- 6 Tips for Growing Roses in Containers
- Companion planting in the rose garden
- There are many benefits to introducing other plants to your rose garden. Water saving and pest repelling are just two benefits of companion planting.
- Mulch for companion planting
- Attracting pollinators
- Insect repellents
- Find Rose Companions
- Rose Companion Planting Guide
- A loose cloud of purple geranium provides the perfect backdrop for the hybrid tea rose ‘The Bride.’ Long-blooming perennials extend the season, providing color, interest and textures.
- ‘May Night’ Salvia, yellow pincushion flower and boxwood compliment the David Austin shrub rose ‘Eglantyne.’
- From left: blue geraniums and yellow daylilies mix freely with Rugosa Roses; the dainty, pink flowers of Paul’s Himalayan Musk provide contrast to coarser Horse chestnut leaves; Coralbells provide an airy backdrop.
- Consider planting floral greenery or other long-lasting cut flowers as bouquet companions for your roses. In this arrangement, iris, asters, oriental lilies, Peruvian lilies, sword fern, bear grass and leatherleaf contrast nicely with red hybrid tea roses. Grow perennials among your roses to color between flushes of blooms.
- What About Groundcovers?
- Companions for Pest Control
- Ward off Pests the Natural Way
- Companion Plants for Roses
6 Tips for Growing Roses in Containers
Container Size. Most roses grow well in containers as long as root space is sufficient and care is appropriate. Containers of at least 2 to 2.5 feet in depth and at least 15 to 20 inches in diameter are recommended for full-sized rose varieties, and generally the deeper the better for rose health, growth, and blooming. Roses planted in pots and containers generally do not grow as large as those planted in the ground; 4-to-6-feet-tall plants may be the maximum reasonable size range for roses in all but the largest containers.
Container Location. Container roses should be placed in a location receiving a minimum of six hours of sun. Clay pots will help to keep rose roots cool during hot summers, but clay and terra cotta tend to wick moisture from soil and therefore require more watering than their plastic counterparts. Dark-colored or black pots will tend to heat up and may stress or fry rose roots during hot weather in your zone, especially at five-gallon nursery-pot size and smaller.
Planting Method. When planting roses in containers, be sure that sufficient soil is added to completely cover roots to the root crown. Mound soil slightly and monitor over the next few weeks and months to be sure that soil levels do not settle sufficiently to expose roots.
Rose Varieties. Large rose varieties, including many climbers and shrub roses, generally should not be grown in containers but may perform reasonably well in large containers or planters of 2.5 to 4 feet in depth.
Miniature roses are particularly well-suited to containers. As always, be careful when making your selections: miniature roses often come in small pots and have small leaves and flowers, but this can be misleading as an indication of eventual plant size. Mini roses may grow to over 3 feet in height and become too large for the space or container originally selected. For a complete description (including size) of those miniature roses that will do well in your zone, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to Recommendations for Miniature Rose Varieties in California. Any of the described miniature varieties will work well in containers provided that they do not grow to over 2 feet in height.
“Miniflora” roses are larger than miniatures and are bred specifically for rose shows. They tend to have ungainly structures that don’t work well in containers, or in most garden settings.
Resist the temptation to purchase for garden use the cute or inspiringly lovely potted miniature roses you might see in the grocery store checkout line or in other impulse-sale areas: these roses may not be suitable for your climate and growing conditions. GardenZeus recommends purchasing known rose varieties that are suitable for your zone from a reputable nursery or mail order source.
Nutrient Needs. Roses are heavy feeders and container roses may need more frequent applications of nitrogen, amendments, and/or fertilizer than their in-ground counterparts.
Companion Planting. Roses in containers will generally be grow most successfully when they aren’t competing for root space with too many other plants. While attractive groupings of roses, perennials and annuals are possible, be judicious about crowding roses in containers. Possible companions for container roses include alyssum; low-growing monocots; and small, well-behaved ornamental grasses, especially in colors that compliment or contrast with your specific rose bloom colors.
For common problems associated with growing roses in containers, see Growing Roses in Containers: Common Problems.
Companion planting in the rose garden
Last updated on 3 April 2019
There are many benefits to introducing other plants to your rose garden. Water saving and pest repelling are just two benefits of companion planting.
MORE COMPANION PLANTING: Benefits of companion planting
In this border, standard roses are underplanted with Russian sage, ‘My Granny’ roses and massed pansies.
