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Fun Facts About Companion Plants for Gardeners

Fun Facts About Companion Plants

A Cheat-Sheet for Planting This Near That in Your Garden.

Did you know that plants in your garden can have best friends (or BFFs 👯‍♂️), just like people do? Indeed, some plants really get along, helping each other grow better and stay healthy. On the flip side, plants can also have rivals, not working well together at all (dare we say enemy?). Every gardener knows how crucial it is to arrange your garden thoughtfully. This means keeping friendly plants close and keeping the troublemakers apart. In this guide, you’ll discover the best companion plants for your garden favorites and learn which ones to keep at a distance.

Before we get into the gardening weeds, lets talk about what makes a plant a ‘companion’. Companion planting is about pairing different plant species together for mutual benefits like better growth, natural pest control, and enhanced pollination. This age-old practice shines in the "Three Sisters" gardening method, where corn, beans, and squash support each other in harmony. The corn acts as a sturdy pole for bean vines, while the squash spreads across the ground, keeping it cool and moist.

"Planting companions is an art that is practiced by many gardeners. By using the principles of companion planting, we can repel harmful insects, attract beneficial insects, and improve the growth and flavor of our vegetables". - Louise Riotte, from Carrots Love Tomatoes.

There are six main benefits companion plants can offer: pest and disease control, soil improvement, pollinator attraction, structural support, flavor enhancement, and environmental conditioning. A smart gardener mixes and matches companions to address specific garden challenges, such as pesky bugs or poor soil.

Now, let's get to the list of companion plants, starting with the tomato, and explore how to create the perfect garden community!

Tomato

Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes

  • Marigolds - Repel pests like hornworms and aphids, and attract beneficial insects with their vibrant blooms, enhancing the garden's health.
  • Basil - Known for its ability to repel pests like aphids, thrips, and spider mites. Basil near tomatoes may enhance the flavor of the tomatoes, making it a flavorful and aromatic protector.
  • Alliums (Garlic and Onions) - Their strong scents act as a natural deterrent against pests, providing a shield for your tomatoes without the need for chemical pesticides.
  • Lavender - Its lovely fragrance repels mosquitoes and other pests, adding a touch of beauty while safeguarding your tomato plants.
  • Borage - Encourages nutrient absorption and attracts pollinators, playing a dual role in supporting tomato health and pollination.
  • Nasturtiums - Serve as a trap for aphids and other pests, drawing them away from tomatoes with their bright flowers. They are also edible and taste like black pepper.
  • Beans and Peas - These legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching it and benefiting tomato plants by improving their growth and yield.
  • Carrots - Their cultivation loosens the soil around tomato roots, enhancing drainage and air flow.
  • Asparagus - Its root secretions may deter nematodes, offering underground protection for tomato plants.

Enemy Plants of Tomatoes

  • Potatoes, Eggplants, Peppers - As members of the nightshade family, they share common pests and diseases, potentially spreading them to one another.
  • Fennel - Its growth-inhibiting chemicals can adversely affect tomato health, making it an unwelcome neighbor in the garden.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.) - These plants may attract pests that also feed on tomatoes, increasing the risk of infestation and disease.

Bell Pepper

Best Companion Plants for Bell Peppers

  • Marigolds - They work as a natural pest repellent, discouraging aphids, thrips, and spider mites with their bright flowers, while adding a splash of color to your garden.
  • Basil - Not only does it repel pests and enhance pepper flavor, but basil also creates a fragrant barrier, protecting bell peppers from harmful insects.
  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic)- Their pungent aromas serve as a strong deterrent for pests, acting as a natural safeguard for your bell peppers.
  • Chives - Technically an Allium, Chives are known for their ability to deter pests and diseases like gray mold and downy mildew, chives can also enhance the overall health of bell peppers.
  • Nasturtiums - By attracting beneficial insects and repelling aphids, these vibrant flowers provide dual benefits: protection for bell peppers and an aesthetic boost to the garden.
  • Beets - These root vegetables efficiently utilize space without competing with bell peppers for nutrients, making them an ideal garden companion.
  • Spinach - Its leaves help retain soil moisture and attract beneficial insects, creating a supportive environment for bell peppers to thrive.
  • Carrots - They improve soil structure with their deep roots and attract beneficial insects, contributing to a healthy habitat for bell peppers.

Enemy Plants of Bell Peppers

  • Fennel - This herb releases chemicals that can inhibit the growth of bell peppers, making it an incompatible neighbor in the garden.
  • Nightshades (Potatoes, Eggplants, Tomatoes) - As fellow members of the nightshade family, these plants share common pests and diseases with bell peppers, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Pole Beans - They may overshadow bell peppers in their quest for resources, potentially leading to nutrient competition and growth issues.
  • Corn - Corn can attract pests that also have a taste for bell peppers, posing a risk to their health and productivity.

