Hillsborough Homesteading’s Long List of Companion Plants

Posted April 29, 2017 by Lauren Dibble in Gardening / 3 Comments

Chamomile

companion plants

 

The concept of companion planting goes back centuries. In nature, diverse ecosystems of plants live together, supporting and benefiting each other. You hardly ever see an entire field of one plant in nature.

Companion planting is the practice of planting certain non-crop plants next to your garden for a number of benefits:

  1. Attract beneficial insects
  2. Attract pollinators
  3. Repel pests
  4. Fixing nutrients back into the soil
  5. Providing ground cover or support

While it may seem counter-intuitive to the beginner gardener, we actually want to attract certain insects into our garden. In addition to pollination, beneficial insects such as lady bugs and praying mantises because they eat the pest insects like aphids.

Some companion plants do an especially good job of attracting pollinators with their brightly colored and fragrant flowers. We plant these around our vegetables with the notion that pollinators are lazy, and while they’re already there for the cosmos, they’ll stay around and pollinate our squash.

Other companion plants emit a strong odor that pests detest. Garlic, for example, repels slugs and aphids – which is great if we plant them next to our veggies who have a known weakness for aphids.

Plants such as beans, for example, fix nutrients back into the soil, making them available for neighboring plants. Other plants may absorb nutrients, but make it readily available when they are composted or tilled back into the soil. For more, check out my post on cover crops.

Plants that can be used as ground covering provide a lot of added benefits. Using them as a mulch provides the soil coverage, helping it retain water and prevent runoff during a storm. They also provide shelter and protection for some beneficial insects such as beetles and spiders.

I’ve collected a long list of common companion plants below. I’ve listed their common name, followed by the scientific name, and what they’re used for. I hope you find it helpful!

Anise Hyssop

(Agastache)

Very attractive to pollinators. Plant a row of agastache away from your crops to lure cabbage moths away. It is also a powerful medicinal herb.

Sweet Alyssum

(Lobularia maritima)

Attracts beneficial insects such as predatory wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, syrphid fly. Can also be grown in place of using mulch for weed suppression. As a mulch, it provides shelter for ground beetles and spiders.

Amaranth

(Amaranthus sp.)

Plant as a mulch to shade the soil and retain water. Also protects ground beetles and spiders.

Ammi

(Ammi majus; Ammi visnaga)

Attracts beneficial insects such as predatory wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, syrphid fly. Used as a general pest control plant.

Angelica

(Angelica archangelica)

Attracts beneficial insects such as honeybees, predatory wasps, lacewings and ladybugs.

Basil

(Ocimum basilicum)

Improves health and flavor of tomatoes and lettuce. Repels aphids, asparagus beetles, mites, flies, mosquitoes, and tomato horn worm.

Beans

(Phaseolus vulgaris)

Repels Colorado potato beetles.

Bergamot

(Monarda ssp)

Attracts beneficial pollinators such as bees, flies, and hummingbirds. Blooms in late summer.

Buckwheat

(Fagopyrum esculentum)

Also attracts pollinators as well as beneficial predatory insects such as hover flies, pirate bugs, tachinid flies, and ladybird beetles.

Puts calcium back into the soil. Is a great cover crop to plow back into the soil. Buckwheat absorbs nutrients not available to other plants and makes it available when it’s composted back into the soil.

Borage
Borage

Borage

(Borago officinalis)

Attracts beneficial insects and pollinators. It also adds trace minerals back into the soil. Borage deters tomato hornworm, cabbage moth caterpillars, and deer. Excellent as a cover crop and composted back into the soil.

Calendula

(Calendula officinalis)

Repels a number of unwanted soil nematodes and asparagus beetles.

Catnip

(Nepeta cataria)

Attracts pollinators, cats and parasitic wasps. Catnip repels aphids, asparagus beetles, Colorado potato beetles, squash bugs and flea beetles.

Chamomile
Chamomile

Chamomile

(Matricaria recutita)

Attracts hoverflies and parasitic wasps. It can also improve the flavor of onions.

Chervil

(Anthriscus cerefolium)

Repels slugs and attracts parasitic wasps.

Chives

(Allium schoenoprasum)

Improves the flavor of carrots and tomatoes. It repels aphids, carrot rust flies, Japanese beetles, and while flies.

Chrysanthemum

(Chrysanthemum indicum)

Repels Japanese beetles. Attracts tachinid flies and parasitic wasps.

Cilantro

(Coriandrum sativum)

Repels aphids, potato beetles and spider mites. Attracts beneficial insects.

Clovers

(Trifolium ssp)

Fixes nitrogen back into the soil. Used for ground cover and mulch. Great composted back into the soil. Attracts beneficial insects like wooly aphids and ground beetles.

Comfrey
Comfrey

Comfrey

(Symphytum officinale)

Adds nitrogen, potassium and calcium when composted back into the soil. Use as mulch. Predatory pest habitat.

Coreopsis

(Coreopsis ssp)

Attracts beneficial insects such as pollinators, hoverflies, soldier bugs, and tachinid flies.

Cosmos

(Cosmos sulphureus)

Provides food and habitat to parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, lacewings, hoverflies, pirate bugs, spiders, ladybird beetles, damsel bugs and other predatory insects.

Daffodil

(Narcissus spp)

Deters mice and voles from strangling trees. Plant in a tight circle (bulb to bulb) about 12” from tree trunks.

