Keep this Companion Planting Chart! It lists which vegetables, herbs, and flowers are “friends” and grow best in the same bed. Find the best companion plants for tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, and all common crops in the homegarden.
Our Garden Planner now shows you the list of companions for each vegetable to make Companion Planting much more accessible when planning your garden bed. See the online Garden Planner.
What Is CompanionPlanting?
Companion planting is when two plants are grown near each other to benefit one of those plants or both–so the benefit can be one way or mutual. This is a tried-and-tested way to reduce pests, attract pollinators, and boost growth! Here are commonexamples.
Companion Planting With Herbs
Planning a Companion Planting Garden
Companion Planting With Flowers
- Tomato and Basil are natural companions in the kitchen and garden. Basil repels certain insect pests such as thrips and also disorientates moths, which lay tomatohornworms.
- Aphids severely crimp your crop! But aphids can’t stand garlic! With this in mind, garlic planted as a barrier keeps crops less vulnerable to pest attack.For example, grow potatoes between rows of garlic to serve as a pungentbodyguard.
- Nasturtium flowers grown close to kale, cabbage, broccoli, and any brassica crops will lure hungry caterpillars away from eating yourcrops.
See more examples and a full chart of proven companionsbelow!
7 Benefits of CompanionPlanting
There are plenty more good reasons to plant certain cropstogether:
- Deterring pests: Certain plants act as insect repellents or deter critters. For example, garlic’s smell is unappealing to manypests.
- Attracting beneficials: Some plants also attract beneficial insects. For example, borage attracts pollinating bees and tiny pest-eatingwasps.
- Shade regulation: Large plants provide shade for smaller plants needing sun protection. For example, corn shadeslettuce.
- Natural supports: Tall plants, like corn and sunflowers, can support lower-growing, sprawling crops such as cucumbers andpeas.
- Improved plant health: When one plant absorbs certain substances from the soil, it may change the soil biochemistry in favor of nearbyplants.
- Improving soil fertility:Some crops, like beans, peas, and other legumes, help to make nitrogen more available in the soil. 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 tall, upright plants minimizes open areas, where weeds typically takehold.
Evidence-Based Companion PlantingPhilosophy
Until recently, a lot of companion planting was based on little more than hearsay, but there’s an increasing body of scientifically grounded research that actually proves that growing specific plants together can reduce pests, boost growth, and even help wildlife. We’ve collected it all and updated our companion planting chart below! Somebackground:
- Traditionally, it was thought that vegetables had “friends” and “foes”—companion plants that either benefitted the vegetables’ growth or impeded it. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but we’ve found that nearly all the associations are positive ones; there are perhaps 2 or 3 “bad” combinations (e.g., black walnut trees, which secrete growth inhibitors through their roots). Bottom-line:there is simply moreevidence for “good” companions than “bad” ones, so we now focus more on why vegetables needfriends!
- There are misconceptions about companion planting on the internet, which we found concerning.Many examples of companion planting were based folklore or hearsay. Whileobservations in our own garden can be valuable, we decided that our reference guide should only highlight companion plant pairings backed up by scientific evidence and tried-and-truepractices.
- While traditionally, companion planting referred to vegetable plant pairs, we’ve added more flowers to our chart; many are excellent natural insect repellents. Nasturtium is heads and shoulders above them all, taking the brunt of pest attacks. (See more below.) Of course, any nectar-rich flowers such as zinnia, comfrey and ageratum will attract pollinators such as bees to the garden, helping to boost the pollination of flowering crop plants like tomatoes, beans, andsquash.
Examples of the Best CompanionPlants
Here are examples of some of the best companion planting combinations for your garden. (See more in the chartbelow.)
- Basil and tomatoes as interplanted basil repels thrips, as mentioned above. Basil also deters the moths, which lay tomato hornworms and egg-laying armyworms. Basil also attracts bees, which improves pollination, tomato health, andflavor.
- Dill attracts ladybugs, which eat small garden pests such as aphids and spidermites.
- Borage pairs well with tomatoes, attracting pollinating bees. Borage also pairs well with strawberries, enhancing their flavor andvigor.
- Garlic and garlic spray have a strong scent that deters many insects. Aphids can’t stand garlic! Garlic also repels onion flies, ermine moths, and Japanese beetles. Plant garlic between rows of potatoes as well as alongside lettuces and cabbages and near fruit trees, together with alyssum, to attract aphid-eatinghoverflies.
- Mint deters aphids, ants, and flea beetles. Just be careful to plant mint nearby in its own pot or bed, as it is a very aggressivegrower!
- Nasturtiums attract hungry caterpillars away from brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, and kale, so grow these pretty flowers close to those crops; nasturtium also lure black flies away from favabeans.
- Parsley attracts beneficial insects to protect and pollinate tomatoes. Plant these herbs betweentomatoes.
- Poached egg plants (a wildflower) draw in hoverflies, which control aphids on nearbylettuce.
- Sage is a useful herb that repels carrot flies. Also, plant it around a cabbage patch to reduce injury from cabbagemoths.
- Sunflowers pair well with cucumbers and pole beans: Sunflowers help provide support for climbing plants, as well as shade for crops, which, in hotter climates, can becomesun-stressed.
