You don’t need a lot of space to grow a beautiful flower garden. In fact, you don’t need to have a backyard at all – just a couple of raised beds.
Believe it or not, the postulates of vegetable square-foot/raised bed gardening can be applied to flowers as well. These plants don’t need a lot of space between rows and sometimes even grow better when they’re spaced closer together.
What is more, they can be combined with herbs, veggies, and fruit in raised beds, where they can replenish nutrients in the soil and repel harmful bugs. Here are the best flowers you can grow in this way:
Tagetes patula, or marigolds, are a great option for your raised beds. Not only is this flower edible and therefore very useful, but it’s also a phenomenal companion plant.
This is because marigolds keep the number of detrimental nematodes (roundworms) down by excreting special chemicals. At the same time, this flower attracts beneficial insects, such as bees and similar pollinators.
This is yet another fantastic annual that you can add to your raised beds. Just like the marigolds described above, this flower is also edible and feels right at home among veggies and fruit.
Borage is a self-seeding flower and growing it is as easy as it gets. It is great for bees and birds while acting as a trap crop for the small sap-sucking insects. Moreover, this flower’s root system does an amazing job of breaking up and aerating soil.
When in bloom, nasturtiums attract a myriad of beneficial bugs, including pollinators. However, they also act as trap crops and, therefore, attract pests as well, keeping them away from your other, prized flowers – or veggies – in that way.
Nasturtiums are an extraordinary choice for all those looking for flowers that they want to use as companion crops for commonly cultivated plants in raised beds. As they suppress weeds, retain moisture, and keep the soil covered, these flowers are a particularly good choice for a ground cover around other plants.
Very similar to marigolds in appearance, calendula is well-known for its ability to attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Also, just like the flowers I talked about above, this one also acts as a trap crop for pests such as aphids.
The fibrous and thick roots of calendula do a great job of protecting the soil, giving this flower a special cover crop/living mulch value. And once its petals begin to fade, make sure to use them as your compost activators. One thing I really like about calendula is its ability to forecast the weather – once the blooms start closing, rain is on the way.
Who doesn’t know about good old sunflowers? The benefits of this plant are numerous, with the two biggest ones being the fact that it provides climbing support for other plants and that it gives us tasty, edible seeds. Sunflower is also a great alternative to corn in the well-known “three sisters” planting practice.
However, one very important thing to mention here is that sunflowers can inhibit the growth of some nearby plants. In other words, they have an “allelopathic” effect on the surrounding flowers and veggies, which is why it’s crucial to keep it away from, say, potatoes.
Improving curb appeal with evergreen shrubs is never a bad idea. And the best thing here is that you don’t need a lot of space to grow them – winter-flowering shrubs do great in raised beds and can provide much-needed colors during dull winter months.
These include Viburnum tinus, Viburnum farreri, Viburnum x bodnantense, sarcococca, mahonia, and hamamelis. With the exception of Viburnum tinus, all of these shrubs are highly scented, so I’d recommend planting them in raised beds that are located close to your windows.
As it likes sunny, free-draining conditions, lavender can be an amazing companion plant to raised-bed veggies with similar requirements. It grows particularly well near Mediterranean herbs such as asparagus. I would recommend planting it on a mound around a raised bed with vegetables – it makes a beautiful edging.
Besides the fact that it’s great for beneficial insects – including pollinators – this flower also has a very charming smell. And, although you probably already know this, lavender also has a plethora of culinary and other around-the-home applications.
Although predominantly grown for cutting, some flowers fit quite well in raised beds that are already planted with vegetables. And out of all these, cosmos is probably the best choice for folks who have just entered the world of square foot gardening.
This particular plant grows over a long period and is very easy to take care of. It’s a wildlife-friendly flower too since it attracts the “good” insects, including the predatory ones that eat the sap-sucking bugs.
A favorite of many gardeners, these flowers look wonderful wherever you plant them – including your raised beds. Although they cannot be consumed by humans, sweet peas are enormously enjoyed by a number of different garden creatures.
As far as I’m concerned, these flowers look the best when they’re combined with beans, peas, and all other plants that climb up the trellises mounted on raised beds. And, just like in the case of many other flowers described above, they will also attract pollinators to your garden.
Hoverflies, bees, and other beneficial bugs just love the wonderful blue/purple phacelia flowers. Besides the fact that it’s a great companion crop, this flower also creates good soil cover and smothers harmful weeds with its fern-like foliage.
What is more, its extensive root system does a great job of improving the structure of the soil. Although a self-seeding plant, phacelia can be cut and used as green manure before it flowers. I would recommend leaving one half of your phacelias to enrich your garden and using the other half as green manure to improve the soil in your raised beds.
Here we have a nitrogen-fixing flower that works very well when it comes to crop rotation in your raised beds. Just like legumes (beans, peas, etc.), these flowers can improve the concentration of nitrogen in your soil, whether this soil is in your raised beds or in the ground.
Moreover, lupins are very bee-friendly. They will attract numerous pollinators and other beneficial insects to your flowers, veggies, and fruit.
Clover is yet another nitrogen-fixing plant that gardening enthusiasts can use to maintain fertility in their raised beds by using it as green manure. It’s also a potent companion crop that works well with a myriad of common annuals. Besides fixing nitrogen, it also reduces moisture loss and the number of pesky weeds.
Of course, clover flowers look beautiful and have a very pleasant smell, even despite the fact that they look somewhat basic when compared to some of the other flowers on this list. They also attract bees and other beneficial critters.
One of the best ways to make the most out of the available space in your garden is by growing an array of beautiful flowers among the usual crops you often plant in your raised beds. Doing something like this is guaranteed to improve your garden’s fertility.
Of course, you can also plant just the flowers in your raised beds. As you can see from above, there are quite a lot of different species that thrive in this kind of environment. It’s a great way to enrich your square foot gardening game!