Companion Planting

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By Catherine BoeckmannFebruary 12, 2019

HOW DOES COMPANION PLANTING WORK?

Companion planting is the practice of growing certain plants alongside each other in order to reap the benefits of their complementary characteristics, such as their nutrient requirements, growth habits, or pest-repelling abilities.

A classic example of companion planting is the Three Sisters trio—maize, climbing beans, and winter squash—which were commonly planted together by various Native American communities due to the plants’ complementary natures: the corn grows tall, supporting the climbing beans; the squash stays low, shading the area with its big, prickly leaves to discourage weeds and pests; and the fast-growing beans provide a supply of nitrogen.

Growth habit isn’t the only characteristic to consider when companion planting—it’s also important to be aware of the nutrient needs of plants. Growing plants that require the same primary nutrients together means that they will be competing for resources, which can slow down growth for all. For this reason, it’s usually best to grow plants with complementary nutrient needs together.

Finally, companion plants help each other out when it comes to preventing damage from pests. The strong scents of plants like lavender, rosemary, and mint, for example, can discourage grazing animals from snacking on nearby vegetables, and nasturtiums, which are a favorite of aphids, can be used as bait plants to keep the pests off of your main crops.

Read our full article about companion planting to understand all the benefits!

COMPANION PLANTING CHART

Consult the chart below to see which vegetables make the best companions—and which don’t! We’d suggest separating foes and friends on opposite sides of the garden, or at least 4 feet away.

CROP NAMEFRIENDSFOES
BEANSBeets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Squash
Strawberries
Summer savory
Tomatoes
Garlic
Onions
Peppers
Sunflowers
CABBAGEBeans
Celery
Cucumbers
Dill
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sage
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Strawberries
Tomatoes
CARROTSBeans
Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Rosemary
Sage
Tomatoes
Anise
Dill
Parsley
CORNBeans
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melons
Peas
Potatoes
Squash
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
CUCUMBERSBeans
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Sunflowers
Aromatic herbs
Melons
Potatoes
LETTUCEAsparagus
Beets
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Broccoli
ONIONSBeets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Peas
Sage
PEPPERSBasil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
RADISHESBasil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Kohlrabi
TOMATOESAsparagus
Basil
Beans
Borage
Carrots
Celery
Dill
Lettuce
Melons
Onions
Parsley
Peppers
Radishes
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Kale
Potatoes

LEARN MORE

Watch our video on Companion Planting: Why Vegetables Need Friends!