Companion planting is generally viewed as the practice of pairing various plants together, in hopes that they will assist each other in any number of ways. Companion planting has often been misunderstood as a "cure all" solution for your plants and without proper guidance it can fail to achieve the desired outcome. But don't worry, we're here to help you make the most of companion planting by dispelling myth from fact and creating a guide for perfect plant companions!
Companion planting has a number of known benefits, some of which are said to include; deterring pests, improving growth, attracting beneficial insects and predators, and fixing nitrogen.
The way you plant your companion crops can help dispel unwanted insects or attract a multitude of helpful creatures.
Planting companions with tubular flowers such as 'Turk's cap' or 'Cape Honeysuckle' will attract predators such as birds and dragonflies, which will help keep the population of unwanted pests at bay. On another note, they add a surprising flurry of colour and activity to your garden.
By choosing the right companion plants, you can let your garden do most of the work for you!
For example, companion planting beans against corn or sunflowers is a great way to get the best out of both. The beans fix nitrogen for the sunflowers. On the other hand, the long stalks of the sunflower provide support for the beans and also providing nutrients. In this case, companion planting will see your sunflowers do noticeably better and your beans will likely produce earlier.
Onions and pansies: An unusual combination, but these guys are truly great friends. The pansies spread out and suppress any weeds trying to grow. Their roots keep the soil insulated. For much less work you can reap the benefits of bigger, healthier onions than you'd expect - plus pansies are always beautiful!
Companion planting is a great way to suppress unwanted weeds and insulate soil for other plants who like a warmer environment.
Using companion planting to act as a suppressant is a perfect way to make the most out of the concept. It's tried and tested and usually always works. Weeds are held at bay and even the insects have less room to move. This manages to centralise their activity, protecting your plants from serious harm.
Companion planting is a natural way to encourage bio-diversity. By including a multitude of plants it helps develop a wide range of plant and animal species and provides the good insects with a range of choice to thrive in a well established garden.
Flowers, herbs and vegetables can all be interchanged and paired with others for companion planting at its finest. Google a companion chart for the best ideas. According to the ABC, in Sydney's Botanical Gardens, companion planting is used to mask the sent of roses from aphids.
Not only does companion planting diversify your garden design, but it also adds an attractive, exciting and aromatic element to your overall garden .
We're still unsure as to whether companion planting to improve crop is myth or fact, but don't be afraid to give this a go, you may be pleasantly surprised.
If nothing else, you'll have a more diverse design to appreciate and something is always going on in your garden!