Best Companion Plants for Keeping Bugs Away

As an eclectic master gardener, I have spent countless hours experimenting with different combinations of plants to create the perfect garden.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is keeping bugs away without resorting to harmful chemicals. Luckily, there is a solution that not only helps repel insects but also promotes healthy growth in your garden: companion planting.

Companion planting involves pairing certain plants together that benefit each other in various ways. Some plants are known to repel pests while others attract beneficial insects or improve soil quality.

By strategically selecting these plant combinations, you can create a natural and effective pest management system in your own backyard. In this article, I will be sharing some of my top recommendations for the best companion plants for keeping bugs away, so you can enjoy a thriving and bug-free garden all season long.

Understanding Companion Planting

Companion planting is a strategy used by gardeners to plant different crops near each other, in order to improve the health and yield of their plants.

The idea behind companion planting is that certain plants can benefit from each other’s presence, while others may repel pests or attract beneficial insects.

This technique has been used for centuries and has proven to be an effective way of creating a healthy and thriving garden.

One of the main benefits of companion planting is pest control.

Certain plants, such as marigolds, are known for their ability to repel pests like aphids and whiteflies. By planting these flowers alongside your vegetables, you can help keep pests at bay without having to resort to harmful pesticides.

Additionally, herbs like basil and mint can also deter pests while providing fresh flavorings for your cooking.

Another benefit of companion planting is improved soil health.

Some plants have deep roots that can break up compacted soil, while others add nutrients back into the soil with their decaying leaves.

For example, legumes like peas and beans are nitrogen-fixing plants that take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that other plants can use.

By alternating these crops with others throughout your garden beds, you can create healthy soil that will support strong growth in all your plants.

Companion planting is a wonderful way to create a thriving garden ecosystem that benefits both you and your plants.

By understanding which plants work well together and which ones don’t, you can maximize your yields while minimizing pest problems.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, incorporating companion planting into your gardening strategy is sure to produce beautiful results!

Plants That Repel Common Garden Pests

Now that we have an understanding of companion planting, let’s dive into specific plants that can help repel common garden pests.

Did you know that according to a study by the University of California, Davis, interplanting basil with tomato plants reduced whitefly infestations by 60% compared to tomato plants grown alone?

Here are some other companion plants that can help keep bugs away:

– Marigolds: These colorful flowers are not only beautiful but also great at repelling nematodes, aphids, and whiteflies.

– Chives: Not only do they add flavor to your dishes, but chives also deter Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies.

– Nasturtiums: These vibrant flowers attract aphids away from your other plants and can also repel squash bugs and cucumber beetles.

It’s important to note that while companion planting can be effective in deterring pests, it’s not a foolproof solution.

It’s still necessary to practice good garden management techniques such as proper watering and soil health.

By incorporating these companion plants into your garden, you’ll not only reduce pest problems but also create a more diverse and visually appealing space.

Attracting Beneficial Insects

As an eclectic master gardener, I’ve learned that attracting beneficial insects is a key element in maintaining a healthy garden. These insects are natural predators of many harmful pests and can help keep your plants free from damage.

Some examples of beneficial insects include ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises. To attract these helpful critters, it’s important to provide them with the right environment. This means planting a diverse array of flowers and herbs that bloom throughout the growing season.

Some favorites among beneficial insects include dill, fennel, yarrow, and marigolds. Providing a source of water such as a small pond or birdbath can also be helpful in attracting these beneficial bugs. Another way to encourage beneficial insects is to avoid using pesticides and other harsh chemicals in your garden.

These products can kill both harmful and helpful bugs alike, disrupting the balance of your ecosystem. Instead, opt for natural methods such as companion planting or hand-picking pests off your plants when necessary. By creating a welcoming environment for beneficial insects, you’ll be able to reduce the need for chemical interventions and enjoy a healthier garden overall.

Improving Soil Quality With Companion Plants

Adding organic matter to soil is key for maintaining healthy soil, and companion plants are a great way to do that!

I always mix in a few nitrogen-fixing plants, like clover and alfalfa, to help increase nutrients. Also, certain companion plants can help enhance the populations of helpful microbes in the soil, like beans and peas.

I like to keep away pests with strong-smelling plants like marigolds, rosemary, and lavender. It’s also important to keep weeds at bay with tall, dense plants like sunflowers and corn.

Finally, I like to add a few medicinal herbs like mint and lemon balm to help promote beneficial bacteria in the soil.

