Fruit tree companion planting

I’ve begun to use a lot of common comfrey and Russian comfrey around in-ground fig bushes as fertilizer and living mulch. They add great beauty and I’m expecting extreme functionality. I planted comfrey for the first time last year, so my thoughts on this are still tentative due to only limited direct observation so far but my hopes are great and I’ll know a lot more by the end of this year, and then by the following year especially.
I prefer Russian to common because Russian is a hybrid with sterile seeds, therefore don’t have to worry about the plant spreading by seed. It will spread by root if you dig around its roots, so don’t disturb the plant if you don’t want it to spread. Its roots grow deep basically straight down not interfering with fig roots which spread above. Comfrey is such a powerful all purpose mineral extractor (clay, no problem) that I anticipate that comfrey will completely eliminate any fertilizing needs of in-ground fig bushes (not that I fertilize them much anyway). Alex Ojeda claims that comfrey even brings up water from deep to surrounding plants. (I’m a bit dubious but can see a point in that its abundant foliage holds a lot of water and that foliage can be cut regularly and mulched under.) Comfrey can be cut back multiple times per year, is extremely frost resistant, comes on very early in spring as if it were summer, a month ahead of the growing zone, so it’s a delight to see it come booming on when most all else remains barren. In addition to its mass of lush long leaves it has beautiful small bell like flowers. (Good info on comfrey:…ing-14-s.shtml)
If you need to get rid of comfrey you can’t typically dig it out but I’ve read that you can put a tarp or possibly garden fabric and mulch over it for a year and eliminate it that way.
I also use swales (ditches) dug on contour (more-or-less) mulched in the dip and over the berm to capture water and to divert it into the ground preventing run-off. Eventually, my hope is that my swales will be deep enough and heavily mulched enough that I will not need to irrigate. One of the photos here shows a swale above a common comfrey plant and a small fig bush with one limb preserved over winter by the low limb technique. I’ve planted recently many seeds of a variety of herbs and flowers along these swales along with many small comfrey roots, so this scene next year should show a mass of green instead of the current bare wood chips. Most of the surrounding in-ground fig bushes are waiting to come up from the ground. Next year I will low cordon or low limb all of those bushes so that they will also show green at this point next year, leafing out like the one low limb here next to the comfrey plant.
Alex Ojeda talks about using permaculture to eliminate fertilizating and irrigating, and to improve the health, nutrition, and vigor of the plants, trees, their produce, and the ecology in general, all of which is my goal. See this entire great video, or for his remarks about comfrey see the 21:06 mark: Permaculture Principles –

Man has been cultivating figs for at least 10,000 years and probably before that. During that time, many growing combinations will have been tried. We don’t need trial and error as we have all of that combined knowledge of companion planting figs to draw upon,

The benefits of companion planting are well known and scientifically proven to improve plant health and growth. Fig companion planting is an interesting one as most figs do better with confined roots. This means that we need to be mindful that companion plants will be in competition for nutrients.

Companion Planting Figs

I mentioned confining the roots this is because if given too much root space the fig will grow large but not produce much fruit. Unless you want to wait for many years until it gets established, containerise your fig and reap fruit quicker. For the purposes of this guide I’ll include as many companion plants as I can.

What Grows Well With Figs?

There are a lot of plants that benefit the health and growth of figs when grown in companion, these include:

  • Rue
  • Comfrey
  • Mint
  • Stinging Nettles
  • Strawberries
  • Marigolds

Fig Companion Plants

Rue and Figs

Common rue is a herb that originally came from the same part of the world as figs and have probably been natural companions for years. Companion planting rue with figs will deter insect pests like aphids and fruit flies. For more information on.

Some people will tell you never to grow figs and rue together, but none give any reasons for this. I have never seen any problems with this combination but as they say “you’re never too old to learn”. So if you have had experience of problems companion planting figs with rue please let me know in the comments.

Comfrey and Figs

Much more beneficial if your fig is free planted in the ground, as comfrey will release many nutrients from deep in the soil. If you’re growing in a container, comfrey will attract many beneficial insects once it flowers.

For more on

Mint and Figs

This useful herb will attract hoverflies, predatory wasps, and ladybirds to your plot. These are beneficial insects that will keep many of the bad bugs away. Always grow mint in containers otherwise it will become invasive and uncontrollable.