Carrot

Best Companion Plants for Carrots

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks) - These plants deter carrot flies with their strong scents, providing a protective shield around the carrots.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to repel nematodes and other pests helps create a safer environment for carrots to grow undisturbed.
  • Radishes - Quick to grow, radishes help loosen the soil, making it easier for carrot roots to penetrate deeply and develop fully.
  • Tomatoes - The scent of tomatoes may deter carrot pests, plus tomatoes can provide a bit of shade, reducing evaporation from the soil around carrots.
  • Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula - These leafy greens share space efficiently with carrots, offering ground cover that maintains soil moisture and temperature.
  • Herbs (Sage, Rosemary, Thyme) - Their strong scents deter pests, making the surrounding area more hospitable for carrots.
  • Beans and Peas - As nitrogen fixers, they enrich the soil, which carrots benefit from, improving their growth and taste.

Enemy Plants for Carrots

  • Other Apiaceae Family Members (Celery, Parsnips, Dill, Parsley) - They can attract the same pests and diseases, potentially leading to a higher risk of infestation.
  • Potatoes - Their growth can interfere with carrot root development, as both are root crops competing for below-ground space.
  • Asparagus - Its different growth patterns and nutrient needs can lead to competition, adversely affecting carrot development.

Lettuce

Best Companion Plants for Lettuce

  • Marigolds - Known to repel pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and nematodes, marigolds also add vibrant color between lettuce rows.
  • Basil - Enhances lettuce flavor while repelling pests, providing a dual benefit of flavor enhancement and natural pest control.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which help control pest populations around lettuce plants.
  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives) - Their strong scents deter aphids and other pests, creating a protective barrier around the lettuce.
  • Carrots - They loosen the soil, which benefits the root system of lettuce, and their companionship does not lead to competition for nutrients.
  • Beans and Peas - Their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil enriches it, promoting healthier and more vigorous lettuce growth.
  • Radishes - Radishes deter pests and their rapid growth can break up the soil, making it more hospitable for lettuce roots.
  • Cilantro - Attracts beneficial insects and can improve the overall health of lettuce by enhancing its natural environment.
  • Strawberries - Their growth patterns complement lettuce, sharing space without heavy competition for resources.

Enemy Plants for Lettuce

  • Parsley - It can compete with lettuce for space and nutrients, possibly inhibiting lettuce growth due to their similar needs.
  • Potatoes - They can potentially spread diseases to lettuce, plus their larger foliage might overshadow lettuce plants, inhibiting growth.
  • Fennel - Known for its growth-inhibiting properties, fennel can stunt the growth of lettuce, making it an undesirable companion.

Cucumber

Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers

  • Beans and Peas - These nitrogen-fixing plants enrich the soil, benefiting cucumbers by improving their growth and health.
  • Corn - Serves as a natural stake for cucumber vines, offering support and shade, while cucumbers benefit the corn by deterring raccoons.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, that help control pest populations harmful to cucumbers.
  • Radishes - Help loosen the soil and deter cucumber beetles, acting as a pest deterrent and soil aerator for cucumbers.
  • Sunflowers - Offer structural support for cucumber vines to climb on, and their tall stature provides beneficial shade.
  • Borage - Known to improve the flavor and growth of cucumbers, borage also attracts pollinators and deters pests.
  • Marigolds - Repel a variety of pests, including cucumber beetles and aphids, with their bright blooms and strong scent.
  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives) - Their strong scents deter pests, providing a natural barrier of protection for cucumber plants.

Enemy Plants for Cucumbers

  • Aromatic Herbs (such as Sage) - Their strong scents can stunt cucumber growth, making them incompatible companions.
  • Potatoes - Compete for nutrients and can spread blight to cucumbers, posing a risk of disease.
  • Pole Beans - They may outcompete cucumbers for space and resources, leading to reduced cucumber yields.

Zucchini

Best Companion Plants for Zucchini

  • Corn - Part of the "Three Sisters" planting method, providing shade and support for zucchini plants.
  • Beans & Peas - Fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching it for zucchini and other surrounding plants.
  • Tomatoes - Attract pollinators while providing some shade, creating a beneficial microclimate for zucchini.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects, aiding in pest control and pollination around zucchini plants.
  • Borage - Known to deter pests and attract pollinators, borage can also enhance zucchini growth.
  • Marigolds - Repel pests like cucumber beetles and aphids, while deterring nematodes in the soil.
  • Nasturtiums - Serve as a trap crop for aphids, drawing them away from zucchini and other vegetables.
  • Radishes - Their rapid growth can deter pests and help break up compacted soil, benefiting zucchini roots.
  • Sunflowers - Provide shade and structural support for zucchini plants, improving their environment.

Enemy Plants for Zucchini

  • Other Cucurbits (Cucumbers, Melons, Winter Squash) - Sharing diseases and pests between them can lead to crop failure.
  • Potatoes - Can compete with zucchini for nutrients, space, and may increase disease risk.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.) - Compete for nutrients and can attract pests that also target zucchini.
  • Fennel - Its allelopathic properties can stunt the growth of nearby crops, including zucchini.
  • Pole Beans - May outcompete zucchini for nutrients and light, reducing yield and health.

