Garden Companion Planting Chart, Plans, and Benefits ~ Homestead and Chill

Come explore the beautiful world of companion planting and get a free printable garden companion planting chart for easy reference. This article will explore the benefits of companion planting, what flowers, herbs and vegetables to plant together in raised beds, and how to practice companion planting in your garden. I’ve included inspiration photos and layout plans from our gardens as examples too!

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the idea that some plants benefit from growing near one another, while others would prefer to be kept at a distance. Practicing companion planting in your vegetable garden can offer a plethora of benefits – and look beautiful too! Follow our companion planting chart below to see what plants grow best together.

The University of Massachusetts further explains: “companion planting is growing two (or more) crops near each other with the theory that they help each other in nutrient uptake, improved pest management and reduced pesticide use, enhanced pollination and higher vegetable yields”. 

Good Partner Plants

A recommended companion planting combination usually provides some sort of benefit to one (or both) of the plants, or brings an added perk to your garden in general. You can find these listed as “good friends” in our companion planting guide below. Some may have a profound relationship, such as relying on each others natural plant hormones to promote growth or protection. Other relationships may be as simple as one providing shade for the other.

Example: Consider the classic Native American “Three Sisters” companion planting combination of corn, squash and beans. Perfect for maximizing yield in compact spaces, the corn grows tall and narrow, leaving open space for sprawling squash plants below. The squash shades the soil to help it retain moisture. Pole beans can climb the corn as a support trellis, all while adding nitrogen to the soil that feeds both the squash and corn.

A large squash plant is the center of the image. It is planted in a raised garden bed with four other beds in the immediate vicinity. There is calendula, basil, peppers, marigolds, flowering onions, collard greens, beans and zinnia growing throughout the area. There are large salvia and passionfruit vines growing beyond the garden beds and previously mentioned plants. A large squash plant is the center of the image. It is planted in a raised garden bed with four other beds in the immediate vicinity. There is calendula, basil, peppers, marigolds, flowering onions, collard greens, beans and zinnia growing throughout the area. There are large salvia and passionfruit vines growing beyond the garden beds and previously mentioned plants.
An example from our old front yard garden. Flowers around the squash to increase pollination and yields, onions around the collard greens to deter aphids.

Incompatible Plants

On the other hand, some plants are often recommended to not plant directly next to others – their known or suspected “foes” as I call them in our companion planting chart. Those combinations may cause each other issues, such as stunted growth.

Example: You’ll often see recommendations to avoid growing peas in close proximity to onions or garlic. Why? Well, there honestly isn’t much scientific evidence to support it, but theories suggest it’s because garlic and onions are “heavy feeders” while peas are not. This makes their fertilizing needs incompatible. Peas also add nitrogen to the soil, while onions and garlic don’t like too much. Another idea is that the pea’s sensitive shallow root system may be disrupted by the growth or harvest of onions and garlic nearby. 

Raised garden beds are set against the side of a blue green house. The back of the garden bed contains a trellis that stands about six feet tall. It has various pole beans climbing up the trellis, mostly filling out the structure with green foliage. There are swiss chard plants growing in front of the beans amongst a sea of calendula and borage plants. The sun is setting in the distance.Raised garden beds are set against the side of a blue green house. The back of the garden bed contains a trellis that stands about six feet tall. It has various pole beans climbing up the trellis, mostly filling out the structure with green foliage. There are swiss chard plants growing in front of the beans amongst a sea of calendula and borage plants. The sun is setting in the distance.
In this space, I wanted to grow pepper plants in front of the climbing pole beans… but then remembered that peppers and beans are supposedly incompatible. So we put the peppers elsewhere and planted Swiss chard at the base of the beans instead. They did fabulously together!

Benefits of Companion Planting

1) Increased Pollination and Yields

Pairing fruit or vegetable plants with pollen-rich flowers like calendula, cosmos, zinnia, bachelor buttons, or borage is the perfect way to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to your garden. Many vegetable crops are not self-fertile and rely on pollinators in order to grow fruit, including zucchini, winter squash, cucumbers, melons, most berries and fruit trees. Therefore, more pollinators = more to harvest!

Related: Learn more about my 7 favorite easy annual companion flowers to grow from seed, or our overall top 23 best plants for pollinators here. Even with plenty of bees around, I still often hand-pollinate my squash to prevent end-rot and increase yields!

