Companion Planting

Do you practice companion planting in your garden? Learn which plants compliment one another and should be planted next to each other.

It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and harvest. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion plant, while other plants (particularly herbs) act as repellents. Additionally, plants that require a lot of the same nutrients as their neighbors may struggle to get enough for themselves, producing a minimal yield.

Which vegetables should you plant next to each other? Which shouldn’t you plant together? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of companion planting.

Benefits of Companion Planting

There are plenty of reasons to plant certain crops together. For example…

  • Large plants can regulate shade for smaller plants in need of sun protection.
  • Tall plants like corn and sunflowers can provide Natural support for lower-growing, sprawling crops such as cucumbers and peas.
  • Improved plant health: When one plant absorbs certain substances from the soil, it may change the soil biochemistry in favor of nearby plants.
  • Healthy soil: Some crops, such as bean and peas, help to make nitrogen available. Similarly, plants with long taproots, like burdock, bring up nutrients from deep in the soil, enriching the topsoil to the benefit of shallow-rooted plants.  Remember to check the soil pH.
  • Weed suppression: Planting sprawling crops like potatoes with upright plants minimizes open areas, where weeds typically take hold.

Companion Plants for Vegetables

Some plants, especially herbs, act as natural insect repellents. They confuse insects with strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.

  • Dill and basil planted among tomatoes can protect from tomato hornworms.
  • Sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
  • Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and sometimes even animal pests, like deer.
  • Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
  • Carrotsdillparsley, and parsnip attract beneficial insects—praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders—that dine on insect pests.
  • Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuceradishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
  • Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grow in the shadow of corn.
  • Bush beans tolerate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
  • Tansy discourages cutworm, which attacks asparagusbeancabbagecarrotcelerycorn, lettucepeapepperpotato, and tomato plants.
  • Catniphyssoprosemary, and sage deter cabbage moth, which is detrimental to a host of edible crops, including broccolicabbagecauliflowerkaleturnip, and radish.
  • Mint wards off cabbage moth and ants.
  • Thyme thwarts cabbageworm, which munches broccoliBrussels sproutscabbagecauliflowercollardhorseradishkale, and kohlrabi.
  • Lavender is known to deter codling moths, which wreak havoc on apple trees.
  • Zinnias attract ladybugs, so when planted near cauliflower, which is susceptible to cabbage flies, the ladybugs are there to control the pest population.

Companion Planting Chart

CROP NAME FRIENDS FOES
BEANS Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Squash
Strawberries
Summer savory
Tomatoes
Garlic
Onions
Peppers
Sunflowers
CABBAGE Beans
Celery
Cucumbers
Dill
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sage
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Strawberries
Tomatoes
CARROTS Beans
Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Rosemary
Sage
Tomatoes
Anise
Dill
Parsley
CORN Beans
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melons
Peas
Potatoes
Squash
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
CUCUMBERS Beans
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Sunflowers
Aromatic herbs
Melons
Potatoes
LETTUCE Asparagus
Beets
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Broccoli
ONIONS Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Chamomile
Dill
Garlic
Lettuce
Parsley
Peppers
Potatoes
Savory
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Peas
Sage
POTATOES Basil
Beans
Cabbage
Corn
Chamomile
Dill
Lettuce
Parsley
Peppers
Radishes
Scallions
Spinach
Tyme
Yarrow
Beans
Peas
Sage
PEPPERS Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
RADISHES Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Kohlrabi
TOMATOES Asparagus
Basil
Beans
Borage
Carrots
Celery
Dill
Lettuce
Melons
Onions
Parsley
Peppers
Radishes
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Kale

 

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