Have you ever wondered why certain vegetables are planted together? It is not a crazy coincidence that a thoughtful gardener knows what to plant together.

Squash, beans, and corn are perfect together. Each plant plays a role in assisting one another.  Beans provide nitrogen for the corn. Corn helps the beans and squash provide support so the plants can grow up the stock.  Never plant onions and garlic near beans and peas. Your beans will not grow well if you do.  Never plant tomatoes and corn next to each other. They attract the same bugs. Keep them socially distanced.

Every year I have to dig into my archives and be reminded of the vegetable plants that are great companion plants to each other. Why plant companion plants? Below is a list of benefits.

Improve Plant Health

Repel Pests

Attract the Beneficial Pollinators and Pests

Climate Protection and Shielding

Garden Beauty 

Fertilize and Break Down Compacted Soils

Everyone wants better plant health because we all want really good peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and more. Planting with plant health purposes will better your odds of getting your best produce ever. Did you know that planting basil with tomatoes will make your tomatoes more flavorful? It also helps bring in the pollinators and predator’s.

Did you ever wonder why your grandmother planted marigolds in the vegetable garden among the beans, peas, and radishes? Well, she was a genius.  Marigolds help to repel white flies and cabbage looper.  If you have issues with spider mites, try planting garlic and chives as a repellant.  Planting lavender and rosemary will help squash bugs. Nasturtiums in the garden also help repel flea beetles and cucumber beetles. Scented geraniums also repel leaf hoppers. Blackberries bring in parasitic wasps to keep the pests in check. Plant some parsley near your tomatoes to repel the aphids. Plant carrots, onions, and radishes together.  The foliage is beautiful together and it helps keep the bugs away.

I added some new citrus trees to my landscape and planted lemon grass in the tree well. Why? well the lemon grass repels gnats and mosquitos  grows quickly which will shade the root and delicate trunk of my baby citrus trees.  Other plants can also be added under fruit trees.  Plant herbs and marigolds, nasturtiums in an apple tree well. Fig trees love to have lavender and alliums planted in the tree well.  Try planting nitrogen rich plants such as cowpeas under a banana or avocado tree.

I have four very large Bougainvillea growing on trellis’s on the south side of my house and gold lantana bushes planted in a bed below.  Guess what? Planting these plants together has basically taken care of having floating Bougainvillea in my pool.  The lantana traps the blossoms and breaks down into the soil underneath.  I admit, I originally selected these two plants together because of the boldness of the two colors.

Many plants in the desert naturally use a larger plant to cover a smaller plant.  We should take mother nature’s que and do the same. Plant strawberries and tropical plants like banana trees under a bigger shady tree to protect against the sun, wind and provide a little shade.


As you plan and prepare your garden beds for the next crop of fruit and vegetables remember here in the Southwest our growing season is year round. We have to add a little help during the heat of the summer by providing shade for them. If you plant companion vegetables and herbs together it will help you amplify the growth and protect whatever you choose to grow.

If you are short of space you can follow guidelines published at www.GardeningintheDesert.com