Do you follow the principles of companion planting in your garden? See our tips on what plants to plant next to each other—and which to plant far apart—including popular crops like tomatoes, basil, potatoes, beans, and more.
- What is Companion Planting?
- Benefits of Companion Planting
- Companion Plants for Vegetables
- Incompatible Edibles
- More Companion Plantings
- Strange Plant Pairings
- Learn More
- Incompatible Garden Plants: Learn About Plants That Don’t Like Each Other
- Incompatible Garden Plants
- What Plants Should Not Be Planted Together?
- Beets and Garlic
- Broccoli and Onions
- Carrots and Leeks
- Corn, Beans, and Squash
- Cucumbers and Peas
- Common Questions and Answers About Companion Planting
- How do you plant a companion garden?
- How does companion planting work?
- What should not be planted together?
- Want to learn more about vegetables that grow well together and companion planting?
- 14 Companion Plants That Should Always Be Planted Next to Each Other
- Here are some classic pairs of companion plants:
- Melons and Marigolds
- Time to get gardening!
- Companion Planting Guide
- Plant Relationships
- Some Plants Bully Others
- Proper Spacing with Companion Planting
- Saving Space with Garden Towers
- Three Sister Planting
- Companion Planting Chart
- Grow These Plants Side-By-Side For A Thriving Garden
- What To Plant Side-By-Side
- Easy Container Gardening Kits
- Guide to Companion Plants
What is Companion Planting?
It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Time-honored gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and yields. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, 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 lackluster crops.
Which vegetables should you plant next to each other? Which shouldn’t you plant together? Let’s take a look at the benefits of companion planting, then a list of the best companion plants.
Benefits of Companion Planting
There are plenty of reasons to plant certain crops together. For example…
- Shade regulation: Large plants provide shade for smaller plants in need of sun protection.
- Natural supports: Tall plants like corn and sunflowers can support 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.
- 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 nematodes which attack vegetable roots, especially tomatoes.
- 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.
- Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract beneficial insects—praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders—that dine on insect pests.
- Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, 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 asparagus, bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato, and tomato plants.
- Catnip, hyssop, rosemary, and sage deter cabbage moth, which is detrimental to a host of edible crops, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip, and radish.
- Mint wards off cabbage moth and ants.
- Thyme thwarts cabbageworm, which munches broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, horseradish, kale, 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.
See our companion planting chart for advice on popular vegetables.
Plants that are not compatible with each other are sometimes called combatants. Here are a few:
- White garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, but the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
- Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all.
One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.
More Companion Plantings
Even plants in the woodlands are companions:
- Blueberries, mountain laurel, azaleas, and other ericaceous (heath family) plants thrive in the acidic soils created by pines and oaks.
- Shade-loving plants seek the shelter provided by a wooded grove. The shade-lovers in return protect the forest floor from erosion with their thick tangle of shallow roots.
- Legumes and some trees, such as alders, have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil that help them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it to fertilizer, enriching the soil so plants can prosper in their presence.
Strange Plant Pairings
Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.
- You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.
- Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.
Want to learn more about companion planting? Watch our companion planting video about why vegetables need flower friends!
Incompatible Garden Plants: Learn About Plants That Don’t Like Each Other
Gardeners do all they can to keep their plants happy and healthy, but sometimes, no matter what you do, certain plants just don’t go together. Plants that don’t like each other may be responding to different environmental needs, could be in direct competition with one another for major resources or one may attract insects that severely harm the other. Determining plant incompatibility can be a guess and check situation since soil types also have an influence on what plants should not be planted together.
Incompatible Garden Plants
There are a few basic rules of thumb when it comes to plants to avoid near one another. First, check that your garden plants are all about the same size and have the same light requirements. Planting very tall plants like tomato next to bush beans, for example, is a very bad idea since the tomatoes will very likely shade out the beans.
When planting taller and shorter plants together, make sure that the shorter plants are spaced far enough away and orientated so the sun will shine on them during the day. Many gardeners solve this problem by putting the shortest plants in their own row on the edge of the garden or planted as a border planting.
Plants that need a lot of water will cause those water haters nearby a great deal of discomfort; the same goes for fertilizer. It’s always a good idea to plant things with similar nutritional and water needs together, unless they’re fiercely competitive. Even then, you can often compensate by spacing them extra wide and providing enough fertilizer and water for both types of plants.
Last but not least are the plants that are allelopathic. Allelopathic plants have the capability to chemically impede the vital systems of competing plants. These plants are usually weeds, but many landscape and crop plants have been observed leaving behind allelopathic chemicals. Plant scientists are using these observations to develop better methods of weed control for farms and gardens alike.
What Plants Should Not Be Planted Together?
