Companions and Antagonists in the Organic Garden
by Frann Leach
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In organic gardening, you can help your plants have better lives, attract beneficial insects and repel pests by planting good companions close by. Some plants get on better with each other than others, just like people, and some make such good friends that they will fight against the other's enemies, and give shelter or food to their 'friends'. These mutually beneficial partnerships are known to organic gardeners as companions, whereas the others: the ones that fight and make each other sick, are called antagonists.

Companions and antagonists are not obvious to the casual glance, check our chart to see which plants get on and which make each other sick.


  Good companions Antagonists
Anise Pimpinella anisum bean, brassicas, coriander carrot
Angelica Angelica archangelica   dill
Apple Malus pumila chive, nasturtium potato
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis basil/parsley help growth, pot marigold/tomato deter asparagus beetle onion family
Aubergine Solanum melongena beans deter Colorado beetles, pea, spinach, tarragon, thyme Onions, garlic, potatoes.
Basil Ocimum basilicum asparagus, bean, cabbage, capsicums, courgette, cucumber, french marigold, improves growth & flavour of tomato. repels flies & mosquitoes rue
Bean. Bush Phaseolus vulgaris, Vicia faba aubergine, beetroot, borage, cabbage, carrot, catnip repels flea beetles, cauliflower, celeriac, celery helps growth, cucumber, French marigold, leeks, lettuce, pea, petunia, potato repels Mexican bean beetles, radish, rosemary repels insects, sage, spinach, squash, strawberries, summer savory, sunflower attracts bees, sweetcorn helps growth, tansy, tomato. Plant around house plants when set outside. fennel, gladiolus, onion family, kohl rabi
Runner bean aubergine, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, pea, radish, savory, sweetcorn, tansy beet, onion
Soya bean Glycine max grows with anything, helps everything  
Beetroot Beta vulgaris conditiva French bean, cabbage, dill, kohlrabi, onion family repels insects, sage runner bean, spinach, tomato
Bergamot/Bee balm Monarda didyma brassicas, improves growth & flavour of tomato  
Blackberry Rubus fruticosus grape, tansy  
Borage Borago officinalis bean, brassicas, squash, strawberry, improves growth & flavour of tomato, deters tomato worm  
Brassicas bush bean, beet, celery, chamomile, dill, lavender, French marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, pennyroyal, potato, rosemary, sage, thyme, tomato. Aromatic plants deter root fly. strawberry
Broccoli Brassica oleracea bean, beet, celery, chamomile, dill, mint, nasturtium, onion, oregano, potato, sage, rosemary lettuce, strawberry, tomato
Brussels sprout Brassica oleracea bean, celery, dill, hyssop, mint, nasturtium, potato, sage, rosemary strawberry
Cabbage Brassica oleracea bean, beet, celery, chamomile, dill, hyssop, mint, nasturtium, onion, oregano, potato, rosemary, sage, tomato grape, strawberry, tomato
Caraway Carum carvi pea. Loosens soil; plant here and there fennel, dill
Carrot Daucus carota bean, chives, leek, lettuce, onion family repels carrot flies, pea adds nutrients, radish, rosemary/sage repel insects, salsify, scorzonera, tomato. dill
Catnip Nepeta cataria aubergine, bean. Plant in borders; protects against flea beetles.  
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea bean, beet, celery, chamomile, dill, hyssop, mint, nasturtium, onion, oregano, potato, sage, radish strawberry, tomato
Celeriac Apium graveolens bean, cabbage, leek, onion, tomato  
Celery Apium graveolens bush bean, cabbage repels insects, cauliflower, leek, onion, spinach, tomato carrot, parsnip
Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile brassicas, cucumber, mint, onion  
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium carrot, endive, lettuce, improves growth & flavour of radish  
Chive Allium schoenoprasum carrot, around base of fruit trees to deter climbing insects, grape, parsley, tomato bean, pea
Citrus fruit Citrus coffee, pepper  
Coriander Coriandrum sativum anise, potato; repels aphids fennel
Courgette, summer squash Cucurbita pepo bean, basil, mint, nasturtium deters Japanese beetles, radish, sweetcorn potato, spinach beet, Swiss chard
Cucumber Cucumis sativus bean adds nutrients, basil, broccoli, celeriac, celery, dill, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, French marigold, onion, nasturtium, pea, radish deters cucumber beetles, savory, sunflower, sweetcorn, tomato, tansy rue, potato, sage, spinach beet, Swiss chard, all strong herbs
Dead nettle Lamium sp. potato (deters potato bug)  
Dill Anethum graveolens beetroot, improves growth & health of cabbage, cucumber, lettuce, onion caraway, carrot, fennel, tomato
Endive Cichorium endivia chervil  
Fat Hen (Lamb's quarters) Chenopodium album sweetcorn  
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare most plants are supposed to dislike it bean, caraway, coriander, dill, pepper, tomato
Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium roses  
Fig Ficus carica   rue
Flax Linum usitatissimum carrot, potato  
Garlic Allium sativum carrot, herbs, raspberry (deters Japanese beetle), rose, tomato. plant liberally throughout the garden to deter pests, with herbs to enhance essential oil production bean, pea, strawberry
Grape Vitis vinifera blackberry, hyssop, legumes cabbage, radish
Hemp Cannabis sativa brassicas, potato  
Henbit Lamium amplexicaule general insect repellent  
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana plum (deters curculios), potato (deters potato beetle).  
