If you’ve ever planted a garden, you’ve probably wondered what to plant next to each other, and if certain plants do better with others. Enter: companion planting.

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the practice of strategically placing vegetables or herbs next to one another to organically encourage growth, prevent pests or promote pollination.

“Companion planting is in contrast to monocropping,” says the University of Arizona’s Moses Thompson, coordinator of the college’s Community and School Garden Program. “Instead of just planting one species in an area, companion planting allows different plants to help each other out. It’s an organic way to control pests and preserve soil health.”

We’ve broken down the top 10 vegetable and herb companion planting charts – including expert tips for what not to plant next to each other – so you can keep your plants thriving naturally.


10 Popular Vegetable and Herb Companion Planting Charts


1. Companion Planting for Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the Vine in the Sun

Tomatoes are a classic garden staple, but their soft fruits make them vulnerable to a number of pests and diseases. Thankfully, tomatoes can get by with a little help from their friends. Use these companion planting suggestions to repel bugs and encourage your tomatoes to grow:

Companion Planting List for Tomatoes:

What to Plant Next to Tomatoes Why?
Basil Repels flies and tomato worms; improves tomatoes’ flavor
Asparagus and Marigolds Repels nematodes

Borage

Encourages growth; repels tomato worms
Chives Repels aphids
Garlic Repels spider mites
What Not to Plant Next to Tomatoes Why?
Broccoli and Cauliflower Stunts tomato growth
Strawberries Can spread diseases to tomatoes

Potatoes

Can cause blight fungus on tomatoes
Walnuts Walnut trees produce jugalone, which can stunt tomato growth
Corn Attracts tomato-hungry pests; blocks out sun for tomatoes
Dill Mature dill can crowd out resources for tomatoes

   Why keep certain plants apart in the garden?

Espoma Logo“Certain pests and diseases are drawn to similar crops and best practice would be to keep those crops separate to avoid losing your whole harvest. Crops like potatoes and tomatoes can get the same blights, while corn and tomatoes are especially tasty to the same worms.”

John Harrison | Espoma 


2. Companion Planting for Asparagus

Close Up on a Bunch of Asparagus

One of the first crops to be harvested in spring, asparagus is a vitamin-rich, robust plant that can tolerate both cold and hot weather extremes. To give your shoots an added boost, try planting a few of these companion plants for asparagus:

Companion Planting List for Asparagus:

What to Plant Next to Asparagus Why?
Beans & Peas Repels asparagus beetles
Corn Repels spider mites

Mint

Different root depths
Spinach Encourages growth
Borage Repels aphids
What Not to Plant Next to Asparagus Why?
Garlic and Onions Can stunt asparagus growth
Potatoes Competes for the same nutrients

Corn

Attracts army worms

3. Companion Planting for Zucchini

Pile of Zucchini

Zucchini is a fast-growing squash plant that does well in most gardens. However, it is fairly vulnerable to a few pests, so here are a few companion plants for zucchini that will keep it safe and healthy:

Companion Planting List for Zucchini:

What to Plant Next to Zucchini Why?
Beans & Peas Both release helpful nitrogen into the soil
Corn Repels squash vine borers

Mint

Repels aphids
Spinach Spinach leaves provide nutrients for zucchini
Borage Attracts bees which pollinate zucchini
What Not to Plant Next to Zucchini Why?
Potatoes Can stunt zucchini growth
Broccoli Competes for zucchini’s nutrients

Pumpkins

Can cross-pollinate, creating low-quality fruit

4. Companion Planting for Melons

Melons on the Vine in a Garden

When companion planting melons, you won’t run into many issues as they get along with most other vegetables and herbs. But because pests tend to love them, they really love to be near plants that can keep the bugs away. Check out this companion planting chart to find a few good partners for melons.

Companion Planting List for Melons:

What to Plant Next to Melons Why?
Catnip Repels flies and aphids
Radishes & Lettuce Harvested before melon vines spread

Beans & Corn

Provides shade for melons
Marigolds Repels beetles
Tansy Repels flies and beetles
What Not to Plant Next to Melons Why?
Squash Can cross-pollinate, creating low-quality fruit
Potatoes Can stunt melon growth

5. Companion Planting for Broccoli

Broccoli in Garden

Love it or hate it – for most people, there’s no in-between with broccoli. Turns out, lots of plants feel the same way. Broccoli and other members of the brassica family are considered “heavy feeders,” which means they absorb a lot of calcium and tend to crowd out other plants that have similar needs, including their own kind. However, there are a few companion plants that benefit from broccoli’s company:

Companion Planting List for Broccoli:

What to Plant Next to Broccoli Why?
Celery Repels cabbage flies, which damage broccoli
Onions Improves flavor of broccoli

Garlic

Repels beetles and can improve broccoli flavor
Beets Balances out broccoli’s calcium requirements
Nasturtiums Repels a number of pests; balances broccoli’s calcium requirements
What Not to Plant Next to Broccoli Why?
Cauliflower & Cabbage Competes for broccoli’s nutrients
Asparagus Both plants are “heavy feeders”, which can deplete the soil
Pole Beans & Strawberries Can stunt broccoli growth

Companion Planting Tip:
For Better Pest Control, Avoid Planting in Rows

The Herb Cottage Logo“It has been shown that intermingling herbs and different vegetable plants rather than planting row-type gardens can help protect your plants from attack by harmful insects. Insects have a harder time destroying or damaging one crop if the same type of plants are not planted right next to each other.”

