The Value of Companion Planting
Floral symbiosis differs from fauna symbiosis. Little fish that live by cleaning the scraps from the teeth of sharks aren’t quite the same as lichen growing on a tree, but they are similar. You can lean into floral relationships that are conducive through something known as “companion planting. This isn’t quite symbiosis, but there is a codependency at play.
Essentially, companion planting is encouraging flower combinations that are mutually supportive. Some flowers grow well together, and in fact, even better when certain “neighbors” are nearby in the garden. Following we’ll briefly explore several flowers that tend to grow better together.
1. Black-Eyed Susans and Coneflowers
You’re not generally going to have difficulties with black-eyed susans and coneflowers, to begin with. Both types are good at flourishing in areas where humidity is high, the soil is dry, and heat can be excessive. They do like a little bit of shade, but not total shade. One of the reasons coneflowers have their name is because they’ll grow about three feet in height.
As a bonus, such flowers are known to attract insects which pollinate, so the collateral effect of planting these companions in your garden will be increased fecundity overall. Bees make flowers much more fertile, so generally, beyond companion realities, you want to find flowers which are known to attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
2. Hibiscus and Bee Balm
Hibiscus tea is a delicious type of tea that is traditional in parts of Africa. Hibiscus also happens to be a beautiful flower which does well with daisy-shaped bee balm. Colors range with bee balm, you’ll find them in red, purple, white, and pink. You’ll want moist soil for both types of flowers. Also, these are another sort of flora that attracts pollinators, so there’s that.
3. Geraniums and Roses
Everybody loves roses. They come in a lot of colors, and though they’re not known to be quite as conducive to vast pollination as other flowers on this list, certain birds and bees will be attracted to them. The thing about roses is aphids, beetles, and other pests like them.
Meanwhile, geraniums tend to be more conducive to pollination, and their lighter purple coloration tends to put them in complementary contrast with roses. Growing them together also more evenly distributes both pests and pollinators, allowing either variety of flower to be more healthy.
4. Hydrangeas and Daylilies
Hydrangeas tend to come into bloom in the autumn. You might also see them bloom toward the end of spring. Hydrangeas are shrubs, and they can get astonishingly tall. There have been shrubs of this variety over fifteen feet in height. They like soil with lots of fertilizer in it, but you want to be sure it’ll properly drain.
Meanwhile, daylilies grow just about anywhere. They also like moist soil that drains easily, but their huge benefit is as a repellent to certain pests which would otherwise plague hydrangeas, preventing full maturation.
5. Astilbe and Hosta
If you’re in a humid area with plenty of shade, astilbe is a good choice. These flowers have similarities to ferns. They have blossoms that come out purple, red, pink, and white. Like hydrangeas, they prefer soil with a lot of fertilizer or other organic material. Their complementary partner is the hosta flower, which also likes these conditions.
Encouraging Healthy Flower Combinations
Astilbe and hosta pair well. So also do hydrangeas and daylilies, geraniums and roses, hibiscus and bee balm, coneflowers and black-eyed susans, and many others. Look into the companion flowers best for your particular region, and don’t be afraid to experiment!