Companion Plants in the Garden

Companion planting assists gardeners in their quest to avoid the use of chemicals to control pests and disease in their gardens. Due to natural substances in their leaves, flowers and roots certain plants can repel and discourage harmful pests. These same substances help attract beneficial bugs and insects to your garden. Use these plants as borders, back drops, even inter-plant them in your garden as a natural way to keep plants and flowers pest free.


Basil is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes and is said to help improve the growth and flavor of the fruit. Plant basil with peppers, asparagus, petunias and oregano. Basil will repel such pests as thrips, flies and mosquitoes. It also wards off spider mites, aphids and white flies. Bees are attracted to basil which allows for better pollination results in your garden. Keep basil away from sage and rue.


The marigold flower is considered one of the best pest deterrent plants for a garden. The French marigold exudes a substance from its roots that is said to kill nearby nematodes. Plant close to tomatoes to repel white flies. Mexican marigolds are the most powerful insect repelling flower and keeps Mexican beetles, tomato hornworms and rabbits away from your plants. Plant marigolds freely about your garden near potatoes, tomatoes and roses. Keep them away from beans and members of the cabbage family.


Tomato plants and members of the cabbage family gain health benefits from having mint as a companion plant. Mint deters ants, fleas, aphids and white cabbage moths. It attracts hover flies which eat aphids and other pests that will damage your tomatoes. Mint attracts earthworms and is said to drive away mice.


Considered to be a gardeners dream, nasturtium are small, easy to grow flowers that make excellent companion plants for cucumbers, beans, squash and members of the cabbage family. They fend off woolly aphids, white flies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and pests belonging to the cucurbit family. Fruit growers often plant nasturtiums around their fruit trees, the strong odor of the nasturtium keeps bugs away from the trees. They have no known enemy and can be planted around trees and almost anywhere in the garden. Keep nasturtiums away from your cauliflower plants.


The workhorse of the garden, radish plants, are good companions to many plants including broccoli, lettuce, melons, spinach, corn, beets, beans, carrots, parsnips, peas, cucumber and all members of the squash family. Radishes protect squash plants from borers, they deter cucumber beetles and rust flies.They lure leafminers from your spinach plants. Let radish plants go to seed around corn and they will help stop corn borers. Do not plant radishes near cabbage, cauliflower, hyssop, turnips and Brussels sprouts.

Keywords: companion plants, companion gardening, plant companions

About this Author

Amy Deemer has been writing since 1992. Her articles on family life and pets have appeared in the family section of "The Herald Standard" newspaper. Deemer has an Associate of Arts degree in liberal studies from Westmoreland Community college.