This article is the ultimate guide to companion planting so you can plan the perfect vegetable, flower, and herb garden combinations in your outdoor space to get maximum yields and decreased pests. Youll learn about plants that grow well together (and why) as well as those that do not (and why).
Knowing how to companion plant can get your garden started right and finish strong!
**And you can get a FREE printable PDF of this companion guide by completing the form at the end of the article!
When I wrote about 10 Tips for the Beginning Gardener, I mentioned companion planting as one of these tips. To this day, I believe knowing which plants do well together and which do not (and why) is a vital part of the gardening planning and process.
The reason I know this is because of experience and lots of research. Ive planted plant foes together a few different times, and once I figured out what the problem was (just not getting along), I never made that mistake again. I always do a double check each year now.
Successful vegetable and herb gardening is so enjoyableyet just like in a classroom of children, there are some plants that just dont get along with others. This can hinder the learning (and growing) process. Yet others have completely different groups of friends!
When I taught elementary school, it was a BIG mistake to seat enemies (and even frenemies) next to each other, while allowing kids who worked well together to be near each other was extremely helpful. I would say your vegetable and herb garden plan should take these plant friends and foes into consideration when deciding what and where to plant!
Knowing which plants do well together and which can actually hinder growth is a must as you get going on your garden plan this year.
By the way, if you may also want to consider planting a dedicated medicinal herb garden so you can gather your own home remedies! Some of the plants below would fit right in, so perhaps consider combining your medicinals and vegetables this year!
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How Companion Planting Works and the Basics
Theres a good deal of folklore and tradition around companion planting, and this is why not all sources agree with each other. However, theres a great deal of science in these modern times as well. Its a good idea to take a look at a number of sources so you can make your own comparisons. I would venture to guess that your specific environment may also play at least a small role in your own companion planting experiences, at least to a small extent.
Companion planting is a fabulous way to garden because by placing certain plants next to other certain fruits, flowers, and vegetables you can actually boost the health of both species and even increase production and harvest!
Another consideration, at least with the foes or enemies of specific plants, is that some plants are actually allelopathic and will release chemicals into the soil that can harm or kill off other plants. Some plants attract certain insects, and others repel them; and when you know which plants do what, youll add a whole other dimension to your garden skills!
Other reasons for companion planting is providing shelter and shade (example: corn and sunflowers can provide a bit of shade to beans) and encouraging pollination (some flowers attract pollinators, which helps plants that need these insects for production, like tomatoes).
Plus, companion planting may really enhance organic gardening as choosing plants placement wisely can help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. An example of this is how beans help fix nitrogen in the soil, and therefore are beneficial grown near corn and squash. Growing some herbs (light feeders) near heavy feeders like tomatoes can be helpful as well.
Lets Talk About Herbs and Flowers for a Moment
Integrating flowers and herbs into your vegetable placements is simply wise, in my opinion. Gardens that mix the greens with the lovely colors of flowers are simply beautiful and a joy to look at. Flowers draw beneficial pollinators, while certain pungent herbs deter pests. These two types of plants deserve a place among your prized vegetables.
Youll note Ive included some herbs and flowers that are my favorites in the list below, so please dont consider this strange that Im not focusing only on vegetables!
Ive included a comments section in the following plant descriptions that will give you a little more detail other than just what to plant near or away from what.
If you are planning to try companion planting, its a good idea to be sure to match each plants growing needs (water, nutrient needs, and hours of sunlight). You wouldnt want to plant a sun-loving plant in the shade of an enormous sunflower, for example. Take each plants needs into consideration when you pan this spring.
Thyme is an amazing herb for your vegetable garden, if you know where to plant it!
A Note About Sacrificial Companion Planting
Generally when companion planting, we consider plants that get along well with each other or plants that dont. But theres another aspect to consider: Pest control.
Some plants will draw pests away from your desired garden vegetables. This is a form of sacrificial companion planting because what youre doing is saving the desired crop by sacrificing the health (potentially) of the pest attracting plant.
An example of this is collards/kale and cabbage. Diamondback moths lay eggs that produce cabbage worms. Well, they generally prefer the nicer collard greens or kale. The thinking here is if you plant a bunch of kale or collards around your cabbages, the moths/larvae will feed on these, saving the cabbage.