Cindy Meredith | The Herb Cottage


6. Companion Planting for Spinach

Spinach Growing in Garden

This delicious, leafy green gets along with almost every garden vegetable, so you shouldn’t run into many issues when companion planting spinach. However, it is a heavy feeder like broccoli, so try to keep it away from other calcium-hungry plants.

Companion Planting List for Spinach:

What to Plant Next to Spinach Why?
Tansy Repels cutworms
Cilantro Repels aphids

Beets & Chard

Similar soil pH requirements
Dill Repels spider mites
Corn and Beans Provides shade, which prevents spinach from tasting bitter
Radishes Repels leaf miners
What Not to Plant Next to Spinach Why?
Potatoes Competes for spinach’s nutrients

7. Companion Planting for Peas

Freshly Picked Pea Pods in Wooden Box

Peas are a pest-hardy, easy-to-maintain plant for almost any garden. Like beans, peas are good companion plants for many other vegetables because they release nitrogen into the surrounding soil, which improves plant growth. But if you’re looking for a few plants that will scratch their back too, here are a few tips for companion planting peas:

Companion Planting List for Peas:

What to Plant Next to Peas Why?
Beans Increases nitrogen in soil
Carrots & Cucumbers Encourages pea growth

Dill

Repels spider mites
Radishes Repels leaf miners and beetles
Asparagus & Marigolds Repels nematodes
What Not to Plant Next to Peas Why?
Onions, Leeks & Garlic Stunts the growth of peas

8. Companion Planting for Onions

Onion Bulbs in the Ground in Rows

Onions are the white knights of the garden, repelling everything from aphids to carrot flies for their fellow veggies. However, not every plant in your garden will appreciate their help. Here are a few ways to successfully companion plant with onions:

Companion Planting List for Onions:

What to Plant Next to Onions Why?
Carrots Different root depths
Chamomile Improves onions’ flavor

Leeks

Repels onion flies
Cabbage & Kale Onions repel pests for these plants
What Not to Plant Next to Onions Why?
Peas, Asparagus, Sage & Beans Can stunt onion growth and vice versa

Companion Planting Tip:
Think About Root Depths When Planting

Espoma Logo“[For example], you can grow lettuce, tomatoes and carrots together in tight spaces. Lettuce has shallow roots, tomatoes have medium roots and carrots are a deep root vegetable, so they will not have to compete for the same space.”

John Harrison | Espoma


9. Companion Planting for Corn

Yellow Corn in Husk

The Three Sisters trio is probably the most famous companion planting combination and is comprised of dry beans, winter squash and corn. A strategy dating back to early Native American agriculture practices, the Three Sisters work together to protect and nourish one another, improving yields for each plant. But those aren’t the only plants corn can befriend in your garden.

Companion Planting List for Corn:

What to Plant Next to Corn Why?
Winter Squash Large squash leaves shade the soil, keeping it cool for corn roots
Dry Beans Corn loves the nitrogen produced by bean growth

Melons

Also provide shade for corn roots
Sunflowers Sunflowers can increase corn yields
Cucumbers Cucumbers promote corn growth and can also increase yields
What Not to Plant Next to Corn Why?
Tomatoes, Eggplant & Basil Corn can block out sunlight for these plants

10. Companion Planting for Potatoes

A Pile of Potatoes

Potatoes are hardy, deep-rooted vegetables that are extremely easy to grow. However, they are also a fan favorite of beetles and aphids, so here are a few helpful vegetable companion plants to keep around your garden’s spuds.

Companion Planting List for Potatoes:

What to Plant Next to Potatoes Why?
Beans Releases nitrogen into soil for potatoes
Eggplant Doesn’t compete with potatoes for sunlight

Catnip

Repels the Colorado potato beetle
Peppermint Repels flea beetles which feed on potatoes
Petunias Repels aphids
What Not to Plant Next to Potatoes Why?
Carrots Carrot roots compete with potatoes
Raspberries, Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Squash Make potatoes susceptible to blight

Companion Planting Tip:
Use Companion Planting as a Teaching Opportunity

University of Arizona Logo“Companion planting lends itself well to teaching kids about the benefits of biodiversity and the principles of ecology, where everything within a system effect another part of the system. When you have healthy biodiversity, it makes a system more stable. And that’s a concept that we can teach on a microscale through companion planting.”

Moses Thompson | CSGP Coordinator | University of Arizona


For a Well-Rounded Garden, Think Beyond Companion Planting

Remember: there are many factors that play into a maintaining a successful garden, and good companion planting is just one of them. If your plants are still struggling to thrive even after your careful companion planting efforts, see if there are other underlying issues that could be at play. Does your garden get enough sunlight? How is the pH of the soil? And does it drain well enough for your plants?

For more tips on companion planting and other organic gardening methods, check out Espoma’s video on Companion Planting for Beginners.


Looking for more ways to go green outside? Check out these 6 Sustainable Landscaping Ideas for a Greener Yard.