Companion Planting: Explanation and Free Printable Guide (2024)

Companion planting:The act of placing plantstogether that can benefit each other in different ways.

In the spring I like to think that little plant communities are being built when we plant our vegetable gardens. Just as human beings need shelter, food, water, and friends, plants need the same in their communities. They compete for resources, just like we compete for resources. When gardens are planted using the companion planting concept, plants that benefit each other are purposely planted close together, and plants that compete for resources or harm each other are kept separate. A perfect example of companion planting is what the Native Americans call the Three Sisters, which is planting a mixture of corn, beans and squash together.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebratedtogether.

Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a singleplanting.

  • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans neededsupport.
  • The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of allthree.
  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters closetogether.
  • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventingweeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons, which don’t like to step onthem.

Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.Perfection!

As you can see, companion planting can benefit plants by: keeping pests away, providing support to neighboring plants, sharing or providing resources, promoting polyculture,and attracting beneficial insects. Just as the Three Sisters uses the corn stalks to allow the beans to climb to the sun and the large squash leaves to keep the soil moist, the gardener needs to keep the sun and water requirements in mind when planting different crops close together. For instance, corn should not be planted to the south of a row of potatoes do to the amount of shade the corn would give the potato plants. Or, bush beans may need more water than the squash plants because the large squash leave shade the soil so nicely with their large leaves. Below is a helpful companion planting guide. Click on the picture to download a free copy!

Last, but not least, here are some flowers that are great companions foryour vegetable gardens:

Catnip –Keepsaphids, asparagus beetles, and squash bugs away, but attracts pollinators and parasitic wasps.

Clover – Many people have this wild flower growing naturally in the yard, which is great for gardens! Clover attracts many beneficial insects, aids infighting cabbage worms, and increases the number of predatory ground beetles. A favorite food of honey bees!

Cosmos – An annual that provides provides food and habitat to many different predatory insects.

Dahlias –Aids in repelling nematodes.Dahlias have a large, beautiful flower head that will attract pollinators and lend beauty to your vegetable garden.

Echinacea or Cone Flower – Attract hoverflies and parasitoid wasps, so plant close to the vegetable garden to control pests.

Gaillardia –Blooms for a very long period over the summer. Plant this perennial along with other long-bloomers to provide a constant meal for your favorite pollinators!

Lavender – A perennial in some zones, and an annual in others, lavender is an excellent general pest repellent flower that repels fleas, moths, andwhite flies. A wonderful smelling flower for your garden.

Licorice Plant – Plant on the outside of the gardento lure cabbage moths away from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.Bees are attracted to licorice plant, but keep this plant away from radishes.

Marigold – Marigolds produce chemicals that repel many different insects, along with rabbits and deer, but they attract hoverflies and helpful wasps. Do not plant them near beans.

Monarda or Bee Balm– This perennial is a favorite among bees, wasps, and hummingbirds.

Yarrow – Attracts hoverflies, lady beetles, and wasps that prey on grubs, but repels aphids.

Companion Planting: Explanation and Free Printable Guide (2024)


What vegetables should not be planted next to each other? ›

14 Vegetables You Should Never Plant Together—Gardening Experts Explain Why
  • 01 of 14. Beans and Onions. ...
  • 02 of 14. Tomatoes and Potatoes. ...
  • 03 of 14. Corn and Tomatoes. ...
  • 04 of 14. Tomatoes and Brassicas. ...
  • 05 of 14. Cucumber and Squash. ...
  • 06 of 14. Lettuce and Celery. ...
  • 07 of 14. Fennel and Tomatoes. ...
  • 08 of 14. Peppers and Cabbage.
Jan 16, 2024

What should you not plant next to tomatoes? ›

Companion Plants To Avoid Growing Near Tomatoes
  • Brassicas. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi can stunt the growth of your tomato plant because they out-compete them for the same nutrients. ...
  • Corn. ...
  • Fennel. ...
  • Dill. ...
  • Potatoes. ...
  • Eggplant. ...
  • Walnuts.
Feb 1, 2022

What is the description of companion planting? ›

Companion planting is a form of polyculture. Companion planting of carrots and onions. The onion smell puts off carrot root fly, while the smell of carrots puts off onion fly. Companion planting is used by farmers and gardeners in both industrialized and developing countries for many reasons.

