Companion Planting Made Easy

The Garden Planner team has done the research and narrowed down the possible companion planting combinations to only those backed up by scientific evidence.

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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by Unsplash/Markus Spiske

The Garden Planner team spent months researching the best companion planting combinations for your garden. The result: A fantastic new companion planting feature that makes companion planting a cinch.

Companion Planting in the Garden Planner

To use the Garden Planner’s companion planting feature, select a crop on your plan then click on the heart-shaped Companion Planting button. The selection bar will then show only suitable companion plants. Select one and drop it into place.

To add a companion plant between two crops, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on each crop. Click the Companion Planting button and the selection bar will show all possible companions for either of the selected crops. To remove the filter, just click on the heart again.

Let’s look at a few examples of companion plant pairings that are backed up by science.

Companion Planting to Control Pests

Many insects that eat pests also love flowers — for instance, poached egg plants draw in aphid-eating hoverflies so are great for growing near to lettuce, which is prone to aphid attacks. Growing borage next to tomatoes helps to attract bees and tiny pest-eating wasps, and growing crimson clover alongside broccoli encourages spiders, which control pests.

Planting nasturtiums close to fava beans will lure blackfly away from the beans. Nasturtiums are also preferred by hungry caterpillars instead of other cabbage family plants.

Strong-smelling garlic deters the green peach aphid, so the Garden Planner includes it for growing near fruits such as peaches and nectarines.

Companion Planting for Physical Benefits

Some companion plants are useful because they offer some sort of physical advantage. For instance some, such as sunflowers, can offer support for climbing plants such as cucumbers and pole beans, as well as shade for those crops that can become sun-stressed in hotter climates.

The ‘Three Sisters’ method of growing beans, corn, and squash together is a well-known companion planting combination. The broad leaves of squash suppress weeds, and the beans scramble up the corn while fixing nitrogen at their roots to boost the growth of the other sisters.

Potato tubers have also been shown to grow larger when planted with beans.

Borage adds trace minerals to the soil, which then enhances the flavor and vigor of strawberries.

Companion planting can help improve your growing, but don’t forget that crop rotation, correct spacing, and good soil management are the most important influences on your growing. Companion planting is the icing on the cake!

Learn more about companion planting in this video.

Get More Tips With These Great Gardening Resources

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Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

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