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis brassicas (deters cabbage whites), grape, plants in general. radish
Kohl rabi Brassica oleracea beet, onion bean, pepper, tomato
Leek Allium porrum carrot, celeriac, celery, onion broad bean, broccoli
Lettuce Lactuca sativa bean, beetroot, carrot, chervil, clover, cucumbers, onion, pea, pot marigold, onion deters slugs, radish, strawberry parsley
Lovage Levisticum officinale bean  
Love lies bleeding Amaranthus caudatus onion, potato, sweetcorn. Brings nutrients to topsoil, keep well thinned.  
African Marigold Tagetes erecta brassicas.  
French Marigold Tagetes patula brassicas, greenhouse plants, keeps soil free of nematodes, plant freely throughout the garden, best pest deterrent, squash, tomatoes  
Pot Marigold Calendula officinalis asparagus, lettuce, strawberry, tomato. Plant throughout the garden as general pest deterrent.  
Sweet marjoram Origanum majorana All plants. Plant here and there in the garden.  
Melon Cucumis melo nasturtium deters aphids and pests, peanut, radish, sunflower, sweetcorn  
Mint Mentha sp. brassicas (deters cabbage whites), tomato, plants in general. Parsley
Mole plant Euphorbia lathyrus reputed to deter moles & mice if planted here & there throughout the garden  
Mulberry Morus nigra grape  
Mustard Sinapis nigra strawberry  
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus cabbage, cucumber, fruit trees, radish, tomato  
Nectarine Prunus persica asparagus, corn, grape, onion, strawberry  
Onion Allium cepa protects beans against ants, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celery, chamomile, cucumber, protects lettuce against slugs, love lies bleeding, parsley, potato, sow thistle, squash, strawberry, summer savory, tomato bean, pea
Oregano Origanum vulgare cabbage, cucumber  
Parsley Petroselinum crispum asparagus, carrot, chive, onion family, tomato mint
Parsnip Pastinaca sativa onion  
Pea Pisum sativum aubergine, bean, brassicas, carrot helps growth, celery, cucumber, lettuce, radish, sage, spinach, sweetcorn, tomato, turnip. Follow tall varieties with climbing squash. gladiolus, onion family
Peach Prunus persica asparagus, corn, grape, onion, strawberry old and new peach trees
Pear Pyrus communis currant  
Pepper Capsicum annuum basil, carrot, lovage, marjoram, onion, oregano fennel, kohl rabi
Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium roses  
Petunia Petunia sp. beans. Beneficial throughout garden.  
Pigweed Amaranthus retroflexus onion, potato, sweetcorn; brings nutrients to topsoil. KEEP WELL THINNED  
Potato Solanum tuberosum Aubergine traps potato beetle, bean repels insects, late brassicas, borage, dead nettle deters potato bug, hemp aids against blight, horseradish, lettuce, love lies bleeding, French marigold, onion, pea, petunia, radish, sweetcorn repels insects apple, cherry, cucurbits, onion, pumpkin, raspberry, sunflower, tomato
Pumpkin Cucurbita moschata bean, mint, nasturtium deters aphids and pests, radish, sweetcorn potato
Quince Cydonia oblonga garlic  
Radish Raphanus sativus bean, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melon, nasturtium, pea, squash, tomato grape, hyssop
Raspberry Rubus idaeus tansy blackberry, potato
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis bean (deters bean beetles), brassicas (deters cabbage whites), carrot (deters carrot fly), sage. potato
Rue Ruta graveolens raspberry, rose. deters Japanese beetle basil, cabbage, sage
Sage Salvia officinalis bean, brassicas, carrot, marjoram, pea, rosemary, strawberry, tomato cucumber, rue
Savory Satureja sp. bean, onion  
Southernwood Artemisia abrotanum cabbage. Plant here and there in garden.  
Sow thistle Sonchus oleraceus This weed, in modest numbers, can help tomatoes, onions and sweetcorn.  
Soya bean Glycine max Grows with anything; helps everything (not reliable in the UK).  
Spinach Spinacia oleracea aubergine, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, onion, pea, strawberry potato
Spinach beet Beta vulgaris   cucumber, courgette
Squash Cucurbita moschata bean, mint, nasturtium deters aphids and pests, onion, radish, sweetcorn potato
Strawberry Fragaria vesicaria bean, borage, leek, lettuce, nectarine, pot marigold, mustard, onion, peach, spinach brassicas
Summer savory Satureja hortensis bean (deters blackfly), onion  
Sunflower Helianthemus annuus cucumber potato
Swede Brassica rutabaga pea  
Sweetcorn Zea mays alfalfa, French bean, runner bean, soya bean deters chinch bugs, courgette, cucumber, fat hen, love lies bleeding, lupin, melon, pea adds nutrients, potato repels insects, pumpkin, sow thistle, squash tomato
Swiss chard Beta vulgaris onion family bean, cucurbits
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare blackberry, fruit trees, pepper, potato, rose, raspberry  
French tarragon Artemisia dracunculus all plants. Good throughout the garden.  
Thyme Thymus sp. General good influence. brassicas (deters cabbage root fly)  
Tomato Lycopersicon lycopersicum asparagus repels insects, lemon balm, basil repels insects, French bean, lima/broad bean, bergamot, borage deters tomato worm, cabbage, carrot, celery, celeriac, chives, courgettes, French marigold, pot marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley helps growth, pea, sage, sow thistle, squash, strawberry dill, fennel, kohl rabi, potato, sweetcorn
Top fruit nasturtium  
Turnip Brassica rapa pea helps growth potato
Valerian Valeriana officinalis Good anywhere in the garden  
Yarrow Achillea millefolia plants in general. Enhances essential oil production of herbs.
©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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