To find out more about .

Stinging Nettles and Figs

Allowing a patch of stinging nettles to grow under your figs will be of great benefit and add a wild side to your garden. Stinging nettles attract many beneficial insects including ladybirds, bees, and butterflies. These are great for aphid control and pollination.

An added bonus is that due to all the insect activity, many bad bugs keep away. To find out more about .

Strawberries and Figs

Originally a woodland plant, strawberries will benefit from the dappled shade provided by the fig leaves and will provide ground cover. Keeping weeds at bay will prevent many bad bugs that live in weed growth and save nutrients and water. If possible grow alpine or woodland strawberries as these are most suitable for underplanting.

To find out more on.

Marigolds and Figs

All marigolds are beneficial garden plants and they will grow well under figs. Marigolds keep harmful nematodes like eel worms away from your plants and add mycorrhizal fungi to the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi encourages the exchange of beneficial nutrients between neighbouring plants.

To learn more about .

What Not To Grow With Figs

Rhododendron and Figs

Some peolpe advise growing rhododendrons as companion plants for figs I can only assume they are not in the UK. The problem is rhododendrons are very invasive and the smallest piece of root will grow a new plant. There are areas of Scotland that have extensive gangs of volunteer gardeners with the sole purpoose of destroying rhododendrons.

The rhododendron not only spreads like wildfire, but also exudes chemicals to inhibit the growth of other neighbouring plants.

For more information on how to grow figs .

Seasoned organic growers know the value of planting companion vegetables and herbs, and fruit tree companion planting for reducing pest and disease problems and boosting yields.

Right>> How to grow enough to feed a family on 4 square feet.

We have distilled their know-how to provide a companion plant guide and companion planting charts to help you reap the benefits in your garden or orchard.

In our companion planting charts I have represented plant relationships in an easy to use two dimensional format… much like the real layout in a garden, rather than the usual long list of friends and antagonists.

Thanks to Michael from TipsPlants for this great graphic >>>>

This approach made it easier for me to make practical use companion planting wisdom and I hope you enjoy it too. But more on that later…

Don’t Sweat It!

The most important thing to glean from this information is a general “feel” for the benefits to be gained from planting companion vegetables and herbs, and fruit tree companion planting. Gardening should be enjoyable, so try not to tie yourself up in knots!

The other thing is to realize is that your situation of climate, soils, drainage, and aspect is unique. Your own companion planting wisdom borne of experience in your area will be superior to anything you may learn from others, so experiment, observe and learn!


Companion planting is the art of putting plants that get along next to each other and those that don’t away from each other.

Companion planting can be applied in both time and space. Plants that don’t get along should neither be planted next to each other at the same time, nor following each other in your crop rotation.

And the benefits from plants that do get along can be reaped by not just planting them together in the same bed, but also by having them in adjacent beds, or by following one with the other in your crop rotation.


In many cases the reasons why some plants get along together better than others is not well understood. However, there are reasons to explain at least some of the benefits of strategic inter-planting as opposed to haphazard mixing, or worse, single crop (monoculture) planting.

Some of the mechanisms that create beneficial plant associations are:

  • More Effectively Use Space:

Higher total yields can be achieved through better use of space. In Permaculture this is known as “stacking”.
Shade loving plants such as Lettuce and Cucumber, for example, can be planted with tall, sun-loving plants such as Sunflowers and Corn.

Climbers such as Beans or Cucumber can use Corn as a trellis to climb upon without sacrificing its yield.
Fast and slow maturing crops can be planted in the same bed, as can those with edible parts in different vertical location on the plant – such as radishes with carrots, lettuce and cauliflower.

  • Nitrogen Fixing:

Plant legumes (peas, beans, lucerne, clover and some trees) are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen via symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria. This ability provides essential nitrogen not only for their own use but also for the benefit of neighboring plants, making them healthier and more resistant to disease.

Beans, for example, can be inter-planted with corn, cucumber, lettuce, parsley, carrots and cabbage family plants (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) and broad beans with potatoes.

Similarly, acacias and tagastaste shrubs can be inter-planted with fruit trees to provide them with nitrogen.

Weeds also improve impoverished soils, owing to their ability to extract nutrients where more domesticated plants cannot, leaving biomass and nutrients on the surface available to other plants through the recycling action of living soils or composting.

