Companion Planting Chart – Garden With Companion Plants

Growing Organic FoodThe 3 sisters: corn, beans and squash

Today, I have an excellent companion planting chart to share with you.

But first, let’s briefly get into what companion planting is and why it can be useful.

Companion gardening involves pairing plants that work well together.

I’ll use the 3 sister guild as an example, which are 3 plants that were originally combined by Native Americans in such a way that the plants all helped each other out.

The plants are:

  • Corn. Provides a support for the beans.
  • Pole Beans. Provide nitrogen for the soil.
  • Squash. Leaves hug the soil to decrease weeds and evaporation.

This is an excellent example of vegetable companion planting. They all help each other, and they even work together to make a reasonably balanced meal.

Just these 3 plants show us that companion plants can act as a scaffold, improve organic soil fertility, and decrease weeds and evaporation. Some of the other benefits might be:

  • Attracting beneficial insects and other organisms
  • Decreased disease and insect predators
  • Healthier plants through symbiotic relationships
  • Increased overall yields

Is The Companion Planting Guide Scientific?

Of course, much of the vegetable companion planting chart is not hard science. Skeptics are quick to point out that a lot of this stuff comes from anecdotal evidence, which is partially true.

(There is research on the benefits of companion planting, but it can be difficult to find research on specific crop combinations.)

Fortunately, when the anecdotal evidence comes from tens of thousands of gardeners and farmers over the last century and beyond, we know there’s something to it. Science is great, but when we rely on it as the only answer, we can get into trouble.

Now, if I accidentally plant my onions right beside my beans, it’s probably not going to be a big disaster. And if I plant those onions next to my tomatoes instead, I’m not going to double my yields.

The rules at play here are more subtle, and it probably depends on many environmental factors.

But I’ve seen the effects of companion planting vegetables, so I follow many of the guidelines. It certainly doesn’t hurt.

That doesn’t mean I don’t break the rules, but I do find them to be a nice starting point when I’m planting every spring. It helps establish a bunch of potential groupings.

Otherwise, it can be difficult to know where to begin when laying out 50 different crops in my organic garden.

Polycultures

Companion Planting With Lettuces
Even a mesclun mix is a better than a monoculture

As you probably know, a monoculture is a big garden or field of just one crop, while companion planting looks at 2-3 plants.

The companion planting chart refers to how any two given plants will interact with each other.

A polyculture, on the other hand, blends many plants together. It produces many unknown interactions between, just as in nature.

In it’s simplest form, it just means that we combine a bunch of plants together in the garden in order to increase overall biodiversity and make use of different niches in the garden.

So we plant some root crops, groundcovers, herbs, bigger plants, and so on, all together. They’ll have different root systems and different above ground heights.

Some grow tall and provide shade and others hug the ground. Some are ready for harvest early, while others wait a while, even within the same food group, such as lettuces.

With a lot of experimentation and observation, you can hit upon a collection of crops that work well together for your organic garden. But even without all the planning, simply by combining these plants, we get increased biodiversity and the benefits that come with that.

We’ll have reduced yields on some plants and others may not do well at all during the experimentation phase, but we should have better overall garden health and often improved yields overall.

I don’t do straight, monoculture rows in my vegetable garden anymore. Each bed may have 10-20 plants all mingling together, perhaps 15 food plants and 5 beneficials such as wild marigold, nasturtium, yarrow, chamomile, bee balm or any number of others.

So if you usually plant straight rows, you may want to experiment with a polyculture this fall or next year.

Companion Planting Chart

These combinations aren’t carved in stone, but the chart is a great starting point. It was designed by Yayasan IDEP Foundation (based on the Companion Planting Chart © Perennial Products NSW).

Right-click on it to save it to your computer (save the link, not the image, in order to get a full page pdf).

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below. Do you do any companion planting?

Companion Planting Chart

37 Comments

  1. Bill_G on July 7, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Roses and strawberries get along quite well. Wear long sleeves when picking berries however.

  2. Ljtoolbelt on July 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks Phil, I like the idea of diversity…I’ve been experimenting with companion planting with ‘weeds’.Tomatoes and beans really seem to like Lamb’s Quater…:-)

    • Phil on July 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Yes, many weeds are incredibly beneficial, especially lambquarters.

  3. Lynne on July 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Phil, The chart looks great but it’s impossible to read even using the link. Can you post it as a PDF?

    • Phil on July 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      It is a pdf. If you click on it, that will open it up for you. Or you can right click and then save (save the link/url, not the image)

      • char on September 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm

        I did not see a link offered when I right clicked and the image came down that is really too small to read.

        • Phil on September 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm

          If you click on the image, it’s a full page pdf, so pretty easy to read. You can zoom in if necessary.

    • mensamom on September 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Open the link as Phil suggests then from that page right click the image and save it as a Doc or PDF or JPEG to your hard drive. Then you can open it and expand it as much as you would like. I just did that and it worked fine for me. Good luck!

