6 secrets to successful companion planting

Some plants simply grow better with certain plants. Some should never be planted together. Just like people. Don’t try force those that don’t get along to do so. 

One of the single biggest problems that people have regarding urban gardening is ‘how do I maximise my limited space.’ But, if you now if you to companion plant correctly, you can grow a variety of vegetables together in the same pot. 

Okay, now with that out of the way, I’m super excited to share the top 6 secrets I discovered on my OWN path to achieving veggie companion planting success. Let’s start with #1.

Secret #1: Certain plants grow best with certain plants

tomato and basil companion plants

Some plants repel insects from other plants, so they are good to plant together. Some plants take certain nutrients from the soil and their companion plants take other nutrients, so these plants are not in competition with one another.

Other plants grow tall while others remain close to the ground. These combinations work well if space is limited, but again under certain conditions.

Take action: Start thinking about what food you and your family eats, the food you want to grow yourself, and get prepared.

Secret #2: Try the ‘Three Sisters’ method

three sisters gardening

 eacThe Three Sisters Method is an old tried and tested traditional way of planting three crops together in a pot that are beneficial to one another.

They are:
– Corn
– Pole beans
– Squash

Pole beans use the corn as support to wrap around and grow, while stabilizing the corn. The beans add nitrogen back into the soil. Squash grows across the bottom of the pot keeping weeds down and helping the soil to retain water.

So how do you do it?

1. Plant the corn in the pot – plant 4 seeds in a circle near the middle of the pot with approximately 25 cm (4 – 6 inches) between them.
2. When the corn is 10 – 12 cm high (5 inches), plant 3 pole beans around the stalks of each corn plant.
3. One week later plant the squash seeds around the circumference of the pot

Call to Action: Find yourself a suitable sized container that you can do this in. Why not plant one for each member of your family and get your children involved to teach them how to grow their own food!

Secret #3: Taller plants provide shade for leafy greens

Lettuce (in particular the cut and come again varieties), mustard leaves, arugula, kale, cabbage, oriental greens (pak choi, tatsoi, and mizuna), and spinach are examples of leafy plants that grow well in partial shade.

Plant them in the same containers as tomatoes, corn, or asparagus as these taller plants will provide some shade during the day and prevent the soil from drying out too easily.

Secret #4: Certain flowers repel/attract various insects

marigolds are insect repellants

There are many flowers that you can safely grow together with your herbs, fruit, and veggies that are beneficial.

Some attract pollinators that various veggie plants need to be able to bear fruit.
Some flowers have strong scents and repel pests from the garden.

Growing these flowers together with the right veggies will help you naturally have a successful food garden.

Marigolds: Deter plant lice, mosquitoes, and even rabbits. You can plant these among your flower beds or vegetables to keep these critters from harming your plants.

Chrysanthemums: These flowers are powerful in deterring bugs such as ants, Japanese beetles. roaches, bed bugs, spider mites, ticks, silverfish, harlequin bugs, and lice.

Mint: This helps to repel mosquitoes, ants, and spiders. Just be careful when you plant mint, as the roots have a tendency to grow fast and far.

Basil: This herb repels housefly and mosquitoes. Its great for keeping on your windowsill or lose to your backdoor for easy access when cooking.

Lavender: Gnats and mosquitoes hate the smell!

Citronella grass: Commonly used to deter mosquitoes, this really is a good-to-have grass. Plant it within your grass and near your doors and windows.

Petunias: These flowers are pretty but they deter asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, various kinds of aphids, tomato worms, and a variety of other pests.

Garlic: Besides keeping the vampires away, garlic is known for its health benefits and seasoning. These plants will deter Japanese beetles, root maggots, carrot root flies, codling moths, and can be planted near roses to repel aphids from eating your flowers.

Call to Action: Not only are flowers pretty but they have a purpose in your plant pots. Consider what food you are wanting to grow and then decide on the flowers you are going to plant with them.

Secret #5: Not all veggies grow best in the same size containers

different size pot plants

So, a plant is a plant is a plant. Or is it?

All veggies plants grow differently from one another. Some have deep roots and some have shallow roots. Some grow very tall, some are climbing, some are bushy, and some run along the ground.

The great thing about having such a variety of plants is that you can get creative with your containers and create a really pretty and interesting setup.

Call to Action: Take a look at the space you have available and start to consider the pots that you are going to use to grow  your food plants in.

Secret #6: Use rainwater if possible

collecting rainwater for your plants

If you can, collect rainwater and use this to water your plants. It is softer, it is natural and it is untreated. Rainwater also contains oxygen and is ‘warmer’ than tap water, and plants seem to grow better with it.


If this isn’t possible, filtered water is a great optional choice. But at the end of the day, tap water will work as well. 

Call to Action: Can you attached hose pieces to your gutters and down pipes to collect rain water? What container will you use to hold the water? 

By using companion planting on your balcony, patio or deck, you can create interestingly pleasing visual displays of plants that will provide you  and your family with healthy food. 

Please download your free page planner together with a list of companion plants that enjoy being planted together. Have fun!


Download your planner and planting guide now!

Get your page planner and suggested lists of companion plants so that you can start growing your own food today.