Sweet Potato

Best Companion Plants for Sweet Potatoes

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives) - Deter sweet potato weevils and other pests while improving soil fertility with their presence.
  • Herbs (Thyme, Dill, Oregano, Summer Savory) - Repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and may enhance the flavor of sweet potatoes.
  • Leafy Greens (Spinach, Lettuce) - Provide ground cover, retaining soil moisture and preventing weed growth around sweet potatoes.
  • Beans and Peas - Enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen, offering a nutrient boost to sweet potatoes.
  • Root Crops (Beets, Parsnips, Horseradish) - Have compatible growth patterns with sweet potatoes, aiding in soil erosion prevention.
  • Marigolds - Marigolds deter nematodes and pests, while adding beauty to the garden and supporting sweet potato growth.
  • Corn - Offer necessary shade and support, protecting sweet potatoes from excessive sun and heat.

Enemy Plants for Sweet Potatoes

  • Squash, Pumpkins, Melons, Watermelons - These vigorous growers can compete for space and resources, limiting sweet potato development.
  • Potatoes - Can share diseases with sweet potatoes, increasing the risk of infection and crop loss.
  • Pole Beans - Their tall growth may overshadow sweet potatoes, competing for sunlight and possibly affecting yield.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage) - These nutrient-heavy feeders can deplete the soil, leaving less for sweet potatoes and potentially leading to poor growth.

Spinach

Best Companion Plants for Spinach

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives) - Their strong scents act as a deterrent to common pests, helping to protect spinach plants from damage.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower) - These plants don't compete with spinach for nutrients, instead they can offer shade and cooler soil temperatures, benefiting the spinach.
  • Beans and Peas - As nitrogen fixers, they enrich the soil, which in turn promotes healthier and more vigorous spinach growth.
  • Strawberries - The low-lying strawberry plants can provide ground cover, helping to maintain soil moisture levels which spinach plants will appreciate.
  • Carrots - Their deeper root systems can help improve soil structure without competing with spinach for nutrients.
  • Radishes - Radishes can help to deter pests like aphids and flea beetles, plus their quick growing nature means they won't compete with spinach for long.
  • Herbs (Basil, Dill, Cilantro) - These aromatic herbs can repel certain pests and attract beneficial insects, creating a more balanced ecosystem for spinach to thrive in.

Enemy Plants for Spinach

  • Fennel - Known for its growth-inhibiting properties towards many garden plants, including spinach, fennel should be kept at a distance.
  • Potatoes - They can potentially spread blight to spinach plants and might compete for soil nutrients.
  • Pole Beans - The shade and root systems of pole beans may outcompete spinach for sunlight and water.

Kale

Best Companion Plants for Kale

  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects, like parasitic wasps, that prey on pests detrimental to kale, providing natural pest control.
  • Thyme - Its strong scent helps repel cabbage worms, a common pest of kale, enhancing the plant's chance for a healthy growth period.
  • Marigolds - The bright flowers of marigolds can deter a variety of pests and improve the overall health of the garden, benefiting kale indirectly.
  • Nasturtiums - Act as a trap crop for aphids, drawing them away from kale and other susceptible crops, while also attracting pollinators.
  • Chamomile - Believed to improve the growth and flavor of kale, chamomile also attracts beneficial insects, contributing to a healthier garden.
  • Beans and Peas - By fixing nitrogen in the soil, these legumes contribute to the nutrient needs of kale, encouraging robust growth.
  • Lettuce and Spinach - Their shorter stature and quicker harvest cycles make them ideal companions, providing ground cover without competing heavily for resources.
  • Other Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower) - Sharing similar growing requirements, these plants can create a microclimate that benefits all, though care should be taken to manage pests collectively.
  • Alyssum - Attracts hoverflies, which are natural predators of aphids, thus helping to control pest populations around kale.

Enemy Plants for Kale

  • Potatoes - They may harbor pests and diseases that can be transferred to kale, posing a risk to its health.
  • Fennel - Its allelopathic properties can inhibit the growth of kale and other nearby plants, making it a poor companion.
  • Strawberries - While not directly harmful, strawberries can attract slugs, which may then move on to feast on the kale.

Green Beans

Best Companion Plants for Green Beans

  • Cucumbers, Eggplant, Radishes - These companions encourage strong growth in green beans by sharing beneficial nutrients and deterring pests through their diverse planting arrangement.
  • Marigolds - The vibrant flowers repel Mexican bean beetles and other pests that can damage green beans, acting as a natural insect deterrent.
  • Basil - Its aromatic leaves repel various pests and can enhance the flavor of green beans, making it a useful and fragrant companion.
  • Corn - Acts as a natural trellis for pole beans, providing support. The corn benefits from the nitrogen fixed by the beans, making this a classic example of mutual benefit.
  • Herbs (Dill, Chives, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage) - Deter pests with their strong scents while attracting beneficial insects, creating a protective and nurturing environment for green beans.
  • Nasturtiums - Their bright blooms not only beautify the garden but also deter aphids and other pests, providing a shield for green beans.
  • Strawberries - Serve as ground cover, reducing weeds and maintaining soil moisture, which benefits the growth of green beans.

