Companion Planting Guide

Companion Planting Tips, Plant List, and More

George and Becky Lohmiller

Close-up of an orange marigold.

Angela Altomare

Do you follow the principles of companion planting in your garden? See our tips on what plants to plant next to each other—and which to plant far apart—including popular crops like tomatoes, basil, potatoes, beans, and more.

What is Companion Planting?

It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Time-honored gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and yields. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, while other plants (particularly herbs) act as repellents. Additionally, plants that require a lot of the same nutrients as their neighbors may struggle to get enough for themselves, producing lackluster crops.

Which vegetables should you plant next to each other? Which shouldn’t you plant together? Let’s take a look at the benefits of companion planting, then a list of the best companion plants.

Benefits of Companion Planting

There are plenty of reasons to plant certain crops together. For example…

  • Shade regulation: Large plants provide shade for smaller plants in need of sun protection.
  • Natural supports: Tall plants like corn and sunflowers can support lower-growing, sprawling crops such as cucumbers and peas.
  • Improved plant health: When one plant absorbs certain substances from the soil, it may change the soil biochemistry in favor of nearby plants.
  • Healthy soil: Some crops, such as bean and peas, help to make nitrogen available. Similarly, plants with long taproots, like burdock, bring up nutrients from deep in the soil, enriching the topsoil to the benefit of shallow-rooted plants.  
  • Weed suppression: Planting sprawling crops like potatoes with upright plants minimizes open areas, where weeds typically take hold.

Companion Plants for Vegetables

Some plants, especially herbs, act as natural insect repellents. They confuse insects with strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.

  • Companion plantingDill and basil planted among tomatoes can protect from tomato hornworms.
  • Sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
  • Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and sometimes even animal pests, like deer.
  • Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
  • Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract beneficial insects—praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders—that dine on insect pests.
  • Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
  • Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grow in the shadow of corn.
  • Bush beans tolerate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
  • Tansy discourages cutworm, which attacks asparagus, bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato, and tomato plants.
  • Catnip, hyssop, rosemary, and sage deter cabbage moth, which is detrimental to a host of edible crops, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip, and radish.
  • Mint wards off cabbage moth and ants.
  • Thyme thwarts cabbageworm, which munches broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, horseradish, kale, and kohlrabi
  • Lavender is known to deter codling moths, which wreak havoc on apple trees
  • Zinnias attract ladybugs, so when planted near cauliflower, which is susceptible to cabbage flies, the ladybugs are there to control the pest population.

See our companion planting chart for advice on popular vegetables.

Incompatible Edibles

Plants that are not compatible with each other are sometimes called combatants. Here are a few:

  • White garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, but the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
  • Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all.


One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.

More Companion Plantings

Even plants in the woodlands are companions:

  • Blueberries, mountain laurel, azaleas, and other ericaceous (heath family) plants thrive in the acidic soils created by pines and oaks.
  • Shade-loving plants seek the shelter provided by a wooded grove. The shade-lovers in return protect the forest floor from erosion with their thick tangle of shallow roots.
  • Legumes and some trees, such as alders, have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil that help them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it to fertilizer, enriching the soil so plants can prosper in their presence.

Pea pods

Strange Plant Pairings

Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.

  • You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.

Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle

  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.

Learn More

Want to learn more about companion planting? Watch our companion planting video about why vegetables need flower friends!

Reader Comments

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Sunflowers and beans

I planted beans away from sunflowers and in the same container with one to see if it made a difference. The ones I planted in the container with the sunflowers did much better than the other ones.


companion croping it's good, it help a farmers to control weed and pest without chemical

deer in the garden

we have deer in the neighborhood who like to nibble and crunch down the yard plants.. any idea how to stop them? or do we go without a garden? I know fencing and other barriers are needed but that is expensive. I like deer, also I want some plants.

garden pests

Oh, we have many ways to deter deer in the garden! See our deer page here.

I can relate to the deer

I can relate to the deer issue for years they have eatin most things in my garden so I put up some fencing around I didn't want to spend the money either but I will be eating this year I like the deer also but they find other things on my property to munch on as host as and my other perennial s but they sure won't be eating my food
Good luck with the deer


What flowers should I plant in my garden to attract bees / insects for pollination?

Attracting Bees for Pollination

This is a great question!  Attracting bees is so important for your crops to produce. One out of every three bites of food is thanks to the bees.