- Tansy is a real draw to pest-eating bugs such as ladybugs, ladybirds, and predatory wasps. At the same time, tansy repels many of the common baddies such as cutworm which attacks asparagus, bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato, and tomato plants. Tansy is a perennial, which means you only have to plant it once. What more could you want in a gardenflower?
Add more flowers! Growingcalendula or cosmos nearby will attracttiny parasitizing wasps to aphid-hungry hoverflies. And we also love marigolds for drawing in those pest-hungry beneficialbugs.
Companion Planting Chart: 20 CommonVegetables
In this chart, you’ll find some of the most common garden crops and their suitable companion plants. For more plants, we’d point you to the online Almanac Garden Planner, which has a large database of companion plants and a new companion planting feature that makes it easier than ever for you to find perfect matches for your plants. (Simply select a crop, then click on the heart-shaped Companion Planting button. The selection bar will then show only those plants that your chosen crop will love. Select one and drop it into your gardenplan.)
|Benefits and Notes
|Calendula, tomatoes, and petunias are thought to deter asparagus beetles.
|Purslane is used to shade the soil around basil plants, helping them to remain fresh in hot weather.
Basil improves the growth and flavor oftomatoes andpeppers.
|Nasturtiums can be used as a trap plant to entice aphids away from beans.
Lovage and rosemary also haveexcellent insect-repellent qualities.
Sunflowers can be used to create shade for sun-stressed crops.
Corn will benefit from the beans’ nitrogen-fixing capabilities. Pole beans provide structural support.
|Beets are companions for chicory and endive.
Onions protect against borers and cutworms.
Beets add minerals to the soil, as beet leaves are composed of 25% magnesium.
(Cabbage, brussels sprouts,
|Oreganohas insecticidal properties.
Plant Brassicas together so that they can all be covered with nets to protect from pests such as cabbageworms.
They also all like lime added to the soil.
|Nasturtiums deter insect pests such as beetles and aphids.
Garlic planted alongside cabbage repels insects with its odor.
Sage deters cabbage moths.
|Chives improve the growth and flavor of carrots and deter aphids, mites, and flies.
Rosemary and sage repel carrot fly.
Leeks are thought to repel many flying pests (including carrot rust fly).
Foes: Dill can reduce the yield of carrots.
|Dill is thought to protect against aphids and mites.
Beans can provide more nitrogen to the corn.
Sunflowers can act as a structure and a windbreak for the corn, and dwarf sunflowers bring in ladybugs to control aphids.
Pole beans are sometimes interplanted with corn, adding nitrogen and providing structural support.
Spinach grows well in the shade of corn, keeping corn roots cool.
|Dill is thought to protect against aphids and mites.
Nasturtium deters aphids, beetles, and bugs and improves growth and flavor.
Oregano deters pests in general.
Radish, Nasturtium, and Tansy repel cucumber beetles; radish also repels flea beetles.
Tansy also deters ants, beetles, bugs, and flying insects, as does borage, improving flavor and growth.
Poached Egg plants
|Chives, onions, and garlic deter aphids and other pests by masking the scent of the lettuce with their aroma.
Basil is thought to improve the flavor and growth of lettuce.
Radishes can be used as a trap crop for flea beetles.
Poached egg plants (Limnanthes), a wildflower, will bring hoverflies and other beneficials that eat aphids.
|Onionsprotect against borers and cutworms. Their aroma disorients pests.
Onionsbenefit frommarigolds as the smell of marigolds reduces the egg laying of onion maggot fly.
|Chives deter aphids.
Mint improves health and flavor.
Alyssum brings in pollinators and encourages green lacewings, which eat aphids.
Foes: Do not plant near garlic and onion, as they will stunt the growth of peas
|Herbs like basil, oregano, and marjoram have a protective, insecticidal quality.
|Beans can improve the size of potato tubers.
Cilantroprotects against aphids, spider mites, and potato beetles.
Calendula, Tansy, and horseradish planted at the corner of a potato patch ward off Colorado potato beetles.
(Note: Tansy is considered invasive in some areas. See local guidelines before planting.)
Catmintalso repels Colorado potato beetles but can bring cats into the vegetable garden,so it is a good idea to plant itin pots around the edge of the plot.
|Chervil improves growth and flavor.
Nasturtiums are a good trap crop for radishes.
Radishes are often used as trap crops for flea beetles.
Peas give nitrogen to the soil, which benefits radishes.
Buckwheat brings in pest predators, which reduce insect pests.
Nasturtiumsprotect against pumpkin and squash beetles.
Oregano provides general pest protection.
Calendula deters beetles and root nematodes.
Squash is traditionally planted with corn and beans (“three sisters”) to disorient the adult vine borer.
|Peas and beans provide natural shade for spinach.
Cilantro, oregano, and rosemary are thought to repel insects.
|Calenduladeters general garden pests
Basilrepels whiteflies, mosquitoes, spider mites, and aphids.
Basil alsoattracts bees, which improves pollination, tomato health, and flavor.
Borage repels hornworms.
