Plant These Flowers Between Your Vegetables for Pest Control and Pollination

Flowers attract birds and bees for free pest control and pollination services

Somehow Americans have acquired the notion that flower gardens and vegetable gardens should be two separate entities.

“Not only can you put flowers in with vegetables, you should,” says landscape designer Rosalind Creasy in an article for Mother Earth News.

Creasy first got the idea to plant flowers around her front yard vegetable garden 1970s. The idea was to “hide” the vegetables so her suburban neighbors wouldn’t notice them or complain.

Soon, she discovered the flowers served more than just an aesthetic purpose. She had fewer pest problems, more birds, and her crops were thriving.

“It turns out that flowers are an essential ingredient in establishing a healthy garden because they attract beneficial insects and birds, which control pests and pollinate crops,” Creasy writes.

Many of our native prairies and wild flowers have disappeared under acres of lawn and monocrops, leaving fewer food sources for beneficial garden critters, she notes.

Planting chemical-free, native flowers provides bees and other pollinators safe haven in your garden. In exchange, they offer other beneficial insects pollen and nectar so they’ll stick around and ward off pests.

Flowers also act as a physical barrier — as opposed to a chemical barrier — to pests.

“The hornworms on your tomato plant, for instance, won’t readily migrate to a neighboring tomato plant if there’s a tall, “stinky” marigold blocking the way,” Creasy says.

Borage is also great for keeping hornworms away from tomatoes

Best Flowers for Veggies

Creasy suggests mixing a few plants from each of the following families:

DAISY Family — black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias and borage

Coneflowers (echinacea)

PARSLEY Family — carrots, cilantro, dill and parsley

Wild carrot

MUSTARD Family — nasturtiums and sweet alyssum

Wild mustard

MINT Familybasil, sage, Victoria salvia and mint

Wild sage

The more diverse range of flowers you offer, the more diverse the population of beneficial insects you’ll attract.

We recommend Mama Bean Seeds for almost all of your seed needs, including essentially every flower listed above. All of Mama Bean’s seeds are wild-harvested or grown organically at her 6th-generation Michigan farm.