What veggies to plant next to each other? ›

Which Vegetables Grow Well Together?
VegetableCompanion PlantDon't Plant Together
OnionsBeets, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, peppersAll beans and peas
PeasBeans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radish, turnipGarlic, onions
PotatoesBeans, corn, peasTomatoes
SquashCorn, melons, pumpkinsNone
11 more rows
Jun 26, 2021

What not to plant next to cucumbers? ›

Both potatoes and cucumbers are susceptible to the same diseases, such as blight, and can spread the disease to each other. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are not a good companion plant for cucumbers because they can attract pests like aphids and whiteflies that can also attack cucumber plants.

What not to plant near bell peppers? ›

Brassicas: Almanacs and home gardeners recommend avoiding planting brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower) near peppers because they require different soil acidity levels and can deter pepper plant growth.

What grows well next to tomatoes? ›

Therefore, lettuce (Lactuca sativa), spinach (Spinacia oleracea), basil (Ocimum basilicum), chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and parsley (Petroselinum crispum) make great neighbours for tomatoes. They can even be planted or sown long before the tomatoes, in March or April.

What should I plant next to my tomato plants? ›

Top 10 Companion Plants for Tomatoes
  • Marigolds. The bright colors and strong scent of marigolds make them an excellent deterrent against insects like tomato hornworms and aphids. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Onions. ...
  • Lavender. ...
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum) ...
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) ...
  • Asparagus. ...
  • Celery.
Jul 6, 2022

What is the best layout for a vegetable garden? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

What not to plant with marigolds? ›

Marigold companion planting enhances the growth of basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Marigold also makes a good companion plant to melons because it deters beetles. Beans and cabbage are listed as bad companion plants for marigolds.

What plants grow well together chart? ›

Vegetables and Herbs Companion Planting Chart
PlantGood Together
PotatoBush Bean, Cabbage, Carrot, Corn, Horseradish, Onion, Parsnip, Peas
RadishBeet, Bush Beans, Pole Beans, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Parsnip, Peas, Spinach, Squash
SpinachCelery, Corn, Eggplant, Cauliflower
SquashCorn, Onion, Radish
15 more rows

What 3 vegetables grow well together? ›

Companion Planting Chart
Type of VegetableFriends
CabbageBeets, celery, chard, lettuce, spinach, onions
CarrotsBeans, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, tomatoes
CornClimbing beans, cucumber, marjoram, peas, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, zucchini
OnionsCabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes
12 more rows

What grows well with tomatoes and peppers? ›

18 Tomato Companion Plants
  • Alyssum. This plant will be covered with white flowers that will provide a food source for parasitic wasps. ...
  • Marigolds. These flowers have been grown with tomatoes for years as gardeners believed that the marigolds deterred harmful insects. ...
  • Sunflowers. ...
  • Zinnias. ...
  • Basil. ...
  • Oregano. ...
  • Nasturtiums. ...
  • Calendula.

What shouldn t be planted together? ›

10 Plants You Should Never Grow Together
  • 01 of 10. Fennel and Most Herbs and Vegetables. Layne Kennedy. ...
  • 02 of 10. Brassicas with Strawberries. Bob Stefko. ...
  • 03 of 10. Sage with Cucumber. ...
  • 04 of 10. Alliums with Asparagus. ...
  • 05 of 10. Legumes and Alliums. ...
  • 06 of 10. Tomatoes and Corn. ...
  • 07 of 10. Dill and Carrots. ...
  • 08 of 10. Cabbage with Grapes.
May 30, 2023

Can tomatoes and cucumbers be planted near each other? ›

The Short Answer. The short answer is YES! Tomatoes and cucumbers can be grown together successfully, and there are actually some benefits to planting them together.

Can you plant tomatoes and peppers together? ›

The reality is that because the two have similar growth requirements, they can in fact be grown quite successfully together. Diseases common to both tomato and pepper include Verticillium wilt and bacterial spot.

What not to plant next to zucchini? ›

Potatoes can also spread diseases such as late blight, which can also affect zucchinis. Cucumbers and pumpkins should not be planted next to zucchinis as they belong to the same family (Cucurbitaceae) and therefore attract similar pests and diseases.


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