It depends what time you wish to plant as well as your climate but here are some ideas:

Bees love:  Bee balm, purple coneflower, butterfly-bush, common lavender, black-eyed susans, red and white clover, cosmos, sunflowers, common mallow, foxglove, allium, healther, dandelion, and many more! 

You may enjoy this post on helping bees and butterflies in the garden:

How far apart to plant non-compatable veggies?

How far apart is optimal when keeping non-comparable plant away from each other. Like the Onions and Beans for instance.

non-comptible plant distances

You really have to deal with the space you have. Ideally, it would be several to many feet. But if you have only a small space—even maximum 20 feet at the widest point, that’s your distance. Keep rotation in mind, too. You know, our Garden Planner would provide you the most optimal for your space—no heavy sell here, but a lot of people like it! See here:

and consider the 7-day free trial… just sayin…

Just beginner gardener, would

Just beginner gardener, would like some tips on a good healthy garden. From amherstburg, ontario

I am trying to educate myself

I am trying to educate myself about better companion planting though I have had a garden many years and had good crops for the most part. Some things I quit planting because I wanted to be organic, but had no way to fight the pests, i.e. worms in cauliflower and broccoli. I have heard that planting onions near them will help. Do you agree? Also can you plant cauliflower and broccoli near each other?

Hi Jerrene, Yes, you can

Hi Jerrene,

Yes, you can plant cauliflower and broccoli near each other. You can see a friend/foe chart for the 10 most common vegetables at

We don't recommend growing onions near the broccoli and cauliflower. Tomatoes and celery on the other hand are known to keep the cabbage worm away. They also grow well near broccoli and cauliflower. You can also try a garlic spray (soak 4 cloves in a quart of water for a few days and then blend in a mixer, strain and put the liquid in a spray bottle with a couple of drops of dish soap).

Please help me! I am looking

Please help me! I am looking for something that I can plant in my flower garden and among my shrubs to keep the voles and moles from eating the roots. I have tried lots of commercial things.

Hi Barbara, Try planting some

Hi Barbara,
Try planting some garlic cloves between the flowers and shrubs. Some of our readers swear by it.

My mother in law swears by

My mother in law swears by placing crushed eggshells around the bases of tomato plants for keeping cut worms and the like away- she sure has an awesome garden!

Yes and crushed eggshells are

Yes and crushed eggshells are amazing around bases of hosta and other slug loving plants to keep the slugs off.

I planted broccoli with

I planted broccoli with lettuce. The list of companion plants states that they are foes. The lettuce is almost fully mature but the broccoli is only 2 inches in height. What should I do? Any background on reasons why these two are foes and what will happen would be greatly appreciated.

I have the self watering

I have the self watering planters on patio by pool. I have planted eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Aphids has covered eggplants and parts of tomato and now is attacking the new growth on pepper plant. I've sprayed a 3 in 1 spray for several days in a row, is there another more effective way to destroy these pest?

If the aphids are getting

If the aphids are getting crazy, there are organic insecticides. See our Aphids page for different ways to tackle this issue:

Milk thistle plant has a pest

Milk thistle plant has a pest which is a known enemy of the aphids. I planted them in my garden and have no aphids. I have gardenias that were attacked last year from aphids. I pulled off a portion of the milk thistle that was covered in the pest of that plant, and placed in on my gardenias. This year, no aphids at all on my gardenias!

I went online through amazon

I went online through amazon and ordered ladybugs. I think $7, shipping included, bought 1500 ladybugs. I didn't count them bought they were all alive upon arrival.

A very large problem I have

A very large problem I have in my garden is the ants. We've tried everything to locate the nest but it seems they are everywhere and attract all our vegetable s, fruit trees and even ornamental plants!!!! Please help as we'd really hate to give up garden ing

Some people suggest mixing

Some people suggest mixing about one pound of used coffee grounds with one quart of hot water and then pouring that over the ant hills. Other sources suggest sprinkling dry grits on the ant hills. Even plain boiling water may help.

I used boiling water for

I used boiling water for anthills in my suburban Colorado back yard. Works like a charm. They either die and/or move very far away.

A mixture of 1/3 icing sugar

A mixture of 1/3 icing sugar and 2/3 borax has always worked for me. The ants are drawn by the sugar, eat the borax, then take it back to the ant hill. The borax kills the ants.