A large backyard garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful companion plants and vegetables, with gravel around the raised beds, green plants with many colorful flowers in every bed, and tall trees and white house in the distance.A large backyard garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful companion plants and vegetables, with gravel around the raised beds, green plants with many colorful flowers in every bed, and tall trees and white house in the distance.

2) Attract Other Beneficial Insects

Bees and butterflies aren’t the only good guys we want to encourage in our garden! Companion planting with flowers and herbs like basil, cilantro, sage and dill creates habitat, food, or otherwise attracts other small beneficial insects like lacewings, parasitic wasps, hover flies, predatory mites, or ladybugs. Those guys all play an important role in natural pest control. For instance, did you know that a single ladybug can eat over 50 aphids per day?

a close up of a ladybug perched on top of small yellow flowers, where there are tiny grey aphids inside the flowers that the ladybug will eata close up of a ladybug perched on top of small yellow flowers, where there are tiny grey aphids inside the flowers that the ladybug will eat

3) Natural Pest Control

While many companion plants draw in beneficial bugs, some can also help deter pests or disease. For example, garlic, chives, onions, and fragrant herbs like basil, dill, and cilantro can help repel aphids – ideal for natural aphid control around susceptible crops like brassicas or leafy greens. The sharp smell of marigold flowers also reportedly keeps pest insects like whitefly away.

Interestingly, hot pepper plants contain a substance within their root system that is effective at warding off and preventing root rot diseases, such as Fusarium rot. This helps keep root rot away from other companions in the same garden bed as peppers.

Other companion plants DO attract pest insects – but distract pests away from your fruit and vegetables plants instead! These are referred to as “trap crops” or sacrificial crops. Nasturtium is a prime example of a trap crop. The flowers attract bees and hummingbirds, but nasturtium leaves are also magnets for aphids and cabbage worms. Trap crop plants should be removed from the garden once they become heavily infested.

A hand is holding ten cabbage worms that were plucked from a nearby nasturtium plant that is in the immediate background. Nasturtiums can be found in the companion planting chart as well. A hand is holding ten cabbage worms that were plucked from a nearby nasturtium plant that is in the immediate background. Nasturtiums can be found in the companion planting chart as well.
A potted nasturtium plant doing a great job as a “trap crop” near our garden bed. Look at all these cabbage worms I hand-picked off it, yet our nearby veggies had none. Learn how to get rid of cabbage worms here.
A somewhat crowded raised garden bed. Swiss chard is growing amongst tall onions which have been planted around the outside of the chard plants. There is nasturtium growing in the same bed in the background while other vegetables such tatsoi and mustard greens are growing in the immediate foreground. A somewhat crowded raised garden bed. Swiss chard is growing amongst tall onions which have been planted around the outside of the chard plants. There is nasturtium growing in the same bed in the background while other vegetables such tatsoi and mustard greens are growing in the immediate foreground.
A little crowded, but still a good example! Our swiss chard always get a ton of aphids. To the point I almost gave up growing them! But then I tried planting onions (known to repel aphids) between and around the swiss chard. Guess what? No aphids.

Prime Example: Marigolds and Root-Knot Nematodes

French marigolds are possibly one of the most famous companion plants, as their roots contain a natural nematocide that kills root-knot nematodes. (Root-knot nematodes are a microscopic and harmful nematode that feed on root systems, reducing plant health and yields.) This makes marigolds an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, squash, melon, peppers, and other crops frequently affected by root-knot nematodes.

This particular beneficial relationship IS scientifically backed! Yet it is often misunderstood by the well-intended gardener. In order to reap the benefits of French marigold companion planting, the marigold root system must be left in place. That means it’s best to cut marigold plants out at the soil line at the end of the season (leaving the roots in place, no-till gardening style) rather than pulling the plants out. Even better results are achieved if many marigold plants are grown prior to planting the veggie crop in the same location.