Nasturtiums, which are a wonderful garden flower and get along well with just about all your veggies, attract aphids. Therefore, aphids will gather on the nasturtiums and leave your other vegetables alone, hopefully.
PIN FOR LATER:
General Companion Guidelines for Specific Plants
First off, its a great idea to decide which plants you want to grow, then check the list below to find out which companion plants will cause amazing growth and which to avoid growing together. It' seems a little complicated, but really, its quite simple!
(Remember, you can get a printable list for FREE in my Resource Library when you complete the form at the end of the article.)
Here is a rundown of vegetables and herbs to plant together and far away from each other and why:
1) Alliums (Allium spp)
Alliums are the onions, garlics, chives, and leeks and have a very pungent aroma.
Friends of alliums:
fruit trees, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc.), carrots, beets, lettuce, roses, raspberries
Foes of alliums:
beans, peas, parsley, sage, potatoes
Comments on Alliums:
Alliums are great for repelling slugs, aphids, carrot fly, cabbage worms.
Alliums: Garlic and onions. Leeks, chives, etc. are also part of the family.
2) Allysum (Lobularia spp)
Friends of allysum:
Eggplant, basil, beans, lettuce, brassicas, beets, alliums
I dont know of any plants allysum should avoid being planted next to
Comments about allysum:
Allysum is a spreading plant with many tiny flowers that bloom spring through summer and even into the fall in some areas. They are really pretty with the darker green vegetables.
3) Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Asparagus is a perennial in the garden, and it can take up to three years to see a good yield. But once they get going, theres nothing better than harvesting your own delicious sweet asparagus.
Friends of asparagus:
Asparagus and tomatoes are mutual friends, so they are good to plant near each other. And asters, coriander, parsley, basil, comfrey, and marigolds are other plants to consider planting near asparagus.
Foes of asparagus:
Asparagus really doesnt have any garden enemies that Im aware of, but its not very nice to onions, garlic, or potatoes. So dont plant these near asparagus.
Comments on asparagus:
Lady bugs love asparagus, especially when pungent herbs are planted nearby.
4) Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Friends of basil:
Basil and tomatoes are great buddies, and it also gets along well with oregano, and peppers.
Foes of basil:
Basil shouldnt be planted near rosemary or sage. They just dont do well together. Since basil is an annual, and rosemary and sage are often perennials (depending on the zone), plan your placement of rosemary and sage well if theyre not going to move around from year to year.
Comments on basil:
Basil is a powerhouse in the garden because it has chemicals that repel certain harmful beetles, aphids, flies, and other insects.
5) Beans (Phaseolus spp)
Friends of beans:
Beans love corn, squash (in fact these are the Three Sisterscorn, beans, squash); spinach, lettuce, rosemary, savory, carrots, beets, radish, strawberries, and cucumbers. Eggplant may also be a pal. Beans also like potatoes, thyme, and anise (pimpinella)
Foes of beans:
Beans have so many pals, it would seem that there would be no foes. However, beans are one of those love em or hate em plants. Here are the foes of beans:
tomatoes, peppers, alliums, brassicas
Comments about beans:
Beans are strong nitrogen fixers, and therefore good for depleted soils and for plants that love nitrogen. However, too much bean power can be too much for some veggies.
6) Beets (Beta spp)
Friends of beets:
Beets get along with beans, brassicas (cabbage family), lettuces, alliums (onions & garlic & leeks)
Foes of beets:
Beets dont really have any negative interactions with many other plants. One source I found recommends keeping them away from runner or pole beans because they can hinder the growth of the other.
Comments about beets:
The greens are just delicious and very rich in minerals including magnesium. So not only are they good for humans, theyre also excellent for the soil (in case you dont like them for yourself).
7) Brassicas (Brassicacaea family)
These include cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, mustards, kale, kohlrabi, etc.)
Friends of Brassicas:
The cabbage family veggies get along famously with geraniums (Pelargonium spp), alliums, borage, nasturtiums, and even strongly scented herbs such as rosemary. Some aromatic herbs (like rosemary and more are listed below) can repel the cabbage flies, and geraniums help rid the plants of cabbage worms, which can decimate your plants.
Other plants you can plant with brassicas include beans, carrots, potatoes, anise hyssop (a lovely flower), and oregano, thyme, and sage (which are more of the aromatics).