Many plants are believed to have allelopathic behaviors, but many remain in the realm of garden lore and lack substantial scientific documentation. Research in this area is sparse, but the list of plants believed to have allelopathic properties include:
Black walnuts have long been known to interfere with garden plants like tomatoes, eggplants and corn.
When planting broccoli in your garden, make sure that you practice good crop rotation since broccoli can leave behind residue that other cruciferous crops can’t tolerate.
Some plants, like alfalfa, seem to exhibit a remarkable type of allelopathy that interferes with the germination of their own seeds.
Garlic and onions are believed to interfere with the growth of beans and peas, but seem to be compatible with most other garden denizens.
Other commonly believed plant incompatibilities include the following plants to avoid near one another:
- Mint and onions where asparagus is growing
- Pole beans and mustard near beets
- Anise and dill neighboring carrots
- Cucumber, pumpkin, radish, sunflower, squash or tomatoes close to potato hills
- Any member of the cabbage family near strawberries
- Cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill and potatoes near tomatoes
by Saffyre Falkenberg
Bringing a wide variety of plants into your vegetable garden can have many benefits. Planting certain vegetables next to each other can encourage both plants to thrive. This unique process is known as companion planting.
Companion plants have many potential benefits for their partner plant counterparts. They can help each other grow by attracting pollinators or repelling pests in addition to providing beneficial nutrients, shade, or support. When you’re planning this year’s garden, make sure to check if the vegetables you want to grow have companions that will help your garden thrive.
Beets and Garlic
Planting beets and garlic together has many benefits. Pests such as root maggots, Japanese beetles, snails, and coddling moths that affect beets are repelled by the smell of garlic. Planting garlic near beets also improves the flavor of the beets, and the sulfur that garlic produces as it grows acts as an antifungal that helps prevent disease in the beets.
Beets grow best in deep, well-drained soil. Clay soils will be too heavy for beets to grow properly. Beets like cool weather, but make sure not to plant them until the soil temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the seeds one to two inches apart in rows, and make sure to give the beets around one inch of water a week.
You should plant garlic in fertile, well-drained soil, spacing the cloves four to six inches apart. Position cloves with the pointy end pointing up, and push each clove one to two inches down into the ground. Make sure to water the garlic plants every three to five days when they begin to form bulbs.
Broccoli and Onions
By planting broccoli and onions in close proximity to each other in the garden, you can improve the flavor of your broccoli.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious of all the vegetables out there, and it grows best in cooler seasons. It will fully mature within six to eight weeks. The plant does best in full sun but will also grow well in partial shade. Broccoli needs moist, fertile, slightly acidic soil. Plant seeds half an inch deep, or put transplants slightly deeper in the soil than they were before. Space plants 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between rows. Water regularly, and try not to get the growing heads wet.
Onions are a bulbous, cool weather plant. You can either purchase onion bulbs that are ready to plant directly into the ground at nurseries or online. If you choose to grow onions from seeds, it will take up to four months for the plant to mature. The onion tops will grow in cool weather and form bulbs when the weather gets warm. Water about one inch per week, and make sure to keep the onions well-weeded, as the plants cannot easily compete with weeds.
Carrots and Leeks
Carrots are normally attacked by carrot flies, and leeks are affected by leek moths and onion flies. The carrots will deter the leeks’ pests, and the leeks will keep the carrots’ pests away. Basically, these plants are such good garden buddies because they act as repellents for each other’s pests.
To grow carrots, plant the seeds outside about three to five weeks before the last frost. Plant the seeds three or four inches apart in rows that are at least 12 inches apart. Try to grow them in full sunlight. The soil should be well drained and loose, and you should water the plants at least one inch per week,
The leek is a cousin of the onion that thrives in cool weather. Plant leeks in an area of the garden that gets full sun and that has fertile, well-drained soil. They need extremely fertile soil and lots of moisture in order to grow best. In order to get the kind of rich, white stem that is best for eating, the stem must be hidden from the sun in a process known as blanching.
Corn, Beans, and Squash
Growing corn, beans, and squash together is a method known as the three sisters, which was cultivated by indigenous Americans. The stalks of the corn support the beans, while the bean plant draws nitrogen from the soil, which helps the plants around it grow bigger and fuller. The squash has large leaves that grow close to the ground, acting as a weed deterrent for the corn and beans.
To plant sweet corn, make sure the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seeds half an inch to one and a half inches deep. Plant the seeds 12 inches apart in rows, and make sure the rows are 30 to 36 inches apart. Plant your corn in an area that gets full sunshine and has well-drained soil. Water the corn deeply about once a week.