A raised garden bed set against the side of a house. There is a trellis that is set on the backside of the garden bed that contains tomatoes with ripening fruit that is dark brown red to ruby red in color. The frontside of the beds contains numerous basil plants and marigolds that have been amongst the tomatoes. The sun is almost setting in the background which creates a bright glow. There are two chickens picking around in the grass outside of the garden bed area. Basil, marigolds, and tomatoes are considered friends in the companion planting chart. A raised garden bed set against the side of a house. There is a trellis that is set on the backside of the garden bed that contains tomatoes with ripening fruit that is dark brown red to ruby red in color. The frontside of the beds contains numerous basil plants and marigolds that have been amongst the tomatoes. The sun is almost setting in the background which creates a bright glow. There are two chickens picking around in the grass outside of the garden bed area. Basil, marigolds, and tomatoes are considered friends in the companion planting chart.
A quintessential companion planting combination of tomatoes, French marigolds, and basil. Basil keeps aphids away, gains some shade from the tomatoes (to prevent sunburn) and supposedly make the tomatoes taste better! The marigolds help keep root knot nematodes away from the the tomatoes, while also deterring other small pest insects like whitefly.

4) Increase Biodiversity and Beauty

Variety is the spice of life! It’s beautiful and fun to mix different vegetables, flowers and herbs together in your garden beds. Companion planting adds interest, and is generally better for plant and soil health.

Companion planting is a form of polyculture, or planting several types of crops together in a small space instead of just one. Polyculture and companion planting help increase biodiversity and turn your garden into a mini-ecosystem – an esteemed achievement in organic gardening! 

When compared to traditional agriculture or monoculture, a bio-diverse garden is less likely to be overrun with disease or pests. It reduces the need for pesticides, synethic fertilizers, or other chemical products. Diverse gardens also have more robust immune systems to handle environmental stress such as drought, heat, or cold snaps.

A large garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful companion plants and vegetables, with small orange marigold flowers and swiss chart in the foreground and two large arched trellises covered in vines in the background.A large garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful companion plants and vegetables, with small orange marigold flowers and swiss chart in the foreground and two large arched trellises covered in vines in the background.

Companion Planting Chart

And now… what you likely came here for! Please enjoy this free printable companion planting chart as an easy visual resource and reminder of what plants grow well together (or not). I like to keep our companion planting chart on the fridge, along with the seed starting calendar for our zone. To create this, I gleaned information from dozens of my favorite gardening books and online resources to compile one comprehensive companion planting guide.

For even more helpful garden resources, don’t miss our 20-page Free Garden Planning Toolkit. It includes tips to start a garden, raised bed plot plan templates, journal pages, plus seed starting and planting calendars for every growing zone.

A companion planting chart that lists many types of vegetables in one column, their beneficial companion plants in another, as well as their suspect "foes" in the final column. A companion planting chart that lists many types of vegetables in one column, their beneficial companion plants in another, as well as their suspect

I realize the font is small, especially if you’re on a mobile device. There was a lot of information to fit on one page! If it’s difficult to view online, get a printable PDF version here.

How to Companion Plant in Your Garden

  • Make a plan. Rather than heading outside with a bunch of seedlings and stuffing them in a bed willy-nilly, refer to our companion planting chart and sketch out a garden layout plan of where you want to plant everything first. You’ll be less likely to run out of room or accidentally put incompatible plants next to each other. It doesn’t need to be set in stone, but a general plan helps me stay more organized! See our vegetable garden plot plan example below.
  • Some of the best and easiest companion plants to grow amongst your vegetables are flowers and herbs. Calendula, nasturtiums, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, thyme, and rosemary all have no known “foes” – so feel free to mix them into your garden where ever you can! Calendula is my all-time favorite flower (and medicinal herb) so you’ll find it in almost every one of our garden beds. I’ve also become increasingly fond of planting cosmos, bachelor buttons, and zinnia amongst our vegetables, which draw in a ton of pollinators! Get growing tips on our favorite easy companion flowers here.
  • Remember to practice good plant spacing – companions included. Over-crowding plants can thwart the benefits you’re trying to gain with companion planting in the first place! Crowded plants compete for nutrients, water, sunlight and air flow. They’re more prone to disease like mildew and blight. Pests and disease also more easily pass between them. The good new is: most companion flowers and herbs take kindly to pruning, so feel free to cut them back as needed to give your veggies the space they need.
  • When companion planting in raised garden beds, I usually add flowers or herbs to the corners of each raised bed at minimum. Then after I plant out all the vegetables, I assess where I have room to tuck more flowers or herbs between them.

