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15 Simple Companion Planting Pairs

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Companion planting is a very simple gardening principle and one that is very easy to implement into your garden. You simply put plants next to each other to provide a benefit to one or the other.

Many different flowers are often planted with vegetable crops as their bright flowers attract predators that prey on the bugs eating your veg. Sometimes, strong-smelling plants are used to lure bugs away from your crops.

Other times, it can be as simple as planting bright flowers next to fruiting crops that need lots of help pollinating. The bright flowers attract pollinators into the area, who then pollinate your crops while there.

While the basic idea is simple enough, it can be tough to remember what to plant with what, so this guide has a few basic pairs of plants that work well together.

This list is not exhaustive; the possible combinations are almost endless, but it includes many of the more common pairings.

Remember, the key is to observe and adapt. My garden has shown me that sometimes, even unlikely plant partnerships can thrive. Therefore, keep an open mind and experiment to discover what companions work best for your garden.

Companion Pairs

Tomatoes and Basil

Pruning Basil
Pruning Basil

Basil not only complements tomatoes on the plate but in the garden too. Basil and tomatoes both thrive in warm, wet, almost tropical conditions. For this reason, they will grow very happily alongside each other.

Because basil doesn’t grow too high, it can be grown underneath your tomato plant, maximising your use of precious greenhouse space.

Some people also say the smell of basil can help keep pests off your tomato plants.

I have a full article on this one you can find here!

Tomatoes and Marigolds

Marigolds Growing With Tomatoes
Marigolds Growing With Tomatoes

This is one of the classic companion pairings and one you will see employed by many gardeners. The reason it is so common is simple: it works.

Slugs and snails love marigolds. They like them so much that they will avoid other plants in the vicinity if they see a marigold.

Beneficial insects also love them, so they will be attracted to the area.

Again, I have a full article on this one that you can read here!

Carrots and Spring Onions

Spring onions can mask the scent of carrots, keeping carrot fly away from the roots.

The perfect companion garden
The perfect companion garden

Carrots and Leeks

Similarly, leeks can confuse carrot flies when planted with carrots—a great partnership.

Lavender and Carrots

Lavender can attract pollinators while also deterring some pests due to its strong scent; this helps to protect carrots from unwanted pests.

Lavender and Beans

Bee on lavender
Bee on lavender

Placing lavender near beans encourages pollinators and deters bean-loving pests.

It’s a double whammy: your beans get pollinated while predators such as ladybirds and lacewings hang out near your beans, munching on pests like blackflies.

Wormwood and Beans

Wormwood
Wormwood

If you’ve ever grown wormwood, you will know it is strongly scented. This scent is said to repel blackfly, making it the perfect companion for beans.

Calendula and Beans

Young Calendula In My Cut Flower Bed
Young Calendula In My Cut Flower Bed

Calendula draws in beneficial insects which prey on common bean pests like blackfly. They also attract pollinators, helping to maximise your bean harvest.

Calendula and Courgettes

Using calendula to attract predators of pests can safeguard your courgettes. They are also very useful for aiding in pollination, which can be an issue for many cucurbits.

Planting calendula underneath your courgettes helps attract pollinators, which then pollinate your courgettes while they are there!

Calendula and Squash

A Developing Squash
A Developing Squash

Calendula’s ability to repel common pests protects my squash plants too.

Again, it is also very good at attracting pollinators, who then help to pollinate your squash at the same time.

Sage and Cabbage

The strong scent of sage is said to confuse many common brassica pests, such as flea beetles and butterflies; this means fewer pests attacking your plants!

Sage and Broccoli

Broccoli
Broccoli

The strong scent of sage can also help repel pests from my broccoli plants.

Lettuce and Chives

Chives have a deterring effect on aphids, and as they don’t take up much room they make a great option for intercropping between rows of lettuce.

All albums will do the same job, so if you don’t fancy chives, then you could try leeks, onions, garlic or spring onions!

Peppers and Parsley

Flowering Parsley
Flowering Parsley

Flowering Parsley can attract helpful insects to keep bugs off your peppers. It can also be grown in the same space, making a real two-for-one crop!

Parsley is a biennial, meaning it flowers in its second year. So you can grow it for its leaves in the first year and then let it flower in the second. You will also get a lot of seeds this way that you can use to grow next year’s plants!

Cucumbers and Nasturtiums

Nasturtium flowers on a salad
Nasturtium flowers on a salad

Nasturtium flowers bring in plenty of beneficial predators that will help keep bugs away from your cucumber plants.

The flowers are also edible, so toss them in your next cucumber salad!

Companion Planting Benefits

Pest Control

Companion planting often helps reduce the problems with pests, which I find particularly rewarding. For example, planting marigolds near my broad beans attracts ladybugs, natural predators of aphids and blackfly.

Pollination Support

I also use companion planting to support pollination. Planting flowers like lavender near my apple trees has a two-fold benefit: it appeals to beneficial pollinators such as bees and it can help deter pests.

Soil Improvement

For soil improvement, some plants can help each other in subtle ways. Legumes, such as beans and peas, fix nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial for all plants.

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Johannes Chosana

Sunday 14th of January 2024

I am busy with back yard gardening planting different kinds of vegetables. My problem is my crop don't produce sufficient fruits. What can i do?