They also add organic matter to soil and render compacted soils more friable and open to air and water penetration.

Companion Planting a Bug Free Garden

  • Repel Pests:

Some plants exude chemicals that suppress or repel pests and protect neighboring plants.

Companion planting marigold type plants such as Calendula, African Marigold and Stinking Roger (the latter sparingly) for example, benefits susceptible plants from the release a nematode repellent from their roots.

They also taint the sap of neighboring plants with their smell which deters feeding by White Flies (Flowering Tobacco has the same effect). Mint, on the other hand, attracts White Flies, so should always be accompanied by a few marigolds.

Mature aromatic herbs such as Basil release insect repellants from their foliage, protecting tomatoes, and peach and apricot trees. Companion planting Sage with onions, carrots, cabbage or turnips has a similar effect.

  • Support Beneficial Animals:

Plants such as Borage and Lemon Balm attract bees, which are needed for pollination of most food plants, greatly improving yields.

Others, notably Umbelliferous plants (their flowers are shaped like a flat umbrella – see photo) such as coriander, dill, fennel, parsnip, anise, cummin, carrot, and parsley, are magnets for predatory bugs such as wasps and hover flies that prey on aphids, caterpillars and other garden pests. This is because their flowers furnish nourishment for the adult, nectar feeding stage, of the predator.

Bird attracting plants (e.g. Sow Thistle, and a wide range of nectar producing Australian natives) and nest boxes can lure omnivorous birds into your garden where they’ll look for a high protein insect meal after feasting on the flowers.

Allowing hens or ducks periodically into gardens also serves to reduce pest and weed numbers while furnishing a yield for you in their eggs or meat.

  • Confuse Pests:

Pest control benefits can also result from the diverse canopy produced when corn is companion planted with squash or pumpkins, which may disorient pests such as the adult squash vine borer and protect the vining crop from this damaging pest. Planting Poplar trees on the border of an orchard of similar looking foliage can confuse parrots causing them to miss the fruit trees within.

  • Act as Decoys:

Some plants are more attractive to pests, distracting them from the main crop. For example, Collards can be used to draw the Diamond Back Moth away from Cabbage, and Eggplant with Potato to serve as a lure for Colorado Potato Beetle.

Similarly, Capulin Cherry will attract parrots away from other fruit trees.

Yellow Nasturtiums can be planted around tomatoes to serve as a decoy for Black Aphids, and can be removed with their pest burden before the Aphids’ young develop wings. Borage is reported to have a similar effect on Tomato Worms.

  • Suppress Weeds or Pests:

The manufacture and release of certain biochemicals is also a factor in plant antagonism. Black walnut and Wormwood both release chemicals that suppress the growth of a wide range of other plants.

But such effects can also be used positively. A tea made from Wormwood will repel slugs and aphids.

A mulch of mow killed grain rye prevents weed germination but does not harm transplanted tomatoes, broccoli, or many other vegetables.

Tagetes minuta (Mexican Marigold) enriches and cleanses the soil when grown near woody plants (shrubs and fruit trees) while strongly suppressing the germination of annuals such as weeds – good preparation for subsequent vegetable crops.


Most of the vegetable varieties that humans like to eat (leaf crops such as lettuce, cabbage and silverbeet, and others such as corn, tomatoes and squash) are heavy feeders, requiring fertile soils rich in phosphate, nitrogen, calcium and other nutrients.

Others, such as root crops (carrots, turnips, radishes and beets), are light feeders and prefer low nitrogen conditions but thrive on compost. And then there are the heavy givers that actually add nitrogen to the soil, such as beans, peas and other legumes.

To best utilize and maintain soil fertility it makes sense to rotate crops from each category in this order: light feeding root crops followed by heavy giving legumes followed by leafy heavy feeding crops.

Such a crop rotation in time gives the soil a rest and a chance to rejuvenate between nutrient depleting crops.

A sensible regime for optimum yield would be:

  • Prepare the soil for heavy feeders with a large amount of nutrient by growing a heavy giving green manure crop (e.g. vetch, clover, alfalfa) using compost, phosphorus (e.g. the manure of seed eating birds), potash (e.g. the tailings from a wood fire) and bone meal (calcium and phosphorus).
  • After heavy feeders have been harvested, phosphorus and potash are returned to the soil in the form of compost, supplemented with bone meal and a little potash.
  • Light feeders are then grown.
  • After light feeders have been harvested, a rotation of heavy givers is grown to pave the way for the next heavy feeding crop.

