Gardeners and scientists alike recognize the benefits of companion planting. The premise is simple (and proven!). Growing certain vegetables near each other helps both plants enjoy better health and higher yields.
Companion planting is far from a new concept. In fact, for centuries, gardeners have been fascinated with the idea of growing certain vegetables together for mutual benefit. Native Americans used some of these techniques long before Europeans arrived in North America.
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry—it’s not. Here is your reference guide to companion planting vegetables for a healthier garden. Read on!
What is Companion Planting?
If you aren’t familiar with companion planting, it’s a very practical way to increase gardening efficiency. For almost everything you grow, there are vegetables (and other plants) that you can put alongside it to benefit and encourage healthier plants.
By growing certain vegetables together (and avoiding planting other “unfriendly” vegetables nearby), you can utilize the properties of companion plants to have healthier vegetation and receive higher yields (which is the goal, right?).
It’s important to note that scientists and gardeners don’t fully understand all plant interactions, but they learn more about companion gardening every year.
Companion Planting Benefits
Companion planting vegetables can provide considerable benefits to both plants when planted together. Here are just some of the benefits this type of gardening can provide!
Attract beneficial pollinators: Companion planting flowers around the garden will attract pollinators through scent and color and offer up a food source for those pollinators so they will want to hang around.
Attract beneficial insects: Flowers and herbs will also attract insects like ground beetles, spiders, hoverflies, wasps, and ladybugs.
Repel harmful insects: Plants like onion work well to repel common insect pests, such as aphids, flea beetles, and mites.
Companion plants can assist in weed control. For example, densely planted greens like spinach or low-growing flowers like nasturtiums can act as a mulch to choke out and help prevent weeds.
Will help with disease problems in your garden: Diseases are spread quickly through gardens when plants of the same type are grouped in extensive mass plantings.
Garden Vegetables and Their Companion Plants
While some companion planting relationships are well understood, others are not. However, time-honored gardening knowledge states that when certain plants are grown together, both will benefit in health and higher yields.
Here are some of the most popular garden vegetables and their list of companion plants:
Parsley and asparagus make excellent companion planting vegetables, as they each help the other thrive. Asparagus, tomatoes, and basil also make good companions because the basil protects the tomatoes, which protects the asparagus from asparagus beetles.
Grow with asparagus: Tomatoes, parsley, basil, geraniums.
Avoid growing near asparagus: Onion, garlic, potatoes.
There are many different types of beans you can grow in your vegetable garden, and they all have slightly different companion plants. However, beans of any variety will thrive when planted with carrots, cauliflower, and beets.
Grow with bush beans and pole beans with beets, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, corn, eggplant, peas, radishes, squash, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Avoid growing bush beans near onions, garlic, shallots, chives, and peppers.
Growing garlic among your beets plants helps improve your beetroots’ health.
Grow with beets: garlic, bush beans, onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, cabbage family.
Avoid growing beets near pole beans.
- Related: Did you know you can grow beets in containers? We have the complete guide to walk you through all our best tips and tricks to get a bumper crop of beets right on your porch!
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are part of the cabbage family and grow well with aromatic plants such as dill, celery, chamomile, sage, peppermint, and rosemary. Grow spinach in your garden between your broccoli plants and both will thrive.
Grow with broccoli & cauliflower: Beets, lettuce, spinach, onions, garlic, potatoes, nasturtiums, marigolds, chamomile, and potatoes.
Avoid growing near broccoli: Pole beans, strawberries, squash, tomatoes, and peppers.
- Learn More: See our full guide on the best cauliflower companion plants.
Additional Members of The Cabbage Family
The cabbage (brassica) family has several popular members which all have similar likes, dislikes, diseases, and insects like cabbage moths. The cabbage family includes:
- Brussels sprouts
Plant aromatic plants or plants with many blossoms with members of the cabbage family. Hyssop and thyme do a great job of deterring the white cabbage moths. Companion planting marigolds will help deter aphids and beetles.
Grow with cabbage: Onion, celery, potatoes, dill, rosemary, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, spinach, thyme.
Avoid growing cabbage near tomatoes, strawberries, and pole beans.
- Learn More: We have a full post dedicated to companion planting with turnips.
Carrots love onions because onions repel the carrot fly. Also, carrots are heat sensitive, making them perfect to grow with tomatoes which can provide some shade. Leeks repel carrot flies, making them good companions for planting with other vegetables.
Grow with carrots: Onions, leeks, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, chives, radishes
Avoid growing near carrots: Dill, coriander, parsnips
- Learn More: Did you know you can grow buckets of carrots right on your porch or deck? We have the full guide to growing carrots in pots to get you started.
- Plus we have a full guide that lists all the best companion plants to grow with carrots!
Since cucumbers and raccoons don’t mix (they refuse to walk on the prickly vines), grow cucumbers near your corn to keep the raccoons away. Corn also loves any vegetable that will add nitrogen to the soil (which corn depletes quickly), so growing green beans nearby will make your corn happy while the corn makes a great natural trellis for your beans.
