When you have limited space in your garden, it might be tempting to only grow plants that “pay rent” by producing juicy fruits or vitamin-packed veggies. But flowers can add far more than just beauty to your raised beds.
Here are five added benefits of mixing flowers into your kitchen garden:
Flowering plants add ground cover to your garden’s borders. Bare, exposed soil invites weeds and dries out quickly. Boost the health of your garden soil, plus save yourself extra hours of weeding and watering, by planting flower varieties.
Some flowers are edible. Dried calendula leaves, for example, can be brewed as a tea with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to adding bright splashes of color to any dessert or salad, pansy sepals can be eaten fresh or candied.
Flowers attract pollinators. Thoughtful companion planting of flowers can attract hummingbirds, bees, ladybugs, and butterflies. In addition to helping plants produce a higher yield, ladybugs and other beneficial insects also feed on garden pests.
Flowers act as “trap crops” for pests. Those beautiful petals act as decoys that lure aphids, slugs, and caterpillars away from your prized salad greens. Once the pests are gathered around your trap crop, you can easily dispose of them without having to use harmful pesticides that reduce your pollinator population. Sunflowers, for instance, have been shown to act as excellent decoys for stink bugs here in Texas.
Some flowers actually deter pests. Gardeners have long insisted on planting marigolds next to tomatoes, and new research reveals there’s a good reason why. It turns out marigolds release a chemical compound similar to one found in citrus peels that repels whiteflies and other small pests who make their home on the underside of leaves. At Lettuce Grow Something, we’re all for easy and organic pest control.
So which flowers can you plant in your kitchen garden here in Austin, Texas? Besides calendula, sunflowers, and marigolds, consider exploring zinnias, globe amaranth, cosmos, blue salvia, red salvia, Angelonia, and coreopsis, all of which do well in the hot Central Texas sun and attract plenty of pollinators.
Let us know in the comments which flowers you love to grow in your kitchen garden!
If you’re looking for more information on how to make your green space a beautiful, thriving home to pollinators and plants alike, book your consultation with us today. We find joy in helping our community of kitchen gardeners grow. CLICK HERE TO GROW WITH US.