Companion Planting 101 + Get a Free Guide!

Dive into Companion Planting 101 to elevate your garden’s health and yield. Learn the best plants, tips, and pitfalls to avoid. Free printable guide included!

companion planting 101: tomatoes and marigolds planted together

Are you looking to improve the health and productivity of your garden while reducing pests and diseases? Companion planting may be the answer you’re looking for. Companion planting involves planting different crops with complementary growth habits, nutrient needs, and pest-repelling properties. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need about companion planting, including its benefits, the best companion vegetables, flowers, and herbs, tips for success, and mistakes to avoid.


Companion planting, also known as intercropping, is planting different species of plants together in a garden bed to benefit each other. It involves pairing plants that have complementary characteristics and using their natural properties to create a healthy and productive garden.

Companion planting has been used for centuries and is based on the idea that certain plants can repel pests, attract beneficial insects, provide shade, or enhance soil nutrients. By choosing the right companion plants, you can improve the health and productivity of your garden while reducing the need for pesticides and other chemicals.


a vegetable and flower garden using companion planting practices

Companion planting offers numerous benefits for your garden, including:

Pest control: Some plants have natural properties that repel pests, while others attract beneficial insects to help control pest populations.

Improved soil health: Certain plants can help improve soil structure and nutrient levels, making it easier for plants to grow.

Increased yield: By pairing plants with complementary growing habits and nutrient needs, you can create a garden with a higher yield.

Reduced disease: Some plants have natural disease-resistant properties, which can help prevent the spread of disease in your garden.

Biodiversity: Companion planting promotes biodiversity in your garden, which can help create a more resilient ecosystem.

Attracting beneficial insects: Some companion plants can attract beneficial insects such as bees, ladybugs, and lacewings, which can help pollinate crops and control pests.

Improving soil health: Certain plants can improve soil health by fixing nitrogen and increasing soil fertility. For example, legumes like peas and beans can fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting neighboring plants.

Reducing soil erosion: Plants with deep roots, like comfrey and yarrow, can help prevent soil erosion and improve soil structure.

Deterrent to harmful pests: Certain plants have natural insect-repelling properties that can help deter harmful pests from your garden. For example, planting marigolds can help deter aphids, whiteflies, and other pests.

Maximizing garden space: Companion planting can help maximize the use of garden space by growing multiple crops in the same area. For example, planting tall plants like corn can shade shorter plants like lettuce.


onions, carrots, chamomile, and nasturtiums planted in a garden

Choosing the right companion plants is crucial for a successful companion planting garden. Here are some of the best companion plants to consider:

Tomatoes and basil: Basil is an excellent companion for tomatoes, as it can help repel pests and improve tomato flavor.

Beans and peas with corn: Beans and peas fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting corn plants.

Carrots and onions: Onions can help repel carrot flies, while carrots can help loosen the soil for onion growth.

Peppers and oregano: Oregano can help repel pests that can damage pepper plants, such as spider mites and thrips. The strong scent of oregano can also mask the scent of the peppers, making them less attractive to pests.

Marigolds and nasturtiums: These flowers are excellent at repelling pests and attracting beneficial insects. Plant these throughout your garden.

Squash and nasturtiums: Nasturtiums can help repel squash bugs and other pests, while the sprawling squash vines can provide shade and ground cover for the flowers.

Lettuce and chives: Chives can help repel aphids and other pests that can damage lettuce plants. They can also help improve soil quality by adding sulfur and other nutrients.

Radishes and spinach: Radishes can help break up compacted soil and improve soil quality for spinach. They also have a shorter growing season, allowing them to be planted and harvested before the spinach needs space.

Pumpkins and corn: Pumpkins and corn are both heavy feeders and require similar soil conditions. The corn can support the pumpkin vines, while the pumpkin leaves can provide shade and reduce soil moisture loss.

Kale and garlic: Garlic can help repel pests that can damage kale plants, such as aphids and cabbage loopers. It can also help improve soil health by adding sulfur and other nutrients.

By choosing the right companion plants, you can create a garden ecosystem that supports the health and growth of your plants. Keep in mind that not all plants make good companions, and some plants may even inhibit the growth of their neighbors. Research before planting and experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your garden.


lettuce greens and herbs growing in a garden

Herbs are excellent companion plants. Not only do they enhance the flavor of your dishes, but they can also help repel pests and improve the health of other plants. Here are some of the best herbs to plant in your garden:

  • Basil: Not only does basil pair perfectly with tomatoes, it can also keep pesky flies, mosquitoes, and other tomato-loving pests away.
  • Dill: This herb is a fantastic companion for plants like cabbage, lettuce, and onions. It can help repel harmful insects like aphids and spider mites while attracting helpful insects like ladybugs and parasitic wasps to keep pest populations in check.
  • Parsley: Not just a garnish, parsley is also a great companion for tomatoes, peppers, and asparagus. It helps repel pests like aphids and beetles and attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies. Plus, it can even add nutrients to the soil and enhance the flavor of other plants.
  • Oregano: Keep spider mites, aphids, and thrips at bay with oregano. It’s also an excellent herb for adding flavor to eggplants and peppers.
  • Rosemary: This herb is a triple threat: it can repel pests, attract bees and other beneficial insects, and add a lovely aroma to your garden.
  • Sage: Sage is a fantastic herb to plant alongside carrots. It helps repel pests while improving the flavor of other plants.
  • Thyme: Plant thyme alongside cabbage to repel cabbage worms and add a savory kick to your veggies.
  • Mint: Not only does mint repel pests, but it can also enhance the flavor of tomatoes and other plants.
  • Chives: Add some chives to your garden to keep aphids, Japanese beetles, and other pests away from your carrots, tomatoes, and peppers. Plus, chives can also enrich the soil and add flavor to your other plants.
  • Borage: This herb is a true all-star companion plant. Borage pairs well with tomatoes, strawberries, squash, and more. It can improve the flavor of other plants and attract helpful insects like bees, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps while repelling harmful insects like tomato hornworms.

