lavender companion plants

The Best Lavender Companion Plants and The Worst to Avoid

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There are 47 different species of Lavender (Lavandula) and each one of these flowering plants in the mint family is a true joy to have in your garden.

Lavender is a flowering plant that is commonly used for decorative purposes in gardens and landscapes. Everything from their gorgeous towering purple flowers to their olive-tinted spiky leaves is charming to behold. 

This plant is also grown for farming purposes since the dried and fresh plant matter can be used to create all sorts of aromatic products.

The right companion plants for lavender can boost the growth of these plants or can complement these flowers for a more striking effect.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the best plants to grow with lavender.

What to Plant With Lavender

When you are choosing companion plants for lavender, it is always good to consider the physical characteristics of this plant as well as its growing requirements. You can read our lavender plant care guide to learn more.

Once you understand these basics, it will be much easier to select neighboring plants that will grow well along your lavender bushes.

Lavender needs an abundance of warm sun and dry soil to flourish. If these plants get too much water, or shade or are planted in high-humidity conditions, they aren’t likely to grow or flower. 

English lavender varieties do tend to fare better in cold climates, but as a general rule of thumb, these drought-tolerant plants prefer heat and dry soil.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the best companion plants that also thrive in lavender soil types and sunny conditions.

Herbs to Pair With Lavender

Lavender plants are often grown alongside herbs because the aromatic scent of certain herbs compliments the fragrance of lavender plants very well.

Sage, thyme, and lavender are most commonly paired in herb beds but you can also grow lavender flowers next to other herb varieties. Here is a quick look at some of the best herb companion plant types that lavender loves.

Rosemary

If you want to know what grows well with lavender, look no further! Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus) is an evergreen perennial shrub that is frequently paired with lavender and is a must if you want to create a beautiful herb garden. 

Rosemary and lavender are considered soul mates because they have complementary characteristics. Both of these plants are highly fragrant, both produce olive-colored slim leaves and both require plenty of sunlight and dry soil to flourish.

These two companion plants can be grown together in the same garden bed. Ideally, your rosemary bushes should be positioned towards the back because these bushes can reach a height of 3.3 feet (some even grow up to 2 meters tall) and the bushes can become relatively large.

The lower-statured lavender bushes will do an excellent job of concealing the base of your rosemary bushes which can sometimes seem a bit dull and unattractive.

Both of these shrubs will bloom during summer. When this happens, your lavender will create a beautiful purple base drop while the top of the rosemary bushes will be lined with lighter-colored violet or white flowers.

Together, these two plants will create a very fragrant and beautiful garden.

Sage

If you are looking for what to plant with lavender in a border around your garden bed, sage can be a good choice.

Sage plants (Salvia officinalis) is an ideal plant for your herb garden and it is a good companion plant for lavender. 

This culinary herb is also very aromatic with a camphor scent or herbaceous scent that will complement the fragrance of lavender very well. The herb is edible and can be used as a garnish or for medicinal purposes.

The velvety leaves and pale green look of the foliage also look quite charming in a cottage garden alongside the blueish-grey tinted leaves of lavender plants. 

This brush can be grown in pots, in the soil, or can even be used as an ornamental border plant around your lavender garden bed. 

Lavender loves sandy soil types that allow water to easily drain and they need plenty of sunlight. These drought-tolerant plants are a bit shorter than lavender plants so it is best to grow them in front of your lavender plants.

These lavender companion herbs bloom from spring to Autumn and produce delicate little blue or purple flowers. These flowers, paired with the lavender flowers are sure to create a vibrant and striking look in your garden.

Thyme

The herb thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a good lavender companion herb but should only be paired with cold hardy lavender because thyme is quite cold-tolerant even though it does handle extreme heat quite well.

Thyme prefers a hardiness zone of 5 – 9 and grows well in sandy, and dry soil and the herb doesn’t need a lot of water.

The herb is a lot lower in stature compared to lavender companions and is often used as a ground cover to keep weeds from sprouting around lavender. When the herb blooms, it will produce pale purple flowers that can look attractive around your lavender flowers.

Thyme can become dormant during winter but, if protected, this plant can survive cold temperatures and will be ready to grow again when spring arrives.

Oregano

The oregano herb (Origanum vulgare) is also a good plant variety to pair with lavender. This wonderful and spicy herb can be paired with a number of different plant varieties in an ornamental or vegetable garden and they also grow well alongside lavender.

Oregano herbs are good companion plants because they enjoy plenty of dry soil and require dry soil types to flourish. Oregano will also attract lots of pollinating insects to your garden.

The fragrance of oregano can complement lavender scents very well and the vibrant green foliage will look charming around lavender plants. You can grow oregano alongside lavender in pots, or in rows behind your lavender plantation.

Ornamental Companion Plants for Growing with Lavender

Lavender flowers or plants are extremely beautiful and you can enhance the aesthetics of this fragrant foliage even more by pairing it with the right companion plants. Let’s take a closer look at the best ornamental plants for companion planting lavender.

Olive Trees

Olive trees (Olea europaea), also known as the common olive, are a terrific evergreen tree to pair with lavender if you want to create a Mediterranean-style garden or if you simply want to focus on drought-tolerant plant species. The fragrant flowers of lavender will attract lots of beneficial insects that could help pollinate the olive trees or other fruit trees when they bloom so they can produce delicious olives.

These trees require lots of direct sunlight, a dry soil type, minimal water, and lots of warmth to flourish. Olive trees can grow quite large when planted in the ground with some reaching up to 9 meters tall. When these trees are kept in a pot, they will stay much smaller and can be pruned into different shapes or styles.