Foes of Brassicas:
Some of the nightshades like tomatoes and peppers do not get along with brassicas at all. Squashes and brassicas dont do that well together either.
Calendula is sometimes confused with marigolds, but they are a completely different plant and genus.
8) Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Friends of Calendula:
Everyone is a friend of calendula (Calendula officinalis). This is a plant that is beautiful, medicinal, and grows well with all other plants. It may also help deter pests from some of your vegetables. I plant calendula throughout my garden, especially near tomatoes.
Foes of Calendula:
Calendula gets along so well with others it has no foes that Im aware of!
Here is an ultimate guide to growing and using Calendula youll enjoy if youre not familiar with this amazing flower and herb.
9) Carrots (Daucus spp)
Friends of Carrots:
Beans, cabbage family, alliums, lettuce, peas, and peppers are all friendly to carrots.
Foes of Carrots:
Dill and fennel (both of which should be planted far away from each other as well as most vegetables. I suggest they each have their own special places.)
Carrots will fight for space with other root vegetables and in particular dont do well near radishes.
Comments about Carrots:
Carrots actually attract certain predator insects (a GREAT thing) like assassin bugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. These insects will help keep pests away!
Also, carrots help tomatoes out, but carrots may not do well themselves when planted among your tomatoes. Last year, my carrots I grew under and near tomatoes just didnt have the production and strength as my carrots planted near other veggies. Because carrots are so easy to sow, I tend to plant them near many of my larger vegetables to fill in the soil. Ive found this helps cut down weeds too.
One more note: If you plant aromatic herbs like oregano or thyme near carrots, these aromatics repel certain pests harmful to carrots.
10) Cilantro/Coriander (Coriandrum spp)
Friends of Cilantro:
Cilantro gets along well with sage, thyme, and spinach.
Foes of Cilantro:
Cilantro essentially gets along well with all plants, except Fennel. Fennel makes many plants struggle, so be sure its in its own special area.
Cilantro is the green leafy part of the plant. After it goes to seed, dont yank it up! The fragrant seeds are what are known as coriander, and these are wonderful to use both medicinally and in your cooking as well. In fact, I plan to let a certain amount of my cilantro go to seed each year, just so I can keep the fresh seeds on hand!
11) Celery (Apium graveolens)
Friends of Celery:
The best pants to grow near celery are those that love water. Celery gets along fairly well with most plants, but the watering can be an issue if you plant celery next to a plant that likes to dry out between waterings. Plants like lettuce, tomatoes, and other water lovers do well with celery.
Foes of Celery:
Avoid planting celery near asters because they can transmit a disease to celery called aster yellows. Corn should also be avoided near celery.
Celery is surprisingly easy to grow. I like to purchase the seedlings already sprouted and buy a good amount for the summer. Celery is a salty herb, and it feeds heavily on the minerals in the soil.
12) Corn (Zea mays)
Friends of Corn:
Beans are a GREAT friend of corn. Corn does well near sunflowers, other legumes, squash species (cucumbers, zucchini, melons, etc.) lambs quarters (so if these grow as a weed near corn, I dont worry about pulling them), potato
Foes of Corn:
Tomatoes (they are heavy feeders, like corn, and will compete for nutrients), celery, and the cabbage family
Corn does exceptionally well when planted in the famous Three Sisters triad of squash, corn, and beans. The corn provides a trellis for the beans. The beans inject nitrogen into the soil, which helps corn out. And the squash provides a cover for the ground, keeping it cool and moist. The squash also help keep insect predators away from corn.Click here to get the free printable complete Companion Planting Guide
13) Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
Friends of Cucumber:
These plants are great to plant near cucumber: beans, cabbage family plants (brassicas), corn, lettuce, onions, peppers, sunflowers
Foes of Cucumber:
Tomatoes and sage dont get along well with cucumbers
Cucumbers like cooler temperatures and lots of water, so plant near other plants that enjoy these same things (lettuce especially)
14) Echinacea (Echinacea spp)
Friends of Echinacea:
Echinacea is a medicinal plant and a must have for your medicinal herb garden. But you should consider planting it near the ends of your vegetables, if planting in rows, or near taller herbs for a pop of color. Echinacea draws bees, a necessary pollinator for many of your vegetables, like tomatoes.
Echinacea really has no foes!
15) Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
Friends of Eggplant:
Eggplants do well near beans and peppers. And planting them near marigolds, tarragon, and aromatic mints can help them out by repelling bugs. Marigolds especially will repel nematodes that damage the leaves.
Foes of Eggplant:
Eggplants really dont have many foes! In fact, when I lived in a suburban neighborhood in Las Vegas, right in the middle of an HOA, I planted many of my Chinese eggplant varieties right in the landscape plants. They pretty much went unnoticed except by a family down the street who liked to help themselves, and were welcome to do so. :-)
16) Fennel & Dill
Fennel and dill are related, so Im including them together, even though there are some differences in planting. As a rule, dill gets along well with cabbages,corn, and onions. Fennel should be planted by itself because it really doesnt get along well with anyone.
Also, dill and fennel should be planted far from each other because they have a tendency to cross-breed, making for some interesting tasting seeds-not a good thing.
Planting these near echinacea is a nice idea, both for appearance and function.
17) Lettuce (Lactuca sativa and spp.)
Friends of Lettuce:
Lettuces grow well near radishes, kohlrabi, beans, and carrots.
Foes of Lettuce:
Avoid planting lettuce near cabbage.
Lettuce really doesnt have a real enemy in the plant world. And, they do well tucked into smaller spaces or between plants, too. I used to have rows of lettuce, and now I tend to just spread the seed between rows of tomatoes and other plants that need help with keeping the soil moist.
Marigolds (Tagetes spp) are excellent companion plants because they repel many damaging insects.
18) Marigolds (Tagetes spp)
Friends of Marigolds:
Marigolds get along great with melons, squash family plants, tomatoes.
Foes of Marigolds:
They dont do super well around beans
I love planting marigolds near my tomatoes, as they seem to help deter pests REALLY well. Be sure youre purchasing Tagetes genus marigolds because these are completely different than calendula, which if often called a marigold too.
Although fennel is a lovely, tall, fragrant plant, it is not helpful for most plants in your vegetable garden.
19) Melons & Squash (Curcurbitaceae family)
These are plants that include pumpkins, cucumbers, and types of squash and melons. These plants as a group are called cucurbits. They are distantly related, but share some similar likes and dislikes so I included them together.
Friends of Melons & Squash:
Corn, marigolds, nasturitums, (squash and melons go together), sunflowers, and various herbs with fast growth habits.
Foes of Melons and Squash:
There really arent any foes to speak of! The biggest thing to consider is how the plant spreads. Pumpkins, for example, take over a wide range of your garden, so you probably want to avoid smaller plants like lettuce. And squash generally grows huge leaves, which shade the ground underneath and nearby.
20) Mustards (see brassicas)
Mustard greens have a lovely, strong, pungent taste. They are related to the brassicas (see above) and share the same likes and dislikes.
21) Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp)
Friends of Nasturtiums:
So many friends! Cabbage family (brassicas), cucumber, melons, squash, tomatoes, sage, and others.
Foes of Nasturtiums:
Nasturtiums dont really have any foes! Plant away!
Nasturtiums are famous in garden lore for repelling or attracting predator insects. They attract bad ones, such as white fly and spider mites. Andthey can help trap aphids, keeping them on their own stems and away from your vegetables.
22) Oregano (Oreganum vulagare)
Heres the thing about oregano: Its a great plant to have in your garden. It doesnt really have friends or foes, so you could consider putting it anywhere. However, I have heard from some that it can become terribly invasive as a perennial herb in some areas, so take care. I have not had this problem. As a strong aromatic, though, its helpful for repelling a host of unwanted pests.
23) Parsley (Petroselinum crispum):
Friends of Parsley:
Parsley is a great companion to lots of different vegetables, including asparagus, the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant), carrots, peas, onions, and others.
Foes of Parsley:
It really doesnt have any enemies!
Comments about Parsley:
Parsley helps repel asparagus beetles, so its wonderful as an ally near your asparagus patch. It can actually enhance the flavor of your potatoes too! Parsley attracts certain harmless butterflies, thereby increasing pollination in your plants.
24) Peas (Pisum spp)
Friends of Peas:
Beans, carrots, corn, cucumber, peppers, radish, sage, spinach, squashes.