By planting these herbs alongside your vegetables, you can create a garden ecosystem that is both beautiful and functional. Remember that some herbs, such as mint, can be invasive and may take over your garden if not kept in check. Be sure to research the growth habits of each herb before planting and give them enough space to grow.


tomatoes and marigold flowers growing together in a garden

Flowers are not only beautiful additions to your garden, but they can also serve as excellent companion plants. Here are some of the best flowers to plant in your garden:

  • Marigolds: Not only do marigolds add a pop of bright color to your garden, but they also have the added benefit of repelling pests like nematodes, whiteflies, and aphids. And as a bonus, they attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are not only pretty to look at but also great at repelling pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs. Plus, they attract helpful insects like bees and hoverflies to your garden.
  • Calendula: If you’re looking for a plant that can do it all, look no further than calendula. This versatile flower can repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and even improve soil health. And with its cheerful yellow or orange blooms, it’s a lovely addition to any garden.
  • Sweet Alyssum: These delicate little flowers may be small. Still, they pack a big punch when attracting beneficial insects like hoverflies and lacewings, which can help control pests like aphids and caterpillars.
  • Sunflowers: Who doesn’t love sunflowers? Not only are they beautiful and cheerful, but they can also provide shade and support for other plants. And let’s not forget about their ability to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
  • Zinnias: These stunning blooms are a true delight for your eyes and your taste buds! Not only do they brighten up your garden, but they also attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds that help improve the flavor of tomatoes. Talk about a win-win situation!
  • Bachelor’s Buttons: These charming little flowers may be small, but they significantly impact your garden. Their delicate petals attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can help control pesky pests like aphids and caterpillars. Who knew such a tiny flower could be such a hero?
  • Chrysanthemums: These bold and vibrant flowers pack a powerful punch for pest control. Their scent is known to repel pests like Japanese beetles, roaches, and fleas and attract helpful insects like hoverflies and tachinid flies. Not to mention, they look stunning in any garden!
  • Cosmos: These stunning flowers are not just pretty faces! They also attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which can help pollinate and keep your garden thriving. Plus, they can help improve soil health, making them an all-around great choice for any garden.
  • Lavender: This fragrant and beautiful plant is a true multitasker in the garden. Not only does it add a lovely scent to your outdoor space, but it also has a host of benefits as a companion plant. It can help repel pests like moths and fleas, attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, and even improve the health of your soil. Who wouldn’t want a little bit of lavender in their garden?


To ensure a successful companion planting garden, follow these essential tips:

Research your plants. Choose companion plants with complementary growing habits, nutrient needs, and pest control properties.

Avoid planting incompatible plants. Some plants can inhibit the growth of others, so make sure to research which plants should not be planted together.

Rotate your crops. Rotating crops can help prevent soil-borne diseases and maintain soil fertility.

Use organic gardening methods. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers can harm beneficial insects and soil health, so opt for organic methods instead.

Plant flowers and herbs. As discussed, flowers and herbs can benefit your garden and companion plants.


Companion planting is an effective technique to maximize the yield and health of your garden plants. However, gardeners make some common mistakes when implementing companion planting strategies. Here are some companion planting mistakes to avoid:

Planting incompatible plants together: Not all plants are compatible with each other. Some plants may compete for resources, while others may produce toxic chemicals to neighboring plants. Make sure to research the compatibility of plants before planting them together.

Overcrowding plants: Planting too close can lead to stunted growth, reduced yield, and increased risk of disease and pest infestations. Give plants enough space to grow and thrive.

Not rotating crops: Planting the same crop in the same spot year after year can deplete the soil of nutrients, making it more susceptible to disease and pests. Rotate crops to replenish the soil and avoid the build-up of soil-borne diseases.

Ignoring the needs of individual plants: Each plant has unique needs for water, sunlight, and nutrients. When planting companion plants, make sure to take into account the individual needs of each plant to ensure that they are thriving.

Planting invasive species: Some companion plants, such as mint or horseradish, can become invasive and take over the garden. Plant these species in containers or separate beds to prevent them from spreading.

Not considering the height of plants: Plants that grow tall can shade shorter plants, reducing their access to sunlight. When planting companion plants, consider the size of each plant and ensure that taller plants are planted in a way that does not block sunlight from shorter plants.

Planting too early or too late: Planting companion plants at the wrong time can lead to poor growth and yield—plant at the appropriate time based on the growing season and climate.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can successfully implement companion planting in your garden and enjoy healthy and thriving plants.


To help you get started with companion planting, we created a free 4-page companion planting guide, which covers 40 plants, their friends, foes, pest control properties, and beneficial plants.


Companion planting is a simple and effective way to create a healthy and productive garden. By pairing plants that have complementary characteristics, you can improve soil health, control pests, and increase yields while reducing the need for harmful chemicals. Try different combinations to find what works best for your garden, and don’t forget that herbs and flowers make great companions too! With a bit of knowledge and practice, companion planting can help you create a beautiful and sustainable garden you can be proud of. So, give it a try and watch your garden flourish!

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