Many plants in the vegetable garden benefit and thrive based on what other types of plants their neighbors are. These companion plants can add elements to the soil, keep pests away, help with pollination or act as bait to draw pests to it instead of your vegetable plants. To companion plant bush and pole beans, you’ll want to plan your garden in advance to allow room for all of your plants, not just the beans.
Decide if you want to interplant your beans with other vegetables, flowers, herbs or a mixture of all three. As you choose, don’t grow a plant you wouldn’t otherwise use or enjoy since you’ll want to fill your garden space with plants you have a further use for beyond improving your bean crop.
Select, if desired, other vegetables that grow well alongside your bush beans, such as celery, corn, cucumbers, potatoes and strawberries. You can grow pole beans alongside sunflowers and corn, both of which the pole beans can use as a trellis to climb. Avoid, however, growing your beans with onions or beets, which alter the soil and take up valuable root space.
Attract helpful, pollinating insects, such as butterflies and bees, to your beans by planting morning glories and sweet peas along the same trellis. The colorful flowers will draw in more pollinators than what you would normally see with just the flowers of the beans.
Plant a few marigolds along the garden edges near your bush and pole beans to repel harmful nematodes in the soil and hungry insects that don’t care for the smell of the marigold. Nasturtiums can also be used to keep aphids away from your bean plants.
Add herbs that deter flies, mites and mosquitoes to the garden or in containers near your beans. Such herbs as basil and rosemary deter bean beetles, carrot flies and cabbage moths. Catnip is also good for keeping away flea beetles, which can leap from plant to plant.
Plan for the garden space you need to grow your beans and companion plants in a full sun location where you can water and maintain it easily. You will need enough room to plant the selections you have made and still follow the spacing requirements of the plants.