Just like we were told in high school science how some veggies and herbs can be beneficial to us humans, these same plants can be beneficial to each other. Where one relies heavily on nitrogen in the soil for growth, another “companion” plant will fix nitrogen in the soil and so on.
Also, like vitamins, many plants serve several good uses. While one may be very attractive to destructive insects others may discourage their presence by repelling harmful insects with substances in their roots or leaves and often enough these same plants will attract beneficial insects that thrive on the harmful ones.
This guide is not intended to be the, be all, end all of any garden problems you might incur. The following combinations have been known to “work as a rule” but as we all know—rules are made to be broken. Let this be a guide for you and something to work with in your garden area. Many of these plants also make excellent borders, backdrops and fore-grounds for what can be a beautiful yard, orchard, flower bed or garden.
How and what you use them for is ultimately your decision.
Following are several of the most common combinations. We have most available through our web-site http://valleyseedco.com/
AMARANTH: An annual that needs hot conditions to flourish. With sweet corn, its’ leaves provide shade for the plants roots. Amaranth is also host to predatory ground beetles. Use Amaranth seed for breads and its young leaves in salads.
ANGELICA: With Angelica you want to avoid Dill and Tomatoes.
ANISE: Licorice flavored herb, acts as a host for predatory wasps which prey on aphids and may discourage aphid presence as well. Anise is what I’d call a “vitamin” plant in that it improves the vigor of any plants growing near it. Coriander is a good companion plant for Anise.
ASPARAGUS: Not only good for you but also for Aster family flowers, dill, coriander, carrots, tomatoes, parsley, basil, comfrey and marigolds. Avoid: Onions, garlic and potatoes.
BASIL: Ever have tomato & basil soup? Helps improve growth and flavor of tomatoes and does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Avoid: rue or sage.
BAY LEAF: A fresh leaf bay leaf in each storage container of beans or grains will deter weevils and moths. Dried, powdered leaves work as a natural insecticide when combined with cayenne pepper, tansy and peppermint.
BEANS: All beans enrich the soil with nitrogen fixed form the air, improving the conditions for whatever crop you plant after the beans are finished. Plant near: carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, potatoes, beets, radish, strawberry and cucumbers. Beans are great for heavy nitrogen users like corn because the nitrogen used up by the corn and grains are replaced at the end of the season when the bean plants die back. Savory deters bean beetles and improves growth and flavor. Keep beans away from the alliums. Growing hint: Don’t let beans mature on the plant, or it will stop producing and don’t pick or cultivate beans when they are wet because you will spread viral diseases. Planting combination: Sweet corn, beans and pumpkin or melons grown together make a great combination for your garden.
BEE BALM (Oswego, Monarda): Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Bee balm is great for attracting beneficial insects, butterflies and of course bees.
BEETS: Adds minerals to the soil and as a bonus the leaves contain as much as 25% magnesium making the young beet leaves a valuable addition to your summer salad. Beets and bush beans make a good combination but avoid planting them among pole or runner beans because they stunt one another’s growth. Good companions for beets are lettuce, onions and kohlrabi. Beets are helped by garlic and mints. Garlic improves growth and flavor. Remember mints are invasive and will try to take over your entire garden so you might be well advised to use your mint clippings as mulch.
BORAGE: This is one of the most beneficial plants you can grow. Companion plant: for tomatoes to improve growth and disease resistance, squash, strawberries and most other plants. Deters tomato hornworms (they seem capable of striping a tomato plant to nothing in no time at all) and cabbage worms. One of the best bee and wasp attracting plants Borage also adds trace minerals to the soil. The leaves contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, potassium and mineral salts. Borage may benefit any plant it is growing next to by helping to increase resistance to pests and disease. Borage and strawberries planted together help each other and you benefit from greater yield and flavor of the strawberries. Borage flowers are edible and the plant will self-seed in the fall.
BROCCOLI: Likes Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato. Celery, onions and potatoes improve broccolis’ flavor when planted near it. Broccoli loves plenty of calcium so partnering it with plants that need little calcium like nasturtiums and beets is a good idea. Put the nasturtiums right under the broccoli. Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas. AVOID: Grapes, strawberries, mustards and rue.
CABBAGE: Celery, dill, onions and potatoes are good companion plants. Celery improves growth and health. Clover mixed in with cabbage helps to reduce the cabbage aphid and cabbageworm populations by interfering with the colonization of the pests and increasing the number of carnivorous ground beetles. Plant Chamomile with cabbage as it Improves growth and flavor. AVOID: strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, rue, grapes, lettuce and pole beans.
CARAWAY: Its deep roots are good for loosening compacted soil so it’s good to plant next to shallow rooted crops like strawberries. Caraway can be tough to establish but on the other hand the flowers attract a number of beneficial insects especially the tiny parasitic wasps. AVOID: dill and fennel.
CARROTS: Likes leaf lettuce and onions but not real crazy for tomatoes because they can stunt the growth of your carrots. Flax produces an oil that may protect root vegetables like carrots from some pests. AVOID: dill and parsnips.
CATNIP: Cats may go crazy for it but flea beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, ants and weevils have a tendency to stay away. Fresh catnip steeped in water and sprinkled on plants will drive away flea beetles.
GERMAN chamomile is an annual that improves the flavor of cabbages, cucumbers and onions is a host to beneficial hoverflies and wasps. Chamomile accumulates calcium, potassium and sulfur, and later releases them to the soil. Chamomile increases oil production from herbs. Likes full sun 6-8 hrs. daily. Leave some flowers unpicked for self-seeding.
ROMAN chamomile is a low growing perennial that will tolerate almost any soil condition. Likes full sun 6-8 hrs. daily. Chamomile of any type is good for about anything you grow in the garden.
CHARD: Likes: Bean, cabbage, tomato, onion and roses. AVOID: melons, corn and herbs.
CHIVES: Improves growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes. A friend to fruit trees, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, mustard and many others. Help to keep aphids away from tomatoes, mums and sunflowers. Chives are also helpful in keeping away Japanese beetles and carrot rust fly. Planted among fruit trees it helps prevent scab and repels borers and among roses it prevents black spot. Patience is the word though. It takes about 3 years for plantings of chives to prevent the 2 diseases. A tea made from chives may be used on cucumbers to prevent downy and powdery mildews. AVOID: beans and peas.
CLOVER: Long used as a green manure and plant companion and is especially good to plant under grapevines. Attracts many beneficial insects. Useful planted around apple trees to attract predators of the woolly aphid. Clover planted among cabbage has been shown to reduce the native cabbage aphid and cabbageworm populations by interfering with the colonization of the pests and increasing the number of predator ground beetles.
COMFREY is one amazing plant. Accumulates calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Likes wet spots to grow in. Comfrey is beneficial to most fruit trees. Good for repelling slugs. Excellent as a foliage spray.
CORIANDER (Cilantro, Chinese Parsley etc.): The leaves of this plant are Cilantro. When left to flower and go to seed the dried tan seeds are Coriander, a familiar spice. It is a member of the carrot family. Repels harmful insects such as aphids, spider mites and potato beetle. A tea from this can be used as a spray for spider mites. Plant among anise, caraway, potatoes and dill.
CORN: Grows well with amaranth, beans, cucumber, white geranium, lamb’s quarters, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower. (morning glory—AKA chokeweed–can easily become invasive and is very difficult to get out of a garden) Beans are great for heavy nitrogen users like corn because the nitrogen used up by the corn and grains are replaced at the end of the season when the bean plants die back. Planting combination: Sweet corn, beans and pumpkin or melons grown together make a great combination for your garden. Keep corn away from celery and tomato plants by at least 20 feet.
CUCUMBERS: Cucumbers are great to plant with corn and beans. The three plants like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture. Let the cucumbers grow up and over your corn plants. Cucumber also does well with peas, beets, radishes and carrots. Radishes are a good deterrent against cucumber beetles. Dill planted with cucumbers helps by attracting beneficial predators. Nasturtium improves growth and flavor. AVOID: sage, potatoes and rue.
DILL: Improves growth and health of cabbage. Attracts hoverflies and predatory wasps and helps repel aphids and spider mites to some degree. Also may help to repel the dreaded squash bug simply by scattering leaves susceptible plants! Plant near: lettuce, onions, cabbage, sweet corn and cucumbers. Dill does attract the tomato horn worm so keep it away from your tomato plants. Dill attracts the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars to feed on. Even their caterpillars are beautiful. AVOID: carrots, caraway, lavender or tomatoes.
EGGPLANT: Plant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and does well with peppers which like the same growing conditions.
FENNEL: Fennel is not friendly to most garden plants, inhibiting growth or causing them to bolt and will actually kills many plants. Dill is the only thing you can plant with fennel. Other than that, plant it by itself. On a positive note the foliage and flowers attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, beneficial parasitoid wasps and hoverflies Fennel is a good flea repellent, “plant fennel near your kennel” to deter fleas. Dried fennel leaves provide flea repelling insurance when put inside the dog house or kennel.
FEVERFEW: Rose lovers will like the fact that Feverfew attracts aphids away from their rose plants.
FLAX: Plant with carrots, and potatoes. Flax contains tannin and linseed oils which may offend the Colorado potato bug.
FOUR-O’CLOCKS: Attracts Japanese beetles like a magnet which then dine on the foliage. The foliage is pure poison to them and they won’t live to have dessert! It is important to mention that Four O’clock are poisonous to humans and animals. Be especially careful where you plant them if you have children and pets.
GARLIC: Roses love garlic. Plant garlic near roses to repel aphids. It also benefits apple trees, pear trees, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and celery. Plant under peach trees to help repel borers. Garlic accumulates sulfur: a naturally occurring fungicide which will help in the garden with disease prevention. Garlic is systemic in action as it is taken up by the plants through their pores and when garlic tea is used as a soil drench it is also taken up by the plant roots. It has value in offending codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly. Researchers have observed that time-released garlic capsules planted at the bases of fruit trees actually kept deer away. Concentrated garlic sprays have been observed to repel and kill whiteflies, aphids and fungus gnats among others using as little as a 6-8% concentration! It is safe for use on orchids as well.
GRAPES: Hyssop is beneficial to grapes as are basil, beans, geraniums, oregano, clover, peas, or blackberries. Keep radishes and cabbage away from grapes. Planting clover increases the soil fertility for grapes. Chives with grapes help repel aphids. Plant your vines under Elm or Mulberry trees.
HORSERADISH: Plant in containers in the potato patch to keep away Colorado potato bugs. Horseradish increases the disease resistance of potatoes. There are some very effective insect sprays that can be made with the root. Use the bottomless pot method to keep horseradish contained. Also repels Blister beetles.
HYSSOP: Companion plant to cabbage and grapes, deters cabbage moths and flea beetles. Do not plant near radishes. Hyssop may be the number one preference among bees and some beekeepers rub the hive with it to encourage the bees to keep to their home. Hyssop is not as invasive as other members of the mint family so this makes it safer for planting among your veggies.
LAVENDER: Repels fleas and moths. Prolific flowering lavender nourishes many nectar feeding and beneficial insects. Lavenders can protect nearby plants from insects such as whitefly, and lavender planted under and near fruit trees can deter codling moth. Use dried sprigs of lavender to repel moths. Start plants in winter from cuttings, setting out in spring.
LEEKS: Use leeks near apple trees, carrots, celery and onions which will improve their growth. Leeks also repel carrot flies. Avoid planting near legumes.
LEMON BALM: Sprinkle throughout the garden in an herbal powder mixture to deter many bugs. Lemon balm has citronella compounds that help keep you free of mosquitoes. Simply crush and rub the leaves on your skin to keep these pests away. Can also be used to ward off squash bugs!
LETTUCE: Does well with beets, broccoli, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, onion, radish and strawberries. It grows happily in the shade under young sunflowers. Dill and lettuce make a perfect pair. Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.
LOVAGE: Improves flavor and health of most plants. Good habitat for ground beetles. A large plant, use one planted as a backdrop. Similar to celery in flavor.
MARIGOLDS: (Calendula): Marigolds are given a lot of credit as a pest deterrent and keeps soil free of bad nematodes and is also supposed to discourage many insects. Plant marigolds throughout the garden. The marigolds must be a scented variety for them to work. One problem is that marigolds attract spider mites and slugs.
- French Marigold (T. patula) has roots that exude a substance which spreads in their immediate vicinity killing nematodes. For nematode control you want to plant dense areas of them. There have been some studies done that prove this nematode killing effect will last for several years after the plants died back. These marigolds also help to deter whiteflies when planted around tomatoes and can be used in greenhouses for the same purpose. Whiteflies hate the smell of marigolds. Do not plant French marigolds next to bean plants.