You can plant any variety of pole beans any time after the danger of frost has passed. They should be started from seeds, as attempting to transplant pole beans may actually kill the young plants. Sow the seeds about three inches apart. Normally pole beans require support, such as a trellis, but in this case, the beans will use the corn stalks to climb up. Water the plants regularly, especially during sunny days.
Traditionally, indigenous Americans used pumpkins in the Three Sisters method, but any winter squash will do. Pumpkins require a long growing season, typically beginning in late May or early June. You can plant the pumpkins in rows or in small mounds that help warm the soil and keep it drained. Plant the seeds one inch deep. The pumpkins should be planted in a spot that has both full sun and well-drained soil. They also need a lot of water, about one inch per week.
Cucumbers and Peas
Growing cucumbers and peas together will ultimately benefit the cucumber plant, as the peas will increase the nitrogen in the soil. The increased nitrogen will encourage the cucumber plant to grow bigger and heartier.
Cucumbers are a tropical vegetable. Cucumber plants need warm soil that has an acidic pH to grow. Plant the seedlings 36 to 60 inches apart, and use a trellis to support the vines as they grow. The trellis also conveniently keeps the fruit off the ground. Try to keep the soil damp with approximately one inch of water per week.
Peas are a legume that normally prefers colder weather, so in order to plant them with tropical cucumbers, you will have to support them with water and shade during summer months for a fall harvest. While any variety of pea will work for companion planting, snap peas grow on a trellis, so planting these will allow you to utilize the same trellis as the cucumbers. Peas need slightly acidic soil. Plant directly into the ground, as transplanting can damage the plants and affect the harvest later on. Try to water the peas daily once pods form to encourage higher quality.
If you plant radishes and spinach together, the radishes will help draw away leafminers from the spinach. These pests will not affect the root of the radish plant, which is the edible part.
Plant radishes about one month before the average date of the last frost of the season. Sow the seeds directly in to the soil, about half an inch to one inch deep and two inches apart in rows that are 12 inches apart. Radishes need a lot of sun and well-drained soil with a lot of moisture, but make sure the soil isn’t waterlogged.
You can plant spinach as soon as the ground thaws. Start the plant outdoors, as trying to transplant the spinach may damage the young plants. Make sure the spot you choose gets full sun to light shade and has well-drained soil. You can either sow the seeds half an inch to one inch deep or sprinkle the seeds over a large bed. Water regularly, and use mulch to retain moisture.
Planting tomatoes and cabbage in the garden together will help keep your cabbages whole and healthy. Tomatoes repel diamondback moth larvae, which will eat large holes in cabbage leaves.
Plant tomatoes in late spring or early summer, as they thrive on warmth. Because of this, they also need full sun for about six to eight hours.
In order to keep the tomato plants off the ground, use a stake, trellis, or cage. Use approximately two to four inches of mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds from growing. The tomatoes will need a lot of moisture, so try to water them at least one inch a week, though you should water them more in the summer months.
You should plant fall cabbage about six to eight weeks before the first frost. Pick a spot that has full sun and well-drained soil. They are easy to transplant, so you can start them indoors if you want. When transplanting, make sure to plant them between one to two inches deep in rows between 12 and 24 inches apart. Cabbage needs an even amount of water, so make sure to water it about one to one and a half inches a week.
As you can see, there are many options for companion planting that can benefit your vegetable garden. If you’re considering any one of these options for this year’s garden, think about adding one of the companions to help your vegetables along. After all, there’s nothing wrong with more vegetables.
Common Questions and Answers About Companion Planting
by Erin Marissa Russell
How do you plant a companion garden?
You plant a companion garden by learning which plants make good growing partners for the plants you want to grow and making a plan for what you’ll grow together. Sometimes companion planting means having plants share the garden space at the same time, and sometimes it’s a more seasonal approach of turning the garden over to one plant as another’s season in the garden comes to an end. It’s important to do some research and planning before diving in, because some plant combinations just don’t work out and can actually be detrimental to each other’s growth.
How does companion planting work?
Companion planting is the practice of fostering beneficial relationships between plants that are grown together in the garden. A common example is the “three sisters” planting method of growing corn, beans, and squash together. In this arrangement, the corn offers a surface to support the beans as they grow vertically. The beans bring nitrogen to the soil, which is used by all three plants. The squash has large leaves that shade the ground like a layer of mulch would, protecting the soil and keeping it moist and cool while also discouraging the growth of weeds.
What should not be planted together?
For now, most of the information that’s out there about companion planting is anecdotal. Here, we’ve collected some of that information to make a list of the plants that should absolutely not be grown together in companion planting.
- Cucumbers and potatoes should not be planted together because they create pH levels that the other finds inhospitable. Cucumbers also don’t do well planted next to aromatic herbs.