Adding Organic Matter

As an eclectic master gardener, I have found that one of the best ways to improve soil quality is by adding organic matter. This practice not only enriches the soil but also attracts beneficial insects and microbes that keep pests at bay. Organic matter can come in various forms such as compost, leaf mold, manure, or cover crops. It provides essential nutrients to plants while boosting the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients.

Adding compost is one of the easiest ways to incorporate organic matter into your garden. Compost can be made from kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials that break down over time. The resulting nutrient-rich humus can be added to planting holes or spread on top of the soil as a mulch.

Leaf mold is another fantastic option for improving soil quality and repelling pests. It is made from decomposed leaves and provides a slow-release source of nutrients that help plants grow strong and healthy.

Cover crops are yet another way to add organic matter to your garden while keeping pests at bay. These plants are grown primarily for their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, suppress weeds, and break up compacted soils. Some excellent examples of cover crops include clover, buckwheat, and rye grass. By planting these crops in between harvesting periods or as a winter crop, you’ll be able to improve your garden’s overall health while reducing pest populations naturally.

Increasing Nutrients

Now that we’ve covered the importance of organic matter in improving soil quality, let’s move on to another essential aspect of gardening – increasing nutrients.

As an eclectic master gardener, I know that having nutrient-rich soil is crucial for healthy plant growth. When plants lack essential nutrients, they become more susceptible to pests and diseases, which can harm your garden’s overall health.

One way to increase nutrients in your garden is through companion planting. This practice involves planting different crops together that have mutually beneficial relationships. For example, some plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning they convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that other plants can use. By planting these nitrogen-fixing plants alongside other crops, you’ll be able to boost the soil’s nutrient levels naturally.

Another way to increase nutrients is by using natural fertilizers like bone meal or fish emulsion. These products provide a source of essential nutrients like phosphorus and potassium that help promote root development and flowering. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these fertilizers should be used sparingly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid over-fertilizing.

In conclusion, incorporating companion planting and natural fertilizers into your gardening practices can help increase nutrient levels in your soil naturally. By doing so, you’ll not only improve the health of your plants but also reduce pest populations while promoting a thriving ecosystem in your garden. Remember to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for your specific garden needs!

Enhancing Microbes

Now that we’ve learned about increasing nutrients in our garden through companion planting and natural fertilizers, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of improving soil quality – enhancing microbes.

Microbes are essential for healthy soil as they help break down organic matter, release nutrients, and improve soil structure.

One way to enhance microbes in your garden is by adding compost to your soil. Compost is a mix of decomposed organic matter that contains a variety of beneficial microorganisms. When added to the soil, these microbes help break down organic matter and release essential nutrients, which can improve plant growth.

Another way to enhance microbes is by reducing tillage. Over-tilling can disturb the delicate balance of microorganisms in the soil, which can harm their ability to break down organic matter and release nutrients. By reducing tillage and leaving plant residues on the soil surface, you’ll be able to promote a healthy microbial population that will benefit your plants.

In conclusion, enhancing microbes in your garden is an important aspect of improving soil quality. By adding compost and reducing tillage, you’ll be able to promote a thriving microbial community that will help break down organic matter and release essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.

Remember to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for your specific garden needs!

Creating Your Own Companion Planting System

As an eclectic master gardener, I believe that creating your own companion planting system is the key to a pest-free and healthy garden.

One of the first steps is to research and select plants that are known for their pest-repelling properties. For example, marigolds are great at repelling nematodes while lavender can keep moths and fleas away.

Another important factor to consider is the compatibility of the plants you choose. Some plants may have conflicting needs or release chemicals that could harm neighboring plants. It’s important to do your research and plan accordingly so that each plant in your system benefits the others.

Lastly, it’s important to observe and adjust as needed. Your companion planting system should be a living and evolving organism, responding to changes in weather, pests, and soil conditions.

Keep track of which combinations work well together and which don’t, and make adjustments accordingly. With patience and dedication, your companion planting system will thrive and provide a bountiful harvest year after year.


As an eclectic master gardener, I can attest to the benefits of companion planting. Not only does it help keep pesky bugs away, but it also improves soil quality and attracts beneficial insects.

By incorporating specific plants into your garden, you can create a natural and effective pest management system. Think of companion planting as a symphony of plants working together in harmony.

Just like the different sections of an orchestra come together to create beautiful music, companion plants work in unison to create a healthy and thriving garden. So, grab your trowel and get ready to plant some marigolds, basil, and lavender – your garden will be buzzing with activity in no time!