Grow with corn: Zucchini, beans, peas, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons.
Avoid growing near corn: Tomatoes (they are both attacked by the corn earworm).
- Learn More: We have a complete guide that has the full list of companion plants for corn that you may want to read.
Corn helps protect cucumbers from the virus that causes wilt, and cucumbers like the shade that corn provides. As a result, cucumbers planted this way can yield large bumper crops during the summer. Fun fact: thin strips of cucumbers will repel ants.
Grow with cucumbers: Beans, radishes, dill, lettuce, peas.
Avoid growing near cucumbers: Potatoes, and aromatic herbs (like sage, which stunts cucumbers’ growth).
- Learn More: We wrote an entire post about companion planting with cucumbers. Check it out before you plan your garden beds!
- Related: See our super popular crisp dill pickle recipe if you’re harvesting pickles this summer! It’s a winner.
Garlic will deter aphids, one of the garden’s biggest enemies. Companion plant garlic with strawberries to deter insect pests, around cabbage plants to deter cabbage moths, or in and around carrots to deter carrot rust flies.
Garlic also adds sulfur to the ground where they are grown. Sulfur is antibacterial and antifungal and will help prevent or control diseases.
Plant garlic with fruit trees, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes, just to name a few.
Avoid planting garlic with beans and peas.
- Learn More: There are too many garlic companion plants to list here, but we do have an entire article that talks about the best way to use garlic as a companion in the garden that you may find helpful.
Planting garlic and chives near your lettuce will help repel aphids.
Grow lettuce with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beets, asparagus, carrots, corn, eggplant, onions, cucumbers, peas, radishes, potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach.
Avoid growing lettuce near broccoli.
Did you Know? Lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. This year, check out our post on the best food sources to grow indoors if you’re considering an indoor garden.
Learn More: See our guide on how to grow strong healthy romaine lettuce.
Related: Leafy greens are best grown in the shade, but what can you grow with them? We have a list of 28 vegetables that grow in the shade inspiration and recommendations.
Onions, Leeks, Shallots, and Chives
Onions work wonders at repelling aphids, so grow them near onion-friendly, aphid-prone vegetables. Members of the onion family and the cabbage family grow well together.
Note: scatter your onions throughout your garden to reduce or prevent onion maggots from traveling between plants.
Grow leeks with onions: tomatoes, spinach, summer savory, carrots, dill, and beets.
Avoid growing onions near beans, peas, and asparagus.
- Learn More: Check out our article about the best companion plants for leeks!
Peppers will thrive when basil grows nearby, as basil repels spider mites, flies, mosquitoes, and aphids. Basil may also help improve the flavor of the peppers.
Grow with peppers: tomatoes, basil, spinach, and onions.
Avoid growing near peppers: Beans.
- Related: We LOVE hot peppers! They are our number one must-plant vegetable every year, and every year we end up with too many. So if you ever had a bumper crop of jalapenos and wondered what to do with them we have a post for that. Or try our popular candied jalapeno or pickled jalapeno recipes.
Spinach, when planted densely, can help shade out weeds and keep roots and soil cool and moist.
Grow spinach with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions, cabbage, and beets just to name a few!
Avoid planting spinach with potatoes, fennel, and sunflowers.
- Learn More: Spinach makes a wonderful companion plant for so many vegetables in the garden. Check out our full guide on the best companion plants for spinach.
Basil will help tomato plants by repelling flies and mosquitoes while also producing bigger yields – they were made for each other (and not just as part of tomato sauce). Tomato companion plants include carrots too because carrots aerate the soil around the tomato roots.
Grow with tomato plants with onion family members, celery, beans, carrots, lettuce, asparagus, peppers, spinach, borage, and parsley.
Avoid growing tomatoes near any member of the cabbage family, peas, corn, beets, rosemary, fennel, potatoes, and dill.
Flowers to Plant In The Garden as Companions
Dreaming of a flower garden and a veggie garden too? Why not grow both together? Just like companion plants for vegetables, certain flowers offer similar benefits. Flowers can provide added color and an aromatic experience to your garden. There is also the added advantage that flowers will attract beneficial pollinators, which is a win all around. Sunflowers, nasturtiums, geraniums, and marigolds all make excellent companion plants.
- Related: I have a whole post dedicated to companion planting flowers with your vegetable crops for you to check out!
Companion plant sunflowers with tall crops like corn at the corners of the growing beds. Sunflowers will attract beneficial insects like hoverflies, lacewings, wasps, tachinid flies, and pollinators like bees.
Plant sunflowers with Onions, tomatoes, squashes, corn, peppers (and many more!).
Avoid planting sunflowers with Beans and potatoes.
- Learn More: Growing sunflowers is easy if you know the right environment they require to thrive. Check out our complete guide on how to best grow sunflowers in your vegetable garden!
Nasturtiums are hard-working garden companion plants. They provide ground cover for crops for specific plants.
