Geraniums (Pelagonium) are some of the best flowers you can possibly have in your garden. These hardy plants produce showy flowers, are great for pest control and they have all sorts of garden applications.
Geraniums grow well all on their own but you will get the most benefits from these flowers if you pair them with companion plants like vegetables, sweet potato vines, roses, alliums, petunias, lavender, or marigolds.
These flowers and their companions can be used in garden beds as border plants or filler plants and they grow very well in containers that can be used on a sunny patio.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common geranium companion plants in detail and the best ways to use them to create gorgeous landscapes.
What to Grow with Geraniums
There are over 260 different species of geranium and gardeners often have a lot of fun pairing these different cultivars for interesting displays of color. But when you are companion planting with other plant species, you should be careful to select species with similar growing conditions.
Geraniums should be planted in direct sun because in shaded areas, they can develop powdery mildew and their branches will become all leggy. They also won’t produce any beautiful flowers if you position them in the shade.
Hardy geraniums prefer loose soil with lots of organic matter. The soil should be free draining and there is no need for additional fertilizers because these plants are not too nutrient-dependent.
When it comes to how to take care of geraniums, these plants can survive dry spells but they prefer regular watering and should be kept moist during their first growing season. The shrubs can be trimmed back in late summer or fall and should be protected from the cold during the winter months.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best companion plants to pair with your hardy geranium plants.
Geraniums are great plants to include in a vegetable garden because they can protect your vegetables from pests.
Geranium varieties like the citronella geranium or scented geranium (Pelargonium Citrosum) are especially useful for pest control because it has a powerful scent that deters many pests like spider mites, leafhoppers, aphids, cabbage worms, Japanese beetles, and they are also useful for repelling mosquitoes.
Other varieties of geranium are great for attracting beneficial insects like bees and butterflies to your garden which might increase your vegetable yields.
For effective pest control, it is best to grow geraniums as a border around your vegetable garden. Many gardens also love to plant them alongside vegetables to enhance the aesthetics of these gardens while keeping pests at bay.
You can grow geraniums next to just about any type of vegetable because they won’t deprive your veggies of nutrients. Just be careful to keep the shrubs short or they can block out sunlight that your other plants depend on.
Sweet Potato Vine
Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) is an ideal companion plant for geraniums in tall containers or hanging baskets because the colorful leaves will look rather striking as they trail out from underneath vivid red or pink flowers.
Sweet potatoes can also be useful as a ground cover to keep the soil around the geraniums cool and moist.
At the same time, your geraniums will offer protection because they will repel pests that commonly feed on these beautiful vines.
Sweet potato vines prefer direct sunlight although they can grow in the shade. These companion plants will also flourish in the well-drained moist soil that geraniums love so much.
The vine plants can grow quite vigorously and should be cut back if they get out of hand or if the leaves become unattractive. You can grow them all around your geraniums or add them to a geranium pot to create lots of contrast with the dark green leaves of geraniums.
You can also pair geraniums with roses (Rosaceae) because the powerful scent of these flowers will protect your roses from common threats like spider mites and aphids. Geranium flowers will also look quite charming next to a vivid rose bush.
Roses love plenty of direct sunlight with a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun per day. They should be planted in well-drained soil that is rich in compost and needs to be watered frequently or the roses can wilt.
You can use vine geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) as ground covers for taller plants or use these trailing plants as spillers for potted roses. For geranium bushes like geranium psilostemon, plant alongside short rose shrubs to create showy borders.
Petunia flowers (Petunia x atkinsiana) are good companion plants for geraniums in hanging baskets or window boxes and they can also be used as garden fillers in geranium beds.
These ornamental plants produce masses of showy trumpet-shaped flowers in colors like pink, purple, white, red, and yellow. Their flowers look very similar to American cranesbill geraniums (Geranium psilostemon) and as such, can be wonderful companions if you need something shorter to grow in front of this variety of geranium.
These low-growing plants need lots of full sunlight to flower and flourish. They should also be planted in well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. it is best to pair petunias with hardy geraniums that don’t need a lot of water because petunias tend to flourish in semi-drought conditions.
You can grow petunia flowers in front of tall geraniums or position vine geranium varieties in front of these bushy flowers.
Alliums (Allium) can also be paired with geraniums to create a powerful barrier to protect your garden from pests. These contrasting spiky plants will also add lots of texture to your garden and the beautiful purple flower orbs will complement the vivid flowers of geraniums very well.
They are great companion plants because they grow well in direct sun and in moist or dry soil conditions.
You can mix alliums all over your garden bed so their texture-rich leaves can fill up your garden and to create some diversity. Alliums can also be grown behind short geranium shrubs because the purple flowers will look rather striking if they can peek out from behind the flowering bushes.
What NOT to Plant with Geraniums
Geraniums grow well with a great many companion plants but some plant species cannot survive in the hot and sunny conditions that these flowers need.
It is best not to pair shade-loving perennials like ferns, hostas, or coleus plants with geraniums because they will scorch in the direct sun. Geraniums, on the other hand, won’t grow well in the shade areas of your garden.
Landscaping Ideas for Geraniums and Companions
After discovering some great companions for your geraniums, it is time to start looking at some creative ways to pair them with your landscape. Here are some of the best ways to do companion planting with geraniums in your garden.
Create Striking Containers
Geraniums can look charming if you place them in a beautiful garden pot but if you want to create show-stopping garden containers then you should mix these flowering shrubs with other plants in the same container.
Mixed Window Boxes
Geraniums look terrific in window boxes and you can create a striking display by pairing different shades of geranium together with a spiller plant such as sweet potato vine that can trail over the edge of your window boxes.
Mixed Hanging Baskets
Geraniums can also grow well in hanging baskets and will look particularly charming if you pair them with a vivid flowering plant like petunias.
Mixed Tall Container Arrangements
You can also grow larger geraniums in tall pots as a filler plant and add a spiky plant variety like ornamental grass in the center as a thriller plant. Now introduce a trailing plant like sweet potato vine and you will have an ideal mixed container.
As an alternative, you can use vine geranium as a spiller alongside other plants like canna lilies.
Mixed Borders or Hedges
Geraniums can form dense hedges if you keep them trimmed. They are easy-growing plants and can be grown from cuttings. You can create showy borders or hedges by pairing geraniums with other shrubs like roses to create a charming mixed effect.
Geraniums are very useful garden editions because they are useful for repelling pests in vegetable gardens. In ornamental gardens, you can pair them with companion plants like petunias, alliums, sweet potatoes, or roses to create stunning displays of color and texture.
We hope that this guide helped you on your companion planting journey and that you can now grow stunning landscapes or containers that thrill and excite.
Learn more about geranium symbolism to understand why gardeners love this flower.
*image by wirestock_creators/depositphotos