract pollinators such as bees.

If you plant many tomatoes, marigolds are also beneficial because they deter nematodes, slugs, hornworms, and other garden pests from feasting on your juicy reds. 

Because marigolds have a distinctive smell, they can also mask the scent of your vegetables, which can confound and deter garden pests.

Arrange marigold plants around your garden to make rabbits think twice about crossing the line.

Additionally, confuse Mexican bean beetles in your vegetable garden by interplanting marigolds with bean plants.

2. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are an excellent choice for a vegetable garden flower.

They make great trellises for climbing plants and provide an abundance of nectar for pollinators. In addition, these vines can be trained to climb the sturdy sunflower stalks. 

These sun-loving colossi provide a powerful shield for vegetable gardens. In addition, they aid in fruit and vegetable pollination by ensuring a healthy source of pollen and nectar for bees.

Sunflowers can also provide protection from the sun for spinach and lettuce, which tend to expire when exposed to excessive sunlight.

Sunflowers are also great for removing toxic substances from your garden soil, and this will help your plants grow better. 

Unfortunately, sunflowers encourage squirrels, which can be an issue if you grow them for seed saving.

However, planting a coarse-leaved vegetable beneath the sunflowers, such as squash, can help deter animals. ​

Here is an article I wrote on flowers that bloom at night

3. Lavender

With their light, delicate, and pleasant fragrance, lavender flowers make an ideal shrub for a vegetable patch.

Additionally, they deter animals such as deer and rabbits. Their scent, on the other hand, attracts butterflies and bees. 

Deer and a variety of insects, including ticks, avoid it. They help control the population of irritating insects, particularly ticks and moths.

While having lavender around does not guarantee that a tick will not bite you, it does help decrease the number of ticks in the area. 

Additionally, moths, particularly the bothersome green cabbage types, find lavender’s scent repulsive.

This also applies to mice, who seek alternative sources of food when the lavender is planted.

Lavender also pairs well with brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery.

4. Cilantro

Cilantro is most often grown as a herb, but if allowed to flower, it can also be used as a companion plant for other crops.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a cool-season herb that proliferates and is relatively easy to harvest. 

Cilantro is an excellent companion plant for various plant species in your garden. This is because it attracts pollinating insects and can aid in the growth of certain plants.

Running to seed is sometimes a problem with Cilantro, but it can certainly be grown for its flowers rather than its leaves. 

It attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects because it is a flowering herbaceous plant. Its roots can also aid in soil loosening as they reach deep, saving you valuable tilling time.

Cilantro complements many vegetables, including anise, dill, cabbage, lettuce, and some legumes.

5. Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea flowers add a burst of color to an otherwise uninteresting vegetable garden.

Because they are aromatic, they also conceal the scent of vegetables, making them unnoticeable to pests. 

Growing sweet peas alongside tall edible peas and pole beans allows you to incorporate them into your garden while also attracting more pollinating insects to your beans.

However, they will not cross-pollinate with edible peas due to their genus separation.

Additionally, they fix nitrogen in the soil, making them an excellent companion plant for leafy green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and brassicas.

Although sweet peas are not edible to humans due to their poisonous seeds, many other animals find them delectable.

6. Borage

Borage matures into a sprawling, gangly plant that looks lovely in a vegetable garden, although it might be a little unruly at times.

The flowers are a haven for bees and a pleasure for gardeners. 

Both the leaves and flowers are edible and have a mild cucumber flavor. The plant grows rapidly and can be sown directly into the ground.

Following that, it frequently reseeds itself.

Borage flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink and blue. This color variation can be caused by light, temperature, and other external conditions.

One reason for this is that as the flowers age and lose their pollen; the color changes from pink to blue. 

The blue color probably communicates to pollinators that the flower is no longer up to their standards.

Also check out this article I wrote on plants that mean joy

7. Cosmos

Few flowers are as easy to grow and as prolific as cosmos. And those blooms are beneficial in the vegetable garden, as they draw in a variety of beneficial insects. 

For example, if you want to attract green lacewings (which are beneficial for insect control), choose a white or bright species of cosmos, such as ‘Cosmic Orange’.

Except for aphids, the cosmos do not attract a lot of pests. Decoy planting is an excellent way to incorporate cosmos into your garden.

They serve as a deterrent to aphids and other insect pests from attacking other plants. For instance, do not plant cosmos near roses. 

The Cosmos plants will bear the force of the aphid infestation, while the roses thrive  You can mitigate the damage to the cosmos plants by applying an insecticidal soap spray or neem oil on a regular basis.

8. Nasturtiums 

Nasturtiums, or cheerful nasturtiums, prefer cooler temperatures and bloom well into the fall.

With their distinctive greenery and vibrant flowers, these lovely plants thrive as surface cover around vegetable gardens. 

Nasturtiums provide some defense against squash bugs and beetles. Additionally, they are favored by aphids and make an excellent trap crop.

However, with their flowers and leaves, they are one of the more delectable edible plants, so do not give them all up to the insects.

The seedlings are huge and easy to collect for next season’s planting, and many varieties self-seed.

Scarify the seeds first by nicking or rubbing them with sandpaper to aid in their germination. 

Nasturtium is a common companion crop for high-value vegetables such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, kale, melon, pumpkin, and radish.

9. Zinnia

Zinnias are among the finest annuals for providing both beauty and protection in one plant.

Indeed, many traditional gardeners still use these stunning annual flowers to border their entire garden. 

Not only to ward off pests but also to create a lovely ring of color. Zinnia flowers, which are nectar-rich, attract bees and other pollinators.

Additionally, they are popular with hummingbirds. 

Paler, pastel varieties appear to be more appealing to Japanese beetles and may be used as a trap crop.

Additionally, cultivating zinnia flowers in the vegetable garden allows you to use them as cut flowers without worrying about the gaps left by your cuttings.

Gaps are to be expected when harvesting crops in a vegetable garden.

10. Pot Marigold 

Calendula, also known as pot marigolds, is a member of the daisy family and is unrelated to marigolds in the genus Tagetes.

Although pot marigolds have a predominantly bitter flavor, they are considered edible flowers. 

Their magnificent orange color instantly brightens a plate. Calendula is a bit of a mixed bag in the garden.

It is effective against certain pests, including asparagus beetles and tomato hornworms. 

However, it attracts a few other insects, including aphids. Allow this to not deter you.

You can use the flower as a cover crop by planting it on the opposite side of your vegetable garden from plants that are frequently attacked by aphids, such as peas.


If you intend to cultivate a vegetable garden, then it will be a good idea to have one or more of these plants as companion plants around your plants.

They remove toxic substances from the soil, deter pests, and attract beneficial insects such as bees to your garden.

We hope you can have fun cultivating your garden and planting any of the above mentioned companion crops. 

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox