Mix and match: which garden plants go together?

By Joan Salmon

For almost any vegetable you will grow, there are companion plants to go with them. This is called the companion planting. Vegetables are not the only types of plants that can benefit from this practice, as ornamentals such as flowers can also harvest them.

Jude Tenywa, a gardener, says the practice is not so much based on scientific facts but rather on observations. “As we study the condition of our crops in our gardens, we notice certain things such as the concentrations of pests and diseases. These give a farmer a basis for making certain decisions. As such, there is a lot of trial and error before arriving at certain planting combinations, ”Tenywa explains.

He adds that understanding that plants depend on each other and are connected makes the observations worthwhile and the choices made improve over time.

Therefore, the information from the various experiences of farmers varies. However, Tenywa says there are a few steadfast truths such as legumes being incompatible with members of the onion (allium) family.

Benefits of companion planting

There is a lot of good that can come from intercropping some plants with others.


Some plants can attract beneficial insects like bees to pollinate their flowers. “It goes without saying that those around them will benefit from something that they might have missed had they been alone,” Tenywa said.

On the other hand, some plants deter pests thus acting as insect repellents. For example, onions and garlic keep aphids away. He adds that other plants repel predators like snails.

Sandra Bonabana, a gardener, explains that certain plants help improve soil fertility, such as legumes, which improve nutrient supply as well as its availability.

Bonabana adds that planting tall plants with short or creeping plants benefits the latter with shade. “For example, corn (or corn) helps lettuce, which very much hates heat. Creeping plants also benefit from larger ones because they act like trellises. “

Mistakes to avoid

There are also some plants that do not need to be planted with others. Here are the mistakes to avoid:

Plants that are susceptible to plant diseases and similar pests, such as blight and aphids respectively, should not be planted with each other. “Otherwise, there will be spread of these and destruction of the whole garden,” Bonabana said.

Plants that compete for the same nutrient needs such as sun, space, soil nutrients, and water should never be planted together. Tenywa shares that when planted together these plants will be stunted in growth.

Another mistake to avoid is planting crops with those that hamper their growth. Tenywa says that one of them is fennel, which is the worst companion plant and therefore should never be planted with others.

Along with the benefits and mistakes, Bonabana shares that it’s also important that a gardener follows crop rotation guidelines. “It is not good to plant a crop in the same place for consecutive seasons as it will deplete all the necessary nutrients. In addition, diseases and pests will also thrive over time. Ultimately, the yield will not be satisfactory, ”she notes.

Here are some combinations you can try:


They are friends of basil because it helps repel spider mites, flies, aphids and mosquitoes. “There is also a school of thought that basil will enhance the flavor of peppers. Tomatoes, onions and spinach are other great companions, ”says Conrad Bate, a gardener. However, they should not be planted with beans to prevent their vines from affecting the growth of the pepper.

Cabbage and other cabbage crops (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, and turnips) are best grouped together with other cabbage crops like onions, potatoes.

“Onions are a must because they repel aphids. On the other hand, these cabbage crops should not be planted with green beans, strawberries and tomatoes. The problem with tomatoes is that cabbage and tomato crops suffer from aphids, ”says gardener Rita Rusoke.


Beans are creepers and if you desire exceptional yield, Rusoke says you should plant them near corn / corn. “This will save you from building trellises.” In the case of corn, it will benefit from beans which add nitrogen to the soil. Other compatible plants include rosemary and marigold, as they repel beetles. Don’t forget the cabbages, broccoli, peas, potatoes, eggplants, strawberries, radishes, Brussels sprouts and cucumber, ”says Bate.

On the other hand, beets and plants of the onion family (garlic, chives, shallots, leeks and onions) should not be planted with beans. “Onions, in particular, hinder the growth of bean plants because they release a substance into the soil that kills beneficial bacteria on their roots. This hinders their growth while preventing the beans from putting nitrogen into the soil.


These sulfur-filled plants are best planted with crops such as carrots, as onions repel carrot maggot. “It is advisable to plant onions next to any other onion-friendly plant that is prone to aphids like cabbage and other cabbage crops, lettuce, tomatoes and spices like rosemary and marjoram. Parsnips will also benefit because they are affected by the carrot fly, ”explains Tenywa. On the other hand, never plant next to beans, peas and asparagus.


A mixture of basil and tomatoes is an ingredient for an incredible vegetable salad. Likewise, when these two are planted together, Batte says they make excellent companions for tomatoes to produce considerably as basil repels mosquitoes and flies. “Marigolds are great for intercropping because they repel nematodes and other pests. Other plants include spinach, asparagus, cucumber, celery, lettuce, parsley, and the onion family.

Hostile plants include beets, dill, peas, rosemary, corn, and cabbage.

“Corn and tomatoes cannot be mixed because they are both attacked by the earworm while the potatoes also suffer from the blight,” says Batte.


The plants that produce these juicy vegetables are susceptible to beetles and aphids. That’s why Tenywa says planting them with marigolds is an amazing idea.

“Other great companion plants are radishes, celery, onions, beans, beets, dill, lettuce and corn. However, they cannot do well when planted alongside aromatic herbs such as rosemary because they stunt their growth. Others are potatoes and melons, as both are affected by aphids and beetles, ”Rusoke shares.


Because tomatoes provide shade, they are excellent companion plants for heat-sensitive carrots. Batte says tomatoes also produce a substance called solanine, which is a natural insecticide targeting pests that affect carrots.

“Carrots aren’t the only beneficiaries because they aerate the soil around their roots as well as those of tomatoes, allowing more air and water to reach the roots. “Carrots and leeks are also great companions because carrots repel leek moths and onion flies while leeks repel carrot flies. Other companion plants include chives, sage, and rosemary which also help repel carrot flies. Beans and peas, due to nitrogen fixation in the soil, make them excellent companions, ”he says.

On the other hand, plants such as dill and cilantro produce compounds that can harm carrot plants, while parsnips and parsley suffer from pests and diseases similar to carrots. “As such, it’s important to plant them separately,” he advises.


While these hate potatoes because both are attacked by blight, zucchini thrives when planted with corn because the corn stalks provide a trellis for the zucchini vines. Rusoke adds that they pair well with corn, peas, marigolds, dill, peas, beans and radishes.

Flowers as companion plants

Planting flowers in your garden isn’t just for aesthetic values ​​as Zulfa Karungi, a florist, says annuals like sunflowers and marigolds as well as perennials like lavender repel pests while attracting beneficial insects.


Lettuce flourishes when planted with mint as it repels pests such as slugs. You can also plant it with radishes, corn, squash, broccoli, beans, and beets. “Marigolds are also great because they attract aphid-eating ladybugs, while chives and garlic totally repel aphids,” Tenywa explains.

However, lettuce should never be planted with parsley as it can grow into bushy plants that overpopulate it. Cabbage crops are also not a good idea as they are also attacked by aphids.

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