I’ve been busy compiling a list of companion plants to help me better plan my garden this year. For those of you who are still very new to gardening, companion planting refers to planting different crops close to each other for the purpose of for the purpose of providing mutual benefits.
Some plants give off nitrogen, and some require nitrogen, so these two types of plants would benefit each other. Some plants attract certain pests, and other plants repel that pest. Some plant combinations can even increase pollination by attracting beneficial pollinators, like bees and butterflies. By using companion planting, you help your plants stay healthy, healthy, and more productive.
There are also planting combinations that you should avoid. Some plants take nourishment away from each other, so it’s important that you know which varieties work well together, and which do not.
I thought it might be helpful to some of you (as well as to myself for future reference) if I shared just a few companion planting tips and pairs. I’d love to have you comment on what you’ve noticed work together as well!
Asparagus – Asparagus grows well when planted near marigolds and nasturtiums, as well as herbs like basil and parsley, to repel pets. However, it does not grow well with garlic and fennel. Fennel, in particular, does not grow well with asparagus, because they are both sulfur-rich vegetables and can deplete the soil of that nutrient.
Basil– Basil goes well with tomatoes, as well as with lettuce. It improves the flavor of these species and also helps to repel mosquitoes (which don’t hurt tomatoes, exactly, but are annoying to their harvesters!). Basil should not be planted near rue but is safe near practically any other garden crop.
Bush Beans– Beans should not be planted near onions, as they produce too much nitrogen. They also do not grow well with garlic or shallots (anything similar to onions, really). They are a great companion plant for cabbage, beets, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, strawberries, and marigolds. In particular, they grow well with potatoes and marigolds, because these two plants repel several species of beetles that are known to infest bean plants.
Pole Beans– Pole beans, like bush beans, work well growing with corn. Beans provide essential nitrogen to corn and then use the cornstalks as a trellis. In addition, squash benefits from being planted near beans for the same reason. You should not plant pole beans with beets or onions. While bush beans grow well with beets, pole beans tend to cause mutual stunting of growth.
Beets – Beets like to be planted near garlic and onions, as these plants both repel pests that tend to infest beets. They also do well when planted near broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and Brussel sprouts (think cold-weather crops). In addition to pole beans, you should also keep beets away from field mustard and charlock.
Borage – Borage is a crop that most people don’t have growing in their gardens, but should. It provides ideal benefits when planted near squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and strawberries. It can repel tomato worms and other nasty pests.
Broccoli – Broccoli grows well near other cold-season crops, like beets, carrots, onions, and cauliflower. It also benefits from herbs like chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme. It particularly appreciate the presence of aromatic herbs to help repel pests. Don’t plant broccoli near strawberries, as it attracts similar pests. Marigolds can also be beneficial when planted near broccoli, as they help to repel cabbage moths.
Cabbage– Cabbage should be planted near nasturtium, marigolds, thyme or sage to keep cabbage moths away. Do not plant cabbage near strawberries as they attract similar pests.
Cantaloupe – Cantaloupe should be planted near corn, as it will use the stalk as a trellis (just like pole beans).
Carrots– Carrots can be planted with sage or rosemary to help keep carrot flies away. They also benefit from being planted near other cold-season crops, like radishes and early potatoes, as well as peas, leeks, and onions. However, do not plant them with dill or celery.
Cauliflower – Cauliflower benefits from much of the same companion plants as do cabbage and broccoli. Again, do not plant cauliflower near strawberries.
Chives – Chives are a great plant to intersperse among your garden, as they provide benefits to a variety of plants. In particular, they really benefit fruit plants, like apples, berries, and grapes. Chives can also benefit roses and carrots, among a variety of other plants. They help improve flavor and quicken growth of many species, as well as to deter common pets like aphids. There aren’t many plants that shouldn’t be planted with chives.
Corn– Corn benefits from the nitrogen-fixing bacteria hosted in beans, and can be planted with any variety of bean. Soybeans in particular may be a helpful addition to your corn-laden garden, as they help keep chinch bugs away. You may have heard of the “Three Sisters” which refers to the Native American practice of planting corn, pole beans, and squash together. The squash acts as a ground cover mulch to reduce weeds around the other two plants and also helps to keep pests away who don’t like to walk over the squash’s thorny vines. Corn also benefits from being grown with melons, pumpkins, peas, and cucumbers. Think climbing vegetables when you’re trying to decide what to plant near your corn.