While roses of course will always be the star of the show, other plants can be used to enhance their beauty, hide the bare stems, repel pests and keep the soil cool.
Combine perennials and large shrub roses in mixed borders. Panarosa varieties make a statement on their own, so plant them singly. Group hybrid teas and floribundas in groups of three.
Alyssum and lobelia double as mulch and seasonal colour under ‘Red Manikin’ roses.
Growing tips: Space large roses at least 1,5m apart. During the first year or two, don’t allow any competing growth to touch the bush until it has developed well above the perennials. When pruning in winter, don’t cut back to knee height but trim lightly, leaving at least 30cm above the tips of the perennials. During the growing season, don’t pick too many long-stemmed blooms at once as this reduces the balance of leaves and lessens the rose’s vigour.
Mulch for companion planting
Groundcovers make an excellent living mulch for roses and they also increase humidity at leaf and bloom level. Just make sure that they don’t grow into the rose bush.
Clipped Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’, gaura, forget-me-nots, foxgloves and rosemary act as mulch, seasonal colour and repel insects.
Ideal companions: Suitable varieties include ajuga, alyssum, calamint, echeveria, mazus, Australian violets, violets, evening primrose, snow in summer (Cerastium tomentosa), lamium, lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) and mondo grass. Avoid those with dense and spreading root systems that’ll compete for food and water.
Growing tips: If roses are planted 80cm apart they’ll shade the soil so use shade lovers like ajuga, lamium or some plectranthus varieties. For flowering groundcovers, plant the roses about 1,5m apart.
Low-growing borders filled with annuals liven up bare rose beds especially in winter after pruning, and remain colourful until October when the roses are also in bloom.
Companion planting: Silvery lamb’s ear and alyssum complement ‘Johannesburg Garden Club’ and ‘Duncan’s Rose’.
Ideal plants: In summer, use varieties that flower continuously, like alyssum, ageratum, begonias, dwarf dahlias, impatiens, marigolds, mimulus, and verbena. White alyssum is a favourite because it’s ground hugging, flowers non-stop, self-seeds and fills the air with scent. In winter, plant Namaqualand daisies, pansies, primulas, petunias, violas and poppies. Iceland poppies are the most suitable because they don’t have a lot of leaves that could interfere with sprouting.
Companion planting: Low-growing violas hide the bare stems of ‘Garden and Home’ rose during winter and spring.
Growing tips: Create a narrow bed between the edge of the lawn and the roses. Make a note of the drip line of the rose (the outer extent of its growth before pruning) and only plant beyond this. Dig in plenty of compost so there’s no competition for nutrients.
Planting roses and vegetables together is nothing new. They rubbed shoulders in traditional English and French gardens where roses were planted to attract pollinators, especially bees, to fertilise the veggies. Both grow best in full sun, like level beds, fertile soil and need regular, ample watering.
READ MORE: Planting a bee-friendly garden
Companion planting: Aromatic Lavandula stoechas confuses insects keeping them away from the ‘Iceberg’ blooms.
Ideal companions: Select roses that free up ground space like standards and upright spire roses for the back of veggie beds. Or use climbers and shrub roses that can be trained up a pillar, on a trellis or over an archway. In front of the roses, grow compact veggies such as beetroot, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes and the smaller varieties of chillies and sweet peppers, which won’t overwhelm the roses and block out the sun.
Growing tips: Choose organic insecticides like Ludwig’s Insect Spray that can be safely used on both. Fertilise regularly with Vigorosa, especially leafy greens, brinjals and peppers.
Good idea: Set aside part of the veggie garden for hybrid tea roses to provide fresh cut flowers for eight months of the year.
“Grow a variety of strong-smelling plants alongside roses to confuse insects,” advises expert rose grower, Ludwig Taschner. “Garlic is excellent, but because the strong-smelling foliage is way below the flowers – the target of the insects – you need to include other plants as well.
Spire roses ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘Climbing Iceberg’ attract essential pollinators like bees to the vegetable and herb garden.
Ideal companions: Herbs with strongly aromatic leaves like ‘Margaret Roberts’ lavender, feverfew, perennial basil, pyrethrum, rue, Russian sage (perovskia), santolina, scented geraniums, southernwood, tansy and wormwood.
Growing tips: Plant santolina instead of buxus as a low hedge around formal rose beds. After clipping, sprinkle the leafy offcuts amongst the roses as insect-repelling mulch.