- Keep members of the allium family (onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots) away from beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, and strawberries. Onions are also a problem if they’re planted next to asparagus, beans, or peas, as they’re said to stunt their growth.
- Lettuce and cabbage should be kept away from one another. Cabbage is also a problem when it’s planted near tomatoes, pole beans, or strawberries.
- Don’t plant kohlrabi near carrots, eggplant, onions, parsley, peppers, or tomatoes.
- Corn and tomatoes both tend to fall prey to the same fungal infection, so they should be grown separately.
- Beans are rumored to dislike being planted near gladiolus flowers.
- Potatoes are susceptible to the same diseases as peppers and tomatoes, so keep potatoes growing far away from your pepper and tomato plants.
- Black walnut trees are detrimental to many other plants, but for vegetable gardening in particular, black walnut and butternut squash don’t make good partners for tomatoes or other nightshades, such as eggplants and peppers.
- Carrots and parsley should be planted far from one another, but when they have room to grow, they’ll attract beneficial insects to the garden.
- Don’t grow tomatoes with brassicas (including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips.) Tomatoes also make poor partners for potatoes and fennel.
Want to learn more about vegetables that grow well together and companion planting?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Three Sister Planting Method
Cornell University covers Companion Planting
SFGate Homeguides covers Vegetables That Should Not be Planted Next Each Other
Nature’s Path covers How to Start Companion Planting
The Spruce covers Growing Garden Fresh Sweet Corn
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Beans
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Radishes
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Pumpkins
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Spinach
Bonnie Plants covers Growing Tomatoes
Bonnie Plants covers Growing Cabbage
Bonnie Plants covers Growing Cucumbers
Hobby Farms covers The 13 Best Companion Plants
Rodale’s Organic Life outlines 26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side By Side
Burpee explains All About Peas
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Broccoli
Rodale’s Organic Life covers Onion Growing Guide
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Carrots
Bonnie Plants explains Growing Leeks
The Spruce covers How to Grow Beets in the Home Garden
The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Growing Garlic
Deep Green Permaculture outlines Companion Planting Table
Written by Saffyre Falkenberg
Author Saffyre Falkenberg began gardening with her grandmother as a child in Southern California. She continues to keep plants in her apartment in Texas and has a special love for succulents.
14 Companion Plants That Should Always Be Planted Next to Each Other
Image credit: Glenn Harris/Siv Andersson
You may think that sunlight, soil, and water are all that a garden needs to flourish, but did you know that plants also thrive on companionship? While you won’t find your flowers socializing, sowing certain types of seeds in pairs has been scientifically proven to culminate in healthier and happier greens. Endearingly known as companion plants, these perfectly matched duos help each other grow, bloom, and blossom.
In the wonderful world of companion plants, opposites attract. In each pair, the plants benefit each other in unique and seemingly serendipitous ways. Tall flowers, like cleome, often provide the perfect amount of shade for ground-dwelling plants, like cabbage. Similarly, sturdy plants, like corn, physically support delicate vines, like those belonging to beans. Many botanical species also ward off the pests of another, like marigolds and melons, roses and garlic, and cucumbers and nasturtiums. Likewise, some types of vegetation attract insects that will actually help their neighbors grow, like potatoes and sweet alyssum as well as cauliflower and dwarf zinnias.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, if you explore companion planting, you’re sure to reap the rewards of strategic gardening!
Here are some classic pairs of companion plants:
Image credit: Lucy Hordern/Susan Chaffin
Towering flowers, such as cleome, provide the perfect amount of dappled shade for the ground-dwelling cabbage plants.
Image credit: Paul (Stokpik)/clutterandkindle
The winding vines of beans love to inch their way up the study corn stalks. Additionally, the bean plants attract insects that help to control corn pests.
Melons and Marigolds
Image credit: Sarah Searle/Stephenie O’Callaghan
Marigolds help to repel nematodes—potentially parasitic worms—that love to infest melon roots.
Image credit: Madhusanka Liyanage/Jane Dent
Garlic deters potential pests, like aphids, ants, and snails, that may harm the beautiful roses.
Image credit: Jim Capaldi/Dawn Houghtaling-Montague
Nasturtiums, flowering plants, keep numerous types of cucumber-loving beetles and spiders at bay.
Image credit: Tina Garrison and PietervH
The teeny flowers of the sweet alyssum lure beneficial bugs, including predatory wasps that prey upon potential potato pests.
Image credit: Mike Mozart/Mike Webster
Ladybugs love the sweet nectar of the dwarf zinnia. Ladybugs help to protect cauliflower by munching on harmful aphids.
Time to get gardening!
