The Top 60+ Companion Plants (And How to Use Them)

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

Chamomile

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companion plants and how to use them guide

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.

In addition to the 5 benefits listed above, most can be used a culinary or medicinal herbs, or are vegetable crops themselves! I love anything that serves two, or three different purposes!

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!

how to use hyssop in companion planting plans garden

Agastache

(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.

how to use Sweet Alyssum in companion planting guide plans

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.

how to use amaranth foxtail in companion planting guide plans

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.

how to use angelica companion plants guide plan

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Angelica

(Angelica archangelica)

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

how to use basil companion planting guide plan how to

Basil

(Ocimum basilicum)

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

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Beans

(Phaseolus vulgaris)

Repels Colorado potato beetles.

wild-bergamot-for companion planting guide plans how to

Bergamot

(Monarda ssp)

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

how to use buckwheat in companion planting guide plans vegetables

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.

how to use calendula companion planting marigold guide plans vegetables

Calendula

(Calendula officinalis)

Repels a number of unwanted soil nematodes and asparagus beetles.

how to use catnip in companion planting guide plan vegetables

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.

how to use chervile in companion planting guide plan vegetables

Chervil

(Anthriscus cerefolium)

Repels slugs and attracts parasitic wasps.

how to use chives companion planting repel insects guide plans

Chives

(Allium schoenoprasum)

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

how to use crystanthalum in companion planting guide plans

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Chrysanthemum

(Chrysanthemum indicum)

Repels Japanese beetles. Attracts tachinid flies and parasitic wasps.

how to use cilantro companion planting vegetable plans

Cilantro

(Coriandrum sativum)

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

how to use clover in companion planting

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.

tickseed Coreopsis how to companion planting guide plans

Coreopsis

(Coreopsis ssp)

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

cosmo flower companion planting

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.

how to use daffodils companion planting plans guide

Daffodil

(Narcissus spp)

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

how to use dandelions companion planting guide plans

Dandelion

(Taraxacum officinale)

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

In addition to attracting pollinators, it can be used to make wine! Check out my post on How to Make Dandelion Wine!

how to use dill companion planting garden vegetables

Dill

(Anethum graveolens)

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

how to use echinacea companion planting garden vegetable

Echinacea

(Echinacea purpurea)

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

how to use fennel companion planting garden plants guide plan

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.

how to use gaillardia companion planting garden vegetable

Gaillardia

(Gaillardia)

Blooms all season attracting pollinators.

how to use garlic companion planting garden vegetable

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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.

Check out my post Everything You Need to Know to Get Started Growing Garlic.

how to use hairy vetch companion planting

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.

how to use horseradish companion plant planting garden

Horseradish

(Armoracia rusticana)

Repels potato bugs.

how to use horsetail companion plants planting garden

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;

how to use hyssop companion planting garden vegetable guide plants

Hyssop

(Hyssopus officinalis)

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

how to use candytuff ibiris companion planting plants vegetable garden guide

Iberis

(iberis)

Attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and ground beetles and pollinators

how to use lambs quarters companion planting plants garden vegetables guide plan

Lambs Quarters

(Chenopodium album)

Acts as aphid trap

how to use lavender essential oils or dried lavender flowers around the home

Lavender

(Lavandula)
Repels snails and slugs.

For other uses for lavender on the homestead, check out my post 9 Unique Ways to Use Lavender On The Homestead.

how to use leeks companion planting plants garden vegetable

Leeks

(allium ampeloprasum)
Repels carrot rust flies.

how to use lovage companion planting garden vegetable

Lovage

(Allium ampeloprasum)

Attracts parasitic wasps and ground beetles.

how to use lupine lupin lilac in companion planting garden vegetable

Lupin

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

how to use marigold companion plant planting garden vegetables

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.

melons in companion planting nutrients vegetable garden

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Melon

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

Check out my post on Everything You Need to Get Started Growing Melons.

how to use mint companion plating plants pests

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 companion planting vegetable garden guide

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.

how to grow onions onion sets onion plants

Onion

(Allium cepa)

Repels carrot rust flies.

While you’re at it, check out my post on Everything You Need to Know to Get Started Growing Onions.

oregano in companion planting plants garden

Oregano/Marjarom

(Origanum vulgare/Origanum majorana)

Repels cabbage moths.

pansies in companion planting plants pansy guide plans

Pansy

(Violaceae)
Repels Japanese Beetles

how to use parsley in companion plants planting vegetables garden gardening

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.

potatoes in companion planting plants garden

Potato

(Solanum tuberosum)
Repels Mexican bean beetles.

Want to learn more about growing potatoes? Check out my post Everything You Need to Know to Get Started Growing Potatoes.

Radish
Radish

Radish

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

how to use rosemary in companion planting plants garden vegetable

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Rosemary

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

how to use rudbeckia in companion planting

Rudbeckia

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

how to use rue in companion planting plants garden

Rue

(Ruta graveolens)
Will deter maggots and Japanese beetles.

how to use sage in companion planting plants garden

Sage

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

pincushion-flower scabiosa how to use in companion planting

Scabiosa

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

stinging-nettles how to use in companion planting plants herbs medicinal plan guide

Stinging Nettle

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

summer-savory-how to use in companion planting plants herbs

Summer Savory

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

sunflower- how to use in companion planting plants

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.

how to use tansy in companion planting vegetable garden

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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.

how to use tarragon in companion planting plants

Tarragon

(Artemisia dracunculus)
Deters most types of pests.

how to use thyme companion planting

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.

how to use tithonia in companion planting plant guide

Tithonia

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

how to use tomatoes companion planting plants vegetables

Tomato

(Solanum lycopersicum)
Repels flea beetles.

valeriana-officinalis-in companion planting

Valerian

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

how to use yarrow in companion planting plants vegetable garden

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.

companion plants and how to use them guide


3 responses to “The Top 60+ Companion Plants (And How to Use Them)

  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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