- Mexican marigold (T. minuta) is the most powerful of the insect repelling marigolds and may also overwhelm weed roots such as bind weed! It is said to repel the Mexican bean beetle and rabbits. Be careful it can have an herbicidal effect on some plants like beans and cabbage.
MARJORAM: As a companion plant it improves the flavor of vegetables and herbs. Sweet marjoram is the most commonly grown type.
MELONS: LIKES: Corn, pumpkin, radish and squash. Other helpers for melons are: Marigold deters beetles, nasturtium deters bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.
MINT: Deters white cabbage moths, ants, rodents, flea beetles, fleas, aphids and improves the health of cabbage and tomatoes. Use cuttings as mulch around members of the brassica family. Mint flowers attract hoverflies and predatory wasps. Earthworms are attracted to mint plantings.
Be careful where you plant it as mint is an invasive perennial. For some reason, placing fresh or dried peppermint cuttings where mice are a problem is effective in driving off the mice.
MORNING GLORIES: They attract hoverflies. If you want a fast growing annual vine to cover something up morning glory is an excellent choice. Morning Glory (AKA Chokeweed can be an invasive plant that can quickly take over a garden area and is VERY difficult to remove once established)
NASTURTIUMS: Nasturtium is an excellent companion for many plants. It is a companion to radishes, cabbage family plants (cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and mustards), deterring aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles, and improving growth and flavor. Plant as a barrier around tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, and under fruit trees. Deters wooly aphids, whiteflies, cucumber beetles and other pests of the cucurbit family. Great trap crop for aphids (in particular the black aphids) which it does attract, especially the yellow flowering varieties. It likes poor soil with low moisture and no fertilizer. Keeping that in mind there is no reason not to set potted nasturtiums among your garden beds. It has been the practice of some fruit growers that planting nasturtiums every year in the root zone of fruit trees allow the trees to take up the pungent odor of the plants and repel bugs. Studies say it is among the best at attracting predatory insects. It has no taste effect on the fruit. A nice variety to grow is Alaska which has attractive green and white variegated leaves. The leaves, flowers and seeds of nasturtiums are all edible and wonderful in salads!
ONIONS: Planting chamomile and summer savory with onions improves their flavor. ALSO LIKES: carrot, leek, beets, kohlrabi, strawberries, dill, lettuce and tomatoes. Mixing onions and leeks with your carrots confuses the carrot and onion flies! Onions planted with strawberries help the berries fight disease. AVOID: peas and asparagus.
OREGANO: Oregano is especially good for cabbage. ALSO LIKES: broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to repel cabbage butterfly and near cucumbers to repel cucumber beetle. Oregano is also good around grapes.
PARSLEY, LIKES: Asparagus, carrot, chives, onions, roses and tomato. Sprinkle the leaves on tomatoes, and asparagus. Use as a tea to ward off asparagus beetles. Parsley attracts hoverflies. Let some go to seed to attract the tiny parasitic wasps and hoverflies. Parsley increases the fragrance of roses when planted around their base. Keep mint and parsley away from the other—bad vibes between the two.
PARSNIPS: Plant them along with bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato and radish. Like many root vegetables, parsnips taste their best when harvested after a few light frosts which causes them to convert their starch into sugars.
PEACH TREE LIKES: Grape, Garlic, Onion and Asparagus planted under or near peach trees. Garlic may help repel peach tree borers which are a big problem for peach growers. AVOID: Potato, Tomato and Raspberry.
PEAS: Peas fix nitrogen in the soil so plant next to corn (corn is a heavy nitrogen user). LIKES: bush beans, bole beans, carrots, celery, chicory, corn, cucumber, eggplant, parsley, early potato, radish, spinach, strawberry, sweet pepper, tomatoes and turnips. AVOID: chives, gladiolus, grapes, late potatoes and onions.
PEPPERMINT: Repels white cabbage moths, aphids and flea beetles. It is the menthol content in mints that acts as an insect repellant. Bees and other good guys love it. A CAUTION regarding peppermint “seeds.” Peppermint RARELY goes to seed so it is best to buy only peppermint plants. Most of the “peppermint seed” is in reality spearmint or another similar mint.
PEPPERS, (BELL) LIKE: tomatoes, parsley, basil, geraniums, marjoram, lovage, petunia, onion and carrots. They do quite well with okra as it shelters them and protects the brittle stems from wind. AVOID: fennel or kohlrabi. You should also not grow peppers near apricot trees because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot. Peppers also make nice ornamentals in flowerbeds and when used as a border plant. TIP: The bell pepper can be harvested green, even though most varieties will mature to red, orange, or yellow. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor won’t fully develop until maturity.
PEPPERS, HOT: Chili pepper roots have a substance they give off that prevents root rot and other Fusarium diseases. Plant chili peppers where you have these problems. You should plant chili peppers fairly close together, providing shelter from the sun with other plants will help keep them from drying out and provide more humidity. Tomato plants, green peppers, and okra are good protection for them. Teas made from hot peppers can be useful as insect sprays. Hot peppers like: cucumbers, eggplant, escarole, tomato, okra, Swiss chard and squash, basil, oregano, parsley and rosemary. AVOID: beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and fennel.
PENNYROYAL: Repels fleas. The leaves when crushed and rubbed onto your skin will repel chiggers, flies, gnats, mosquitoes and ticks. Warning: Pennyroyal is highly toxic to cats. It should not be planted where cats might ingest it and never rubbed onto their skin.
PETUNIAS: They repel the asparagus beetle, leafhoppers, certain aphids, tomato worms, Mexican bean beetles and general garden pests. A good companion to tomatoes but can be planted everywhere. The leaves can be used in a tea to make a potent bug spray.
POTATO: LIKES: bush bean, members of the cabbage family, carrot, celery, corn, dead nettle, flax, horseradish, marigold, peas, petunia, onions and Tagetes marigold. Protect potatoes from scab by putting comfrey leaves in with your potato sets at planting time. Horseradish, planted at the corners of the potato patch, provides general protection. Alyssum is a very good living mulch for potatoes. AVOID: asparagus, cucumber, kohlrabi, parsnip, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash family, sunflower, turnip and fennel. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight and can contaminate one another.
PUMPKINS: LIKES: corn, melon and squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles. Oregano gives a good overall pest protection.
PURSLANE: This edible weed makes good ground cover in the corn patch. If purslane is growing in your garden it means you have healthy, fertile soil!
PYRETHRUMS: Use the dried flowers as a general insect repellent.
RADISH: LIKES: beet, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and members of the squash family. Radishes may protect them from squash borers. Radishes are a deterrent against cucumber beetles and rust flies. Chervil and nasturtium improve radish growth and flavor. Planting them around corn and letting them go to seed will also help fight corn borers. Daikon and Snow Belle radishes are favorites of flea beetles so you’ll want to plant these at 6 to 12 inch intervals among broccoli. It’s been shown this measurably reduced damage to broccoli. Radishes will lure leaf-miners away from spinach. The damage the leaf-miners do to radish leaves does not stop the radish roots from growing. AVOID: hyssop plants, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips.
RHUBARB: A good companion to all brassicas (cabbage types). Try planting cabbage and broccoli plants in your rhubarb patch and watch them thrive. Rhubarb protects beans against black fly. Other companions for rhubarb are columbine flowers, garlic, onion and roses! It helps deter red spider mites from the columbines. A spray made from boiled rhubarb leaves, which contain the poison, oxalic acid, may be used to prevent black-spot on roses and as an aphicide.
ROSEMARY: LIKES: cabbage, beans, carrots and sage. Deters cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies. Use cuttings to place by the crowns of carrots for carrot flies. Zones 6 and colder can over-winter rosemary as houseplants or take cuttings.
RUE drives away aphids, fish moths, flea beetle, onion maggot, slugs, snails, flies and Japanese beetles in roses and raspberries. Companions for rue are roses, fruits (in particular figs), raspberries and lavender. To make it even more effective with Japanese beetles: crush a few leaves to release the smell. AVOID: cucumbers, cabbage, basil and sage. Rue can be grown indoors in a sunny window. CAUTION: Rue has been shown to cause severe skin irritation in some individuals.
SAGE: LIKES, broccoli, cauliflower, rosemary, cabbage, and carrots to deter cabbage moths, beetles, black flea beetles and carrot flies. AVOID: cucumbers and onions. Sage repels cabbage moths and black flea beetles. Flowering sage also attract many beneficial insects and the flowers are very nice. Sage also makes an attractive ornamental plant.