Companion Planting Guide
It’s helpful to think of building good plant communities when planning your garden. This is the most important concept behind companion planting. Time-tested garden wisdom holds that certain plants grown close together become helpmates. (See the list at the bottom.)
Plants need good companions to thrive. Except for growth and fruiting, plants are relatively idle objects. They are rooted in one spot and don’t seem to have much control over their environment. In fact, however, relationships between plants are varied – similar to relationships between people. In plant communities, certain plants support each other while others, well, just don’t get along. Plants, like people, compete for resources, space & nutrients.
Some Plants Bully Others
Certain plants grow rapidly, crowd others and take more than their fair share of water, sun and nutrients. Some exude toxins that retard plant growth or kill plants. A common example of this is the Black Walnut tree that produces hydrojuglone. Other plants are upstanding citizens and do good by adding nutrients to the soil, drawing beneficial insects into the garden or by confusing insects in search of their host plants.
As a gardener, you’re both the mayor and the city planner for your garden city. By growing plants with good companions, you bring peace and prosperity to your town. Alternatively, the planting of disruptive plants can quickly bring your garden to ruins.
Proper Spacing with Companion Planting
As with city planning, the way your lay out your vegetable garden is crucial. Avoid planting vegetables in large patches or long rows and interplant with flowers and herbs. Large groupings of one type of vegetable serve as a beacon to problematic pests.
If you mix in flowers and herbs, it becomes more difficult for pests to find your veggies. The scent of flowers and herbs, as well as the change up in color, is thought to confuse pests. Certain flowers and herbs attract beneficial insects to your garden.
Saving Space with Garden Towers
Three Sister Planting
Almost any article on companion planting references the Native American “Three Sister Planting”. This age old grouping involves growing corn, beans and squash – often pumpkin – in the same area. As the corn stalks grow, beans naturally find support by climbing up the stalk. Beans, as all legumes, fix nitrogen in the soil, which supports the large nutritional needs of corn. Squash grows rapidly and the large squash leaves shade out weeds and serve as natural weed block. Good plant companions work in support of each other.
Many long time gardeners swear that growing certain plants together improves flavor as well. While science hasn’t found support for some of the benefits of companion planting, there is support for the above information. Garden wisdom and experience supports these traditional beneficial plant companions.
Companion Planting Chart
Here are combinations found to be beneficial over time from Todd Weinmann of North Dakota State University Agriculture Extension:
|Plant||Plant Companions||Plant Allies||Plant Enemies|
|Asparagus||Basil, parsley, tomato||Pot marigold deters beetles.|
|Beans||Beet (to bush beans only), cabbage family, carrot, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, pea, potatoes, radish, strawberry.||Marigold deters Mexican bean beetles. Nasturtium and rosemary deter bean beetles. Summer savory deters bean beetles, improves growth and flavor.||Garlic, onion and shallot stunt the growth of beans.|
|Beets||Bush beans, cabbage family, lettuce, onion.||Garlic improves growth and flavor.||Pole beans and beets stunt each other’s growth.|
|Carrots||Bean, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, radish, tomato.||Chives improve growth and flavor. Rosemary and sage deter carrot fly.||Dill retards growth.|
|Celery||Bean, cabbage family and tomato.||Chives and garlic deter aphids. Nasturtium deters bugs and aphids.|
|Chard||Bean, cabbage family and onion|
|Corn||Bean, cucumber, melon, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin, squash.||Odorless marigold and white geranium deter Japanese beetles. Pigweed raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them.||Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm.|
|Cucumber||Bean, cabbage family, corn, pea, radish, tomato||Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters aphids, beetles and bugs, improves growth and flavor. Oregano deters pests in general. Tansy deters ants, beetles, bugs, flying insects.||Sage is generally injurious to cucumber.|
|Eggplant||Bean, pepper.||Marigold deters nematodes.|
|Lettuce||Beet, cabbage family, carrot, onion, radish, strawberry.||Chives and garlic deter aphids.|
|Melons||Corn, pumpkin, radish, squash.||Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.|
|Onions||Beet, cabbage family, carrot, chard, lettuce, pepper, strawberry, tomato.||Chamomile and summer savory improve growth and flavor. Pigweed raises nutrients from subsoil and makes them available to the onions. Sow thistle improves growth and health.||Onions stunt bean, pea.|
|Parsley||Asparagus, corn, tomato|
|Peas||Bean, carrot, corn, cucumber, radish, turnip.||Chives deter aphids. Mint improves health and flavor.||Garlic and onion stunt the growth of peas.|
|Peppers||Carrot, eggplant, onion and tomato|
|Potatoes||Beans, cabbage family, corn, eggplant, pea.||Horseradish, planted at the corners of the potato patch, provides general protection. Marigold deters beetles.||Tomatoes and potatoes are attacked by the same blight.|
|Pumpkins||Corn, melon, squash.||Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.|
|Radishes||Bean, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, melon, pea.||Chervil and nasturtium improve growth and flavor.||Hyssop|
