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Tips for Companion Planting in Containers

Humans benefit from companionship and use it to grow and flourish, and so do plants. This is the underlying principle behind companion planting. Companion planting is the practice of planting different plants together that benefit each other by deterring pests, improving soil health, enhancing growth, or providing various other positive effects.

When gardening in a small space, companion planting can help you get a lot more out of your garden. Think of these plants as helpers that will look after each other, making your job that much easier.

See our tips below to determine which plants will thrive while growing together, and which combos you should plant in your own container garden.

  • Choose complementary plants: The first step towards planting companion vegetables is understanding which plants will grow well together. Choose plants that have complementary needs and growing habits. One classic container vegetable combination is tomatoes planted with basil. Basil will repel pests and enhance the flavor of the tomatoes. Another example is planting mint among your lettuce seeds. The mint will repel slugs that feed on lettuce, helping your garden grow with ease.
  • Pay attention to space and sunlight: Consider the space requirements and sunlight needs of each plant when selecting plants for companion veggies. Choose produce that have similar requirements to ensure they thrive. For example, some companion growing vegetables that need loads of sunshine are tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and beans. If your outdoor space is on the shadier side, opt for leafy greens, like lettuce, kale, and arugula.
  • Use plants to deter pests: Some plants, such as marigolds, can help to repel pests when grown with other vegetables. For example, planting marigolds with tomatoes can help to repel nematodes and other pests, ensuring your plants grow without disruption.
  • Choose plants with different root depths: Plants with different root depths can help to improve soil health and reduce competition for nutrients. For example, planting shallow-rooted lettuce with mid-rooted cucumbers or beans can help to improve soil structure. Even just a little change in root length can make a big difference in soil health.
  • Rotate your seedling placement: Rotating which seedlings you place in containers is important in companion planting to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil. Growing different veggies in the same container each season can help to improve soil health and prevent pests and diseases from affecting your produce’s growth.
  • Watch out for compatibility issues: Just as humans are not all compatible with each other, the same goes for plants. Some plants can have negative effects on each other when planted together. For example, planting onions with beans can stunt the growth of the beans. Same goes with asparagus and garlic, because they both require equal amounts of the same nutrients. Be sure to research the compatibility of different plants before planting them together. 

We hope these companion planting tips help you develop unique combinations that expand the horizons of your container gardens and your mealtimes. With this knowledge, it’s time to unleash your inner green thumb and dig into the magic of companion planting.