Rose expert Ludwig Taschner’s companion planting tips and hints
- Give roses room to grow within a bed.
- Prune roses lightly so that the new growth starts above the level of the other plants and is the first to receive the sun.
- Supply enough water and nutrients for both the rose and the plants growing around it.
- Keep an open space around the rose stems, especially when planting groundcovers so that water and nutrients can penetrate.
- Don’t let surrounding plants crowd the roses or climb into the rose itself. If its leaves are smothered, the rose will eventually die.
Ludwig’s Roses 012 544 0144, , ludwigsroses.co.za
Find Rose Companions
If you thought roses had to be relegated to a bed by themselves, think again. These flowering shrubs make great companion plants. By adopting an informal approach to design, you open the door to limitless creative options. There are benefits to playing garden matchmaker. Here are eight great reasons to find your perfect pairing.
- Extend the season with non-stop color by combining annuals, perennials, grasses and even other shrubs.
- Perk up a blah border by adding contrast and texture with spiky blooms (foxglove or grasses), bold, coarse leaves (brunnera), or frothy inflorescences (baby’s breath).
- Attract beneficial insects, birds and bees with a diverse palette. Did you know that hummingbirds gladly eat the aphids off of your rose bushes as they cruise for nectar?
- Create the ultimate cutting garden in your own backyard. Opt for long-lived, bouquet must-haves.
- Add structure with evergreen shrubs such as boxwood, senecio, sweet box or holly. Even herbs like sage, artemesia, rosemary and lavender help to shape a space.
- Exude charm and romance by under-planting with rambling vines like clematis, or by allowing your favorite rambling rose to clamber up a tree.
- Get the blues (the one color roses don’t offer) by planting sky-hued beauties like delphinium, veronica, iris and bluebeard (Caryopteris).
- Go organic with help from popular herbs. Pungent and potent, good old garlic, geranium, and mint send pests packing.
Rose Companion Planting Guide
- For a harmonious union, choose well-behaved plants with similar growth requirements as your rose.
- Install companions 12 to 18 inches away from roses to avoid disturbing the roots.
- Avoid plants that crowd or provide too much shade. Roses do not like to compete for water, nutrients or sunlight.
- Choose clumping-type perennials or grasses that stay contained instead of spreading beyond their boundaries.
Consider planting floral greenery or other long-lasting cut flowers as bouquet companions for your roses. In this arrangement, iris, asters, oriental lilies, Peruvian lilies, sword fern, bear grass and leatherleaf contrast nicely with red hybrid tea roses. Grow perennials among your roses to color between flushes of blooms.
What About Groundcovers?
At Heirloom Roses, we are often asked about groundcovers and which, if any, are suitable for planting around roses. Groundcovers are an inherently attractive idea for covering up the bare lower stems of roses, particularly hybrid teas, which tend to lose their lower leaves. However, many groundcovers are simply too aggressive to be compatible. Ground covers may also be in direct conflict with some of our most basic rose care, such as raking up leaves or deadheading, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them if you pick the right ones. Consider your rose maintenance practices to ensure a good match. Do you regularly remove spent blooms during the summer? Some groundcovers resent being trampled on while others are tolerant.
Ground Covers We Love
- Those that take light foot traffic, such as the Steppables collection, which includes violets, sedums and strawberries.
- Prostrate, ground-huggers like woolly thyme, Corsican mint or blue star creeper.
- Tough growers such as dwarf mondo grass withstand some raking.
- Summer annuals that offer seasonal color, yet doesn’t get in the way of fall cleanup or mulching. Try alyssum, lobelia, lantana, petunias, summer snapdragon (Angelonia), million bells (Calibrachoa), verbena and pinks (Dianthus).
Clockwise from upper left: veronica, lantana, alyssum and Labrador violet all make excellent groundcovers beneath roses.
Companions for Pest Control
True companion planting is rooted in permaculture and vegetable gardening. Most organic growers know the secrets that marigolds, geraniums, basil, and mint hold in repelling pests, along with the aforementioned garlic (as well as chives, ornamental and edible onions). Did you know that members of the Allium family are reported to increase the perfume of roses and help prevent black spot in addition to warding off insect pests?
Clockwise from upper left: Ornamental allium, basil, catmint and marigold are some of the more popular companion plants used to repel insect pests.
Ward off Pests the Natural Way
- Onions repel aphids, weevils, borers, moles
- Garlic repels aphids, thrips and helps to fight black spot and mildew. For best results you may need to plant garlic with roses for several years.