Plants that Benefit Everything:

As a general companion plant guide, these plants are friendly helpers to most others:

  • Aromatic Herbs – Lemon Balm, Marjoram, and Oregano (but not liked by Cucumber).
  • Other Herbs – Valerian and Camomile.
  • “Weeds” – Dandelion and Stinging Nettle (gain the benefits via crop rotation or by using to make mulch, compost or liquid manure).
  • Trees – Oak, Wattle, Tagasaste.


The following companion planting charts illustrate both the antagonistic and beneficial relationships between commonly used plants for planting companion vegetables and herbs and fruit tree companion planting.

Plants that share the same circle get along well together, either as mutually beneficial companions, or neutral neighbors. Those that do not share the same circle should not be grown together.

Planting Companion Vegetables and Herbs

In this companion planting chart for planting companion vegetables and herbs I have tried to show the most relevant plant relationships in a two dimensional spatial way.

For example, for companion planting potato, grow it with beans, corn, cabbage, radish, marigold and eggplant.

For chilli companion planting, since it is a type of “pepper”, it will do well with a wide range of plants including Basil, Lettuce, Leek, Borage, Pumpkins, Beans, Onion, Nasturtium and Parsley, but not with Potato or Eggplant.

As a guide to planting companion vegetables and herbs this approach only has a few exceptions:

Cabbage and Tomato: while they share the same circle, the arrow between them denotes an antagonistic relationship. The same is true of Cucumber and Potato.

Another exception to this chart is the Pole Bean, which for unfathomable reasons exhibits relationships unlike that of other beans: while like other beans, Pole Beans enjoy Corn and Summer Savory as companions, they don’t get along at all well with Beets or Sunflowers.

Fruit Tree Companion Planting

Plants outside the circles are those that tend to antagonize most others, such as Black Walnut, Hawthorn and White Pine.

Tansy is a great companion to Apricot, Peach, Apple, Plum, Berries and Pear, while Grapes are better with Nasturtium and Garlic as companions.

While there is no ill effect on Peach, Plum or Berries, grow cabbage family (Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower) and solanum family vegetables (Eggplant, Tomato, Capsicum) away from Apricots.

Finally, planting companion vegetables and herbs with fruit trees in your garden and orchard creates biodiversity. And so it mimics a natural system, sharing in its resilience and high sustainable yield. Over time such systems will just get better and better.

Happy organic gardening!

The benefit of adding a fruit tree — or trees, as the case may be — to your farm or homestead goes beyond its fruitful bounty. Planting and. You may be looking at the bare ground under your fruit trees and wonder what to plant around them. Companion planting has been around for. Companion planting creates an environment in the garden that encourages the quality of nearby crops. By placing the right plants together, growth is enhanced, .

Companions For Fruit – Learn About Compatible Plants For A Fruit Garden Companion planting with fruit trees isn’t only about planting a lot of pretty Space Along Sidewalks: Tips For Growing Trees Around Sidewalks. Learn what grows well with apple trees in this article and help fend up valuable minerals and nutrients that benefit all the plants around them. Various plants can be planted around the fruit tree which help it to grow even better and give more production. This is called companion planting. Garlic, onion .

Companion planting creates an environment in the garden that encourages the quality of nearby crops. By placing the right plants together, growth is enhanced, . Companion Plants for Fruit Trees good companion plants are the up more and more nutrients and creating humus around their root zone. Why? Adding more plants to your orchard area can help by: Providing nutrients to your fruit trees; Preventing weeds from competing with your fruit trees.

See more ideas about Vegetables garden, Fruit tree garden and Veg garden. Fruit tree guild (how to plant beneficial plants around fruit trees)- GREAT SITE. Planting Companion Vegetables and Herbs, and Fruit Tree Companion Planting. Fruit tree guild plans. (how to plant beneficial plants around fruit trees) Dwarf. You may be looking at the bare ground under your fruit trees and wonder what to plant around them. Companion planting has been around for.

