The most stunning gardens I’ve seen combine flowers and herbs together to create a diverse, multi-faceted, colorful garden. I’ve always wanted to create a space like this but I didn’t know where to start. There are so many types of herbs and varieties of flowers and it’s difficult to know what to pair together. After much daydreaming, I decided to go for it and figure out the best combinations for my garden.
What types of herbs can be planted with flowers? Flowers and herbs of many types can be planted together. There are lots of varieties that do fantastic intermixed together. It varies a great deal by the kind of flower or herb and some pair together better than others. The ones that grow best with each other are those with the same soil, climate, and sun needs.
To understand which flowers and herbs benefit from being planted together, we need to start with the basics. Consider the environment, like do the plants prefer hot or cold weather? Then, consider issues of location. Do the flowers prefer full-sun locations or partial shade? Are they drought-tolerant, or do they need a lot of water? Here is all that is needed to know about pairing herbs and flowers together in the garden to create a beautiful edible landscape:
Types of Flowers & Herbs
Flowers and herbs can be broken down into three broad categories: annual, perennial, and biennial.
These flowers and herbs bloom the year they are planted, and then they die. Annual herbs, like basil, are trimmed all season long, so they produce many leaves to harvest. Once they reach the flowering stage, though, their production cycle is over. Annual flowers usually just bloom once, then they are done.
These flowers and herbs only need to be planted once, then they bloom year after year. In the winter, they generally die back, but it is temporary, and they will reemerge the following year. Some herbs, like rosemary and sage, don’t die back at all in mild climates and can be harvested year-round.
Perennial herbs and flowers often spread out, taking up more garden space as the years go on if they are not cut back or pruned.
This type of plant blooms the second year after it is planted, then dies off.
When pairing herbs with flowers, it is essential to know if each type is an annual, perennial, or biennial. Because annuals are planted every year, this means the garden bed is disturbed each time for a new planting. If you are growing a perennial flower from a bulb in the same garden space as an annual herb, then the flower’s growth could be disrupted, but not always. Some herbs work excellently paired with flower bulbs.
Which herbs are annuals, perennials, and biennials?
- Cilantro/Coriander (the cilantro seed is the coriander spice)
- Summer Savory
- Mint (including spearmint, catmint, and peppermint)
- Lemon Balm
- Winter Savory
If you are just interested in planting herbs together, check out our similar article all about herbs – What Herbs Can You Plant Together?
Annual, perennial, and biennial popular flowers
There are thousands of flower types, so there is no way I can list them all here. This is just a short list of some of the most popular garden flowers. If you are planting any flower not on this list, be sure to look up which type it is before moving any dirt.
Also, in some warm climates, flowers that are listed as annual are actually perennial, like morning glories. Whether a flower will come back each year or die out, depends on its hardiness rating. These are labeled as tender perennials.
Popular Annual Flowers
- Dahlia (tender perennial)
- Four O’Clocks
- Lobelias (tender perennial)
- Morning Glory (tender perennial)
- Petunias (tender perennial)
- Sweet Peas
Popular Perennial Flowers
- Asiatic Lilies
- Blanket Flower
- Cranesbill Geranium
- Chrysanthemum (Hardy mums)
- Giant Allium
- Hardy Hibiscus
- New England Aster
Popular Biennial Flowers
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Sweet William
What are the benefits of combining flowers with herbs?
There are several reasons why planting flowers and herbs together make sense.
Aesthetic appeal – The various colors, textures, and shapes interact together in ways that don’t happen if they are planted separately.
Year-round attraction – With so many options to choose from, there can be green in the garden the entire year. As annuals die back perennial flowers bloom, and evergreen herbs remain constant and distinctive.
Repel pests – Flowers known to repel pests planted next to tender herbs keep the garden safe and healthy. And, vice versa. Nasturtiums are best known for this. They repel aphids, so any place there is an aphid issue, plant nasturtiums.
Attract pollinators – Flowers, of course, attract pollinators. However, there can never be too many pollinators in a garden! Herbs like thyme and oregano are a particular favorite of bees. Plant these among different flowers, and the bees will be unable to resist.
What flowers and herbs grow well together?
Here are a few perfect combinations to get started.
Zinnias and Thyme – Thyme is rather plain to look at, but when combined with bright zinnia flowers, it creates a stunning arrangement.
Caladiums and Mint – The difference in height and colors brings out the best of both. They are also both happy to grow in some shade. Mint spreads quickly, so keep it in a container or cordoned off someway.
Hostas and Creeping Thyme – Both are shade-loving and work wonderfully together. Hostas grow large and mounding while creeping thyme is a ground cover. They both get what they need without competing, and together create a garden with more depth and allure.
Pansies and Rosemary – Bright, fun, color pansies stand out around a rosemary bush. After the pansies die out, the rosemary remains green and vibrant. This is a great way to add allure to the rosemary for a while.
Roses and Chives – Chives are known to keep away Japanese beetles, a pest which is the bane to many a rose garden. This duo is a must if you have roses.
Marigolds and Basil – These two are both strong pest deterrents. Planted together, they are a powerful protective duo in the vegetable garden.