SPINACH: LIKES: peas and beans as they provide natural shade for the spinach and goes well with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean. Plant spinach with squash. It’s a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt.
SOYBEANS: They add nitrogen to the soil making them a good companion to corn. They repel chinch bugs and Japanese beetles.
SQUASH: LIKES: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. AVOID: potatoes.
SWEET POTATOES: Sweet potatoes are not the same as regular potatoes. They are a member of the morning glory family. Regular potatoes are a member of the Solanaceae family which is the same as tomatoes, peppers etc. Aromatic herbs such as dill, thyme, oregano etc. are some of the plants that work well with them. Summer savory helps to confuse and perhaps repel the Sweet potato weevil. They do well with root crops: beets, parsnips and salsify. Bush beans and regular potatoes are companions to them also. Alyssum makes a great living mulch for them. A few, only a few, pole beans may be planted with them and left to grow on the ground with the potato vines. Keep them away from squash. The problem with sweet potatoes and squash is they will compete with each other as they both like to spread out. In fact that is the general problem with sweet potatoes- they take up so much room and need full sun. Another idea is to grow them in a container. For your reference: you could grow a single sweet potato plant in a box or tub that is at least 12″ high and 15″ wide. Use a light, porous soil mix. Place a stake or trellis in the center to support the vine which grow up and outwards.
STRAWBERRY: LIKES: beans, borage, lettuce, onions, spinach and thyme. AVOID: Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kohlrabi. Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. Thyme, as a border, deters worms.
SUMMER SAVORY: Plant with beans and onions to improve growth and flavor. Include it with sweet potatoes. Discourages, cabbage moths, Mexican bean beetles, sweet potato weevil and black aphids. Honey bees love it when it is in bloom.
SUNFLOWERS: Planting sunflowers with corn is said by some to increase the yield. Having a problem with Aphids? Plant a few sunflowers here and there in the garden. Ants will herd aphids onto them. The sunflowers are so tough that the aphids cause very little damage and you will have nice seed heads. Sunflowers also attract hummingbirds which eat whiteflies.
SWEET ALYSSUM: Direct seed or set out starts of sweet alyssum near plants that have been attacked by aphids in the past. Alyssum flowers attract hoverflies whose larva, devour aphids. Another plus is that their blooms draw bees to pollinate early blooming fruit trees. Alyssum will reseed freely and make a beautiful groundcover every year.
TANSY: Plant with fruit trees, roses and raspberries keeping in mind that it can be invasive and is not the most attractive of plants. Tansy is often recommended as an ant repellant but may only work on sugar ants. Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, ants and mice! Use indoors as a fly repellant. Use clippings as a mulch as needed. Tansy readily recovers from being cut back so don’t worry much about using it for a fly repellant etc. Tansy makes a great addition to the compost heap thanks to its high potassium content.
Caution: Tansy is toxic to many animals.
TARRAGON: Plant throughout the garden, not many pests like this one. Recommended for enhancing the growth and flavor of virtually all vegetables.
THYME: Deters cabbage worms. Wooly thyme is a great groundcover. Use the upright form of thyme in the garden rather than the groundcover types. Thyme is easy to grow from seeds or cuttings. Older plants should be divided in spring.
TOMATOES: LIKES: asparagus, basil, bean, carrots, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pea and pepper. One drawback with tomatoes and carrots: tomato plants can stunt the growth of your carrots but the carrots will still have good flavor. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, and also improves the growth and flavor of your tomatoes.
Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters the tomato worm. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health, mature dill retards tomato growth. Be aware that corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight and can contaminate each other. AVOID: apricot, dill, fennel, cabbage and cauliflower away from them. Don’t plant tomatoes under walnut trees as they will get walnut wilt.
WORMWOOD: Can be used as a decorative border in your garden/yard to help keep animals away from your plants.
YARROW: Yarrow has insect repelling qualities and is an excellent natural fertilizer. A handful of yarrow leaves added to the compost pile really speeds things up. It also attracts predatory wasps and ladybugs. Planting yarrow among your herbs may help increase the essential oil content of the herb plants.
ZINNIA: Pretty zinnias attract hummingbirds which eat whiteflies. Alternately the pastel varieties of zinnias can be used as a trap crop for Japanese beetles. All zinnias attract bees and other pollinating insects.