Use food grade diotamacuse

Use food grade diotamacuse earth flour,(I get mine at the feed store), sprinkle around the garden. The ants walk in it, it sticks to their legs and they take it back to the ant hill. The diotamacuse earth is transferred from ant to ant and takes care of the problem for you.

Spread corn meal around. The

Spread corn meal around. The ants bring it back to their nest and eat it. Thhey can't digest it and they die. They only thing we found that successfully fought our huge amount of ants.

My go-to, always successful

My go-to, always successful remedy for ants is 1# of fine sugar and 2# of INSTANT grits. I mix it in a 2qt container and sprinkle it on the hills or problem areas. The sugar attracts the ants and when they deliver the grits to the queen and eat it, the grits expand and it kills them. Works fantastic for fire ants. It must be done a couple days in a row when the ground is dry. Its safe for pets, very inexpensive and I've never used anything that works better!

I used to plant gardens every

I used to plant gardens every year with my mother. Now the only way I can plant a garden is in econtainers. Someone told me that I could use the plastic storage boxes with holes for drainage and adequate rocks and tree limbs as well as good soil. They also said to make sure they were deep enough for any roots. Any suggestion as to what type of plastic box to use and will the heat that might build up in them affect the roots or growing?

Hi Jo Anne, Yes, you can use

Hi Jo Anne,
Yes, you can use plastic storage boxes as containers (don't use the clear plastic ones). Make sure to make holes for drainage and put rocks in the bottom. Use a good potting mix that is not too heavy. Get boxes that are at least 1 foot deep. You can also find big plastic pots at garden centers and department stores that work nicely.

Hi JoAnne, I have been using

Hi JoAnne,

I have been using plastic buckets, available at local hardware stores, for 25 years for toms, peppers, strawberries, flowers and herbs.
I start with small river stones, filling the bottom of the bucket for 4-5 inches then drill 1/4 holes 1" below the top of the stone level. This is so storm water will weep out of the bucket. Add in my compost on the stones then I add black dirt mixed with sand. The sand is to help keep the black dirt from compacting but don't add so much sand that the plant stems are not supported. I add used coffee grounds and eggs shells after planting as a mulch. I change the top of pot soil very couple of years with new mix.

This worked great for salad plants and when I moved I took my roses with me.

Good Luck, Rob

when is comes to mustard

when is comes to mustard greens and or turnips and turnip greens or even poc salad what is the best compainan plant and foe plant.

Turnips do well planted by

Turnips do well planted by peas.
However, keep turnips away from mustard which inhibits their growth.

I am not sure what a borer

I am not sure what a borer is, however, we had a small black bug, with orange and white dots on its back, almost opposite of a ladybug, get into our b. sprouts. They sucked the juice out of the limbs, ect. and they did not fly, but climbed up the stalks. Is that a borer...? We did use potash, from our fire pit, sprinked on them, and it seemed to help. You just have to do it everyday or two, until they smother. It seems the potash gets into their noses, lungs, ect. and they cannot breathe. If this is not a borer, can anyone tell me what it is, pleaz. Thanx for any help, or suggestions.

The borer that you refer to

The borer that you refer to is a fat, white larva (sort of like a caterpillar w/o legs)that chews into the stalk and then tunnels through the stalk thereby depleting the vine of it's nutrients. Take a sharp knife, clean it first with some rubbing alcohol to sterilize it so you don't contaminate with any bacteria, then slice through one side of the stalk where the entry hole was made until you find the borer. It will be inside continually feeding on the stalk. Remove it - I gather all I find and put them in a bird feeding tray so the insect eating birds can feast on them. The catbirds love them!! then cover the area of the open stalk with soil. The plant will continue to grow if not severely eaten by the borer. Here is a link to more info:

I keep having my squash

I keep having my squash getting attacked by borers that just destroy the plants and causes plant to wither. Any recommendations? Thank you for any help give me to get rid of of these nasty pests!

Plant a few radishes around

Plant a few radishes around your squash plants and let them grow without picking them and that should help.

Plant a few radishes around

Plant a few radishes around your squash plants and let them grow without picking them and that should help.

I fought them for years until

I fought them for years until I found Spinosad. I buy it under the name captain jacks' dead bug brew. It's organic and works on everything in my garden including the fruit trees. Start around the first day of summer and continue as directed all season

In reply to "an error" about

In reply to "an error" about Herbs & Tomatoes... I planted both Dill & Basil in amongst my Tomatoes last year and didn't have a single worm all season! or bugs! It was great! Now if I could just keep the Bean Beetles away.....

