Everything You Need To Know About Companion Planting

Why Do Plants Need Companions?

Plants need friends just like we do. Perhaps this is why companion planting has so many benefits. By selecting the right companions, you will increase your chances of higher yields, shelter delicate plants from harsh weather, increase the population of beneficial insects and ultimately manage your harmful pest population.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a type of garden planning that takes into account both the positive and negative effects plants might have on each other when planted side by side. For instance, plants like peas and beans fix nitrogen in the soil. This might benefit nitrogen hungry neighbors like lettuce and kale. But it might have a negative impact on root development in carrots and parsnips. Likewise, some plants are prone to pests like aphids, but they can be placed next to plants that attract insects that prey on aphids. Being aware of these relationships makes the most of the natural influences plants have on one another.

Companion Placement

Plants that are said to repel pest insects need to be planted quite close to the crops they are meant to protect. But plants like dill, that are generally attractive to predatory insects, can be planted anywhere in the garden.

Meanwhile, when it comes to soil chemistry (an example would be Brassicas and potatoes) the acidic soil that potatoes thrive in can cause problems for some Brassicas. Damp, acidic soil can host club root, which can be a real problem for broccoli and Brussels sprouts. So you would not want to plant a long row of potatoes next to a long row of broccoli. By practicing routine Crop Rotation, you can provide the right soil conditions for the right crops, and avoid many soil borne diseases.

Here Is The Ultimate Guide To Better Companion Planting

We've compiled a comprehensive list of guidelines to better help you grow your companion garden. Click on the product photos to view the full collection.

 

Agastache


Agastache – Very attractive to bees. Plant a row away from the garden to lure cabbage moths away from Brassica crops. Avoid planting near radishes.

Alyssum


Very attractive to pollinators, and useful as a mulch to keep weeds down between rows. Alyssum provides shelter for ground beetles and spiders. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Amaranth


Plant with corn to shade the soil and retain water. Attracts predatory ground beetles.

Ammi


This beautiful flower attracts lacewings, ladybird beetles, and parasitic wasps. Plant Ammi as a general pest control plant in your garden. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Asparagus


Plant with asters, basil, cilantro, dill, cilantro, marigolds, nasturtiums, oregano, parsley, peppers, sage, and thyme. Asparagus repels nematodes that attack tomatoes, and tomatoes repel asparagus beetles.

Basil


Will improve vigour and flavour of tomatoes, planted side-by-side. Also good with asparagus, oregano, and peppers. Basil helps repel aphids, asparagus beetles, mites, flies, mosquitoes, and tomato horn worm.

Broad Beans


Excellent for fixing nitrogen in the soil. Avoid planting near onions.

Bush & Pole Beans


All beans fix nitrogen in the soil. Plant with Brassicas, carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radish, and strawberries. Avoid planting near chives, garlic, leeks, and onions. Pole beans and beets stunt each other’s growth.

Soya Beans


Good for fixing nitrogen, and acting as a mulch against weeds. Grow with corn. Soya beans repel Japanese beetles and chinch bugs.

Beets


Beet greens and scraps are very good for the compost, returning captured manganese and iron to the soil via the composting process. Plant with bush beans, Brassicas, corn, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, and mint. Add cut mint leaves as a mulch for beets. Avoid planting beets near pole beans.

Borage


Excellent all around companion plant. Borage deters tomato hornworm and cabbage moth caterpillars, and is particularly good planted near tomatoes and strawberries. Borage is very attractive to pollinators, so plant it around squash, melons, and cucumbers for improved pollination. It's also excellent for the soil and compost. Borage is deer-proof.

Brassicas


(Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Turnip) – All benefit from chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage. Avoid planting near eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes. These four plants are in the Solanum family, and they all prefer fairly acidic soil at pH 5.5-6.5, while Brassicas want more neutral soil at pH 6.5-7.0.