|Spinach||Cabbage family, strawberry|
|Squash||Corn, melon, pumpkin.||Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.|
|Strawberry||Bean, lettuce, onion, spinach, thyme.||Cabbage.||Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. Thyme, as a border, deters worms.|
|Tomatoes||Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, pepper.||Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health. Once mature, it stunts tomato growth. Marigold deters nematodes. Pot marigold deters tomato worm and general garden pests.||Corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Mature dill retards tomato growth. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Potatoes and tomatoes are attacked by the same blight.|
|Cabbage Family (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi)||Beet, celery, chard, cucumber, lettuce, onion, potato, spinach.||Chamomile and garlic improve growth and flavor. Catnip, hyssop, rosemary and sage deter cabbage moth. Dill improves growth and health. Mint deters cabbage moth and ants, improves health and flavor. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles, aphids. Southernwood deters cabbage moth, improves growth and flavor. Tansy deters cabbageworm and cutworm. Thyme deters cabbageworm.||Kohlrabi and tomato stunt each other’s growth.|
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Some plants help each other enormously, while others hinder their neighbors – use this cheat sheet to ensure harmony in the vegetable plot.
There can be real discordance in the vegetable garden. Placing plants side-to-side that vie with one another, for example, does not do much good for any of them. But there is wonderful community that can happen between plants as well – and it’s a great way to strategize when plotting out a garden plot.
Welcome to companion planting.
The idea of planting things in groups to bring out the best of each other is certainly nothing new. Long before European settlers arrived in America, indigenous peoples were grouping together corn, beans, and squash – a companion planting known as the “three sisters.” Of this sibling bonanza,The Farmer’s Almanac notes that each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. They write: • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support.
• The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three.
• As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
• The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
• The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons, which don’t like to step on them.
• Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.
The three sisters relationship is really the perfect illustration of companion planting, but there are all kinds of benefits beyond the ones explained above. Tall plants provide shade for shorter plants nearby who are shy of the sun, for instance, while ground-covering plants work well with tall plants to utilize space nicely. Meanwhile, a savvy gardener can also team up plants to prevent pests – some plants can repel pests to help nearby companions, while some plants can even attract predators of another plant’s pests.
The cheat sheet below comes from Anglian Home, and is actually just a snippet from a larger infographic that was almost too comprehensive to share here. Since I’ve always been enamored with the idea of creating a great community of plants in the garden, I wanted to highlight this part. So here you go – may you plant a garden of friends that look out for each other and thrive. It takes a village, even with the tomatoes and carrots.
© Anglian Home
For more natural gardening ideas, see related stories below.
Grow These Plants Side-By-Side For A Thriving Garden
Who knew plants in the garden had best friends? Just like your BFF in middle school who knew how to scare away the “mean girls,” some plants have their “friends’” backs (er, sides). Strategically growing certain plants side-by-side is called companion planting, and it’s a way to help all your veggies “graduate” to harvest.
Here are seven dynamic duos to plant next to one another in your garden. With proper care, both plants in each pair should be thriving in no time.
What To Plant Side-By-Side
1. Cabbage And Marigolds
Take those cabbages that you’re ready to put into the ground, and plant them next to some lovely marigolds. Why? Cabbageworms, cabbage moths and other pests will want to start chomping on the cabbage. Not to worry, though — marigolds help to repel those crawling menaces.
2. Cucumbers And Radishes
Love you some cukes? Plant radishes nearby and make those cucumber beetles skedaddle. (Tansy and nasturtium will also work!) Once you have a cucumber crop, you can use the fruits of your labor to mix up a batch of this cucumber melon sangria!
Flickr | Jim, the Photographer
3. Cucumbers And Sunflowers
Here’s something else you can do for your cucumber pals: Keep them cool by planting sunflowers nearby to provide shade and let them vine up the stalk. We knew sunflowers were pretty, but now it turns out they are practical as well!
Flickr | fw190a8
4. Onions And Carrots
That stinky onion that you wish you didn’t eat for lunch? It can guard your carrots by taking care of nasty interlopers, like the carrot fly. Other plants from the allium family, such as chives and leeks, will also help.
Flickr | ripplestone garden
RELATED: Once you’ve picked your fruits and vegetables, here are some tips to keep them fresher for longer:
5. Herbs And Just About Anything!
One good thing to know is that herbs are generally your friends in the garden — and the home! Basil repels flies. Peppermint scares away mice (!), mosquitoes and ants. Rosemary helps shoo away bean beetles, cabbage moths and carrot flies. Lavender repels fleas, moths, flies and mosquitoes.
