Dreaming of becoming a plant matchmaker? Look no further than our handy guide!
Instead of planting one plant, shrub, or bloom per pot, take your gardening skills to the next level and become an expert in growing companion houseplants – those that just love being close to others!
What you need to know
In certain cases, numerous plants can be mixed with others in the same pot. However, you need to know which are compatible for this to work.
A number of plants actually help each other to grow, whilst some can steal the other’s nutrients and water, which is why it’s important to know which plants work in harmony.
What is companion planting?
Companion planting involves using a single planter for several species, hues, and sizes of plants. This results in a splash of colour and an instant zing to a patio, garden, or indoor space.
Companion planting heavily focuses on creating cutesy, complementary plant communities which necessitate similar environments. It’s also an easy and organic way to safeguard your crops from pests and to heighten the pollination of vegetable crops and fruit.
This is just one of the reasons many find companion planting to be extremely advantageous to the performance of their shrubs, blooms, and plants.
Companion planting hints and tips
To help you in your companion houseplant journey, we’ve provided a handful of the best-known partnerships for herbs, blooms, and vegetables, all of which promise to help heighten the health of the plants in your garden and home, without the need to invest in pesticides.
- Steer clear of monocultures. This concerns similar plants being grown in rows or en masse. Monoculture can spread disease at a high speed amongst numerous species of plants.
- To fashion partially shaded areas for crops such as lettuce, coriander, and spinach, all of which are known for bolting, invest in tall plants such as sweet corn or peas.
- To repel insects, plant herbs with strong scents throughout your vegetable plot and garden.
- Sow the likes of radishes and lettuces between slower-growing crops that sit in wider spaces such as parsnips or brussels sprouts. This is known as intercropping and assists in preventing weeds from growing, which results in more light, nutrients, and water for your plants and fewer diseases.
- Plant lots of bird-friendly and insect-friendly plants near or among your crops to entice natural predators that eat slugs, aphids and hover-flies, and to attract bees, which will pollinate plants.
- Avoid growing mint in companion containers as they can grow like wildfire and smother other plants sharing the same vessel.
Companion planting list
Some plants, shrubs and vegetables are better suited together than others, which is why it’s always helpful to know what to pair. Here are a few of the companion options which are known to thrive.
- Pair cauliflower, cabbage or kale with Nasturtium, using this plant as a sacrificial crop. White butterflies lay eggs on Nasturtium plants, which in turn keeps caterpillars away from Brassicas plants.
- Cabbage, cauliflower and kale pair well with mint as mint can deter pests such as flea beetles, which often attack the leaves.
- Courgette is a perfect companion to Calendula (also known as an English Marigold). These flowers are hugely attractive to pollinating wildlife and as such, will pollinate courgette blooms.
- Another great pairing is broad beans and summer savoury, as the latter plant assists in repelling black fly – a pest renowned for attacking broad beans.
- Carrot and Spring Onions are popular companion plants as the scent of the onion deters root fly from attacking the carrots. Similarly, the smell of carrots stops onion fly from eating the onions.
- Carrot and Leek are other pairings that work in harmony to protect each other, in terms of deterring both carrot root fly and leek moth.
- Carrot and Mint are popular options for joint containers as the smell of mint can confuse carrot root fly.
- Chrysanthemum and Chives are ideal partners as the fragrance of the onion will deter aphids.
- French Runner Beans enjoy being paired with Nasturtium, as Nasturtium acts as a sacrificial crop, especially in terms of deterring aphids from the crop.
- Onion and Mint are a perfect match, especially for gardeners wishing to confuse and eradicate onion fly from their containers.
- Similarly radish and mint are perfect pairings as mint safeguards radish leaves by deterring flea beetles.
- Roses enjoy being paired with garlic, as the strong scents helps to ward away aphids. Similarly, mint, chives and thyme deter black fly.
- Runner beans make the perfect pairing for sweet peas, as sweet peas attract insects that are pollinating, which assists in pollinating bean flowers.
- Sunflowers work well with chives as the onion scent deters aphids.
- Plant tomatoes with mint or chives as the smell deters pests such as aphids.
- Tomatoes also pair well with basil, as basil reportedly heightens the flavour of tomato while the scent of their leaves deters aphids.
- The pungent smell of French marigolds, when paired with tomatoes, helps to deters whitefly.
Why plant shrubs and blooms in pairs or more?
You can make the most of the relationship between numerous plants when embracing companion planting, especially if you use those who have an affinity for each other.
Those that work in harmony will do their all to offer shade, nutrients, and physical support to their companions.
Things to note
First things first, it’s imperative you do your research and learn which plants work well together. If not, you may cause more harm than good. For example, placing both a cactus and a fern in the same container won’t work, as both require different environments to thrive.
Planting numerous succulents together on the other hand is a great idea and one that boasts an aesthetic appeal.
Other renowned houseplants that work well when planted together include the Peace Lily, Schefflera, and Philodendron. These plants all enjoy moderate sunlight, water, and humidity, and as a result, can be paired in perfect harmony.
If you’re ever unsure about pairing different plants, search online or speak with your local florist or garden center, as they’ll be well placed to advise you.
Sources: thompson-morgan.com, thejoyofplants.co.uk