Control Insects with Companion Plants

Organic gardeners know that biodiversity makes for a healthy and beautiful garden, and that certain plant combinations have the extraordinary capability for helping each other grow. While scientific study of companion planting confirms that some combinations have real benefits, practical experience has shown many gardeners how to pair certain plants for their mutual benefit. Simply put, companion planting helps create a balanced eco-system, allowing nature to better do its job. A natural diversity of plants, insects, animals, and other organisms creates a healthy ecosystem.

Companion Plant to Control Pests

One of the biggest benefits to organic gardeners is the opportunity to keep pests and disease under control without having to resort to chemicals. Experience has shown that growing certain plants in proximity to one another can be an important part of integrated pest management. Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers or leaves that can alternately repel (anti-feedants) and/or attract insects depending on your needs.

Experiment and find what works for you. You could use certain plants as a border or backdrop, or interplant in your flower or vegetable beds where you have specific needs. If you use plants that are native to your area, insects you want to attract already know what to look for!

Start Right Here

Looking for ways to cut down your use of pesticides and have a more organic garden?

Here are some companion planting ideas to control insects or disease to start with:

Garlic or chives and roses: Garlic is said to repel aphids. Garlic chives probably are just as repellent. They also are said to prevent blackspot.

Tomatoes and cabbage
: Tomatoes repel the caterpillars that chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Nasturtiums and cucumbers
: Nasturtiums are said to repel cucumber beetles, and their dense growth also is habitat for predatory insects such as spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and pigweed: Leafminers prefer pigweed to pepper plants, but be careful to remove the weeds' flowers before they set seed.

Cabbage and dill: Dill attracts the beneficial wasps that control cabbageworms and other cabbage pests.

Corn and beans: The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms and leaf beetles. And corn stalks can support bean vines.

Radishes and spinach: Radishes attract leafminers away from the spinach.

Cauliflower and dwarf zinnias:
The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and other predator insects, helping protect cauliflower.

Collards and catnip: Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards.

Rosemary and carrots: Rosemary repels carrot fly.

Mints and cabbage: Mint repels the white cabbage moth, preventing them from laying eggs in cabbage.

Marigolds and tomatoes: Marigolds repel white fly among tomatoes.

Chives and apple trees: Chives grown beneath apple trees will help to prevent apple scab.

Nasturtium and apple trees: The climbing variety grown up apple trees will repel codling moth.

Tansy and peaches: Tansy(Tanacetum) repels moths, flies and ants. Plant it beneath peach trees to repel harmful flying insects.


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Comments 3 comments

RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Wow! I never knew any of this. I'm hoping to start a garden this year so this was perfect timing.


Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia Author

You're welcome! The hub just skims the surface of this interesting topic.


Sharon Franz 5 years ago

Didn't know about the peppers and pigweed combo - Thanks for the tip!

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