I am thinking of trying the

I am thinking of trying the Three Sisters Planting method this year. Would planting cucmbers instead of the squash work just as well??

As long as your cucumber is a

As long as your cucumber is a bush variety, not a vine ;)

As a child, we had nettles in

As a child, we had nettles in our garden area. We would rub the nettles all over our legs and arms, then go to the "doctor" aka sibling - and get a mud compact put on the stings. It took the sting away and off we were for another round of nettles. We thought it was great fun - then of course, we were young and carefree. I had a great childhood with wonderful memories.

This year will be my second

This year will be my second time to plant a garden. Last year my garden did very well. My question is, "do I need to rotate my plants this year?"

It is always a good idea to

It is always a good idea to move your plants to a different spot in the garden every year. It helps to keep diseases and pests down.

I have often wondered if the

I have often wondered if the practice of succession planting would "replace" crop rotation. In other words, maybe I plant the a certain vegetable in the same spot next year, but that spot has been occupied by other crops. (Maybe lettuce, then legume, then corn, then cover crop to be turned under prior to lettuce next spring)

Note that there is an error

Note that there is an error in the article above which states: "Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms...".

Basil is certainly good for tomatoes, but dill? Not only does dill not protect tomatoes from hornworms, it actually ATTRACTS them! DO NOT plant dill weed anywhere near your tomatoes!

Note that along with tomato hornworms, dill will also attract the Braconid wasps that prey on them (as will cilantro), so it is good, but you don't want to invite that battlefield directly to your tomatoes by planting dill next to (or even near) them.

Planting Dill near Tomatoes

Planting Dill near Tomatoes where Hornworms have been an issue in the past.Allows the Dill to become a host plant. I believe this is why the author included them in protection for Tomatoes!

dill not being good for protecting tomatoes

I had loads of dill plants in and near my tomatoes and they did really well. Not one horned caterpillar this year and they usually decimate my tomato plants. That said, I don't think the climbing beans, garlic and potatoes liked having the dill plants around. Have to read more about companion plants/foes I guess. Mayber I just had "weird" plants or somethign about the soil. Gotta keep learning and trying. I'd also like to find something to deter the potato beetles and the Japanese beetles. I do put out the traps for flies and Japanese beetles, but still seem to have loads and loads of them to deal with.


I read once that Four O'clock plants are excellent as a Japanese beetle deterrent. They attract the beetles, who find the plant irresistible, but also poisonous. They eat it and die. i have planted Four O'clocks the past few years and have not had any Japanese beetle issues since. Try it!

The "weed" stinging nettle

The "weed" stinging nettle (urtica dioica) is also one of the most valuable medicinal herbs for both humans and animals. See Cooked or dried it loses its sting.

If you get 'stung' by

If you get 'stung' by stinging nettle and you have jewelweed growing in the area, break a piece of the jewelweed off and rub the sap on the area where the stinging nettle zapped you. It will take the sting away. BTW, sometimes you will also experience a numbing sensation from stinging nettle but it will usually go away in a few hours.

Using the inner milky sap

Using the inner milky sap from the stinging nettle will also reduce or eliminate the sensation from an encounter of stinging nettle

I agree with The Woodchuck.

I agree with The Woodchuck. It is true that if you rub some of the sap from the same stinging nettle plant that stung you, the sting goes away. I'm living proof & so are some of my children.

talking about woodchuck...

I live on an old woodchuck sanctuary my mother created many years ago. She used to ask me during drought season , "well, do we use the barrel of rain water we saved to take a bath this week or water the garden so the woodchucks can eat?"...After she passed away at the turn of the century I kept gardening and the woodchucks stay well fed. I built raised beds for growing my own vegetables for myself but for the past 2 years the woodchucks have found a way to climb up into the very high beds & devour everything. I'm starting to think it might be that they would leave my garden alone before because it was covered in slugs & snails(a battle I eventually won) & maybe woodchucks don't like food with snail & slugs?

As a child, we had nettles in

As a child, we had nettles in our garden area. We would rub the nettles all over our legs and arms, then go to the "doctor" aka sibling - and get a mud compact put on the stings. It took the sting away and off we were for another round of nettles. We thought it was great fun - then of course, we were young and carefree. I had a great childhood with wonderful memories.

WOW!! You where one tough

WOW!! You where one tough kid!!! lol What else did you find fun? Butting heads with the neighbor's Billy goat !! lol