Enemy Plants for Green Beans

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Leeks) - The allium family can stunt the growth of green beans with their strong scents and underground growth patterns.
  • Fennel - Its allelopathic properties can negatively impact the growth and flavor of green beans, making it an incompatible companion.
  • Kohlrabi - May compete with green beans for resources, potentially leading to diminished yields for both crops.
  • Pole Beans - When planted too close to bush beans, they may overshadow and outcompete them for sunlight and nutrients, leading to reduced bush bean productivity.

Corn

Best Companion Plants for Corn

  • Beans - As part of the "Three Sisters" gardening technique, beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which corn heavily consumes, benefiting the corn's growth.
  • Peas - Similar to beans, peas enrich the soil with nitrogen, supporting corn's nutrient needs and enhancing overall health.
  • Cucumbers - The spreading vines of cucumbers can help maintain soil moisture and deter weeds, creating a beneficial microclimate for corn.
  • Summer Squash and Zucchini - Their broad leaves provide ground cover that retains soil moisture and deters weeds, complementing the corn's tall growth habit.
  • Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Another component of the "Three Sisters," these plants cover the ground, preventing weed growth and maintaining soil moisture for corn.
  • Lettuce - Thrives in the shade provided by tall corn stalks, optimizing garden space and reducing water evaporation from the soil.
  • Potatoes - Can be strategically planted to make efficient use of space, as they have different harvest times and growth habits than corn.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects that prey on common pests of corn, offering natural pest control solutions.
  • Marigolds and Nasturtiums - These flowers repel pests and beautify the area around corn with their vibrant blooms.

Enemy Plants for Corn

  • Tomatoes and Eggplants - These nightshade plants can interfere with the growth of corn, potentially due to shared pests and diseases.
  • Beets - May compete with corn for soil nutrients and water, potentially stunting the growth of both plants.
  • Onions - The strong scent and underground growth of onions can disrupt the beneficial bacteria in the soil that help corn absorb nitrogen.

Broccoli

Best Companion Plants for Broccoli

  • Beets - Their growth does not compete with broccoli for nutrients, making them a harmonious pairing that utilizes garden space efficiently.
  • Celery - Acts as a deterrent for whiteflies and other pests that might target broccoli, while also enhancing broccoli's flavor and growth.
  • Chamomile - Attracts beneficial insects and improves the growth and flavor of broccoli, making it a valuable ally in the garden.
  • Lettuce - Provides ground cover, retaining soil moisture and preventing weed growth, which benefits both plants without competition.
  • Potatoes - Their different nutrient requirements allow broccoli and potatoes to grow well together without competing for resources.
  • Rosemary - Its strong scent repels a variety of pests that could harm broccoli, providing a natural form of pest control.
  • Shallots (and other alliums) - Their pungent aroma can help deter pests from broccoli, while potentially enhancing its flavor.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects that can help control pests around broccoli plants.
  • Borage - Known to deter pests and attract pollinators, borage can also improve the soil around broccoli with its deep roots.
  • Marigolds - Their scent deters pests, and they can help manage nematodes in the soil, creating a healthier environment for broccoli.

Enemy Plants for Broccoli

  • Nightshades (Tomatoes, Eggplants, and Peppers) - Sharing common pests and diseases, these plants can create a hostile environment for broccoli.
  • Strawberries - Compete with broccoli for nutrients and can attract slugs and other pests that may then target broccoli.
  • Beans - Their nitrogen-rich soil can make it too potent for broccoli, potentially leading to lush foliage but poor development of broccoli heads.
  • Peas - Similar to beans, the high nitrogen content they contribute to the soil can adversely affect broccoli's growth.

Peas

Best Companion Plants for Peas

  • Carrots - Their deeper root systems loosen the soil, which benefits the root growth of peas, without competing for nutrients.
  • Turnips - Share a beneficial relationship with peas by not competing heavily for nutrients and helping each other grow.
  • Tomatoes - Peas can provide nitrogen to help tomatoes grow, while tomatoes offer support and can deter pests that affect peas.
  • Corn - Acts as a natural trellis for climbing pea varieties and benefits from the nitrogen peas fix in the soil.
  • Radishes - Help deter pests and can break up the soil with their roots, making it easier for peas to grow.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to repel pests benefits peas by creating a protective barrier against common garden pests.
  • Basil - Enhances the flavor of peas and helps repel harmful insects, making it a useful companion in the garden.
  • Mint - Repels pests that may target peas, but should be planted in containers to prevent it from overtaking the garden.

Enemy Plants of Peas

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic) - Can inhibit the growth of peas with their strong scents and underground growth patterns.
  • Parsnips - While not directly harmful, parsnips may compete with peas for space and nutrients in the soil, potentially reducing yields.
  • Potatoes - May compete with peas for space and nutrients, and their heavy foliage can overshadow and inhibit pea growth.