Dill makes it difficult for cutworms to lay their eggs and supports parasitic wasps that attack pest caterpillars.
Thyme reduces egg laying by armyworms.
|ZUCCHINI/ SUMMER SQUASH
|Buckwheat brings in pest predators which reduce insect pests.
To attract pollinators, plantoreganoandzinnias.
Nasturtium protects against aphids and whiteflies.
Video: How to Plan a CompanionPlanting
It really helps to see companion planting in action. In this video, Ben focuses on how to harness the power of flowers to deter pests, attract pollinators, and even improve yoursoil.
More Companion GardeningTips
Much of companion planting considers the height of differentvegetables.
- 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 morelegroom.
- Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard will grow in the shadow ofcorn.
- Bush beans tolerate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water andnutrients.
- Don’t get too fixated with pairing up crops. Correct spacing, sun, water, and good soil management are the most important influences on yourgrowing.
- Why not start small with a few marigolds and zinnia seeds—and watch the beneficial bugs come! Other options to start with? How about calendula, nasturtium, basil, andborage?
A Companion PlantingTool
All of this companion planning information is well and good, but honestly, who has the time to research scientifically rigorous companion plantingcombinations?
This is the reason we have our Garden Planner. Our team has spent many months—years even—trawling through much of the peer-reviewed research in this area, exhaustively working out what is proven and what is not. The result is the Garden Planner’s Evidence-Based Companion Plantingtool.
Simply select a garden vegetable on the screen and then click the ‘Show Companions’ button. The selection of plants is filtered to show only those plants that grow especially well with your chosenvegetable!!
For example, if you select sweet corn and click on theCompanion Plantings button, it shows that beans are a great companion!Learn more about the GardenPlanner.
- For ideas and inspiration,see readers’ companion garden plot plans with plant lists.
- Are you just getting started with gardening, or do you need a refresher course? Check out our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners how-topage.
- Need plant-specific growing advice? Read through our many Growing Guides for vegetables, fruit, flowers, andherbs.
Have you tried companion planting? What’s your go-to pairing? Tell us in the commentsbelow!
YouChat: Your Companion Planting Expert
As an expert in companion planting, I can provide you with valuable information on this gardening technique. I have extensive knowledge and experience in this field, and I will share evidence-based insights to help you make the most of your garden. Let's explore the concepts mentioned in this article.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting involves growing two or more plants near each other to benefit one or both of them. This practice has been proven to reduce pests, attract pollinators, and promote overall plant growth. The benefits can be one-way or mutual, depending on the specific plant combinations. While some traditional beliefs about companion planting were based on hearsay, there is now an increasing body of scientifically grounded research that supports the effectiveness of specific plant pairings [].
Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting offers several advantages for your garden. Here are some key benefits:
Deterring pests: Certain plants act as natural insect repellents or deter critters. For example, garlic's smell is unappealing to many pests, and basil repels certain insect pests such as thrips [].
Attracting beneficial insects: Some plants attract beneficial insects like pollinating bees and pest-eating wasps. Borage, for instance, attracts pollinating bees, while mint deters aphids, ants, and flea beetles [].
Shade regulation: Large plants can provide shade for smaller plants that require sun protection. For example, corn can provide shade for lettuce [].
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 can change the soil biochemistry in favor of nearby plants, leading to improved overall plant health [].
Improving soil fertility: Certain crops, like beans and peas, help make nitrogen more available in the soil. Plants with long taproots, such as burdock, bring up nutrients from deep in the soil, enriching the topsoil for shallow-rooted plants [].
Weed suppression: Planting sprawling crops like potatoes with tall, upright plants minimizes open areas where weeds typically take hold [].
Examples of Companion Planting Combinations
Here are some examples of effective companion planting combinations:
Tomato and Basil: Basil repels certain insect pests such as thrips and disorients moths that lay tomato hornworms. Planting basil near tomatoes can improve pollination, tomato health, and flavor [].
Garlic and Aphids: Garlic planted as a barrier can keep crops less vulnerable to aphid attacks. Planting garlic between rows of potatoes can serve as a pungent bodyguard [].
Nasturtium and Brassicas: Nasturtium flowers grown close to kale, cabbage, broccoli, and other brassica crops can lure hungry caterpillars away from eating your crops [].
These are just a few examples, and there are many more plant combinations that can benefit each other in your garden. For a comprehensive chart of proven companion plants, you can refer to this article or explore the online Garden Planner mentioned in the article [].
The Garden Planner: Your Companion Planting Tool
To make companion planting easier, the Garden Planner offers a user-friendly tool that provides a database of companion plants and their suitable pairings. Simply select a crop and click on the heart-shaped Companion Planting button to find perfect matches for your plants. The tool filters the selection to show only those plants that grow well with your chosen vegetable [].
Companion planting is a valuable technique for improving the health and productivity of your garden. By strategically pairing plants, you can deter pests, attract beneficial insects, regulate shade, improve soil fertility, and suppress weeds. The Garden Planner's Evidence-Based Companion Planting tool can assist you in finding the best companion plants for your specific crops. Happy gardening!
Note: The information provided is based on scientific research and tried-and-true practices.