Certain plants can be grown together so that they benefit each other in some way. Such companion plants are believed to encourage beneficial insects and help repel or deter pests by masking the smell of a host plant, or even sacrifice themselves by attracting pests away from a neighbouring crop.
In this article, we will talk about the best plants to grow together in containers.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting means placing plants together which are beneficial to each other in some way, this could be by deterring pests (aphids, whitefly, blackfly, hornworms), improving soil nutrients, attracting beneficial insects (ladybirds, hoverflies, lacewings) that will help with pollination, or by providing a support structure in which to climb on.
An easy way to do this is to mix things up by placing pots of different crops next to each other and planting combinations of crops in larger pots.
Companion planting helps to maximise your space by mixing vertical and bush plants together in one container.
7 Best companion plants that grow together in containers
- Tomatoes and Basil
- Marigolds and Cucumbers
- Garlic chives and Carrots
- Nasturtium and Broccoli
- Coriander and Kale
- Beans and Sunflowers
- Beans and Sweet Corn
Tomatoes and Basil
Tomatoes and Basil are a popular combo. Basil has insect-repelling leaves, which are said to protect tomatoes from aphids and whitefly. Basil is also known for improving tomato fruit yield and flavour.
Marigolds and Cucumbers
Marigolds not only add bright colours to your garden but are also great companion plants for many vegetables, one of which is Cucumbers.
Marigolds have pest-repelling properties that help keep neighbouring plants healthy and free from harmful insects.
Garlic chives and carrots
Garlic chives have a powerful smell, which is said to protect carrots from carrot flies and other pests.
Garlic and carrot benefit from each other as carrots help deter pests that feed on garlic and garlic protects carrots from harmful insects.
Coriander and Kale
Coriander (also known as cilantro) scent repels pests and its flowers attract beneficial insects, including parasitoid wasps to control aphid populations.
Coriander has the added benefit of being a delicious herb to grow and use in the kitchen.
Nasturtium and Broccoli
Nasturtium is a great companion plant for broccoli, as its strong and peppery smell will deter many harmful insects.
Nasturtium will grow around the base of the broccoli plant also providing similar benefits to mulch.
Beans and Sunflowers
Runner beans and Sunflowers are some of the most rewarding crops to grow together demanding only a regular supply of water in exchange for beautiful flowers and generous supplies of beans.
Beans and Sweet corn
Beans can climb up the sweet corn, but also the bushy habit of the beans provides a living mulch around the base of the sweet corn, keeping the roots cool, the canes stable, and the compost moist. Water and feed these plants regularly. Both corn and beans are thirsty plants and may need watering twice a day in hot weather.
Companion planting is very important for any garden. By growing a diverse range of plants you are encouraging beneficial insects and natural predators into your garden.