Generally, when we think of companion planting, the old favourites of nasturtiums, marigolds and pyrethrum come to mind, but what you may not realise is how many herbs are the perfect companions in the garden for attracting beneficial insects while deterring the nasties.
Basil, the bee’s love it, but the aphids, fruit fly and white fly hate it.
Borage is a magnificent pollinator plant attracting bees and butterflies. Plant with tomatoes and strawberries to improve the flavour of the fruit.
Coriander and Tansy attract hoverflies, which are an important natural defence against aphids. Tansy also deters fruit fly as does basil, making them especially beneficial among peaches and apricots.
Dill attracts bees and deters white butterfly.
Fennel has yellow flowers that attract hoverflies, which prey on aphids.
Garlic keeps plants free of aphids and if planted under peach trees it will help protect from leaf curl. It also deters mosquitoes and protects tomatoes from spider mites.
Garlic Chives are brilliant when in flower, because the strong scent deters carrot root fly.
Lavender is used to attract huge numbers of bees and butterflies. The strong scent can deter aphids and is ideal incorporated with carrots and leeks.
Mint confuses pests that often affect carrots, tomatoes, onions and brassicas. Remember mint is invasive however, so plant into a large container.
Marjoram repels all kinds bad of insects.
Parsley deters aphids, especially when planted with roses, asparagus and tomatoes.
Rosemary deters mosquitoes, cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot fly, as well as increasing the flavour of vegetables planted nearby.
Rue is hated by almost all bad insects including slugs.
Sage should be planted alongside brassicas to attract bees, for crop pollination and to confuse pests with the smell. It will also deter carrot fly and cabbage moth.
Thyme should be incorporated with roses, because the strong fragrance deters blackfly. You can also steep the leaves to make a tea, then spray over the leaves of the cabbage to prevent whitefly.
Wormwood is ideal for deterring aphids and beetles. It also attracts hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds with their lovely yellow flowers. Did you know one ladybird can eat more than 50 aphids in one day?
Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) benefit when planted with sage, rosemary, hyssop, thyme, dill, mint or chamomile, as all or any of these help deter the famously troublesome white butterfly.
Nasturtiums, except the yellow flowering one, are a deterrent to aphids.
Celery planted with cauliflower will keep away the white butterfly.
Marigold is the best to battle against many insects, which hate the smell of the foliage and blooms. It can also be planted as a deterrent in those spots you want to stop a cat or dog doing their business. Marigold has roots that give off a substance that drives away eelworm and should therefore be planted with tomatoes, potatoes or roses.