Potato

Best Companion Plants for Potato

  • Beans and Peas - As nitrogen-fixers, these plants enhance the soil's fertility, benefiting the potato plants by enriching the ground they grow in.
  • Marigolds - Known for repelling pests that target potatoes, such as the Colorado potato beetle, while also beautifying the garden.
  • Horseradish - Believed to increase disease resistance in potatoes, horseradish acts as a strong ally by improving overall plant health.
  • Thyme - Attracts beneficial insects while repelling harmful ones, creating a protective barrier around potato plants.
  • Nasturtium - Acts as a trap crop for aphids and other pests, diverting attention away from potatoes and adding vibrant colors to the garden.
  • Chamomile - Known to enhance the flavor of potatoes and attract beneficial insects, contributing to a healthier garden ecosystem.
  • Coriander - Helps repel potato pests and can enhance soil health, making it a fragrant and beneficial companion.
  • Catnip - Repels a wide range of pests, offering potatoes protection against insects that could damage them.
  • Petunias - Attract beneficial insects that prey on pests attacking potatoes, serving as both a protective and decorative companion.
  • Alyssum - Attracts hoverflies and other beneficial insects, reducing aphid populations and supporting potato growth.

Enemy Plants for Potatoes

  • Nightshades (Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers) - As members of the nightshade family, they can share diseases with potatoes, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Cucumbers - May compete with potatoes for space and nutrients, plus the risk of shared pests and diseases.
  • Pumpkins/Squash - Their sprawling growth habit can overcrowd potatoes, limiting their access to sunlight and nutrients.
  • Sunflowers - Can inhibit the growth of potatoes nearby due to allelopathic substances they release into the soil.

Onions

Best Companion Plants for Onion

  • Chamomile - Improves onion growth and flavor while attracting beneficial insects to the garden.
  • Beets - Complement onions well, as they don't compete for nutrients and can help to repel pests.
  • Strawberry - The strong scent of onions can deter pests that target strawberries, offering mutual protection.
  • Tomatoes - Onions can deter pests that affect tomatoes, while tomatoes may improve the health and vigor of onions.
  • Peppers - Similar to tomatoes, the companionship with onions helps repel common pests, benefiting both crops.
  • Leeks - Sharing similar growing conditions and requirements, leeks and onions support each other's growth.
  • Mint - Repels a variety of pests, providing a protective aroma that benefits onions and other garden plants.
  • Chives - As a relative to onions, chives share similar benefits in repelling pests and enhancing the growing environment.

Enemy Plants for Onion

  • Beans - Beans and onions are not compatible as they can inhibit each other's growth due to different soil and nutrient requirements.
  • Asparagus - Asparagus and onions should be kept apart as their growth can be negatively affected when planted too closely.
  • Peas - Similar to beans, peas do not grow well alongside onions due to conflicting growth conditions and potential for growth inhibition.

Garlic

Best Companion Plants for Garlic

  • Carrots - Carrots benefit from being near garlic as it helps repel carrot flies, improving growth conditions for both plants.
  • Beetroot - Garlic can deter pests from beetroots, and their differing root depths mean they don’t compete for space.
  • Strawberries - Garlic helps repel pests that feed on strawberries, offering a natural form of protection.
  • Tomatoes - The presence of garlic can help keep pests at bay, enhancing the growth and health of tomato plants.
  • Chamomile - Known to improve the flavor of garlic and attract beneficial insects, making it a great companion.
  • Lettuce - Garlic deters aphids, which can be harmful to lettuce, making them good garden partners.
  • Parsnips - Share similar beneficial companions, and garlic can help protect parsnips from pests.
  • Roses - Planting garlic near roses can help repel pests, including aphids, that target rose plants.

Enemy Plants for Garlic

  • Asparagus - Garlic can inhibit the growth of asparagus, making them incompatible as garden companions.
  • Beans - The growth of beans can be adversely affected by the compounds garlic releases.
  • Peas - Similar to beans, peas do not fare well when planted near garlic due to allelopathic effects that can inhibit growth.
  • Other Alliums - Planting garlic near onions, leeks, or chives should be done with care to avoid overconcentration of pests that target allium species.

Winter Squash

Best Companion Plants for Winter Squash

  • Beans - As nitrogen fixers, beans help enrich the soil, benefiting the growth of winter squash.
  • Corn - Acts as a natural support structure for squash vines, and the large leaves of squash help retain soil moisture beneficial for corn.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to repel pests and nematodes is beneficial for the health of winter squash plants.
  • Nasturtiums - Serve as a trap crop for aphids, protecting winter squash by drawing pests away.
  • Peas - Help enrich the soil with nitrogen, promoting healthier winter squash plants.
  • Radishes - Can deter squash vine borers and act as a quick-growing companion, making them beneficial allies.
  • Oregano - This herb repels pests and can improve the overall health and flavor of winter squash.
  • Tansy - Known to repel squash bugs, making it a valuable companion for winter squash.

Enemy Plants for Winter Squash

  • Potatoes - May compete with winter squash for space and nutrients, and both are susceptible to similar pests and diseases.
  • Fennel - Inhibits the growth of many plants, including winter squash, through allelopathic properties.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.) - Compete for nutrients and can attract pests that also enjoy feasting on winter squash.
  • Melons and Cucumbers - Sharing too many of the same pests and diseases with winter squash, planting them too closely can lead to crop failure.