Hyssop and Catnip (Mint) – Combined together as a border arrangement or divider in the garden, these two benefit each other as well as repel pesky insects.
Asters and Chives – Like with roses, chives keep aphids off the asters. Also, multi-colored aster flowers intermixed with tall green chives is a beautiful sight.
Bergamot and Parsley – Both are flexible and will do well in full-sun or partial-shade. Tall, stately bergamot contrasts nicely with an abundant leafy green parsley patch.
Foxgloves and Marjoram – Both appreciate some shade and well-draining soil. Foxgloves imposing, striking appearance combined with the green-leaved non-showy marjoram is simple and attractive. Foxgloves are biennial, while marjoram is an annual in most climates.
Petunias and Sage – Both like full sun and the contrast of vivid pansy colors against the gray-green sage is attractive.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.Romans 12:4-5
What herbs and flowers can be planted together in the same container?
There are numerous combination possibilities. Just remember to check that the herb and flower both have the same water, sun and soil requirements.
Begonias and Mint – Bright, colorful begonia flowers contrast perfectly with deep, green mint. They both enjoy the shade, have similar water needs and are perennials.
Celosia and Thyme – Spiky, striking celosia planted with plain-looking, yet extremely fragrant thyme, is a winning match. Both plants need full sun and moderate watering.
Geraniums and Mint – Geraniums are sun-loving, and mint prefers shade, yet they do quite well together, mostly because mint is flexible. The color combination is fantastic.
Violas and Chives – Tall, vibrant green chives with small bright purple viola flowers around them are a striking combination. They both prefer full sun or partial shade and moderate watering.
Zinnias and Chives – Another striking color combination, zinnia flowers arranged around perennial chives, create a spectacular arrangement. Each year, the color of the zinnias can be changed out, so the arrangement is always new and appealing.
Pansies and Oregano – Colorful pansies illuminate the rather dull looking oregano. Both are fine in full sun or partial shade.
Cranesbill Geranium and Mint – Red cranesbill, in particular, looks stunning against a backdrop of green mint. They are both full-sun/partial-shade flexible perennials that need well-draining soil.
Cone Flowers and Oregano (and Sage) – Tall, purple-petaled cone flowers have no problem standing out among small oregano and sage plant. They are both drought-tolerant and hardy.
Marigolds with Rosemary – A winning combination of colorful, cheery flowers contrasted with stoic green-leaved rosemary. They are both hardy and drought-tolerant.
Vinca and Sage (and Oregano) – These two drought-hardy, sun-loving evergreen perennials contrast shades of green when they are not in bloom. In bloom, the vinca flowers surround the sage like a skirt.
Marjoram and Moss Roses – Creating a vibrant contrast of greens, these two annuals complement each other wonderfully. And, when the rose blooms, the planter dazzles with colorful flowers.
Marigolds and Lemon Balm – A powerful combination of natural bug repellents, this combination also smells wonderful. Both plants are hardy and do well in the sun or partial shade.
What flowers grow best with mint?
Mint is a widely distributed, adaptable perennial herb. It grows voraciously, if allowed, and should always be planted in a container, so it doesn’t take over the garden.
The best flowers to plant with mint are easy-going, not delicate, and won’t mind a possibly aggressive neighbor plant. Hardy annuals are good choices, as well as any fellow shade-loving flower. Or, a flower bush, like roses that will provide shade for the mint plant.
- Blanket Flower
What flowers grow best with basil?
Basil is a vigorous growing annual. It prefers full sun, yet too much sun can burn the leaves. In especially hot climates, a little shade in the afternoon is preferred.
The best flowers to plant with basil are annuals, colorful, and either especially short or tall to contrast the height of the basil plant.
- Blanket Flower
What flowers grow best with rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano?
These herbs are grouped together because they are all drought-tolerant perennial Mediterranean plants. They do well when combined with fellow drought-tolerant flowers, especially colorful ones, because they will stand out extraordinarily against the muted green herbs.
The best flowers to grow with these herbs are:
- Cone Flowers
- Vinca (perennial)
What flowers grow best with parsley?
A short-lived annual, parsley benefits from the contrasting colors of flower annuals. Planting parsley with bright perennials is also attractive, as long as the planting and harvesting of the parsley won’t disrupt the perennial flower’s growth.
What herbs can be planted with roses?
Chives, mint, basil, and parsley are all pest-deterrents and grow well with rose bushes. It is reported that parsley improves the growth of rose bushes as well as enhances the flower’s scent.
What herbs can be planted with daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus and bluebells?
These flowers are combined together because they are all spring-flowering bulbs. Plant low lying perennial herbs on top of where these bulbs are placed. This protects the bulbs from invasive weeds trying to take over the ground. The herb also acts as a marker, so you don’t forget where the bulbs are buried when they’re dormant!
The bulbs easily grow through the herbs when they are ready. After the flowers bloom and die back, the area is still attractive because of the herb plants. These low-lying herbs have shallow roots that won’t upset the bulbs, creating the perfect alliance. Good low-lying perennial herbs to grow with these flowers include:
- Winter savory
- Corsican mint (only this type of mint!)
- Trailing rosemary
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