Companion Plants You Must Have in Your Vegetable Garden


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10 Companion Companion Plants you must have in your garden

I recently shared the rough garden plan for my 2400 sq ft garden, but although I mentioned companion plants, I didn’t really specify what or where. Today, I’m sharing more details on companion plants you must have in your vegetable garden.  A concerted effort to include companion plants (often herbs and flowers) will yield a lot of positive benefits in your garden!

Companion Plants You Must Have in Your Vegetable Garden

Companion plants support growth, attract beneficial insects, deter pests, and can also help keep down the weeds. Pretty much any plant can be used as a companion plant if you know which plant combinations work well and which you should avoid. I use a lot of herbs and flowers as companion plants in my garden, but I also rely on the combination of certain veggies too. If you want to grow an organic garden, understanding how companion plants work might just be the key to your ultimate success!

Herbs as Companion Plants

Herbs as companion plants. Don't forget to plant these 10 plants! They are must haves in an organic garden.

Herbs make fabulous companion plants. Even if you don’t want to cook with fresh herbs (BUT WHY?!), I highly recommend that you plant them in your garden. Here are some of my favorites.

Basil – repels thrips and tomato hornworm. Enhances the flavor of post garden crops. I’ve always planted it near my tomatoes, but have noticed that it tends to get overshadowed and lost in the tomato growth as the season continues. I will plant basil on the outside of my tomato area, and not in the middle like I did last year. I’ll buy plants for these purposes, though I should start them myself!

Dill – attracts beneficial wasps to help control cabbage moths. Attracts butterflies, praying mantises, and spiders. Plus, I need dill to make my grandma’s famous dill pickles. I’m planting in my cabbage plot, mixed in with the cucumbers, and also mixed in with basil near the tomato area.

Rosemary – repels cabbage moths! I’m also planting rosemary in my cabbage area. I’ll buy rosemary plants as I didn’t start any.

Sage – deters cabbage moths and improves tomato plants. Sage will also go in my cabbage area and outside my tomato plot. I’ll buy sage plants too.

Flowers as Companion Plants

Flowers as companion plants

In addition to being beautiful, flowers belong in every garden for their beneficial companion planting properties. These are my favorite flower companion plants and how I plan to use them!

Nasturtium – repel aphids, cabbage moths, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs so  plant near cucumbers, cabbages, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Nasturtiums will go along my tomato, cabbage, and cucumber plots and I plant them from seed directly in the garden.

Marigolds – deter bean beetles, aphids, potato bugs, squash bugs, nematodes, and maggots. They also enhance almost every crop you will grow in your garden! I plant a lot of marigolds, but this year I will concentrate them around my potatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini crops. I started my own marigolds from seed this year, but so far I only have one growing so I may have to buy a flat.

Zinnias – deter cucumber beetle and tomato hornworm and they attract predatory wasps, hummingbirds, and butterflies. I have always had zinnias in my garden as I think they are so beautiful and easy to grow. I will have zinnias in my cucumber area this year too, I haven’t had them there before.

Sunflowers – work well planted with corn to keep down the bugs. Also help shade cucumbers and provide a natural trellis for them to climb as well. Sunflowers planted along the south side of a potato patch can provide the potatoes with filtered shade and help keep the soil cool and moist, but I’ve also read that sunflowers should be kept away from potatoes, so I’m not honestly sure what the right strategy is there. In years past, I have moved sunflowers away from my potato patch. Maybe this year I will grow them on the south side and see what happens. I will for sure plant sunflowers in my cucumber area and see what happens.

Vegetables as Companion Plants

Certainly herbs and flowers work well as companion plants, but it’s also helpful to consider the companion plant properties vegetables can lend to each other as well. Here are my favorite ideas for using veggies as companion plants.

Radish – deter cucumber beetle. Radish was the first concerted effort I made with companion planting in my garden. After losing my cucumbers to cucumber beetles three years in a row, I read that radishes planted with cucumbers could be helpful. I’ve planted radish with my cucumbers the last two years now and haven’t lost another crop. I plant the radishes directly from seed and let them go to seed. As a result, I get a ton of volunteer radishes in my garden each year.

Arugula – planted in between onion sets can help keep down the weeds. I’m definitely trying this! I hate weeding my onions.

If you’re like to see the benefit of even more companion plant combinations, head over to Mother Earth News’ In-Depth Companion Planting Guide. It’s one of my most useful garden tools – I love it!

Tuesdays in the Garden

Tuesdays in the Garden

All right – it’s time for Tuesdays in the Garden! Are you ready to see what my gardening friends are up to? I’m excited to check out all of these amazing posts. I hope you will pop over too!

An Oregon Cottage

Simple & Easy Gardening Tips From Jami at An Oregon Cottage

Fugal Family Home

Top 5 Gardening Tools from Shelly at Frugal Family Home

The Freckled Rose, Tuesdays in the Garden

Transitioning the Garden from  Winter to Spring from Angie at The Freckled Rose

House of Hawthornes

Best Gardening Apps from Pam at House of Hawthornes

Homemade Food Junkie

Build a Good Garden Soil Foundation by Diane at Homemade Food Junkie

Do you have a favorite companion planting combination you’d like to share?! Please leave a comment or a link to a post in the comments!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Zinnias are my favorite flower companion plant!!! Nothing like a burst of color! I need to try the radish trick this year.

  2. I have flirted with companion planting. We have marigolds, basil rosemary and nasturtiums in the greenhouse. Your ideas are germinating lots of new ways to companion plant out in the garden. Wait til my hubby finds out Arugula is a weed preventer in Onions! Happy days! Thanks so much for this valuable load of info. I love the idea of adding more life and color (that is not weeds) into our garden! And befitting it in so many ways!

  3. I need to grow a few marigolds to add to my garden this year. My mom and grandma always grew them in the garden but I’ve neglected to add them, but I’m going to change that this year.

  4. Oh I love this post – just told my husband about it and I’ll be reading and re-reading it. We are having a hellova time with the little caterpillars in our tomato plants and this advice of planting other awesome herbs and such to help is GREAT! Thank youuu!

  5. I am a huge fan of companion planting! I actually started doing it immediately when I was getting into vegetable gardening. I’m not one to use chemicals, and I can most definitely say this is a much better option! Every year, I plant basil, marigolds and chives with my tomatoes. It really has worked wonders! I’m always deadheading marigolds, so my hands constantly smell like them in the summer! I also feel like nasturtiums benefit literally EVERYTHING! What a miracle flower! I didn’t know about sunflowers keeping down bugs, I must give that a try! The arugula between onions is also a great tip! Never tried it before, it’s definitely a must now. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing. I will be using this as a reference when I start up my summer garden this year!

  6. Great Share!

    Companion plants really support the growth of your plant but on the other hand it consumes some of the nutrients of soil which affects the growth of other plants.

  7. That was a great picture with the dill and the hornworm!!. I’ve got news for you. Hornworms can devour your entire tomatoe patch in a day. They start at night and in the morning, sticks. Good picture though.