Cauliflower

Best Companion Plants for Cauliflower

  • Spinach - Provides ground cover, helping to maintain soil moisture and cooler soil temperatures beneficial for cauliflower growth.
  • Beets - Share the garden space well with cauliflower, as they don't compete heavily for nutrients and can improve soil structure.
  • Chard - Acts as a companion that does not compete for resources and can help keep the soil moist and cool for cauliflower.
  • Alliums (Onions and Garlic) - Their pungent odors can deter pests from cauliflower, acting as a natural pest control method.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects that predate common pests of cauliflower, providing an additional layer of protection.
  • Sage - Its aromatic properties can help repel pests that might otherwise target cauliflower plants.
  • Peas - Fix nitrogen in the soil, which can benefit the nutrient-hungry cauliflower by enhancing soil fertility.
  • Marigolds - Known to repel a variety of pests and can help protect cauliflower from nematode damage.

Enemy Plants for Cauliflower

  • Strawberries - They can attract slugs and other pests that also enjoy feasting on cauliflower, leading to competition and pest issues.
  • Tomatoes - Compete for the same nutrients as cauliflower and can inhibit each other's growth when planted too closely.
  • Peppers - Similar to tomatoes, peppers share common pests and diseases with cauliflower, which can lead to cross-contamination and crop loss.
  • Pole Beans - They can overshadow cauliflower plants, limiting their sunlight exposure and potentially stunting growth.

Cabbage

Best Companion Plants for Cabbage

  • Celery - Its strong scent can deter cabbage pests, and it can benefit from the nutrient-rich soil prepared for cabbage.
  • Chamomile - Improves cabbage growth and attracts beneficial insects, enhancing the garden's ecosystem.
  • Beets - Occupy different soil levels, allowing for efficient use of space without competing for nutrients with cabbage.
  • Garlic - Helps to repel pests like aphids and cabbage loopers that are harmful to cabbage.
  • Mint - Deters cabbage moth and ants, but should be planted in pots to prevent it from becoming invasive.
  • Rosemary - Its scent can deter cabbage pests, acting as a natural pest control while also attracting pollinators.
  • Thyme - Deters cabbage worms, and planting it near cabbage can help reduce pest infestations naturally.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to repel pests, including those that target cabbage, makes them beneficial companions in the vegetable garden.

Enemy Plants for Cabbage

  • Grapes - The growth of grapes can be negatively affected by the proximity to cabbage due to differing soil and nutrient requirements.
  • Mustards - Can attract pests that also target cabbage, increasing the likelihood of infestation and disease.
  • Strawberries - Similar to cauliflower, strawberries can attract slugs and other pests detrimental to cabbage, posing a risk of pest problems.
  • Pole Beans - Their growth habit and shading can negatively impact cabbage development, making them unsuitable companions.

Beet

Best Companion Plants for Beet

  • Alliums (Onions and Garlic) - Their strong scents deter pests from the beet plants, providing a layer of natural pest control in the garden.
  • Bush Beans - Fix nitrogen in the soil, which benefits beets by enriching the soil with essential nutrients for their growth.
  • Lettuce - Its shallow root system does not compete with deeper-rooted beets for nutrients, and lettuce can benefit from the shade provided by beet leaves.
  • Cabbage - Shares a mutually beneficial relationship with beets, as they do not compete for nutrients and can help each other by deterring specific pests.
  • Chard - Being closely related, chard and beets grow well together without competing heavily for nutrients or space.
  • Spinach - Similar to lettuce, spinach can grow in the cooler shade of beet plants, and both vegetables enjoy similar soil conditions.
  • Marigolds - Repel soil nematodes and other pests, creating a healthier growing environment for beets.
  • Catnip - Deters flea beetles and aphids, pests that can affect beet health, making it a useful companion.

Enemy Plants for Beet

  • Mustard Greens - Can attract pests that also target beets, leading to potential pest management issues.
  • Pole Beans - The growth habit of pole beans can shade out beets, reducing their sunlight exposure and potentially affecting their growth.
  • Field Peas - While peas generally benefit soil, field peas might compete with beets for space and nutrients, particularly in dense plantings.

Radish

Best Companion Plants for Radish

  • Cucumbers - Radishes can deter cucumber beetles and other pests, providing protection for cucumbers as they grow.
  • Lettuce - Radishes grow quickly and can be harvested before lettuce needs the space, making efficient use of the garden area.
  • Peas - Fix nitrogen in the soil, which benefits radishes by improving soil fertility for their rapid growth.
  • Spinach - Shares similar growing conditions with radishes, and both can benefit from the cooler soil provided by each other's foliage.
  • Squash - Radishes can deter squash borers and act as a trap crop, reducing pest pressure on squash plants.
  • Nasturtiums - Act as a trap crop for aphids, drawing them away from radishes and other vegetables.
  • Chervil - Believed to improve the growth and flavor of radishes when planted in close proximity.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to repel pests and improve soil health benefits radishes planted nearby.

Enemy Plants for Radish

  • Hyssop - Can inhibit the growth of radishes, making it an unsuitable companion in the vegetable garden.
  • Cabbage and Cauliflower - While not directly antagonistic, dense plantings of these larger plants can overshadow radishes, potentially stunting their growth due to reduced light.
  • Kohlrabi - Competes with radish for nutrients and space, especially in a closely planted garden, leading to potential growth issues for both.

