Lavender is renowned for its dreamy fragrance and romantic aesthetic. It’s stunning when planted in large swaths, and it’s easy to dry for bouquets or sachets. (Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, love it.) It’s also incredibly versatile in different types of settings because it is the ideal bloom to include for companion planting—when you grow two plants close together so one (or both) can benefit from the other—but more on that later.

Whether you have a tiny balcony or a rambling country cottage garden, you can grow lavender, which thrives in both containers and garden beds. Just make sure it has full sun, which is six or more hours of direct sunlight per day. And don’t let it get too soggy, which makes lavender more vulnerable to disease.

Here’s everything else you need to know about what to plant with lavender and how to grow the plant so it thrives in your yard.

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1. Coneflower

Coneflower is a sturdy perennial that comes in saturated hues ranging from raspberry to coral and every color in between. Its height, which ranges from 18 inches to two feet tall, make it perfect for the back of a border, with lavender planted in the foreground.

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2. Sage

Sage is a hardy perennial herb that you can snip and use well into late fall in most climates. But it also has gorgeous pink or purple early summer flowers, which pollinators love. It’s extremely drought tolerant, so it pairs well with heat-loving lavender.

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3. Thyme

This low-growing perennial herb also loves hot, dry conditions, so it’s a great companion plant for lavender. Its leaves may be green or variegated with purple, pink or white flowers, and it’s yet another plant that pollinators adore.

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4. Yarrow

Yarrow’s yellow, white, pink, and peach-colored upright flowers appear for months, so it’s a lovely pairing for long-blooming lavender. This perennial prefers hot, dry conditions, too, and deer and rabbits usually won’t bother it.

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5. Marigold

This reliable annual will bloom from spring to a hard freeze, and its yellow or orange hues contrast beautifully with the deep, saturated purple of various types of lavender. Plant marigolds in masses for best effect, and opt for the taller varieties, which top out around 2 feet tall, for more impact.

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6. Rosemary

Rosemary is a shrubby perennial herb that has beautiful deep green foliage that contrasts nicely with lavender. It’s not cold-hardy beyond USDA Hardiness zone 7, so pot it up and bring it indoors if you want to overwinter it. Mature plants will flower.

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7. Shrub roses

Believe it or not, shrub roses are incredibly hardy, disease-resistant and easy to grow. They make an exquisite companion planting for lavender, and they’re also drought tolerant once established.

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8. Shasta Daisy

This pretty perennial with its classic daisy appearance pairs well with lavender. They have a long bloom time and offer a cheery, cottage garden feel when grown as a companion plant for lavender.

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9. Black-Eyed Susan

These bright perennials with sunny faces nicely complement the purple hues of lavender in a country garden. They don’t mind heat and dry conditions, and they bloom for up to three months.

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What kind of lavender should you plant?

There are more than 40 different species of lavender, so it’s important to pay attention to what you’re buying; because not all of them do well in every climate. For example, French and Spanish lavender are not cold-tolerant, so you can forget about growing them in the snowy north or USDA Hardiness zones colder than zone 8 (find your zone here). For cold climates, you need English lavender, or a hybrid called Lavandula x intermedia.

What plants should you avoid pairing with lavender?

Because lavender loves full sun and dry conditions, it doesn’t do well with perennials or annuals that prefer shade. Plants such as some types of impatiens, hosta, camellias and fuschia are not as drought-resistant, so their need for water may drown out lavender. These plants also perform better in shade, which lavender doesn’t like.

What to Plant with Lavender companion planting
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Wait—what is companion planting?

Companion planting is the idea that certain plants may help each other absorb nutrients better, keep bugs away or attract beneficial pollinators. In the case of lavender, it’s believed that its somewhat fuzzy texture and strong scent keep away bad bugs and attract good ones so they make great buddies with the above-mentioned plants.

What are the benefits of companion planting?

Some gardening experts believe plants may be mutually beneficial to one another when planted together. While it’s not scientifically proven, it doesn’t hurt to plant lavender around garden plants that also prefer full sun and well-drained soil. You just may discover that your garden fares better with lavender in its midst.

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