But nasturtiums are also known to deter aphids, Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, and squash bugs.
Companion plant nasturtiums with brussels sprouts, tomatoes beans, cucumbers, melons, and radishes.
Avoid planting nasturtiums too close to a tomato plant stem. You can grow nasturtiums with tomatoes, but since the plant attracts aphids you do not want the aphids taking an easy bridge over to the tomato plant.
- Learn More: We have the full guide for growing nasturtiums as companion plants, plus an entire article about growing nasturtiums flowers from seed to bloom! (Psst, did you know nasturtiums are edible? They have a peppery taste that works well in fresh salads!)
Geraniums will help prevent and possibly destroy Japanese beetles. They also attract pollinators and look absolutely beautiful in the garden.
Geraniums with Garlic, asparagus, corn, roses, grapes, and cabbage.
Marigolds attract bees, and other beneficial insects like hoverflies and wasps. They also help repel garden pests like Mexican bean beetles and cabbage moths.
They can also help control and prevent root-knot nematodes, and root-lesion nematodes for certain plants if tilled under at the end of the season.
Grow marigolds with beans, borage, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, and thyme.
Avoid growing marigolds with brussels sprouts and other brassicas, fennel, and kohlrabi.
- Learn More: We have a complete guide on the best companion plants for marigolds you may find helpful, check it out!
Cosmos are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed. They are worth growing around your vegetable beds because they attract pollinators like bees and helpful insects like parasitic wasps, hoverflies, and tachinid flies.
Plant cosmos near tomatoes or any garden plant that requires pollinators.
- Learn More: Growing cosmo flowers is an easy endeavor if you provide the right environment. See our full guide on how o grow cosmos from seed to flower and fill your yard with beautiful blooms!
Blanket flowers will attract pollinators from far and wide with their bright blooms. These lovely flowers will bloom right up until the first fall frost providing pollinators with a late-season food source that is sometimes difficult to find.
Plant blanket flowers around any other plant that requires pollinators and the flowers will continue to attract them to your beds all summer long.
- Related: We all know how important it is to preserve our bee populations. Reducing pesticide use certainly reduces the impact of human activities on bee populations, but is there anything we can do to actually HELP them? Of course! I have a full post on which flowers to plant to help feed the bees, contributing food to help bee colonies grow!
Bachelor’s buttons play a key role in springtime when nectar and food sources for pollinators are low.
Plant bachelor buttons for spring blooms and your garden will be rewarded with pollinators.
Herbs to Plant In the Vegetable Garden
There so many wonderful herbs that you can plant around the vegetable garden as companions; we’ve listed the most popular and easiest to grow in this list:
Basil will repel and confuse aphids, cabbage moths, asparagus beetles, mites, mosquitoes, and tomato hornworms. Plant basil around the edges of your beds where you can brush by it often to help release the scent.
Plant basil with tomatoes, asparagus, pepper plants, and eggplants.
- Learn More: See our easy grow basil guide to growing as much basil as you want!
All varieties of mint will help repel aphids and cabbage moth. Mint is highly invasive so if you do plant it in your garden be sure to use barriers, or simply place pots of mint around your beds.
Plant mint with brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplants, tomatoes, peas, and beans.
Avoid planting mint with sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
- Learn More: See our full guide on growing mint as a companion.
Catnip will attract bees, parasitic wasps, and cats. Although cats can be a nuisance when catnip is planted near, they can help prevent and control small mammal pests like mice.
Catnip can become invasive quickly, so be sure to provide a barrier when planting, or simply plant pots of catnip directly into the soil.
Plant catnip with beets, pumpkins, potatoes, and broccoli
Avoid planting catnip with rue.
- Learn More: Growing catnip is easy and offers a wide range of benefits for you (your cat) and your garden! See our full post on growing catnip at home.
Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage
The Mediterranian aromatic herbs of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage require very little water and will not compete for moisture with other plants.
These herbs are known to deter carrot rust fly and cabbage moths.
Plant these aromatic herbs around garden beds to deter insect pests and attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
Avoid planting these herbs with any plant that requires an abundance of water. These herbs require drier soil and do well in excess heat. However, too much water will kill them, so avoid planting near heavy water feeders like pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes.
Learn More: Interested in growing herbs? Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage can be tricky. We created guides so you can learn how to grow each one with ease.
- How to grow rosemary
- Learn how to grow thyme
- The easy way to grow oregano
- and All the tips and tricks we have for growing sage!
Borage is a must-have plant in your tomato bed. The flowers of the borage plant will help repel tomato hornworms and help attract bees.
Plant borage with tomato plants, cabbage plants, strawberries, and squash.
Companion Planting In The Garden – Extra Resources
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Although this list gave a rundown of popular vegetables, flowers, and herb companions, it’s not an exhaustive list. The more you experiment and learn in your garden, the better!
We have three companion planting books that we highly recommend having on hand as a resource:
Editorial Note: This post was originally published on June 24, 2020, and was updated on April 4, 2022.