Vegetable Garden Companion Plants Guide

Companion Plants can Help You be a Better Gardener

Growing your own vegetables is a wonderful way to save money and may help you eat healthier, by providing a ready supply of vegetables during the growing season. Whether you are an experienced gardener, or just starting out, it can be helpful to learn about companion planting as a natural and eco-friendly way to have a productive and healthy garden.

Basically, companion planting means learning about which plants provide benefits to other plants and planting them together in the garden. Companion plants for a vegetable plant can be other vegetable plants, herbs or even flowers.

Benefits of Companion Planting

When successful, companion planting can:

  • deter harmful insects and other garden pests
  • attract beneficial and predatory insects
  • improve pollination and crop yields
  • improve the flavour of certain vegetables
  • maximize growth of plants by keeping down weeds and providing shade where needed

without the use of harmful chemicals.

Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden.
Marigolds are an invaluable addition to any vegetable garden. | Source

Planting Herbs and Flowers in Your Vegetable Garden

There are many flowers and herbs that are beneficial to vegetable plants. The main benefit of most of these is in their ability to either attract or repel various insects.

Beneficial flowers in a vegetable garden include nasturtiums, marigolds, zinnias, petunias, sweet peas, cosmos, and sunflowers. Of these, nasturtiums and marigolds are my absolute favourite companion plants. They both keep away a large variety of garden pests, and provide a bright colourful addition to the garden. I tend to intersperse several different varieties of marigolds throughout my vegetable garden, and plant the lower growing nasturtiums along the edge of the garden.

Herbs such as chives, basil and dill also provide benefits to the vegetables growing in your garden, and of course are great for cooking.

Flowers and Herbs for the Vegetable Garden

Plant With
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes Strong smell repels garden pests such as Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, slugs, and tomato worm.
Broccoli, Cucumber, Cabbage, Potatoes, Radish, Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini Wards off fungal diseases. Attract aphids away from other plants. Also trap other insects such as whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and cabbage worms.
Throughout the garden, especially near tomatoes Repel aphids, tomato worms, Mexican bean beetle, asparagus beetle, leafhoppers and other garden pests.
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps. Repels harmful insects. Fertilizes soil.
Zinnias, Sweet Peas, Cosmos and Larkspur
Anywhere in or near vegetable garden Attract bees to the garden to improve pollination. Also attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and wasps.
Asparagus, Cucumber, Tomatoes Repels aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, hornworms and other garden pests. Attracts bees to improve pollination. Improves flavour of tomatoes.
Asparagus, Carrots, Tomatoes Repels aphids. Improves the flavour of carrots and tomatoes. May help to prevent powdery mildew on cucumber plants.
Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Onions, Attracts beneficial insects such as bees, wasps, and hoverflies. Repels garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, squash and cabbage bugs.

Vegetables as Companion Plants

Certain vegetables grow better when planted close to others. They may provide needed shade, improve the soil by adding nutrients, attract beneficial insects, repel harmful garden pests or improve the flavour of the other plant. A good example of this is the Three Sisters Garden,

In a Three Sisters Garden, corn, beans and squash are planted together to maximize the yield on each crop. Each of these plants is beneficial to the other plants in some way. The corn provides support to the bean stalks as they grow. Beans improve the soil by adding nitrogen to it, which benefits both the squash and the corn, which is a particularly heavy feeder. The squash helps keep the weeds down, and benefits from the shade provided by the other two plants.

Watch the video below for more information on companion planting in an organic garden, including an example of a Three Sisters Garden.

Organic Gardening with Companion Plants

Plant Combinations to Avoid

In the same way that certain plants are beneficial to each other when planted together, there are some plant combinations that are best to avoid.

For example, beans are beneficial to many vegetable plants, as they fix nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil. However, they should not be planted with beets as the two will stunt each other’s growth. Also, onion bulbs’ growth is stunted by too much nitrogen in the soil, so beans and onions should not be planted near each other.

The chart below summarizes which vegetables make good companions and which combinations should be avoided.

Vegetable Garden Companion Planting Chart

Good Companions Avoid Planting With
Basil, Chives, Parsley, Tomatoes  
Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigolds, Parsley, Peas, Rosemary, Sage Chives, Fennel, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Bush Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Lettuce, Onions Climbing Beans, Tomatoes
Bell Peppers
Basil, Carrots, Marigolds, Onions, Parsley, Tomatoes Dill, Fennel
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Dill, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Potatoes, Tomatoes Rue, Strawberries
Beans, Beets, Chamomile, Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Rosemary, Sage Garlic, Rue, Strawberries, Tomatoes
Beans, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Leeks, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Tomatoes Parsnip
Bush Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill, Leeks, Peas, Tomatoes Parsnip, Potatoes
Beans, Beets, Cucumber, Marjoram, Parsnip, Peas, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rosemary, Squash, Zucchini  
Basil, Beans, Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Peas, Radish Potatoes, Sage
Beans, Marjoram, Potatoes Dill,
Hot Peppers
Basil, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Squash, Tomatoes Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Dill
Beans, Beats, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Parsnip, Peas, Radish Parsley
Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Leeks, Parsley, Parsnip, Tomatoes Beans, Peas,
Beans, Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Parsnip, Potato, Sage Chives, Garlic, Onions, Shallots
Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Peas Celery, Cucumber, Dill, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Tomatoes
Corn, Marjoram Potatoes
Marjoram, Fruit Trees, Strawberries  
Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Marigolds, Onions, Nasturiums, Peas, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sunflower Potatoes
Asparagus, Basil, Carrots, Celery, Chives, Dill, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers, Radish, Spinach Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Fennel, Potatoes, Rosemary, Rue
Corn, Marjoram, Nasturtiums  

Natural Insect Repellents

Pest / Insect
Natural Repellents to Try
Garlic, mint, tansy, pennyroyal
Basil, chives, garlic, onions, nasturiums, petunias, tomatoes
Cabbage fly
Chamomile, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme
Garlic, tomatoes
Mint, wormwood
Bee balm, catnip, citronella, lemon balm, marigolds, pennyroyal, tansy, wormwood
Lavender, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme
Dry rosemary, marigold, leaf mulch, wormwood
Nasturiums, Onions
Tomato worm
Garlic, marigolds
White fly
Basil, nasturiums
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