Gardening and Companion Planting
Nasturtiums and Broccoli
Attract Beneficial Insects
Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, leaves, that can alternately repel, and/or attract insects depending on your needs.
In some situations they can also enhance the growth and flavor of other vegetables and herbs.
Experience shows us that using companion planting throughout your garden is an important part of pest management. Companion planting helps bring a balanced eco-system to your landscape, and nature 'does its job'.
By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial insects. There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants.
Experiment and find what works for you.
You might use certain plants as a border or backdrop, or plant them in your vegetable beds where you have specific needs. Use plants that are native to your area so the insects you want to attract already know what to look for! Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects.
Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. Have fun and use your imagination. There are many ways you can find to incorporate these useful plants in your vegetable garden, orchard, and flower beds.
The following is a basic plant guide (with some tips) to help you "work in harmony with nature."
Pictures of a few Companions
To the right are a few plants that can be used for pest control, enhancing the flavor of vegetables, improving soil conditions, and attracting beneficial insects. I have added many of these companions to my garden and have had some good results this year.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis): Helps Tomatoes
Basil (Ocymum minimum): Plant near Tomatoes & Peppers; improves growth and flavor. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips, flies & mosquitoes.
Bee Balm (Oswego, Monarda): Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Great for attracting beneficial bees of course.
Borage (Borago officinalis): Plant near Tomatoes, Cabbage, deters cabbage worms
Calendula (C.officinalis): Repels insect pests, but do attract spider mites & slugs
Catmint (Walkers Low - Nepeta x faassenii): Repels Aphids, Colorado Potato Beetle, Squash bugs
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis): Improves cukes, Onions & Cabbage
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): Plant with tomatoes, cabbage
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): Accumulates calcium, phosphorus and potassium, good trap crop for slugs
Cosmos: Attracts pollinators
Dill (Anethum graveolens): Improves cabbage, lettuce, onions, sweet corn. Good for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars feed on. No to tomatoes or fennel.
Echinacea (E.Purpurea): Attracts butterflies & pollinators, grow with Lavender & Yarrow
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Plant near Nasturtiums, Sunflowers & Calendula. Fennel also deters cabbage worms. I tried it this year and it worked very well!
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): Plant with anise hyssop, licorice & Monarda, it also deters insects
Flax (Linum usitatissimum): plant with carrots & potatoes, deters Colorado potato bug
Garlic (Allium sativum): offends codling moths, among many other pests, a natural fungicide helping with disease prevention
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana): Repels Colorado potato bugs & Blister Beetles
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Repels fleas & moths, nourishes many beneficial insects.
Parsley (Carum petroselinum): Plant near Asparagus, Carrots, Chives, Onions, Roses & Tomatoes. Repels asparagus beetles, attracts hoverflies.
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis): Repels many insects
Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon ciatrus): Repels many insects, grow with Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena (Lippia citriodora): Grow with Lemon Grass
Mints: (Peppermint) Attracts pollinators, repel white cabbage moths, aphids & flea beetles. Bees love it.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus): Plant around tomatoes, radishes, cabbage, cukes, and under fruit trees. Trap crop for insect pests, aphids. Also attracts predatory insects.
Nicotiana (Nicotiana rustica): Trap crop for insect pests
Petunias: Repel asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, aphids, tomato worms, Mexican Bean Beetle. Leaves make a good insect spray.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Companion plant to cabbage, beans, carrots & sage. Deters cabbage moths, bean bettles & carrot flies.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis): Plant near cabbage (deters cabbage worms), also beans (bean worms. Helps Rosemary & flowers attract beneficial insects.
I will update again as more plants are discovered as companions and will comment on my results.