Cucumbers– Marigolds repel cucumber beetles, as do radishes. Do not plant cukes of any kind near sage, or near potatoes, as they can cause early blight. Cucumbers also benefit from and provide benefit to plants like corn, cabbage, beans, sunflowers, and radishes.
Dill – Dill can add an extra dose of flavor to many garden plants, and grows well with plants in the cabbage family, like broccoli and cauliflower. However, it should not be planted near carrots.
Eggplant – As a nightshade plant, eggplant can grow just about anywhere, and attracts similar pollinators as do tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Eggplant may deter some pests that feed on a variety of garden crops. Consider planting green beans near eggplant, as they can repel Colorado potato beetles.
Fennel – If you can avoid it, do not plant fennel alongside any other plant in your garden. For some reason, fennel does not grow well with most other plants. The only exception to this is kohlrabi.
Garlic – Garlic helps to deter onion flies, aphids, ermine moths, and Japanese Beetles, making it beneficial when grown near most plants. It works best when planted with fruits, tomatoes, roses, or cabbage. It should be kept away from peas and beans, as it can stunt their growth.
Kale – This leafy green superfood belongs to the cabbage family and enjoys being planted with garlic, onions, dill, sage, rosemary, and thyme (it likes herbs in the mint family – with the exception of basil, which it hates). Don’t plant kale with tomatoes, pole beans, or strawberries.
Kohlrabi – Kohlrabi grows well with cabbage and cabbage-family vegetables. It does not like to planted near tomatoes, pole beans or tomatoes, and can actually stunt a tomato plant’s growth.
Lettuce– Lettuce is helped by carrots, and grown with mint, repels slugs. It also does well when planted with beets, carrots, radishes, parsnips, and strawberries. Lettuce has the unique ability to tenderize and improve the growth of radishes. It does not like to be planted with onions and garlic.
Marigolds – Marigolds are beneficial for just about every garden crop. While you might not think of including this annual flower in your garden, you definitely should, as it provides a whole host of benefits. Marigolds can help stimulate growth in a wide range of plants, and can help deter pests like maggots, potato and squash bugs, and aphids.
Marjoram – Like marigolds, marjoram can also be planted near practically any garden crop.
Mustard – Mustard, a tasty herb, can help stimulate growth in its companion plants. It likes to be planted near fruit trees, grapes, legumes, and alfalfa. Consider growing mustard alongside your favorite cover crop for added benefits.
Nasturtiums – Nasturtiums are ornamental flowers that often aren’t found in vegetable gardens, but can provide a whole host of benefits. They should be planted near potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, radishes, cabbage-family plants, beans, and apples. They help to repel aphids, squash bugs, and other pests in a manner similar to that provided by marigolds.
Onions– Do not plant onions near beans, peas, or asparagus. They do get along well with other root crops, such as carrots and beets, and also provide mutual benefits to nightshade vegetables (think tomatoes and eggplant) and cabbage. Onions help to deter most pests and can even help increase the growth of herbs like chamomile.
Oregano – There is virtually no garden crop that can’t be planted with oregano. This aromatic herb repels pests, especially maggots, and benefits any crop you have in your garden.
Parsley – Again, parsley is compatible with just about everything. It grows especially well with corn, tomatoes, and roses.
Parsnips – Parsnips grow well with carrots, onions, and radishes. Onions help keep root maggots away from parsnips.
Peas – Peas are very similar to beans, and grow best with corn, cucumbers, squash, radishes, potatoes, turnips, and carrots. Don’t plant them near onions or shallots.
Peppers – Peppers are members of the nightshade family, but are often unaffected by the types of pests that tend to infest other nightshade plants. They can grow alongside other nightshade plants just fine as a result, but do not like to be grown with fennel and kohlrabi. They also benefit from being planted near basil, onions, tomatoes, parsley, and carrots.