Foes of Peas:
Alliums (chives, onion, garlic, leeks)
25) Peppers (Capsicum spp)
Friends of Peppers:
Basil, carrots, cucumber, onion, oregano, parsley, peas, squash, tomatoes
Foes of Peppers:
Beans and the cabbage family plants
26) Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
Friends of Potatoes:
Horseradishes, beans, cabbage family, thyme, and marigolds do well near potatoes.
Foes of Potatoes:
Avoid planting near carrots, cucumbers, onions, raspberries, squash, sunflowers, and tomatoes. Rosemary is also not a good idea near potatoes.
Horseradish may help potatoes resist diseases.
27) Radishes (Rafanus sativus)
Friends of Radishes:
Eggplants, cucumber, lettuce. Chervil will also improve the flavor of radishes!
Foes of Radishes:
Dont plant radishes next to potatoes, kohlrabi or turnips.
28) Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is a wonderful plant as an annual in colder climes or a beautiful tall perennial in hotter areas. If youre not planting it as an annual, choose its location well.
Friends of Rosemary:
Rosemary grows well with beans, cabbage family plants, peppers, sage, thyme
Foes of Rosemary:
Potatoes, baasil, and squash family plants.
29) Sage (Salvia spp)
Sage is one of those lovely aromatic herbs that grow well with all kinds of vegetables! Feel free to plant it anywhere. Be aware that with good growing conditions, it can get quite tall (3 feet or so). Sage is a culinary herb, and also a very excellent medicinal herb for your garden.
The only plants to keep sage from are onions and cucumber.
Sage, one of the aromatics, can be helpful in the garden for repelling certain unwanted pests.
30) Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
Friends of Spinach:
Peas and beans are great pals of spinach. This is because they can provide a bit of shade, and they enjoy cooler temperatures too.
Foes of Spinach:
Spinach really has no foes.
31) Squash (See Number 19, Melons)
32) Sunflowers (Helianthus spp)
Although sunflowers cant just be planted anywhere in your garden because of their great height, they are helpful on the edges and around your corn. They attract many beneficial insects to your garden. Sunflowers really dont have any foes!
33) Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Friends of Thyme:
Cabbage family plants just love thyme! This is because thyme repels insects like cabbage worms. Thyme is also nice grown near potatoes because they can enhance the flavor profile of the tubers.
Foes of Thyme:
There are no enemies of thyme.
Plant it freely and enjoy its pollinator-attracting flowers and its insect repelling abilities!
34) Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
Friends of Tomatoes:
Peppers, asparagus, basil, oregano, parsley, carrots, marigolds, alliums, celery, nasturtium, geraniums, roses
Foes of Tomatoes:
Black walnut, corn, fennel, peas, potatoes, beets, brassicas, rosemary
Tomatoes are a great plant to consider near dill, if you are wanting your dill directly in the garden. Dill may just attract tomato hornworms, keeping them from your tomatoes. Ive never seen this, but Ive heard of some gardeners trying this combination. Also, basil grown near tomatoes may even increase their yield!
35) Zinnias (Zinnia spp)
Zinnias are on the tall side for flowers in your garden, so plant them near the edges or pair with other tall plants like artichokes and Brussels sprouts, even fennel.
The reason planting zinnias in your garden may just be a great thing is they attract butterflies and other pollinators. Plus, they make beautiful cut flowers for your home or market.
Final Thoughts on Companion Planting
Gardening is fun and challenging at the same time. If you plant smart in your garden by companion planting and considering which plants do well together, its possible to reduce your workload, increase your yields, and improve flavors all at the same time!
Id love if you have other combinations or experiences gardening that youd like to share. Just leave a comment in the comments section!
Also, a quick mention of a couple of my favorite gardening books:
Amy Stross Suburban Microfarm: Shes a permaculture expert.
Melissa K. Norris new book, The Family Garden Plan. This book will help you plan the perfect garden this year.
And for medicinal herbs, I love The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, as there is a lot of detail about growing herbs for medicine and even how to market them, if you want.
You might also enjoy these related articles on the blog:
And there are many others on the blog, including harvest recipes, herbalism and essential oil uses and remedies, and other traditional skills. I hope youll go explore!
Hugs, Health, and Self Reliance,
P.S. Dont forget to sign up for the newsletter! When you do, youll get many printable resources in the password protected and FREE Resource Library, including the PDF Companion Planting Guide. Just complete the form below: