26 Plants to Grow Side-By-Side: Seasoned gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes them a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain combinations of plants have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other. A scientific study of the process, called complementary planting,
The companions help each other to grow and effectively use the garden space. Tall plants, for example, provide shade for shorter plants that are sensitive to the sun. The vines can cover the ground while the tall stems grow up to the sky, allowing two plants to occupy the same plot.
Certain couplings also prevent parasite problems. Plants can repel pests or attract pests away from more delicate species.
These combinations of plants do much better, together:
Roses and garlic
Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons since bulbs can help repel pests from roses. Garlic chives are probably just as repulsive, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring look great with pink flowers and foliage.
Marigolds and melons
Some varieties of marigold control nematodes in the roots of the melon without resorting to chemical treatments.
Tomatoes and cabbage
Tomatoes repel diamond borer larvae, which can chew large holes in the cabbage leaves.
Cucumbers and nasturtiums
The nasturtium vine stems make it an excellent hiking companion among your growing cucumbers and squash plants, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great garden companions. Nasturtiums would repel the cucumber beetle, but they can also provide habitat for predatory insects such as spiders and beetles.
Peppers and amaranth
The miners preferred both amaranth (also called amaranth) and ragweed over bell pepper plants in a study at the coastal plains experimental station at Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the flowers before the weeds produce seeds.
Cabbage and dill
“Dill is a great companion for plants in the cabbage family, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts,” said Cunningham. Cabbages support floppy dill, while dill attracts useful wasps that control cabbage worms and other parasites.
Corn and beans
Beans attract useful insects that attack corn pests like leafhoppers, fall armyworms and beetles. The vines can also climb on the corn stalks.
Lettuce and tall flowers
Nicotiana (flower tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) give lettuce the light shade in which it grows best.
Radishes and spinach
Planting radishes among your spinach will keep the leafminers away from healthy greens. The damage caused by leafminers to radish leaves does not prevent radishes from growing well underground.
Potatoes and sweet Alyssum
The sweet analyzer has tiny flowers that attract the delicate, like predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum next to bushy crops like potatoes, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: the sweet scent of alyssum will perfume your garden throughout the summer.
Dwarf Cauliflower and Zinnias
Dwarf zinnia nectar attracts ladybugs and other predators that help protect cauliflower.
Collards and catnip
Studies have shown that planting catnip alongside glued cabbage reduces the damage caused by the beetle on cabbage. The scented plant can also help repel mosquitoes.
Strawberries and Love-In-A-Mist
Great love in a mist with blue flowers (Nigella damascena) “looks beautiful planted in the center of a wide row of strawberries,” says Cunningham.