When you are growing lavender with olives, it is usually best to plant lavender around the base of the olive tree. The lavender will act as a ground cover that will keep some of the moisture trapped in the soil while the tree might protect your lavender bushes from the excessive heat in Mediterranean areas.

Blue Fescue

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) is a type of ornamental grass that will look fantastic alongside lavender in a cottage garden with a xeriscaping garden design. This ornamental grass produces icy blue foliage that pairs well with the purple flowers of lavender. 

These two plants are a beloved combination because both have foliage with a bluish undertone and can look very interesting in rocky soil.

Blue fescue is one of the hardiest grass varieties and it does very well in direct sunlight and well-draining soil. The long spiky leaves of this grass will add lots of texture to your garden and will look fantastic alongside the spiky flowers of lavender.

You can grow lavender and blue fescue together alongside one another or you can scatter these plants about in rocky formations for an eye-catching look. The ornamental grass grows up to 18 inches tall and won’t overpower other lavender companion plants too much.

Yarrow Plants

Yarrow plants (Achillea millefolium) are also known as the healing herb of Achilles because the great Greek hero, Achilles, used this wildflower to treat the wounds of soldiers. 

This is a terrific companion plant to consider for your lavender garden because Yarrow is extremely drought-tolerant. As with lavender, this wildflower also attracts lots of beneficial insects like bees and butterflies to your garden.

Yarrow plants tend to flourish alongside lavender because it needs lots of heat and sunshine and it prefers sandy soil and limited water. It is also a low-maintenance plant since the flower doesn’t need fertilizer or pruning.

When you grow Yarrow with lavender plants, you should leave about 2 – 3 feet of room between these perennials and your herbs. Yarrows can grow quite bushy and need a lot of room to spread.

When this medicinal plant blooms, it will create beautiful flowers in colors like white, yellow, red, or pink (depending on the variety you have). These blooms can create a powerful contrast alongside the vivid violet blooms of the lavender plants which make them great flowers to plant with lavender.

Blanket Flower

Blanket flowers (Gaillardia), as the name implies, will create a gorgeous blanket of orange and yellow flowers as they spread across the ground. These plants act as a ground cover and can be helpful for keeping the soil cool and moist.

These gaillardias can be successfully grown alongside lavender plants because the flowering plants love full sun and sandy soil types. The flower bushes won’t last too long but when they are in bloom, they will create plenty of contrast around your lavender bushes. 

Since gaillardias bloom for a very long time (early spring till late summer), they will continue to create a striking effect in your garden for a very long time.

Blanket flower plants only grow up to 4 inches tall and won’t obscure lavender companions in any way. You can grow them all around your lavender beds to keep weeds from sprouting or to simply enhance the look of your lavender plants.

Rose Bushes

Rose bushes (Rosa), and especially floribunda roses, are often paired with lavender because they can create a very beautiful pairing. The lavender purple will create plenty of contrast if grown alongside a different-colored rose like white, pink, or yellow.

These plants grow well in most soil conditions (USDA zones 2 – 11) including well-draining soil and both roses and lavender need plenty of bright sunlight or they won’t produce a lot of flowers. These flowers do need a little bit more water than drought-resistant lavender but a lot of people do manage to find a good balance in their lavender patch.

Miniature rose bush varieties don’t grow too tall and can easily be introduced alongside lavender. For large shrub roses, you should, however, be careful to grow lavender in front of the roses or these plants might not get enough sunlight.

African Daisies

The African daisies (Dimorphotheca echelons) are great lavender companion flowers if you are looking for something floral that is very easy to maintain. 

There are many different colors or varieties of African daisies including some multi-colored varieties. By pairing lavender with a suitable color, you can create a very interesting garden center.

These good companion plants have similar growing conditions as lavender. They can be grown in sandy or rocky soil types in direct sunlight and don’t need a lot of water to flourish.

African daisies will produce gorgeous blooms from spring to fall and will continue to brighten your garden even after the lavender season ends.

These floral plants are a little bit short in stature so you should be careful to leave some space between your lavender and these perennials. African daisies can act as a ground cover to keep weeds from sprouting in your lavender patch and can be helpful for creating a striking effect.

Worst Lavender Companion Plants

It is hard to believe that lavender with its brightly colored flowers might not get along with certain plants. And yet, there are some garden plants that you shouldn’t grow where lavender is placed in your garden. 

Here is a quick look at some bad companion plants for lavender.

Mint

The mint plant (mentha) is great for deterring pests in a vegetable garden but this herb shouldn’t be grown in the same garden bed as any vegetable plant and it is especially important to keep these herbs away from lavender. 

The main reason for this is that your mint plants aren’t likely to grow well. Mint needs too much water and requires moist soil. While you are trying to help your mint plants survive, you will likely be killing the lavender planted next to it.

Camellias

In flower arrangements, camellias (Camellia) are often paired with lavender for a breathtaking display. In gardens, these plants don’t grow well together though. 

Camellias love the same well-draining soil as lavender but these flowering plants need more shade and a lot more water. Companion planting with these two plants just isn’t possible because one of these will eventually die out.

Plantain Lilies

Plantain Lilies (Hosta) are low-maintenance plants that are beloved in Mediterranean gardens because they can be grown in just about any soil type and they are easy to maintain. 

These plants are not ideal for companion planting with lavender because the foliage needs dappled light. In full sun, these plants will quickly wilt and die.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our guide will help you find great companion plants that are very likely to thrive alongside lavender so you can create a breathtaking garden center without wasting any effort or time on something that just isn’t compatible. 

If you are looking for other great companion planting tips then you should have a look at our other guides. In our guides, you can find heaps of information on all the best neighboring plants to grow with any plant type.

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