Often considered as plant that will only grow in hot climates, peaches are much tougher than the fruit looks. In fact, as long as you provide them a fairly sheltered environment, with protection from strong winds they will do well. By companion planting peach trees with other helpful plants you will improve the health and yield of your fruit crop.

Companion Planting Peach Trees

One of the main problems when growing peaches in the UK is wind because the delicate flowers can easily get damaged. Later in the season once the fruits have set and are ripening, the problem is insects. As with all soft fruit, fruit flies are the biggest problem according to the Western Australian department of agriculture and food they are also a problem there as well.

Here’s a link to their website for all the relevant information on fruit flies. You can make fruit fly traps ( more below) but because they are such prolific breeders you also need a deterrent. That’s where companion planting comes in handy.

Peach Tree Companion Plants

Peach Trees and Tansy

Although poisonous if consumed, tansy is a great insect repellent and will keep the fruit flies and aphids away from your peaches. Take care if you do grow tansy under your peach trees as it can be invasive but it not only repels insects it also contains a high potassium content. So it will improve the growth of all surrounding plants.

Due to it’s high potassium content, tansy makes a great addition to the compost bin as well. If space is an issue you can hang dried tansy in the tree’s branches to repel the fruit flies. It also works if leaves and flowers are spread around the ground around your trees.

Peach Trees and Basil

Basil is another aromatic plant that will keep the fruit flies and aphids away from your peach trees. Its flowers also attract bees and other helpful pollinators but peaches flower too early in the season for this to be much use. However a steady flow of bees and other flying insects is known to keep wasps away and will protect your fruit.

For more information on companion planting basil click the link.

Peach Trees and Garlic

Companion planting garlic with your peach trees will keep pests away and improve resistance to fungal infections. This is due to the high sulphur content in garlic. Click here to find out more about companion planting garlic.

Peach Trees and Onions

Due to the strong aroma of the onions, the insects will be fooled into passing by your peach trees.

Peach Trees and Chives

Another member of the allium family, chives do a similar job of protection by disguising the peach trees. The strong aroma from the chives works well and they look pretty too.

Peach Trees and Strawberries

Originally a woodland plant, strawberries make the perfect companion for peach trees and fruit trees in general.

Peach Trees and Asparagus

As asparagus is an early crop it can be grown under peach trees and harvested before the tree gets too full of leaves. The peach leaves will create a natural mulch as the year goes on so it’s win, win situation.

Peach Trees and Grapevines

Most experts agree that this companion planting combination works but none say why. My conclusion is they both thrive in similar conditions as they both originate in Mediterranean climates.

What Not To Grow With Peach Trees

As with all plants and people no one gets on with everyone, peaches are just the same. Under no circumstances should the following be grown anywhere near peach trees.

Peach Trees and Peppers

Keep peppers as far away from your peach trees as is possible because peppers can carry a fungus that is potentially devastating to peach trees. Verticillium wilt is one of the main infections that affects peach and apricot trees and is prevalent in peppers. For more information on this disease click here to go to the Agriculture Victoria website.

For a more in depth look at companion planting peppers click the link.

Peach Trees and Chilli peppers

The same fungal infection that can be carried by peppers can also be carried by chilli peppers as well. Grow them in a different part of the garden to prevent the spread of this disease.

Fruit Fly Trap

A simple trap can be made by pouring apple cider vinegar in a bowl and covering with cling film. Pierce several small holes through the cling film to allow the smell to escape and the fruit flies to enter. Fruit flies don’t seem to be able to resist the aroma of the cider vinegar and then they get trapped in the bowl and can’t find their way out.

Change the vinegar regularly to keep its efficacy and watch the fruit flies flock to it. The trouble is they are such prolific breeders so this trap on its own is not enough and you will need to employ the companion planting tips as well.

Companion planting is the idea that certain plants attract beneficial insects and fix soil nutrients in the edible garden. It’s not a dog-eat-dog world out there; it’s a bug-eat-bug world that forms the food chain that feeds us.

A ground cover of strawberries is below a ‘Saturn’ peach in full bloom.

Fresh fruit picked off your own trees is a hot horticultural pursuit these days. Homeowners envision delectable apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries dripping from their trees. Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of work that goes into those beautiful fruits. Bumps and blemishes from an army of fruit tree pests are the reality of the orchardist.

