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As we learnt in our previous article (12 Reasons You Should Start Companion Planting), companion planting is one of the best things you can do in your garden.
Some plant companions can help to improve the flavor and yield of homegrown fruits and vegetables, others help to repel pests and parasites, others improve soil health, regulate shade or aid pollination and so much more.
But what are the best plants for companion planting? Which work best and how? In this follow up article we reveal 28 of the best combinations for you to try in your garden for the most efficient and productive garden.
Try some of these successful companion planting combinations in your garden:
This garden staple benefits from the company of basil, onions, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Marigolds are often planted among tomatoes to ward off insects and nematodes. Tomatoes and potatoes belong to the same family, but they should not be planted together.
Beans, peas, and vegetables from the cabbage family grow well with potatoes. They like squash as companions but not cucumbers and pumpkins. Potatoes have a number of enemies such as potato beetles. Grow basil and marigold with potatoes to repel these beetles and nematode worms. Sweet Alyssum can be grown as a ground cover because they attract insects that feed on some potato pests.
Grow spinach, lettuce and radishes around the peppers. They enjoy the light shade provided by the taller pepper plants and return the favor by suppressing weeds. Planting basil and chives with peppers is a good idea; they not only repel some of the pests that bother pepper plants but also improve the flavor of the peppers. Garlic, onions and leeks are good companions too. Peppers in jewel colors are a great addition to ornamental gardens where they do well in the company of Marigolds, Petunias and Geraniums.
These tasty vegetables are garden favorites, but they are equally popular with many garden pests as well. Plant some herbs like thyme and tarragon to keep off these insects. Spinach helps keep weeds in check as it flourishes in the shade of the eggplants. These veggies have high nitrogen requirement that can be met by planting beans near them, but select shorter varieties that will not hinder sunlight.
Good companions for carrots are lettuce and radish. Onions and leeks repel carrot flies, but while leeks can be grown in the same bed with carrots, onions should be grown in a separate bed nearby to avoid competition. Chives and marigolds are helpful too, but avoid planting dill and parsnips near carrots.
Dill, onions, garlic, celery, basil and sage are good companions for broccoli. These aromatic plants repel many pests and attract some of their predators. Onions and celery enhance the flavor of broccoli. The high calcium requirement of this vegetable can be met by growing beets and nasturtiums close to them. You can plant cucumbers, potatoes, bush beans, lettuce and radish with broccoli.
As with broccoli, dill is a great companion to cabbage as well as other cruciferous vegetables because the herb attracts wasps that prey on many cabbage pests. Planting celery and onions close to cabbage helps its growth while chamomile improves flavor.
Although cabbage does well with potatoes, other members of the nightshade family–peppers, tomatoes and eggplants–shouldn’t be grown with cabbage.
Beans are the best companions of cauliflower. Dill, celery and onions protect cauliflower, so do zinnias planted around it. Their blooms attract ladybugs that keep cauliflower pests in check. Avoid planting strawberries anywhere near cauliflower since they attract slugs that can do tremendous damage to the cauliflower heads.
You can grow beans, peas, carrots, beets and radishes with cucumbers. Plant a few nasturtiums with cucumbers to repel cucumber beetles. Marigolds and sunflowers also have a similar protective effect.
Squash prefer the same companions as cucumbers. Grow radishes, beets and carrots around them. Planting legumes in the same mount makes more nitrogen available to squash plants. Nasturtiums and marigolds can complete the picture.
Corn can be paired with almost any member of the legume family and the squash family to form the “three sisters” planting. That includes beans and peas as well as cucumbers and melons. Besides them, you can plant potatoes and lettuce with corn.
Carrots and tomatoes can be grown near asparagus patches, but avoid potatoes, onions and garlic. Marigolds and chrysanthemums, and herbs like basil, dill, and parsley protect the tender shoots from asparagus beetles. Tomatoes also have a protective effect since they contain solanine, which is toxic to these beetles.
Spinach likes a bit of shade that can be provided by slightly taller plants like beans, eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes and celery. Squash is good companion, so is onion.
You can grow lettuce, spinach and beans with strawberries, but avoid planting cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables nearby. Planting a border of thyme around the strawberry patch helps keep away worms.
Plant garlic and marigold among raspberry to prevent fungal diseases and damage caused by insect pests. Turnips can keep away Harlequin beetles. Avoid growing potatoes, tomatoes and blackberries anywhere near raspberries since they can transmit viral diseases.
Garlic is a traditional companion of roses as the herb repels insects that attack the roses. However, garlic chives and marigolds may be more attractive companions in an ornamental garden.
Flowers and herbs in vegetable gardens:
Some flowering plants make good companions for vegetables. You can plant them liberally to make your garden aesthetically appealing. Besides that, they will bring in beneficial insects that help with pollination and pest control.
Many culinary herbs can do double duty in the vegetable garden since they are bee magnets. When they are planted with vegetables, their intense smells confuse insect pests and keep them away from their target plants.
Some ornamentals and herbs that help your vegetables:
Pot marigolds (Calendula) as well as French and Mexican marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are great additions to veggie and ornamental gardens. They control nematodes and repel whiteflies and other insect pests. Grow them in thick patches all over the garden except near beans and cabbage.
These low-growing plants spread along the soil to form thick mats that suppress weed growth. Their fragrant flowers attract bees to the garden.
These tall plants with sunny flowers can offer shade to tender plants and support to weak-stemmed plants, besides attracting pollinators and repelling nematodes.
Chrysanthemums contain substances that are toxic to many insects. They are particularly effective against Japanese beetles and root nematodes.
Dahlias bear striking flowers and come year after year from their underground tubers, but what makes them most useful in the veggie garden is their ability to repel nematodes.
This attractive plant with pretty flowers does extra work by repelling Japanese beetles, beet leafhoppers and cabbage worms. Plant several of them in different spots.
These small plants with grass-like leaves and pretty flowers look equally good in ornamental and vegetable gardens where they help keep away aphids and other harmful pests. They are great with cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes and carrots, but should be kept away from beans and peas.
Dill is cherished by organic gardeners because they are great companions for both cabbage family and squash family. Their large flowerheads attract predatory wasps and other insects that can keep pest populations under control. They attract tomato hornworm; hence shouldn’t be planted near tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
Garlic is one of the most pungent members of the Allium family that include onions, leeks and chives. They are all excellent for keeping away harmful insects while their flowers attract bees and other nectar loving pollinators.
This enemy of carrot flies and cabbage moths should be planted wherever you grow these veggies. This herb is a great companion for tomato plants too.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum):
These aromatic plants repel thrips, flies, mosquitoes and other insect pests. They are a must if you want to grow flavorful peppers and tomatoes.
This stunning plant repels almost all types of harmful insects, but attracts pollinators with its flowers.
Do Your Research
Before you get started on your companion garden, be sure to do your research. Educate yourself about what types of plants do best in your area and make a garden plan. Don’t be concerned that you may not have enough space. Many of these garden companions do very well in a very small raised bed garden or even container gardens.