Companion planting is a gardening technique designed to maximize the benefit derived from each plant. In other words, companion plants may repel damaging pests, attract beneficial insects, or improve plant flavor or growth.
Knowing what to plant next to your vegetable crops will ensure that you are using your garden space wisely and to its fullest potential.
Our list explains which vegetable crops should or should not be considered companion crops. This will help you design–or redesign–your garden layout based on a few principles: root depths, nutritional needs, crop growth rates, spacing issues, and amount of sun or shade preferred.
Asparagus: Asparagus will particularly benefit from parsley and tomatoes since the root systems are of different depths, but keep onions away.
Basil: Basil is a great addition to pepper and tomato plants. Not only does it improve crops’ flavor, but it also keeps hornworms away from tomatoes.
Beets: Beets love bush beans, lettuce, onions, and radishes, but pole beans are not an ideal companion crop.
Bush beans: Bush beans receive benefit from many vegetable crops except onions. Potatoes are an especially good companion crop due to root depths that don’t compete for nutrients. Potatoes will also repel Mexican bean beetles. Keep garlic away from beans, as it will stunt crop growth.
Cabbage family (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower): Cabbage crops do well with corn, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Sage will help reduce damage from cabbage moths. Tomatoes and pole beans do not play well with cabbage crops. Cauliflower particularly likes spinach but dislikes its cabbage cousin.
Carrots: Pair carrots with a shallow rooted plant such as peas, so they don’t compete for nutrients. Onions also repel the carrot fly.
Celery: This crop will benefit from onions, peas, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage crops, and bush beans. Avoid carrot and parsley neighbors.
Chives: Plant these near carrots and tomatoes; not only will they improve the carrot crops’ growth and flavor, but they will repel aphids from tomato plants.
Corn: Corn is part of a trifecta, as perfected by Native Americans. Corn provides growing stalks for pole beans and do not compete for nutrients. Squash, on the other hand, provides ground cover that controls weeds, which do compete for nutrients. Shade-loving plants such as leafy greens and sunflowers grow well with corn.
Cucumbers: Best to keep the squash away from cucumbers to avoid inviting cucumber-loving pickleworms to have a taste of your squash, too. Cucumbers also do not like aromatic herbs.
Dill: Scatter dill throughout your garden to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, praying mantises, and spiders to eat harmful garden pests. But keep dill away from cabbage family crops.
Eggplant: Eggplant grows well with beans and spinach crops. It does less well with corn, lettuce, and onion crops.
Garlic: Plant basil near your vegetable crops to repel thrips.
Lettuce: For best results, because lettuce grows quickly, pair it with another leafy green that takes longer to grow, such as cabbage.
Onions: Due to their root depths, onions grow nicely with beets, tomatoes, squash, peppers, radishes, and carrots. Carrots also repel onion fly, providing a mutual benefit for both crops.
Parsley: Parsley will infuse tomatoes with flavor, but avoid planting next to celery.
Peas: Peas grow well with spinach, beans, carrots, corn, and celery, but not-so-well with onions and potatoes.
Peppers: Peppers are not adversely affected by any vegetable crop but gain most benefits from eggplant, onions, and tomatoes.
Pole beans: Pole beans should be kept away from cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and onions. Keep garlic away also, as it will stunt bean growth.
Potatoes: Keep potatoes away from vine crops like tomatoes or eggplant, since beetles that feed on potatoes also love those crops. Do plant it near corn, which will provide it with shade and give potato roots room to grow. Beans also repel Colorado potato beetles.
Radishes: Plant radishes throughout the garden, as flea beetles are highly attracted to them. Minor leaf damage may ensue, but the harvested radish root is unharmed and flea beetles may leave your other crops alone.
Spinach: Since spinach grows quickly, pair it with slower-growing crops such as tomatoes and peppers.
Squash: Plant near beans, onions, radishes, or corn. Don’t plant near potatoes or they will compete for nutrients.
Tomatoes: Good companion crops include lettuce, radishes, and spinach, which will grow at a much faster rate than tomatoes. If you want more flavorful tomatoes, plant basil nearby. Keep tomatoes away from cabbage family crops and other crops that require vertical space, such as pole beans and corn.