Organic gardeners know the first step in pest control is to work with Mother Nature. The majority of bugs in the garden are good guys: beneficial insects that pollinate and form the framework of the web of life. Every time one of these beneficials stops a pest, it is one step towards a productive and healthier garden. Planting plants that attract the good guys is a good leap forward in designing and planting a successful stand of fruit trees. The plants that attract pollinators and protectors and aid in providing soil nutrients and improved vigor are called companion plants.

Much about companion plantings is pure garden lore, unproven by scientific research, or has conflicting results. All of the plants described here are utilized at Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden, which is the largest edible landscape in the country.

The first step is to always choose fruit tree varieties hardy and adapted to your specific region and select varieties of proven disease resistance. Even after growing the most recommended varieties for our region, Powell Gardens saw marked pest reductions and healthier trees after they were moved from our nursery in a fescue field to their permanent location in the Heartland Harvest Garden where they were surrounded by companion plantings.

A dwarf ‘Red Delicious’ apple tree thrives with lemon balm (beneath) and chives (foliage in the background) as companions.

Apples | (Malus pumila varieties and hybrids)

Apples suffer from a host of maladies from apple scab to pests like the coddling moth, Oriental fruit moth, flat-headed apple borer and others. Apples are not self-fruitful so they must have pollinating insects (native bees are best) to cross pollinate compatible varieties. “Wild roses” are great shrubby companions to apples because they host predatory insects. Try Illinois prairie rose (Rosa setigera), rugosa roses (Rosa rugosa), short Arkansas prairie rose (Rosa arkansana), apple rose (Rosa villosa formerly R. pomifera), sweetbrier rose (Rosa eglanteria) as well as a few new single-flowering cultivars such as Rainbow Knock out and ‘Oso Easy Fragrant Spreader’.

Long-blooming, self-sowing anise hyssops (Agastache foeniculum) can attract beneficial insects. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) planted around the trunks of young apple trees protect them from apple borers, prevent apple scab and attract beneficial insects to their flowers. Deadhead chives or you’ll have pernicious seedlings. Mulleins (Verbascum spp.) act as traps for stink bugs that can damage young fruit. Plant perennial Verbascum chaixii, which reblooms if deadheaded and will self-sow lightly. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is another perennial that attracts parasitic insects to control pesky caterpillars, though other members in the carrot family also work.

Ground covers of strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) serve as host to apple-protecting insects. White “Dutch” clover (Trifolium repens) not only provides nitrogen to the soil but attracts predatory insects like various species of ground beetles. It also blooms early with the apples helping to attract pollinators. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is also a good companion where it can be confined.

Pears | (European Pyrus communis and Asian Pyrus pyrifolia varieties and hybrids)

Pears are close apple relatives and also not self-fruitful. They require pollinating insects to cross-pollinate different cultivars of each species. Pear flowers are malodorous so various native flies, wasps and beetles are the pollinators. Chives also protect the trunks of young pears from borers so plant them around their bases. Three groups of mints are great companion plants. True mints (Mentha spp.) are outstanding companions to pears, but they need to be controlled or in confined spaces. Bergamots and beebalms (Monarda spp.) are good companions, but mountain mints (Pycnanthemum spp.) might be the best. Native perennial mountain mints attract an assortment of flies and wasps when in bloom—and no, they don’t attract house flies and yellow jackets. Fennel is another must near pears. We recommend dark bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) for color contrast.

Yellow-flowering marigolds, white-flowering garlic chives and the flower stalks of dill going to seed are companions to peach trees in Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden.

Peaches and Nectarines | (Prunus persica and var. nectarina or nucipersica and hybrids)

Peaches are self-fruitful but still require pollinating insects like honeybees. Garlic (Allium sativum) and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are the two most important companions to peaches as they deter their worst pests, the two species of peach tree borer moths. Plant these around the trunks of the trees. You may grow the garlic as a crop but be sure to deadhead garlic chives because, just like chives, it is a pernicious seeder and difficult to remove once established. Garlic chives’ fall bloom attracts an array of beneficial insects.

Strawberries are an essential ground cover beneath peaches as they are an alternate host of a parasite that attacks Oriental fruit moths (supported by research). Plant wild strawberries and let them be or plant your favorite cultivars of June-bearing or ever-bearing varieties, which require a bit more seasonal care. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is another perennial ground cover companion with ferny leaves and daisy-like flowers. It attracts beneficial insects but does not provide habitat for borers.

