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Companion Planting - Pairing Plants to Control the Insect Balance in Your Garden

Using Herbs to Deter Insect Pests

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Japanese Beetle on Yarrow

Japanese Beetle on Yarrow

Marie Iannotti

Herbs work especially well as companion plants. They multitask by attracting beneficial insects and repelling pest insects and their fragrance and foliage make them good companions in both the vegetable garden and the ornamental border. The following list is compiled from experience and other people’s suggestions. Keep in mind that some things work in conjunction with other factors in the environment and your results might not be the same as mine. However with some tweaking here and there, you should be able to use plants to keep a better balance in your gardens.


Using Herbs As Companion Plants to Deter Pests

  • Aphids - Chives, Coriander, Nasturtium

  • Ants - Tansy

  • Asparagus Beetle - Pot Marigold

  • Bean Beetle - Marigold, Nasturtium, Rosemary

  • Cabbage Moth - Hyssop, Mint (also clothes moths), Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Southernwood, Tansy, Thyme

  • Carrot Fly - Rosemary, Sage

  • Flea Beetle - Catmint (Contains nepetalactone, an insect repellent. Steep in water and spray on plants.), Mint

  • Flies - Basil, Rue

  • Fruit Tree Moths - Southernwood

  • Japanese Beetles - Garlic & Rue (When used near roses and raspberries), Tansy

  • Potato Bugs - Horseradish

  • Mosquitoes - Basil, Rosemary

  • Moths - Santolina

  • Nematodes - Marigold (Marigolds should be established for at least 1 year before their nematode deterring properties will take effect.)

  • Savory, Winter - Some insect repelling qualities

  • Squash Bugs & Beetles - Nasturtium, Tansy

  • Ticks - Lavender (Also thought to repel mice and moths.)

  • Tomato Horn Worm - Borage, Pot Marigold

Using Companion Planting to Attract Beneficial Insects.

Read more about gardening with nature in Organic Gardening Essentials.

Books for Further Reading:

Great Garden Companions (A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden), by Sally Jean Cunningham, Rodale Organic Living Books

Carrot Love Tomatoes, by Louise Riotte, Workman Publishing Company

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