Buckwheat


Fixes calcium in the soil, and makes an exceptionally good green manure plant. Buckwheat absorbs nutrients that are not available to other plants, and can then be composted or tilled under, releasing those nutrients in accessible forms. Buckwheat flowers are attractive to pollinators as well as beneficial predatory insects: hover flies, pirate bugs, tachinid flies, and ladybird beetles. It provides shelter for ground beetles.

Calendula


Repels a number of unwanted soil nematodes and asparagus beetles, but may attract slugs. Plant Calendula with tomatoes and asparagus. Calendula attracts a wide range of pollinators because it provides nectar over the whole growing season.

Carrots


Plant with beans, Brassicas, chives, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, pole beans, radish, rosemary, sage, and tomatoes. Avoid planting with dill, parsnips, and potatoes. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to keep some space between root crops so they don't compete for available phosphorus. Carrots planted near tomatoes may have stunted roots, but will have exceptional flavour. Chives also benefit carrots.

Catnip


Attracts pollinators (and cats!), and parasitic wasps. Catnip repels aphids, asparagus beetles, Colorado potato beetles, and squash bugs.

Celery


Good partner for beans, Brassicas, cucumber, garlic, leek, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes.

Chamomile


Attracts hoverflies and parasitic wasps. Plant near onions to improve their flavour.

Chervil


Excellent companion for Brassicas, lettuce, and radishes, but does best in part shade. Chervil helps to repel slugs and attract parasitic wasps. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Chives


Improves the flavour of carrots and tomatoes. A companion plant for Brassicas. Helps to repel aphids, carrot rust fly, and Japanese beetles. Avoid planting near beans and peas.

Chrysanthemum


Improves the flavour of carrots and tomatoes. A companion plant for Brassicas. Helps to repel aphids, carrot rust fly, and Japanese beetles. Avoid planting near beans and peas.

Cilantro


Repels aphids, potato beetles, and spider mites. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Clover


Attracts many beneficial insects and builds the soil. Helps fight cabbage worms, and increases the number of predatory ground beetles.

Collards


Plant near tomatoes, which repel the flea beetles that so often look for collards to eat.

Coreopsis


This plant attracts pollinators, but also hoverflies, soldier bugs, and tachinid flies.

Corn


Companion to beans, beets, cucumber, dill, melons, parsley, peas, potato, soya beans, squash, and sunflower. Avoid planting next to celery or tomatoes. Amaranth makes a great mulch between rows by competing with weeds and conserving ground moisture.

Cosmos


This annual provides food and habitat to parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, lacewings, hoverflies, minute pirate bugs, spiders, ladybird beetles, big-eyed bugs, damsel bugs, and other predatory insects. Cosmos can be direct sown from early March to the end of June in our region so that it blooms continuously throughout the summer. Deadhead spent flowers to extend each plant's bloom time.

Cucumber


Plant beside asparagus, beans, Brassicas, celery, corn, dill, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, peas, radish, and tomatoes. Avoid planting near potatoes and sage. Both corn and sunflowers can act as a trellis for cucumbers to good effect. Dill will help cucumbers by attracting predatory insects, and nasturtiums will improve the flavour and growth of cucumbers.

Dill


Dill improves the health of cabbages and other Brassicas, and is a very good companion for corn, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Avoid planting near carrots and tomatoes. Dill attracts ladybird beetles, parasitoid wasps, hoverflies, bees, and garden spiders, making it one of the most useful companion planting candidates. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Echinacea


These perennial coneflowers attract hoverflies and parasitoid wasps, so they're useful for pest control in companion plantings.

Eggplant


A good companion for amaranth, beans, marigolds, peas, peppers, spinach, and thyme. Do not plant eggplants near fennel.

Fennel


Not a companion for any garden food plant, fennel will actually inhibit growth in bush beans, kohlrabi, tomatoes, and others. Plant it, but keep it out of the veggie garden. Fennel attracts hoverflies, ladybird beetles, parasitic wasps, and tachinid flies, so it's a kind of beneficial insect magnet. It's also an important food plant for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Gaillardia


This flower blooms over a very long period in summer, providing a rich source of nectar for a host of pollinators.