Asparagus

Best Companion Plants for Asparagus

  • Tomatoes - Tomatoes can repel the asparagus beetle, a common pest for asparagus, while asparagus can deter some nematodes that affect tomatoes, making them excellent companions.
  • Parsley - Encourages growth in asparagus and can help enhance its flavor, while also attracting beneficial insects to the garden.
  • Basil - Its strong scent repels pests and attracts beneficial insects, providing protection for asparagus and improving overall garden health.
  • Marigolds - Known to deter nematodes and other pests, marigolds can protect asparagus from underground threats.
  • Nasturtiums - Act as a trap crop for aphids, drawing them away from asparagus and other vegetable plants.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial wasps that prey on common pests of asparagus, enhancing the ecosystem around the asparagus bed.

Enemy Plants for Asparagus

  • Alliums (Garlic and Onions) - Alliums can stunt the growth of asparagus; their strong scents and underground growth can interfere with asparagus roots.
  • Potatoes - Compete with asparagus for nutrients and space, and their cultivation can disturb asparagus roots.
  • Peppers and Eggplants - Like potatoes, they can compete with asparagus for soil nutrients and may also inadvertently harm the asparagus spears during cultivation.

Celery

Best Companion Plants for Celery

  • Leeks - Their strong scent can help repel pests that target celery, and they share similar water and fertilizer requirements.
  • Bush Beans - Fix nitrogen in the soil, which celery can benefit from due to its high nutrient demands.
  • Cabbage and Cauliflower - Provide celery with some shade, which can help keep the soil moist and cool, conditions that celery thrives in.
  • Spinach - Shares similar growing conditions with celery, and together they can help maintain the moisture and nutrient levels in the soil.
  • Tomatoes - The taller tomato plants can provide shade for celery, reducing water stress and enhancing growth conditions.
  • Nasturtiums and Marigolds - Serve as pest repellents, protecting celery from common garden pests through their scents and flowers.

Enemy Plants for Celery

  • Corn - Tends to overshadow smaller celery plants, limiting their sunlight exposure and potentially stunting their growth.
  • Parsley - Being closely related, parsley and celery can attract similar pests and diseases, increasing the risk of infestation when planted too close.
  • Carrots - They may compete with celery for nutrients and water, as both have similar requirements and root systems that occupy the same soil level.

Strawberry

Best Companion Plants for Strawberries

  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic, Chives) - Their strong scents deter pests like aphids and can help suppress fungal diseases, safeguarding strawberry plants.
  • Lettuce and Spinach - These leafy greens provide ground cover, retaining moisture and camouflaging ripe strawberries from birds and other pests.
  • Asparagus - Coexists well with strawberries as their root systems occupy different levels, reducing competition and providing mutual benefits.
  • Beans and Peas - Fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching it for healthier strawberry plants and potentially larger yields.
  • Dill - Attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, offering natural pest control for strawberries.
  • Borage - Known to attract pollinators and may improve strawberry flavor; also acts as a pest deterrent.
  • Herbs (Sage, Thyme, Catnip) - Their strong scents repel pests, creating a safer environment for strawberries to thrive.
  • Marigolds - Deter pests like aphids and nematodes with their vibrant flowers and strong scent, contributing to healthier strawberry plants.
  • Yarrow - Attracts beneficial insects and pollinators, enhancing the ecosystem around strawberries for better pollination and pest control.

Enemy Plants for Strawberries

  • Nightshades (Potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers) - As members of the nightshade family, they can spread diseases to strawberries, posing a risk to their health.
  • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.) - Can compete with strawberries for resources, potentially leading to weaker plants.
  • Pole Beans - May outcompete strawberries for nutrients and space, hindering their growth and productivity.
  • Mint - While beneficial for pest control, mint can be invasive and may crowd out strawberries if not carefully managed.

Watermelon

Best Companion Plants for Watermelon

  • Marigolds - The bright flowers repel pests and can protect watermelon plants from nematodes and other soil-borne pests.
  • Nasturtiums - Act as a trap crop for aphids and beetles, drawing pests away from watermelons while adding beauty to the garden.
  • Radishes - Can deter cucumber beetles and other pests from watermelons; they also mature quickly, making them an efficient companion.
  • Bush Beans - Fix nitrogen in the soil, enriching it for the benefit of watermelon plants which are heavy feeders.
  • Oregano - Its strong scent can repel pests, and growing it around watermelons can help enhance the overall health of the plants.
  • Lettuce - Can be grown in the shade of watermelon vines, utilizing garden space efficiently and keeping the soil cool and moist.
  • Spinach - Similar to lettuce, spinach can grow in watermelon shade, benefiting from the cooler soil and moisture retention.

Enemy Plants for Watermelon

  • Potatoes - Compete for nutrients and can increase the risk of fungal diseases in watermelons.
  • Cucumbers - Sharing similar pests and diseases, cucumbers can transmit them to watermelons if planted too close.
  • Pumpkins and Squash - Due to their similar growth requirements and susceptibility to pests, close planting can lead to competition and increased disease spread.

