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Perfect Plant Pairings & Companion Planting

    Marigolds - Farmside Landscape & Design

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    Successful plant pairing includes grouping plants that offer varied texture, color, shape and size so the final result is both eye-catching and balanced. Pattern repetition – like repeating colors and textures in the garden – help create a sense of visual cohesion.

    Determining which plants to pair, should start with the elements of the site location – soil type, drainage, amount of sun, orientation – from there you can start to build a list of plant possibilities that share similar environmental requirements.

    For extra help in pairing, check out Proven Winners’ fun, interactive Proven Plant Pairings™ plant finder here.

    You can pair your plants by color, shape, texture – whatever appeals to you most. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting plant pairings:

    • Aim for balance. Too much of a single element can overpower the look of a garden. The bolder the shape or color of a plant, the less of it you need for your garden design.
    • Variegated plants pair well with any solid-colored foliage. Try to pick up one of the colors in the variegated leaf in your solid option.
    • Lacy, delicate foliage is beautifully showcased against broad, wide foliage leafed plants.
    • Consider pairing spikey, rigid plants with soft textured, rounded-form plants.
    • Dark-hued foliage provides a dramatic backdrop for lighter foliaged plants as well as for brilliantly hued blooms. Bold colors create a natural focal point.
    • Consider pairing sturdy, rigid plant forms with vines or flowers that can benefit from their structured support.
    • For plant pairing ideas based on color, check out our blog series on garden schemes based on the color wheel. (link)

    Unperfect Plant Pairings

    Invasive species such as Purple Loosestrife, Japanese Barberry and Canada Thistle have no place in the garden, due to their ability to overtake other plants and resources. Additionally, there are plants like Black Walnut that exude toxins (hydrojuglone) that can damage or kill off neighboring plants. Instead, opt for plants that invite beneficial life such as bees, butterflies, birds, etc. and don’t have requirements that exhaust natural resources or compete or harm other plants in the garden.

    Perfect Plant Pairings In the Vegetable Garden

    Interspersing flowers in your vegetable garden is a great way to help crops from being overwhelmed by pests and disease while inviting pollinators for better plant yields. Some plants to consider:

    • Petunias help ward off squash bugs
    • Marigolds repel cabbage worms
    • Chives and other alliums help deter deer
    • Herbs like lavender and lemon thyme help keep mosquitoes away

    Companion Planting Chart
    Here are more combinations found to be beneficial from the North Dakota State University Agriculture Extension:

    plants Plant Companions Plant Allies Plant Enemies
    Asparagus Basil, parsley, tomato Pot marigold deters beetles.
    beans Beet (to bush beans only), cabbage family, carrot, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, pea, potatoes, radish, strawberry. Marigold deters Mexican bean beetles. Nasturtium and rosemary deter bean beetles. Summer savory deters bean beetles, improves growth and flavor. Garlic, onion and shallot stunt the growth of beans.
    beets Bush beans, cabbage family, lettuce, onion. Garlic improves growth and flavor. Pole beans and beets stunt each other’s growth.
    carrots Bean, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, radish, tomato. Chives improve growth and flavor. Rosemary and sage determine carrot fly. Dill retards growth.
    celery Bean, cabbage family and tomato. Chives and garlic deter aphids. Nasturtium deters bugs and aphids.
    Chard Bean, cabbage family and onion
    Corn Bean, cucumber, melon, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin, squash. Odorless marigold and white geranium deter Japanese beetles. Pigweed raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them. Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm.
    cucumber Bean, cabbage family, corn, pea, radish, tomato Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters aphids, beetles and bugs, improves growth and flavor. Oregano deters pests in general. Tansy deters ants, beetles, bugs, flying insects. Sage is generally injurious to cucumber.
    eggplant Bean, pepper. Marigold deters nematodes.
    lettuce Beet, cabbage family, carrot, onion, radish, strawberry. Chives and garlic deter aphids.
    melons Corn, pumpkin, radish, squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.
    onions Beet, cabbage family, carrot, chard, lettuce, pepper, strawberry, tomato. Chamomile and summer savory improve growth and flavor. Pigweed raises nutrients from subsoil and makes them available to the onions. Sow thistle improves growth and health. Onions stunt bean, pea.
    Parsley Asparagus, corn, tomato
    Peas Bean, carrot, corn, cucumber, radish, turnip. Chives deter aphids. Mint improves health and flavor. Garlic and onion stunt the growth of peas.
    peppers Carrot, eggplant, onion and tomato
    potatoes Beans, cabbage family, corn, eggplant, pea. Horseradish, planted at the corners of the potato patch, provides general protection. Marigold deters beetles. Tomatoes and potatoes are attacked by the same blight.
    pumpkins Corn, melon, squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.
    radishes Bean, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, melon, pea. Chervil and nasturtium improve growth and flavor. hyssop
    spinach Cabbage family, strawberry
    squash Corn, melon, pumpkin. Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection.
    strawberry Bean, lettuce, onion, spinach, thyme. Cabbage. Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. Thyme, as a border, deters worms.
    tomatoes Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, pepper. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health. Once mature, it stunts tomato growth. Marigold deters nematodes. Pot marigold deters tomato worm and general garden pests. Corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Mature dill retards tomato growth. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Potatoes and tomatoes are attacked by the same blight.
    Turnips pea
    Cabbage Family (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Kale, and Kohlrabi) Beet, celery, chard, cucumber, lettuce, onion, potato, spinach. Chamomile and garlic improve growth and flavor. Catnip, hyssop, rosemary and sage deter cabbage moth. Dill improves growth and health. Mint deters cabbage moth and ants, improves health and flavor. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles, aphids. Southernwood deters cabbage moth, improves growth and flavor. Tansy deters cabbageworm and cutworm. Thyme deters cabbageworm. Kohlrabi and tomato stunt each other’s growth.

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