Flickr | KathrynW1
RELATED: The Best Air-Purifying Houseplants According To NASA
6. Lettuce And Carrots
Companion planting isn’t just about scaring away insects — it also works to beef up your vegetable harvest. Plant lettuce between rows of carrots and onions, as it will help to suppress weeds by creating shade. When the carrots and onions start to need more space, simply pull out the lettuce and make yourself a beautiful spring salad.
Getty Images | Sean Gallup
7. Corn, Squash And Beans
The best-known complementary plants are the “three sisters”: corn, squash and beans, which were all grown by Native Americans for centuries. Beans grow up the cornstalks, but they also fix nitrogen in the soil to nurture the corn and squash. The large squash leaves suppress weeds that would compete for nutrients. Like a family, these three nurture each other and work together in perfect harmony!
Flickr | Rob.Bertholf
If abundance is what you seek in your garden, grow plants that get along. They will return the favor with a bounty of healthy vegetables, herbs and flowers!
Flickr | National Garden Clubs
Easy Container Gardening Kits
If you’re interested in going the container gardening route, here are three kits that take most of the work out of the process. They range in price, but most will cost you at least $100.
1. Cedar Wedge Garden Bed
This little wedge is the perfect garden bed to put on your deck. Made out of cedar, this wedge design allows for roots to go deep into the soil without taking up too much space. Best of all, it doesn’t require the use of any tools for installation.
Eco Modular Rustic Garden Wedge and Extension Kit, $266.27
2. Rustic Elevated Garden Bed
If you’re looking for something that’s raised up a bit so it’s easier to work with, then this elevated bed is perfect. This is one of the most popular models at Home Depot and has a 4.6 / 5 rating.
D Rustic Elevated Garden Bed, $165.37
RELATED: 10 Vegetables You Can Grow In Containers
3. Garden Bed With Critter Guard Fence
If critters are a problem for you, this kit provides an extra barrier between your delicious fruits and veggies and those pesky animals.
Cedar Raised Garden with CritterGuard Fence System, $144.19
What are your favorite vegetables and herbs to grow each summer? Or are you more of a flower garden sort?
When you are trying to plant a successful vegetable garden, growing certain plants together, a practice known as companion planting, has numerous benefits for your garden. Some vegetable plants help shield their neighbor from the sun, while others keep predatory insects away and provide protection against disease.
The best part of companion gardening is that you can keep your vegetables healthy without having to resort to using harmful chemicals.
Vegetable companion planting typically uses plants that you would already be growing in your garden. By adjusting the location of these plants, you can get the best performance from them.
Planting certain vegetable plants together will also help to deter pests, decreasing the number of pesticides that you have to use to keep your garden free of pests. Companion planting can also increase the yields of the plants, meaning you get more food without having to plant more plants.
Guide to Companion Plants
Companion plants tend to do better when they are planted together. They help each other fight pests, produce more, and grow stronger. Planting vegetables of different types together in one garden can help to prevent the spread of disease, resulting in a healthier harvest.
The following companion planting guide will show you which vegetables support the growth of other plants along with which pests they deter.
Good companion plants for broccoli are carrots, onions, rosemary, marigolds, nasturtiums, thyme, and a variety of mints.
Keep your broccoli crop away from strawberries and tomatoes because they will hinder the growth of your broccoli plants.
Planting marigolds near your broccoli will help to repel cabbage moths, and nasturtiums will repel aphids.
Companion gardening is one of the best ways you can keep your cabbage healthy. Planting tomatoes and fresh celery near your cabbage plants will help to repel cabbage worms.
Planting catnip next to your cabbage will help to repel aphids and cabbage moths, while onions will keep rabbits from eating them for lunch.
To deter carrot flies from destroying your carrot crop, plant carrots near onions, leeks, and wormwood. They also do well when planted next to chives, early potatoes, lettuce, peas, and rosemary. Mix some old coffee grounds to your garden soil to improve the carrots need fro magnesium and phosphorus.
With proper companion planting, tomato plants will provide much-needed shade for the heat-sensitive carrots, as well as secreting a natural insect deterrent.
>> More on getting rid of flies outside: How to keep flies away in your Garden
When it comes to planting corn, you should plant corn with squash and pole beans. This trio is known as the three sisters.
The beans help to pull much-needed nitrogen from the air into the soil, while the squash helps by creating living mulch that shades the soil.
This not only keeps the ground cold and moist but helps to prevent weeds from growing.