Blueberry

Best Companion Plants for Blueberry

  • Rhododendrons and Azaleas - Share similar acidic soil requirements, making them good garden companions for blueberries and can help indicate the soil pH balance.
  • Strawberries - Their ground-covering habit helps retain soil moisture and can coexist with blueberries by sharing similar acidic soil preferences.
  • Thyme - Can deter pests with its scent and serves as a ground cover, reducing weed competition for blueberries.
  • Ferns - Can provide light shade and humidity for blueberries, emulating their natural understory habitat.
  • Garlic - Repels pests with its strong scent and can protect blueberry bushes from various insects.

Enemy Plants for Blueberry

  • Tomatoes - They require a different soil pH compared to blueberries, which prefer acidic conditions, leading to potential growth issues if planted together.
  • Peppers - Similar to tomatoes, the soil pH and nutrient requirements of peppers can clash with those of blueberries.
  • Eggplants - As with tomatoes and peppers, eggplants share differing soil preferences that can make them incompatible with blueberries.

Blackberry

Best Companion Plants for Blackberry

  • Garlic and Chives - Their strong scents can deter pests from blackberries, offering a natural form of pest control.
  • Marigolds - Known for repelling a variety of garden pests, marigolds can protect blackberries from nematodes and other soil-dwelling pests.
  • Nasturtiums - Serve as a trap crop for aphids and beetles, keeping them away from blackberry plants.
  • Mint - Its potent aroma repels many pests, but it should be planted in containers to prevent it from overtaking the garden.
  • Comfrey - As a dynamic accumulator, comfrey pulls up nutrients from deep within the soil, which can be beneficial when planted near blackberries.
  • Yarrow - Attracts beneficial insects and pollinators, enhancing pollination for blackberries and increasing berry yield.

Enemy Plants for Blackberry

  • Nightshades (Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants) - They can share common diseases with blackberries, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Potatoes - Similar to nightshade vegetables, potatoes can harbor diseases that are harmful to blackberries.
  • Strawberries - They can compete for nutrients and water, and may also share some common pests and diseases with blackberries.

Raspberry

Best Companion Plants for Raspberry

  • Garlic - Helps to repel raspberry pests, including Japanese beetles and raspberry borers, through its strong scent.
  • Tansy - Known to repel ants and some beetles, tansy can help protect raspberries from pest invasions.
  • Yarrow - Attracts beneficial insects that prey on pests threatening raspberries, thus promoting a healthier berry patch.
  • Peas and Beans - Fix nitrogen in the soil, making it more fertile for nutrient-hungry raspberries.
  • Marigolds - Their ability to deter nematodes and other pests benefits raspberries by creating a healthier growing environment.
  • Horseradish - Planted at the perimeter of a raspberry patch, can enhance disease resistance among the raspberry plants.

Enemy Plants for Raspberry

  • Potatoes - They can spread blight to raspberries, which is detrimental to the health of the plants.
  • Tomatoes and Eggplants - Similar to potatoes, these nightshades can share diseases with raspberries, posing a threat to their health.
  • Blackberries - While not directly harmful, planting raspberries too close to blackberries can lead to increased competition for resources and potential cross-contamination of pests and diseases.

Cantaloupe

Best Companion Plants for Cantaloupe

  • Corn - Acts as a natural windbreak and provides some shade during the hottest part of the day, helping to keep the ground around cantaloupe moist and cool.
  • Marigolds - The scent of marigolds can deter pests, protecting cantaloupes from nematodes and other soil-dwelling insects that could harm the plants.
  • Nasturtiums - Serve as a trap crop for aphids and other pests, drawing them away from cantaloupes and adding a splash of color to the garden.
  • Radishes - Can be planted as a fast-growing crop that repels cucumber beetles and other pests away from cantaloupes.
  • Sunflowers - Provide shade and act as a support structure for cantaloupe vines, also attracting pollinators to the garden.
  • Lettuce and Spinach - These leafy greens can be grown in the shade of cantaloupe plants, making efficient use of space and maintaining soil moisture.
  • Bush Beans - Fix nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial for the growth of cantaloupes by enriching the soil with essential nutrients.
  • Oregano and Borage - These herbs repel pests and can improve the flavor and growth of cantaloupe plants.

Enemy Plants for Cantaloupe

  • Potatoes - Compete with cantaloupe for soil nutrients and can increase the risk of blight and other fungal diseases.
  • Cucumbers and Pumpkins - Belonging to the same family, they share common pests and diseases, which can easily spread from one to the other if planted too closely.
  • Squash - Similar to cucumbers and pumpkins, squash can harbor pests and diseases that may impact cantaloupe plants.
  • Melons (Other Types) - To prevent cross-pollination issues and the spread of diseases, it's best to keep different types of melons, including cantaloupes, spaced apart in the garden.

As we wrap up our journey through the garden of companion planting, we hope you feel inspired to pair your plants with their best buddies and keep the foes apart. You may have noticed a lot of overlap and several BFF plants that really made the rounds (ehem, Marigold and Nasturtiums). If you’re as fascinated by these relationships as we are, check out our infographics and prints on the subject or read through some of our other fun plant posts.

About the author(s):

Christman & Raelina

Christman and Raelina are both professional designers, writers and have been working with educational content for nigh on 30 years (between the two).

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