The annuals borage (Borago officinalis), dill (Anethum graveolens) and marigolds (Tagetes patula) are companions to peaches. We’ve had good results from all three.

Cherries | (Sweet Prunus avium and pie Prunus cerasus, their varieties and hybrids)

Sweet cherries are mostly self-infertile (‘Lapin’ is an exception) and require a compatible cultivar for cross pollination. Pie or sour cherries are self-fruitful but require pollinators. There are hybrids between the two groups (‘Danube’, ‘Jubilieum’) that have wonderful sweet-tart fruit and are also self-fruitful. Cherries are closely related to peaches and also suffer from the peach tree borer so the use of garlic and garlic chives near the trunks is beneficial. Utilize the same companion plantings as for peaches.

Plums | (Prunusspecies and their hybrids and varieties)

Plums are mainly self-infertile and need another cultivar for cross pollination. Plums are also closely related to peaches and do better with the same companion plants. The plum curculio weevil is the bane of this plant, so plant white clover, which promotes ground beetles. Weevils are controlled by plants in the Laurel family, which includes our native spicebush (Lindera benzoin), and we’re going to add it as a companion beneath plums.

Garlic chives bloom in fall and attract many pollinators and beneficial insects. A Viceroy butterfly and other insects are nectaring on the flowers.

(Photography by Alan Branhagen)

Alan Branhagen is director of horticulture at Powell Gardens where he selected and designed all the permanent plantings in the Heartland Harvest Garden (America’s largest edible landscape).


Healthy fruits come from healthy plants that live in a community, these communities are often referred to as guilds. Pollination is essential and therefore all fruit plants and trees should have some pollinator plants (like herbs and flowers) growing in proximity. For easy maintenance of fruit trees especially it is very useful to plant a nitrogen or nutrient accumulating plant such comfrey or borage.

Companion Planting is an integral part of permaculture and a holistic approach to gardening where you plant different crops in proximity for maximising the use of space, providing nutrients, shade or support, increasing crop productivity, attracting beneficial insects, pest control / repelling pests, pollination or providing a space for beneficial creatures. The concept is an ongoing process of living and learning with nature and increasing biodiversity to support a sustainable Eco system. Below is a quick reference guide for fruit companion planting:

View all Fruit Growing Guides


Good Companions

Not a Companion


Clover, chives, garlic, leeks, nasturtium, foxgloves, southernwood, daffodils, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, marigold and other flowers. Cedar, walnut, grass, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, potatoes.


Alliums, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, basil, nasturtiums, buckwheat, plums, peaches, tansy and other flowers, sounternwood. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, eggplant, oats, barley, sage.


Velvet beans, soya-beans, ration beans, cowpeas, lupin flowers, medics, wheat, rye, barley, teff, vetches, desmodiums, groundnuts, and buckwheat.


Comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, beans, peas and legumes, flowers, nasturtiums, papaya and sweet potato.


Lavender, thyme, dill, hyssop, lemon balm, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, borage, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, clover, alfalfa. Avoid plants that are prone to mildew and other fungal infections.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees should be planted in tandem (at least two together), and their best companions are alliums, tansy, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, nasturtiums, marigold, marjoram, lemon balm, mustards, dandelions, daffodils, borage and other flowers. Avoid plants that are prone to mildew and other fungal infections.


Mulberry, elm tree, hyssop, basil, beans, geraniums, oregano, clover,
peas, blackberries.


Chamomile and other flowers like nasturtium, oregano, summer savoury, corn, pumpkin, radish, squash.


Comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, beans and other climbers, flowers, nasturtiums, banana and sweet potato.

Passion fruit

Potatoes, beets, Swiss chard, carrots, spinach, strawberries, eggplants, onions, leeks, lettuce. Corn, cowpea, sorghum, sweet potatoe and okra.


Tansy, borage, basil, southernwood, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, garlic, onion, asparagus. Grass, potato, tomato and raspberries.


Any aromatic plant, comfrey and other nitrogen fixing plants, flowers. Grass, potato, tomato and raspberries.

Other Companion Planting Categories:


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