Companion Planting: A Good Neighbour Guideline
Companion planting is a term used in gardening and agriculture circles that refers to which plants make the best ‘neighbours’ for various reasons including but not limited to:
- pest control
- pollination for the 4 B’s ( birds, bees, butterflies and bugs)
- providing habitat for beneficial insects
- maximizing use of space
- increasing crop productivity overall
Here is a brief overview of what plants are beneficial when planted next to one another in gardens, raised beds and container plantings:
- Anise: plant anise and coriander seeds together as they both germinate more quickly when side by side. Keep the soil moist and separate them when the seedlings have grown a little.
- Basil: basil makes a good companion to tomatoes, both in the garden and plated. You will need to grow three basil plants to every tomato plant for it to be effective. Basil also helps to repel white fly, flies and mosquitoes; have a pot or basket handy in the kitchen and outdoors near the barbeque. Basil dislikes being planted near Rue. Basil is an excellent pollinator attractant especially for bees.
- Borage: plant this edible flowering plant in your strawberry patch and it will increase the crop. Borage is a good companion to tomatoes and squash and it will attract bees to your garden.
Chamomile: chamomile is an excellent influencer; it encourages other plants to increase their essential oils which makes them taste and smell more strongly. Avoid too much Chamomile next to onions and cabbages. Chamomile tea made by soaking the flowers in cold water for a day or two is a useful spray for some plant diseases, especially damping off. Chamomile is rich in calcium and it also keeps compost heaps sweet and healthy.
- Chervil: improves the flavour of carrots if grown near them, and radishes planted near these plants will have a hotter taste.
- Chives: carrots grow larger and healthier when planted near chives. Chives help delay parsley from going to seed. If grown underneath apple trees, chives help to prevent apple scab. They are also said to help control aphids and black spot on roses. Cooled chive tea, made from chopped herb with boiling water, helps combat downy and powdery mildew.
- Coriander: Sown with Anise seeds, it helps both seeds germinate more quickly. Coriander repels aphids. Don’t grow it near Fennel it hinders Fennel’s seed formation.
- Dill: cabbage, celery, corn, lettuce and cucumber grows well if planted near dill. Dill has a reputation for being an enemy of carrots. This is only true if the dill is allowed to flower when it will suppress the carrot crop. If it is not allowed to flower, dill gets on very well with carrots. Best to not plant dill near Fennel as they may cross-fertilise.
- Fennel: nota choice for companion plants for any garden food plant; fennel will inhibit the growth of bush beans, kohlrabi and tomatoes so best to keep it out of your vegetable garden. Fennel is an excellent addition to any garden as it attracts bees, flies, ladybugs, beetles and wasps and if you can find a place in full sun for this majestic specimen plant it is worth it as every part is edible, from the bulb to the flowers, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. Though the stalks and leaves are edible, fennel recipes most often call for the bulb. ... It caramelizes as it cooks, taking on a sweeter flavor and tender, melt-in-your mouth texture.
- Hyssop: good for both cabbages and grapes. It helps deter white butterfly. A good insect repellent if planted in the vegetable or flower garden. Keep away from radishes.
- Lavender: is of general benefit to all kinds of plants in the garden but particularly repels all varieties of moths from laying their eggs and is an excellent bee attractant. Swiss chard does well planted next to Lavender.
- Lemonbalm: attracts lots of bees and improves the growth and flavour of tomatoes when planted near one another.
Lovage: an all-round garden asset that improves the health and flavour of most other plants if situated near them.
Marjoram: has a beneficial effect on most vegetables if planted near them.
- Nasturtium: a useful insect repellent. Add a few of these plants around broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes and fruit trees.
- Oregano: plant near broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to repel cabbage butterfly and improve the flavour of these vegetables. Also said to benefit grapes.
- Parsley: grow parsley near chives; also aids in the growth of roses, tomatoes, asparagus, beans and carrots. Keep away from Mint.
Sage: the only herb that sage likes to live beside is rosemary; best place for sage is in the vegetable garden. A good companion to strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. Keep away from cucumbers. Sage tea can be sprayed on mature plants however not recommended to use sage spray on seedlings. The sage blossoms are quite pretty and they also attract beneficial insects and pollinators that can help your whole garden flourish.
Thyme: plant thyme next to cabbages. Thyme flowers attract pollinator bees.
Bush Beans: plant with corn, cucumbers, strawberries and tomatoes; do not plant with onions or beets.
Beets: loves lettuce, onions, cabbages and potatoes.
Cabbage: does not like radishes, strawberries or tomatoes.
Leeks: plant with carrots, celery and onions; avoid bush beans and pole beans
Onions: does well beside summer savory and chamomile; avoid beans and peas.
Peas: lives well with carrots, turnips, radishes, cucumbers and aromatic herbs; peas do not like loads of water-careful not to overwater.
Potatoes: do not like tomatoes or cucumbers but like cabbages.
Sweet Pepper: likes basil and okra
Tomatoes: enjoys the company of asparagus, carrots, celery, chives, garlic, onions and parsley; avoid brassicas, fennel, corn and kohlrabi
For more great partnerships please check out our Companion Planting Guide for Veggies here
When to plant is just as important as what to plant next to what:
- When lily of the valley is completely flowered it is typically safe to transplant tomato seedlings out.
- When apple trees are in full blossom it is safe to plant bush beans
- When apple blossoms fall it is time to plant pole beans and cucumbers
- When lilacs are in full bloom it is safe to plant out tender annuals
- When bearded irises are in bloom, it is time to transplant peppers and eggplant seedlings into your garden
- When peonies are in flower it is safe to plant cantaloupe and melons
Whether you are a ‘newbee’ or an expert gardener, have some fun experimenting with companion planting to get the absolute most out of your garden. Companion planting is an excellent opportunity to learn how to naturally repel pests without using harmful pesticides, and provide a valuable food source and habitat for our 4 B pollinators. Learn more about the 4 B’s on our website www.bumbleseeds.com