Garlic


Planting garlic near roses will help to repel aphids. Because of its sulfur compounds, it may also help repel whiteflies, Japanese beetles, root maggots, carrot rust fly, and other pests. Garlic, made into a tea, or spray, will act as a systemic pesticide, drawing up into the cells of the plants. It’s a good companion for beets, Brassicas, celery, lettuce, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Avoid planting it near peas or beans of any kind.

Iberis


This early flowering plant provides nectar for pollinators before many others, and it attracts hoverflies and ground beetles. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.

Kohlrabi


A worthy companion for beets, Brassicas, cucumbers, and onions. Avoid planting near peppers, pole beans, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Leeks


Grow with beets, carrot, celery, onions, and spinach. Avoid planting near beans and peas. Leeks help repel carrot rust flies.

Lettuce


Good companions for beets, Brassicas, carrot, celery, chervil, cucumbers, dill, garlic, onions, radish, spinach, squash, and strawberries.

Lovage


Use lovage to attract parasitoid wasps and ground beetles. Oh, and you can cook with it, too.

Marigold


French Marigolds (Tagetes patula) produce chemicals that repel whitefly, Mexican bean beetles, root knot nematodes, and root lesion nematodes. Avoid planting them near beans. Mexican Marigolds (T. minuta) have the same effect, and may repel rabbits. At the same time, they attract hoverflies and parasitoid wasps.

Melon


Great companions for corn, marigolds, nasturtiums, pumpkin, radish, squash, and sunflowers. Avoid planting near potatoes. Melon leaves are full of calcium, so they’re good for the compost heap.

Mint


Mint attracts earthworms, hoverflies and predatory wasps, and repels cabbage moths, aphids, and flea beetles. Mint is invasive, so it may be better to use cut mint as a mulch around Brassicas, or to restrain it in containers around the vegetable garden. Avoid planting near parsley.

Monarda


(Bergamot) - This plant blooms in late summer, and is very attractive to bees, parasitic wasps, parasitic flies, and hummingbirds.

Nasturtium


These plants make a good trap crop for aphids, and they deter whiteflies, cucumber beetles, squash beetles, Colorado potato beetles, and Mexican bean beetles. It is a good companion for Brassicas, cucumbers, melons, radishes, and tomatoes. Because they grow close to the ground, nasturtiums provide good cover for ground beetles and spiders. The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, and is good for the bees.

Oats


They grow very quickly for quick tilling to add organic matter to beds, and work well when planted with clover or vetch. An excellent source of green matter for the compost.

Onions


Plant chamomile and summer savory near onions to improve their flavour. Onions also work well alongside beets, Brassicas, carrots, dill, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes. Don’t plant onions near asparagus, or peas of any kind. Onions help to repel the carrot rust fly.

Oregano & Marjoram


Oregano is particularly good for repelling cabbage moths, and it can be planted between rows of Brassicas for this purpose. Also good around asparagus and basil.

Parsley


Parsley likes asparagus, carrots, chives, corn, onions, and tomatoes. The leaves can be sprinkled on asparagus to repel asparagus beetles, and around roses, to improve their scent. Let some of your parsley go to bloom to attract hoverflies and predatory wasps. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers. Don’t plant it near mint.

Peas


Superb companions for beans, carrots, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, parsley, peppers. potatoes, radish, spinach, strawberries and turnips. Avoid planting peas near onions.

Peppers


Pepper plants make good neighbours for asparagus, basil, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, oregano, parsley, rosemary, squash, Swiss chard, and tomatoes. Never plant them next to beans, Brassicas, or fennel.

Phacelia


An essential element in any organic gardener's toolkit, this multi-purpose annual flower is fast to mature, and amazingly attractive to a host of pollinators and beneficial insects. Notably, it attracts bees and predatory hoverflies to improve pollination and combat pest insects. Plant Phacelia around any crop showing poor pollination, particularly squash (including zucchini and pumpkin), melons, and cucumbers.