  4. Chellyd on July 12, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Phil is there another chart on which ones are root crops, groundcover, herbs, and bigger plants.  I know the common ones but there are a lot I do not know.  It would be nice to have for my garden map.  What is a root crop by the way? 

    • Phil on July 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Chelly, do you have that other chart in digital format? I’d love to see it.Examples of root crops are potatoes, carrots, beats, radishes, sweet potatoes, etc.. We eat the part of the plant that grows underground.

      • Bill_G on July 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        Phil – I think it was more a question than a statement. In your July 5th post under the paragraph Polycultures is your statement “So we plant some root crops, groundcovers, herbs, bigger plants, and so on, all together.” Chelly is asking if there is a cross reference for the chart that classifies the listed plants. Someone would have to create it and post it. 

        • Phil on July 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

          Ah yes, I read “there is” instead of “is there”.

  5. rohit on August 16, 2012 at 4:35 am

     Wow Rosie, you got a mine there! Orchid seeds are notplanted that way because of the difficulties and risk of growth. But theythrive well, fast and plenty in bottled media. I wonder if they do that therein Scotland for that orchid. It is a common practice here in our country andmost of Asia. If only you can have someone propagate it in the bottled media,you will get a lot of plants from each fruit/pod. The flower is very beautiful.If only i am near you i can help!Hyderabad Flowers

  6. Rhiannon on January 14, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Does anyone know which aphid repelling companion would be most suited to being grown with chillies? I was thinking of nastertiums but don’t know if they would be suited to growing in a greenhouse…

    • Phil on January 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      I haven’t done much greenhouse growing, so I can’t give any advise on that. But remember to create healthy soil so that the aphids don’t come in the first place, and don’t use too much nitrogen.

      • mary on April 30, 2013 at 1:05 am

        be sure the air is not to stagnant put in a fan for circulation if need be.. they dont car for that at all

        • mary on April 30, 2013 at 1:06 am

          care*

  7. Ron on January 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    What is the difference between the vertical and horizontal axis. The same item has different companions.

    • Phil on January 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      The axes should be the same. There may be a couple of errors in there.

  8. Mamoo on April 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Phil,This chart is a great help for laying out my garden. I am new to this site and was wondring if you have something somewhere to tell me about planting watermelons, canteloupes and pumpkins? Thanks for all this information.

    • Phil on April 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Sorry, I don’t talk about planting specific plants on this site, but there is lots of info online.

  9. John on May 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Do the colors on words or squares mean anything?

    • Phil on May 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      No, it’s just to make it easier to read.

  10. Caitríona on May 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    What about having to rotate crops to avoid build up of soil-borne problems e.g. planting all your carrots, fennel and beetroot in one bed, greens in another, brassicas in another etc. and the next year moving over one bed? I much prefer the idea of beautiful bouquets of different plants growing together but I thought it would be too difficult to stick to a rotation plan…

    • Caitríona on May 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      I think I’ve got it now…move the annuals about and the bio-diversity takes care of the pests. My allotment is going to be so beautiful!

    • Phil on May 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Excellent point. I rotate the main crops which I grow a lot of and which seem to be more susceptible to pests. Tomato and squash and brassica families for example. The plants I interplant are mostly herbs, flowers, allium family, lettuces/greens.

  11. peter mwaura on May 31, 2013 at 5:31 am

    companion is a good method to those without big lands and they need to do farming.Good

  12. chamaecyparis lawsoniana colum on December 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Superb post thanks for share…..keep it up………

  13. rachellemadrigal on December 1, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Thank you. Now I have another idea on companion planting. This is a great site. Check also my blogsite @ http://www.imarksweb.orgJolly

  14. Shelagh Young on September 12, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I always plant pole beans, squash and nasturtiums together. Corn attracts raccoons here, so I don’t even try it anymore, but the other three do really well together. Radishes and parsnips self-seed everywhere. I read somewhere, and therefore think their flowers attract the predator wasp that attacks cucumber beetles, as well as aphids, so I leave some of those also.

    • mensamom on September 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      I let the radishes bloom and they do attract beneficials as well as sidetrack a few bad bugs. Just pull them out before the seed pods open or you’ll have radishes galore!

      • Shelagh Young on September 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Thanks for verification on that. The airy radish flowers are lovely by themselves, but it’s good to know they are working too… And, yes, easy to pull out, being so tall… I probably leave more than required, but it’s another thing I don’t have to think about planting early, as they just show up, and the extra seedlings become mulch… Same with borage, which mulches the tomatoes.

  15. Caroline on May 26, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    I do not see hot peppers or orka on this list ???

  16. Robert on April 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    How close or far away do plants have to be for positive and negative effects?

    • Phil on May 1, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Depends on the plants and on the reason for the positive/negative effects. I’d say 6 feet is a good buffer most of the time.

  17. Eric on May 16, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Lots of interesting varietals on here……but no peppers?!?!

    • Phil on May 16, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Guess not. I wonder if they’re similar to tomatoes?

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