Cucumbers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and can be used in so many different ways in the kitchen. However, for them to thrive and for you to have a decent harvest, they need to remain free of insects and powdery mildew. To help keep cucumber beetles and other pests at bay, plant radishes near your cucumber plants.
You can also plant them near beans, cabbage, corn, and early potatoes. Cucumbers will also keep yellow jackets away from your garden area. Planting next to late potatoes should be avoided as they compete for the much-needed nutrients and water that both plants need to survive.
When planting your next bean crop, try and plant bush beans near cabbage, beets, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, catnip, corn, or potatoes.
Companion planting potatoes near your bean crop will help to repel Mexican bean beetles, and catnip will help to repel flea beetles.
>> Related Reading: Benefits and Uses of Diatomaceous Earth in Your Garden
For eggplants to thrive, they need to significant amounts of nitrogen to be absorbed by their roots. To help with this, you can plant peas and beans next to your eggplant plants.
Bush beans will help to repel the Colorado potato beetle. Avoid planting anything that will shade the eggplant as they require a ton of sun to thrive.
When it comes to onions, the best plant companions are members of the cabbage family. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage.
Onions help to naturally deter Japanese beetles, wasps, aphids, cabbage worms, cabbage maggots, and rabbits. Keep your onions away from all varieties of beans and peas as they can be detrimental to your onions.
If you find that you have an overabundance of fresh onions, you can store them to use later. There are many different ways to preserve this popular vegetable for future use.
Garlic is such a wonderful vegetable, perfect for any garden. Garlic lasts very long when stored properly and can thrive in most situations. Planting it next to chamomile will help to improve its flavor. Planting rue near your garlic will help to drive away maggots.
Avoid planting garlic near beans, sage, peas, and parsley because it will stunt the growth of these plants.
Your lettuce will grow best in colder weather, so planting shade plants like sunflowers, tomatoes, and pole beans will help keep your lettuce growing, even in warmer weather. You can also plant your lettuce near beets, carrots, parsnips, and radishes. The lettuce helps to tenderize your summer radishes.
Lettuce is also a very easy plant to add to your indoor vegetable garden. As the lettuce leaves grow, pick them as needed for a healthy salad. Include grape or cherry tomatoes and basil to the plants you grow indoors, as well, to have fresh produce any time of year.
Corn, potatoes, and radishes are the best companion plants for pole beans. Like the bush beans, potatoes will help to deter Mexican bean beetles from decimating your crop.
When the beans die at the end of the growing season, they replace the nitrogen leached soil to make it fertile again. A great example how companion planting will improve your garden soil in the long run.
>> More Tips on improving your soil, getting rid of fungus gnats and mold gnats
To help your peppers to flourish, you’ll want to companion plant your peppers close to tomatoes, carrots, okra, asparagus, carrots, onions, or eggplants. In addition, you should ad epsom salt as a natural fertilizer to add magnesium and improve the quality of your soil.
The taller companion plants can help shield your pepper plants from the wind, while carrots and onions will help to enhance the flavor of your peppers.
Planting dead nettle near your potato crops can help to improve the flavor, enhance their growth and deter harmful insects.
Sage will help keep away flea beetles, while green beans can help to repel the Colorado potato beetle.
To help your potatoes grow better and taste better, plant them with your cabbage, corn, and beans.
Radishes and cucumbers make great companion plants as they benefit each other.
Radishes keep cucumbers free of rust flies and the cucumber beetle, while cucumbers help to improve the growth of radishes. You can also grow radishes next to companion plants like spinach or squash to help keep pests away.
The best plants to grow near tomatoes are asparagus, bean, carrots, celery, cucumbers, garlic, and lettuce.
Garlic works to repel and get rid of spider mites and tomatoes will repel the asparagus beetle. Carrots will help to break up the soil to create space for water and air to flow to the roots of the tomato plant.
Plant garlic, nasturtium, or basil next to your Brussels sprouts to repel certain kinds of insects like whiteflies, squash bugs, and Japanese beetles and will keep mosquitoes away from your garden.
Garlic will also improve the growth of your Brussels sprouts. Mustard will act as a trap crop for several kinds of insects. After the insects attack the mustard plant, promptly remove it from the garden to get rid of the offending insects.
Beans, onions, and celery are all excellent choices for cauliflower companion gardening. Both the beans and cauliflower will deter pests and attract beneficial insects to your garden.
Other recommended companion plants for cauliflower are broccoli, beets, chard, Brussels sprouts, spinach, cucumber, corn, and radishes.
Planting companion vegetable plants in your garden will help each other when planted near one another. Take advantage of the many useful and beneficial relationships that companion gardening can provide you. Correctly pairing the plants in your garden can create a more welcoming habitat for all of your plants.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the different companion planting options. If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it with all your family and friends.