10 Best Companion Plants for Zinnia Flowers

If there’s one flower most gardeners have in their garden, it’s the zinnia. These easy-to-grow flowers produce an abundance of colorful flowers and grow well with many other flowers. In this guide, I’ll introduce you to some of the best companion plants for zinnias so you can produce a healthy and vibrant garden display.

10 Best Companion Plants for Zinnias

What Are Companion Plants?

Companion plants are plants that provide benefits to those around them. They may help attract pollinators, improve the soil structure, or draw in predatory insects that feed on plant pests.

Sometimes, people use the term companion plants to refer to plants that grow well together. These plants typically have similar environmental needs, such as soil moisture and sun exposure.

It’s essential to recognize that there isn’t one set of companion plants. What may be a good companion for many types of zinnia flowers may be a horrible companion for watermelons, and vice versa.

Tips on Choosing Companion Plants for Zinnias

When choosing companion plants for zinnias, it’s helpful to think about a zinnia plant’s needs. These plants like full sun, well-drained soil, and moderate moisture.

That means they often grow well with plants that have similar environmental needs.

You can also think about problems that zinnia plants face—for example, both Japanese beetles and aphids like to dine on zinnia leaves. Therefore, consider adding plants that will attract insects that attack these pests.

10 Best Companion Plants for Zinnias

1. Celosia

Colorful flowering Celosia

Since zinnias are annual crops, it makes sense to plant them with other annual flowers. Both spiked and cockscomb celosia provides a nice contrast to the round zinnia flowers.

These flowers also like full sun and moist yet well-drained soil, making them excellent companion plants for zinnias.

2. Sunflower

Tall yellow sunflowers in bloom

Sunflowers and zinnias both thrive in summer, making them good companions. Sunflowers’ large flowers also attract many insects that help keep zinnia pests down.

3. Sweet Alyssum

A small cluster of flowering purple and white Sweet Alyssum plants

Aphids are one of the most common zinnia pests and can quickly weaken plants. However, pesticides aren’t the only way to remove aphids.

Planting sweet alyssum near your zinnias can help attract predatory insects that feed on aphids. Hoverflies, parasitic wasps, green lacewings, and ladybugs can all help keep aphids in check.

Plants sweet alyssum at least three feet away from zinnias to ensure they receive enough light.

4. Basil

Deep green leaves of the Basil plant

Basil and zinnia flowers can benefit each other due to their flowers’ ability to attract beneficial insects. With insects like ladybugs, hoverflies, and assassin bugs in your garden, both plants will likely experience less pressure from pests like aphids and thrips.

And since basil and zinnias both like full sun and moist soil, you can care for them in a similar way, making them the perfect companion plants for zinnias.

5. Marigolds

A cluster of orange marigolds grow in a wild garden space amongst tall green grasses and trees in the background

While some people state that marigolds can repel deer, mosquitos, rodents, and more, little scientific evidence supports these claims. However, marigolds can help attract natural enemies of pests that feed on crops such as zinnias.

When you’re selecting marigolds to plant with your zinnias, make sure to pay attention to the marigold variety. Some marigolds max out at less than a foot, while others can grow three to four feet tall. Consider the plant size when determining the adequate spacing between your marigolds and zinnias.

6. Nasturtium

Bright red Nasturtium flowers in bloom

The nasturtium is another beautiful companion plant to grow alongside zinnias. Trailing and bush nasturtium varieties can be found, but bush types work better with zinnias.

Both plants can help attract pollinators and predatory insects to your garden, which allows the other plant stay happy.

7. Lantana

Pink and orange flowering Lantana

One of my favorite annual flower pairings is Lantana and Zinnias. While the zinnia produces large, single blooms, the lantana plants have clusters of many tiny flowers.

Both of these plants love full sun, well-drained soil, and a bit of moisture. That means you can plant them in the same area and watch them thrive.

8. Cleome

A cluster of pink and purple Cleome flowers

Also known as spider flowers, cleome plants light up the garden with their interesting blooms. These flowers contrast nicely against the more commonly shaped zinnia blooms.

Since cleome can get a few feet taller than zinnias, I like tucking the larger plants behind the shorter ones.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes being harvested in a garden space

Unfortunately, tomato plants are susceptible to a wide variety of pests. Aphids suck sap from the plant’s leaves, caterpillars like armyworms and hornworms feed on the foliage and fruit, and stink bugs pierce the tomato fruit.

Fortunately, most of these pests have natural predators like parasitic wasps, assassin bugs, and minute pirate bugs. Planting zinnias next to tomatoes can help attract these good bugs and keep your tomato plants healthy.

10. Strawflower

A collection of coloful Strawflowers in bloom

Strawflowers are another type of flower that goes well with zinnias. These plants produce many round blooms, but the strawflowers work well for drying and take a bit longer to mature than zinnias.

While strawflowers can get a bit taller than zinnias, both plants will receive enough sun when planted together.

Plants to Avoid

Since zinnias are tall plants that provide a decent amount of shade, you’ll want to avoid planting them right next to low-growing plants that require full sun. These include lamb’s ear and creeping phlox. 

Best Companion Plants for Zinnias FAQs:

Can I Plant Zinnias in My Vegetable Garden?

Yes, zinnias work great in a vegetable garden! Their flowers will help attract pollinators and predatory insects that feed on common vegetable pests. Ensure you provide enough space between your vegetables and zinnias for good airflow and sunlight.

Does Deadheading Zinnias Produce More Zinnia Flowers?

Removing dead and dying flowers from your zinnia plant will encourage the production of more flowers. You can remove the flowers with your fingers or trim them off with pruning shears.

When Is the Best Time to Plant Zinnias?

You should plant zinnia seeds or transplants after the danger of frost has passed. Continue planting these warm-weather flowers through the late summer for a continuous supply of blooms during the season.

Why should I use companion plants with my zinnias?

Companion planting is a great method to increase the health, growth, and yield of your plants. It can also help deter pests, improve soil health, and enhance the overall growth and productivity of your garden.

Which companion plants help deter pests from zinnias?

Marigolds are known to deter pests like nematodes and other harmful bugs. Basil, with its strong scent, can deter pests like mosquitoes and aphids.

How should I arrange companion plants with zinnias in my garden?

Generally, companion plants should be placed close to each other. For example, you might place basil around the zinnias to deter pests. However, each type of plant requires specific spacing for optimal growth. Be sure to refer to the planting instructions for each species.

Can I plant zinnias with roses?

Yes, zinnias make excellent companions for roses because they attract beneficial insects, and their vibrant colors can complement the beauty of roses.

Wrapping Up

With bright, colorful blooms and an easy-to-care-for form, zinnias are many gardeners’ favorite flowers. Plus, they go well with a wide variety of plants! When choosing companion plants for your zinnias, select plants with similar soil and moisture needs, and think about light requirements.

For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of zinnia flowers, and how to grow zinnias in pots and containers.

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