Raised Bed Garden Layout Plans

A garden plot plan that has been been completed. There are six garden beds that have been drawn on and colored with colored pencils. Each bed has multiple letters scattered throughout each one, spaced according to plan. Below the area that contains the drawings, there are 26 lines, each one starting with a letter of the alphabet, from A to Z. Most letters have a particular plant written into the blank line, this plot plant has pole beans for A, Onions for O, and Zinnias for Z to only name a few. Use the plot plan in conjunction with the companion planting guide to effectively plant your garden. A garden plot plan that has been been completed. There are six garden beds that have been drawn on and colored with colored pencils. Each bed has multiple letters scattered throughout each one, spaced according to plan. Below the area that contains the drawings, there are 26 lines, each one starting with a letter of the alphabet, from A to Z. Most letters have a particular plant written into the blank line, this plot plant has pole beans for A, Onions for O, and Zinnias for Z to only name a few. Use the plot plan in conjunction with the companion planting guide to effectively plant your garden.
This is the planting plan I drew up for our summer 2019 front yard garden space, while keeping companion planting in mind. The plot plan template is part of our Free Garden Planning Toolkit.
A raised bed garden layout plan on graph paper, showing over a dozen raised beds and letters in each bed to show what vegetables will be planted there, along with a key at the bottom of the page showing "F" for flowers, "T" for tomatoes, "P" for peas, "M" for melons and so on.A raised bed garden layout plan on graph paper, showing over a dozen raised beds and letters in each bed to show what vegetables will be planted there, along with a key at the bottom of the page showing
Our new raised bed garden is a lot larger, but I still use the same tools to plan our garden planting layout! I don’t list every type of flower, but “F” usually means a spot for calendula, zinnia, cosmos, bachelor buttons, marigolds, or sunflowers. Note that we grow things like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and other cooler-season crops in our fall vegetable garden instead.

The Science: Does Companion Planting Really Work?

Some benefits of companion planting are undeniable, such as increasing biodiversity and attracting more pollinators to your garden. Yet some companion planting recommendations are more based on theory or anecdotal evidence. This is especially true when it comes to the supposed incompatible plants.

I’ve tried to research scholarly articles that back companion planting with science, and truth be told, they’re sorely lacking. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all bunk though! Some things are well-studied, like the benefits of marigolds. Plus, experimentation and personal observation is how all scientific theories get started, after all. If many gardeners have seen the results of companion planting in their own garden, I say it’s worth considering. 

Several raised garden beds showing companion planting by mixing vegetables, flowers and herbs, such as one bed of vining squash plants with flowers and chives in the same bed.Several raised garden beds showing companion planting by mixing vegetables, flowers and herbs, such as one bed of vining squash plants with flowers and chives in the same bed.
A bed of winter squash with flowers in one corner for the bees, and chives in the other corner to repel pests.

My Experience and Final Thoughts

Companion planting must have some truth behind it, or it wouldn’t be such a popular subject in the gardening world. However, I personally pay most attention to the beneficial planting combinations. Those make clear sense to me! Plus the fun and colorful mix of things bring me joy. When possible, I try to avoid the frowned-upon combinations too – but with less scrutiny.

I like to think of the “incompatible” plant combos like neighbors. We don’t adore all of them, right? We all have different needs, lifestyles, and tolerance for nuisance. But will I up and die if I have to live in close proximity to someone I don’t particularly care for? No, probably not. I will chug along and live my life, perhaps just a little less happily

For instance, we have inter-planted beans with peppers in the past, as well as garlic near peas – both supposed incompatible foes. They still grew, though I do admit they seemed less healthy and vigorous than usual. Perhaps it was just an off year? Or maybe it was the nuisance neighbor.

In all, I try to set my plants up to live their best life, with as few hindrances as possible. My suggestion is to make a modest effort to follow the “rules” of companion planting. Yet if limited space or other circumstances leads you to break the rules, don’t stress about it too much!

A large garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful plants like green and purple eggplant in the foreground, tall tomato trellises and a small patio seating area in the background, plenty of orange and pink flowers everywhere, and the sun setting in the distance.A large garden with a dozen raised garden beds full of colorful plants like green and purple eggplant in the foreground, tall tomato trellises and a small patio seating area in the background, plenty of orange and pink flowers everywhere, and the sun setting in the distance.

And that’s companion planting 101!

Have you experimented with companion planting yet? What are your thoughts? Do you think it works, or is the jury still out? As far as I am concerned, there is no harm in trying. Plus, the more flowers and herbs, the better! Please feel free to ask questions, leave feedback, or share this article. Happy (companion) planting!

Other organic gardening articles you may enjoy:

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