What NOT to Plant Next to Each Other

Have you heard of companion planting before? It’s the practice of planting particular plants near each other to achieve benefits such as higher yields and natural pest control. Companion planting has a long and rich history but has also gained momentum among gardeners today.

On the other side from companion planting is what I’m going to call anti-companion planting. That’s not the official term (there isn’t one) but basically, it describes plants that hate sharing space with one another. Interestingly, plants are very choosy about their companions. It turns out, there are a few reasons for this.

Why Do Some Plants Dislike Growing Near Each Other?

Sometimes plants that don’t like each other are responding to different environmental needs, or they could be competing for vital resources, like food or water. Another reason could be that one plant may attract insects that severely harm the other.

Or, the plant could have allelopathic properties. No, plants can’t read your mind, that’s telepathic. Allelopathic refers to plants that can chemically cripple the vital systems of competing plants.

What Plants Should Not Be Planted Together?

Sometimes, finding out which plants are compatible with each other can take a bit of guesswork and a bit of trial and error. Complicating the matter are the conflicting opinions and lack of established scientific documentation. Luckily, some plants are well-known by experienced gardeners to be incompatible.

Let’s look at a few.

cabbage head growing on vegetable bed

Cabbage

Prone to a vast number of pests, cabbage enjoys the companionship of herbs that deter them like rosemary, sage, thyme that repel cabbage moths, and mint which protects against white cabbage moths. Basil is the exception, so avoid planting it too close to cabbage.

Cabbage doesn’t seem to mind having potato plants near it, but it doesn’t like tomatoes at all. You’ll also want to avoid strawberries and garlic.

Good companion plants for cabbage: Beets, celery, onion, potatoes, peas, lettuce, chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, hyssop, nasturtium, coriander, and marigolds.

Cucumber - Care2

Cucumbers

This familiar garden favorite makes a great companion plant for beans and peas, plus nearly the entire cabbage and nightshade families. Planting dill can help attract beneficial pest-eating insects while adding nasturtiums can help improve flavor and growth.

But as easy-going as cucumbers can be, they don’t appreciate the company of potato or cauliflower plants. Seemingly, they don’t like strong aromatic herbs like basil, sage, marjoram, or rosemary either.

Good companion plants for cucumbers: Asparagus, beans, brassicas, celery, corn, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, peas, radish, tomatoes, nasturtium, chives, and dill.

Sticks of ripe fresh French beans in the ground

Beans

Often used as a companion plant because of their nitrogen enriching properties, beans have quite a few vegetables they don’t like sharing space with.

Beans are not fans of cauliflower, broccoli, kale, chives, garlic, leeks, and onions. They don’t like peppers either, sweet or spicy. Pole beans planted near beets will stunt the growth of each other.

Good companion plants for beans: Carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, and strawberries.

Kale plant in garden bed

Kale

This dark green leafy superfood (and my favorite vegetable) belongs to the pest-prone cabbage family. Keep common pests away by planting kale with garlic, onions, dill, or nasturtium.

For whatever reason, kale hates basil, which is weird, since it belongs to the same mint family, Lamiaceae, as other favored companions like thyme, sage, and rosemary. Kale doesn’t like tomato or strawberries either.

Good companion plants for kale: Beets, celery, cucumbers, dill, garlic, lettuce, nasturtium, onions, potatoes, spinach, swiss chard, sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Tomatoes growing on the branches

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a favorite among home gardeners everywhere. These sensitive plants can attract many pests, which can affect whatever plants near them.

Avoid planting with brassicas, eggplants, or peppers. Corn attracts tomato-loving insects, and kohlrabi will stunt its growth. Potatoes can spread blight, so it’s best to keep them apart from tomatoes. And, for some reason, they don’t like to be near dill.

Good companion plants for tomatoes: Asparagus, basil, carrot, chives, mint, nasturtium, parsnip, onion, corn, parsley, marigold, and celery.

Obviously, there are more anti-companion combinations than just these five. Other common plant incompatibilities include:

  • Asparagus: Dislikes onion, garlic, and potatoes.
  • Beets: Doesn’t like beans or mustard plants.
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower: Detests peppers, squash, strawberries, or tomatoes.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Repelled by strawberries or tomatoes.
  • Carrots: Hates dill and parsnips.
  • Celery: Abhors parsnips and potatoes.
  • Peas: Loathes chives, garlic, leeks, and onions.
  • Potatoes: Finds cucumbers, melons, squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, and turnips intolerable.

Now it’s your turn to share.

What’s in your garden? Have you accidentally planted any of these plants together before? I sure have, sunflowers! Do you have a plant combination that doesn’t work well together that I didn’t mention? Tell me the story in the comments.

Related Reading at Care2:

Photos: Thinkstock

61 comments

Shirley P
Shirley Plowman3 months ago

THANKS, ENJOY GARDENING TIPS.

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Michele S
Michele Santos3 months ago

good info, thank you

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Leo C
Leo C4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Angela G
Angela G4 months ago

why no peppers near tomatoes

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Ann T
Ann Telfer4 months ago

Wonderful article, thank you. Good information and enjoyable to read.

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Danii P
Past Member 4 months ago

Thanks

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Danii P
Past Member 4 months ago

Thanks

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Jessica K
Jessica K4 months ago

I like how the author attributed emotional attitudes to the plants' needs and desires. It may have seemed anthropocentric, but created great emphasis to the fact that plants have needs that should be taken into consideration, just like people and animals. Thanks.

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Irene S
Irene S4 months ago

I know these advices but have experience with the onion-bean dislike only.

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

Thanks

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