If you want to have the most success in your garden, consider planting more than just vegetables.  There are many plants you can plant side by side that are mutually beneficial. There are so many possible combinations that we can’t list them all, but we can make some suggestions.  For the sake of simplicity, we are going to keep it to two categories: plants that will help repel garden pests and plants that will attract pollinators (like bees and butterflies).

Repel Garden Pests

Insects are obviously going to make an appearance in your garden.  Some are welcome, some not so much. Plants that will attract certain insects to eat other insects is a great idea!  Not all of the plants listed below attract pest-eating bugs. Some of them simply smell bad to insects and keep them away!

Help keep pests at bay with these plants:

  • Chamomile
  • Parsley
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Yarrow
  • Eggplant
  • Lavender Globe Lily
  • Tansy
  • Marigold
  • Goldenrod
  • Dill
  • Lavender

You can read more here about what types of bugs these plants attract and what pests they eat.  

Attract Pollinators

We love bees.  Not bee stings, but bees.  They are a huge reason why we get to enjoy certain fruits and vegetables.  In order for bees to thrive, they need pollinator plants. (We posted more about bees and plants that are bee-friendly here.)  Butterflies are also pollinators, and let’s be honest.  Who doesn’t want more butterflies flitting around their garden?  

Consider these plants to attract pollinators:

  • Gaillardia
  • Sunflowers
  • Yarrow
  • Bachelor’s Button
  • Bee Balm
  • Nasturtiums
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Butterfly weed
  • Coneflowers

Some of the plants that repel pests or attract pollinators are great to be paired with another plant.  The following plants are mutually beneficial for a variety of reasons. Plant them close by!

Perfect Combinations

  • Nasturtium and Cucumber
  • Melons/Squash and Flowering Herbs (dill, fennel, parsley)
  • Sweet Alyssum and Swiss Chard
  • Chives and Lettuce (soon it will too hot for lettuce in our area)
  • Basil and Tomatoes
  • Radishes and Spinach

Before you plant, make a plan for where you will put your plants in your garden.  Try combining a few of the pest repelling plants and the pollinator attracting plants with your veggies.  Be willing to experiment and see what works in your garden and what doesn’t! Happy planting, friends!