- Chives repel many pests
- Basil repels aphids, mosquitoes, moles
- Geraniums repel Japanese beetles, aphids and rose beetles
- Marigolds discourages harmful nematodes, repels pests and is a trap plant for slugs
- Parsley repels rose beetles
- Mint deters ants and aphids
- Tansy deters flying insects, Japanese beetles
- Tomatoes help to protect roses from black spot
Companion Plants for Roses
Grasses and Spiky Foliage
- Blue Oat Grass Daylily (Hemerocallis)
- Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)
- Iris (Japanese, Bearded)
- Montbretia (Crocosmia)
- New Zealand Flax Ornamental Sedges (Carex)
- Silver Grass (Miscanthus)
- Switchgrass (Panicum)
- Arctic Beauty Kiwi
- Vine Black-Eyed Susan Vine
- Bleeding Heart Glorybower
- Moonflower Vine
- Passion Vine (short varieties)
- Rose Jasmine
- Sweet Peas
- Variegated Porcelain Vine
Long-Lasting Cut Flowers
- Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila)
- Bellflower (Campanula)
- Black-Eyed Susan Carnation Coneflower (Echinacea)
- Coralbells (Heuchera)
- Cosmos Globe Thistle (Echinops)
- Goldenrod (Solidago)
- Japanese Anenome Larkspur (Delphinium)
- Lilac Peony (Paeonia)
- Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria)
- Shasta Daisy/Mums Speedwell (Veronica)
- Stock Yarrow (Achillea)
- Evergreen Huckleberry
- Ferns (numerous varieties)
- Japanese Euonymus
- Salal (Gaultheria)
- Sweet Box (Sarcococca)
- Variegated Pittosporum
- Buxus (Boxwood)
- Lonicera nitida
- Lonicera pileata
- Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo)
- Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly)
- Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Boy’
- Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’
- Taxus (Yew)
- Petunias/Million Bells
- Scented Geranium
- Artemesia ‘Guihzo’
- Artemisia ‘Silver Mound’
- Black Mondo Grass
- Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’
- Cimicifuga ‘Brunnette’
- Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’
- Dusty Miller
- Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’
- Euphorbia ‘Purpurea’
- Fancy-Leaved Geraniums
- Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls’
- Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’
- Lamb’s Ears (Stachys)
- Lavender Cotton (Santolina)
- Lobelia ‘Queen Victoria’
- Physocarpus ‘Diablo’
- Russian Sage (Perovskia)
- Sambucus ‘Black Beauty
- Senecio greyii
- Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’
- Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
- Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’
- Smokebush (Cotinus)
- Spiraea ‘Goldmound’
These guidelines to companion planting are just suggestions to keep in mind. Each garden is unique and many factors should should be considered during the planning stage. These factors include sun exposure, weather, ecology, pollinators, insect population, soil structure and chemistry, and water supply. West Coast Seeds has conducted significant research into these companion planting guidelines and has defined the best possible results and reasons for each of our recommendations.
The benefits of Companion Planting include:
Minimizing Risk: Companion planting increases odds of higher yields even if one crop fails or effected by natural hardships such as weather, pests or disease.
Crop Protection: Companion planting can offer a more delicate plant shelter from weather such as wind or sun by growing beside another plant which can shield and protect while itself having a natural defense against the harsher conditions.
Trap Cropping: Companion planting is the ultimate organic pest management system. Some plants helps repel unwanted pests, while others can be used to lure pests away from the garden. This is referred to as trap cropping.
Positive Hosting: Planting in proximity to plants which produce a surplus of nectar and pollen can increase the population of beneficial insects that will manage harmful pests.
Here are some basic guidelines for successful companion planting:
Agastache – Very attractive to bees. Plant a row away from the garden to lure cabbage moths away from Brassica crops. Do not plant 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 – White flowering mums repel Japanese beetles. All Chrysanthemums are attractive to tachinid flies and parasitic wasps.
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.
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.
Turnip – 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.
We have been asked to clarify what we mean by “near” in terms of what makes a good or bad neighbour. This differs according to the context. 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 (for example), which can be a real problem for broccoli and Brussels sprouts. So a long row of potatoes next to a long row of broccoli is not recommended. By practicing routine Crop Rotation, the right soil conditions can be maintained for the right crops, and soil borne diseases can be avoided altogether.
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