Potato


Bush beans, celery, corn, garlic, marigolds, onions, and peas all do well planted near potatoes. Avoid planting potatoes near asparagus, Brassicas, carrots, cucumber, kohlrabi, melons, parsnips, rutabaga, squash, sunflower, and turnips.

Radish


Plant radishes near beans, beets, celeriac, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, mint, parsnip, peas, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. Avoid planting near agastache or potatoes. It is said that planting 3 or 4 icicle radishes around the mound where you plant squash, and allowing them to grow and bloom, will prevent most pests of squash and cucumber.

Rosemary


Rosemary is a good companion for beans, Brassicas, and carrots. Rosemary repels cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, and carrot rust flies.

Rudbeckia


All varieties of Rudbeckia are attractive to hoverflies and parasitoid wasps.

Rye


Fall rye gives off a chemical that inhibits the germination of weed seeds. This is known as allelopathy. Planted twice in a row, it can choke out several tough weed species for good. It produces masses of useful organic matter for tilling under or adding to the compost.

Sage


Sage repels both the cabbage moth and the carrot rust fly, so it’s a great all around companion plant in the vegetable garden. Do not, however, plant it near cucumbers, which are sensitive to aromatic herbs.

Scabiosa


This plant is naturally attractive to hoverflies and predatory tachinid flies, making it very useful for pest control in organic companion planting.

Spinach


A good companion for Brassicas, eggplants, leeks, lettuce, peas, radish, and strawberries, particularly. Don’t plant spinach near potatoes.

Squash


Companions: corn, lettuce, melons, peas, and radish. Avoid planting near Brassicas or potatoes. Borage is said to improve the growth and flavour of squash. Marigolds and nasturtium repel numerous squash pest insects.

Strawberry


These little plants respond strongly to nearby plants. Couple them with beans, borage, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, and thyme. Avoid Brassicas, fennel, and kohlrabi.

Summer Savory


This herb attracts honeybees, and repels cabbage moths. Planting it near beans and onions will improve the flavour of both.

Sunflower


Sunflowers planted near rows of corn are said to increase yields. Use sunflowers as beacons to attract pollinators to other crops, particularly squash and pumpkins, and any other crop that requires insect pollination. Sunflowers are attractive to a host of wild and domestic bees, and also ladybird beetles, which prey on aphids.

Swiss Chard


Beans, Brassicas, and onions make the best companions for chard.

Thyme


An all around beneficial plant for the garden, thyme is particularly worth planting near Brassicas (as it repels cabbage moths), and strawberries, as it enhances flavour.

Tithonia


Plant this so-called Mexican Torch to attract parasitoid wasps, parasitic flies, and soldier bugs to your garden. They will act as a beacon for natural pest control.

Tomatoes


Another sensitive plant when it comes to companions, tomatoes benefit from asparagus, basil, beans, borage, carrots, celery, chives, collards, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, and peppers. Avoid planting alongside Brassicas and dill. Corn will attract tomato pests, and kohlrabi will stunt tomatoes’ growth. Potatoes may spread blight to tomatoes, so keep them apart. Do no plant tomatoes near walnut trees.

Turnips


Turnips are easygoing, but benefit from mint and pea companions.

Vetch


Vetch has long roots that fix nitrogen in the soil, and provide masses of organic matter for tilling under. Do not let vetch go to seed, as it will come back strongly. The seeds are toxic to chickens.

Yarrow


Its scent repels aphids, but attracts hoverflies, lady beetles, and wasps that prey on garden grubs. The leaves and stems of yarrow contain enzymes that break down rapidly, so it can be added to the compost raw or as a tea to accelerate the heap. See also Companion Planting with Umbelifers.


Did you enjoy this article? Let us know! Share on social media or leave us a comment so we know to continue to producing great content just like this.


Older Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published