Potatoes – Potatoes grow well with marigolds, who help to deter nematodes in the soil, along with basil, which prevents potato beetles. They also grow well with nasturtium and catnip. Potatoes can be grown with cabbage-family vegetables, eggplant, corn, peas, squash, flax, beans, and basil. Do not plant potatoes near tomatoes, sunflowers, raspberries, pumpkins, cucumbers, apples, cherries, or birch. These plants are either members of the nightshade family and attract similar pests, or compete for nutrients and soil space.
Radishes – Radishes help to deter cucumber beetles, making them ideal for planting near your cukes. Lettuce helps tenderize radishes, while nasturtiums improve their flavor. The only plants you really need to keep away from your radishes are hyssop and chervil, which makes radishes hot (if you like hotter radishes, then disregard this tip).
Rosemary – Rosemary grows well near beans, cabbage-family vegetables, and carrots. It helps to repel bean beetles and other common pests. Try not to plant rosemary near cucumbers.
Sage – Sage should not be planting near cucumbers, but presents few problems being grown near other plants. It helps to repel cabbage moths and carrot flies and can also encourage fruit production in tomato plants.
Soybeans – Soybeans help to choke out weeds, which is why they are often used as a garden cover crop. They help enrich the soil and are beneficial when planted near corn and potatoes.
Spinach – Spinach grows best when planted near cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and strawberries. It also provides benefit to legumes like beans and peas. It does not like to grow too close to potatoes, largely because the potato’s extensive roots crowd out the spinach’s more shallow ones. Therefore, they compete for soil and water. The lush foliage of potato plants may also crowd out the sun.
Squash – Squash grows well when planted with pole or bush beans, as well as with corn. It also appreciates growing near insect-repelling herbs like mint and flowers like nasturtium. Squash does not grow well with pumpkins or potatoes, as they compete for space and nutrients.
Strawberries – Strawberries should be planted near bush beans, lettuce, spinach, and borage. Try to avoid planting strawberries near anything in the cabbage family, which attracts similar pests.
Sunflowers – Sunflowers help to attract pollinators, and therefore should be a staple in any garden. However, don’t plant them near potatoes. They are best used when planted near cucumbers or squashes, as they can provide a much-needed trellis.
Swiss Chard – Chard grows well with bush beans, onions, and kohlrabi, but should be kept away from pole beans.
Tarragon – This oft-forgotten herb helps to improve most vegetables’ flavor and growth, and can be planted in any corner of your garden.
Thyme – Just like tarragon, thyme provides a variety of benefits and is not antagonistic with any plant in your garden. It helps deter cabbage moths and enrich the soil.
Tomatoes– Tomatoes benefit from being planted near carrots, sage, asparagus, basil, cabbage-family vegetables, mustard, parsley, and rosemary, among many other plants. Do not plant tomatoes near a black walnut tree, corn, potatoes, or kohlrabi. When planting tomatoes, it’s important to regularly rotate your crops, as many disease-causing microbes and insect eggs and larvae remain in the soil for a long time.
Turnips – Turnips, along with rutabagas, can be planted near peas. They should not be grown near mustard, which can slow their growth.
This is far from a complete list, and I’m sure I’ll be adding more plants and information to it as I learn and gain more experience in my own garden. But it’s a good starting point for all you newbies!
Cabbage– plant near nasturtium, thyme or sage to keep cabbage moths away; do not plant near strawberries.
Carrots– plant with sage or rosemary to help keep carrot flies away; do not plant with dill.
Corn– benefits from the nitrogen-fixing bacteria hosted in beans. You may have heard of the “Three Sisters” which refers to the Native American practice of planting corn, pole beans, and squash together. The squash acts as a ground cover mulch to reduce weeds around the other two plants.
Cucumbers– Marigolds repel cucumber beetles; do not plant near sage.
Lettuce– is helped by carrots, and mint repels slugs.
Onion– do not plant near beans or peas.
Tomatoes– benefit from being planted near carrots; do not plant near a black walnut tree, fennel or corn.
This is far from a complete list, and I’m sure I’ll be adding stuff to it as I learn. But it’s a good starting point for all you newbies.
There are two really good companion planting charts that you can check out HERE, and this one which also lists many herbs HERE. Also, a friend on Facebook recommended to me the book Carrots love Tomatoes. I’m anxious to check it out.
Hope that’s a little helpful!!
update by Rebekah White 06/25/2018