Dandelion

(Taraxacum officinale)

Attracts pollinators. Brings nutrients to the surface from deep down.

Dill

(Anethum graveolens)

Improves overall health of cabbages and other Brassicas. Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybird beetles, parasitoid wasps, hoverflies, bees, garden spiders.

Echinacea

(Echinacea purpurea)

Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps. Helps to bring up nutrients from deep down to the surface.

Florence Fennel

(Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)

Attracts beneficial insects such as ladybugs, syrphid flies, tachninid flies, parasitic wasps, and hoverflies. Strong repellent for aphids and fleas.

Gaillardia

(Gaillardia)

Blooms all season attracting pollinators.

Garlic

(Allium sativum)
Repels aphids, carrot rust flies, Japanese beetles, root maggots, spider mites, weevils, whiteflies, and more. Can be made into a tea or spray for a pesticide.

Hairy Vetch

(Vicia villosa)
Acts as a mulch and ground cover to control weeds. Helps to build up soil and control erosion. Attracts beneficial insects.

Horseradish

(Armoracia rusticana)

Repels potato bugs.

Horsetail

(Equisetum arvense)

Dynamic Accumulator extremely rich in silica; making tea for foliar spray; Promotes strong and healthy cell growth in fruit; considered anti-fungal; Can be invasive;

Hyssop

(Hyssopus officinalis)

Bitter aroma confuses pest insects. It also deters cabbage moths.

Iberis

(iberis)

Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and ground beetles and pollinators

Lambs Quarters

(Chenopodium album)

Acts as aphid trap

Lavender
Lavender

Lavendar

(Lavandula)
Repels snails and slugs.

Leeks

(allium ampeloprasum)
Repels carrot rust flies.

Lovage

(Allium ampeloprasum)

Attracts parasitic wasps and ground beetles.

Lupin

(Lupine spp)
Fixes nitrogen into soil and attracts several species of lepidoptera.

Marigold

(Tagetes ssp)
Repels bad insects such as Mexican bean beetles, root knot nematodes, root lesion nematodes, whitefly, and cabbage worms. It also helps suppress other plant diseases.

Melon

(Cucurbita melo & Citrullus lanatus)
Leaves are full of calcium. Compost back into the soil.

Mint

(Mentha)
Attracts earthworms, hoverflies and predatory wasps. It repels cabbage moths, aphids, flea beetles. It’s a great, easy ground cover that can improve other plants’ overall health.

Nasturtium

(Tropaeolum)

Repels insects such as aphids, whiteflies, cucumber beetles, squash beetles, Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, and root pests. Provides good ground cover for beetles and spiders. Attracts pollinators.

Onion

(Allium cepa)

Repels carrot rust flies.

Oregano/Marjarom

(Origanum vulgare/Origanum majorana)

Repels cabbage moths.

Pansy

(Violaceae)
Repels Japanese Beetles

Parsley

(Petroselinum crispum)
Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and predatory wasps. Dried parsley leaves can be sprinkled on asparagus to repel asparagus beetles and sprinkled around roses to improve their scent.

Potato

(Solanum tuberosum)
Repels Mexican bean beetles.

Radish
Radish

Radish

(Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus)
Deters most squash and cucumber pests. Pulls flea beetles from other veggies.

Rosemary

(Rosmarinus officinalis)
Repels cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, carrot rust flies, snails, and slugs.

Rudbeckia

(Rudbeckia hirta)
Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps.

Rue

(Ruta graveolens)
Will deter maggots and Japanese beetles.

Sage
Sage

Sage

(Salvia officinalis)
Repels cabbage moths, carrot rust flies, fleas, beetles,  and slugs.

Scabiosa

(Scabiosa ssp)
Attracts beneficial insects such a hoverflies and tachinid flies.

Stinging Nettle

(Urtica dioica)
Increases disease resistance of neighboring plants and repels insects.

Summer Savory

(Satureja hortensis)
Attracts honeybees and repels cabbage moths. Improves the flavor of beans and onions.

Sunflowers

(Helianthus)
Attracts pollinators such as bees and ladybugs, particularly those best for squash and pumpkins. Improves the flavor of corn.

Sweet Ciceley

(Myrrhis odorata)
Provides food for flies and a habitat for predatory insects.

Tansy

(Tanacetum vulgare)
Repels a number of insects such as ants, flea beetles, flying insects, codling moths, Japanese beetles, squash bugs and striped cucumber beetles. The strong aroma confuses pest insects.

Tarragon

(Artemisia dracunculus)
Deters most types of pests.

Thyme
Thyme

Thyme

(Thymus vulgaris)

All-around beneficial plant for the garden. It repels insects such as cabbage moths, cabbage worms and snails and slugs. Also improves the flavor of nearby strawberries.

Tithonia

(Tithonia)
Attracts beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, flies, solider bugs.

Tomato

(Solanum lycopersicum)
Repels flea beetles.

Valerian

(Valeriana officinalis)
Attracts earthworms and hover flies. It fixes phosphorus back into the soil.

Yarrow

(Achillea millefolium)
Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies, lady beetles, and wasps. It also repels aphids. Added to the compost bin, it helps speed up decomp. It’s rich in copper, nitrogen and phosophorus.


3 responses to “Hillsborough Homesteading’s Long List of Companion Plants

  1. We are planting a vegetable garden for the first time this year and this information is perfect! I’ll be following your blog on Facebook and will be sure to check out all the other great information on your site! What perfect timing! Thank you and have a delicious day! Gwynn

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