Companion Planting: Which Plants Make the Best Neighbors?

Techniques

Growing the right plants together can make a huge difference in your success as a gardener. Effective companion planting can help your garden to thrive in so many ways. When plants are paired with the right companions, you can enjoy incredible benefits. 

companion plants growing together

Benefits of Companion Planting

  • Save space and suppress weeds by planting crops that can peacefully coexist. 
  • Achieve better soil texture by planting roots with different soil structures together.
  • Add nutrients to the soil by adding legumes as a cover crop underneath your main crop.
  • Manage insects and pests by planting aromatic plants that repel insects
  • Improve yield by attracting beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden
  • Create a mutual support system that meets the various needs of different plants.

Examples of Successful Companion Plants

Three Sisters Planting Method

The Three Sisters planting method is one of the most famous examples of companion planting.  Corn grows up straight and tall, providing support for beans to climb. Beans enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen from the air into a usable form that all three sisters can use. Squash provides shade, helps the soil to stay moist, repels insects, and suppresses weeds.

Marigold

An excellent all-purpose companion to all garden crops, marigolds encourage vegetable growth and repel many pests and insects.

companion plants marigolds and broccoli

Tomatoes

These delicious veggies pair well with herbs, especially basil and cilantro. These herbs may repel pests with their scents and also attract pollinators.

 Marigolds repel nematodes. 


What Not to Plant With Tomatoes!

Keep tomatoes separated from potatoes and corn to prevent the spread of pests and diseases that affect both species.

Kohlrabi and tomatoes will stunt each other’s growth, so separate these two.

Beans

Beans are good all-around companion plants to most of the garden. Legumes are nitrogen fixers, improving the soil. They love tall stemmed plants to climb up, like sweetcorn or sunflowers. 


Onions are enemies to beans and will impede their growth, so keep them separate.

Cucumbers

Pair cucumbers with nasturtiums to provide pest control. Sunflowers provide a trellis for cucumbers as well as some shelter. Cucumbers also pair well with peas, radishes, celery, corn, and marigolds. 


Keep them away from potatoes, as cucumbers can encourage potato blight.

peas and flowers companion plants

Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli

These cole crops are friendly with tomatoes and celery, which repel cabbage worms. Marigolds and nasturtiums also provide good pest control. 


Strawberries will deter the growth of all cabbage family members, so keep these plants far apart.

Radishes & Carrots

These two root crops go together quite nicely. They don’t compete in the soil and mature at different rates, so they can be effectively intercropped and even succession planted with great results.

Fennel

While fennel is delicious, it deserves a special mention because it is a bad neighbor to almost everyone. It inhibits growth and can even kill many garden plants. Dill is the exception to this rule and has a stabilizing effect on fennel seeds. You may want to give these two a separate neighborhood all their own. 

Permaculture gardens also use companion planting for better results. By looking at your garden as a whole system and paying attention to what works well together, all of your plants benefit.

Companion planting is an all-natural, healthy technique without any downsides! By taking the time to think about companion planting, you can naturally make choices that will boost production, encourage healthy plants, invite beneficial pollinators to the garden, and build soil health. You can also discourage pests and diseases while cutting down on pesticide use.