top of page
  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Container garden companion Planting Guide

Container gardening is a great way to enjoy the beauty of plants without having to commit to a large garden. With container gardening, you can create your own mini-oasis in small spaces or balconies and get all the benefits of larger gardens - vibrant colors, delicious scents, and even fresh produce.

But with container gardening comes an added responsibility: choosing companion plants that will work well together in limited space. If done correctly, companion planting can maximize yield and minimize problems like pests and disease.

This Container Garden Companion Planting Guide provides key tips on how to choose compatible plants for your containers so you can reap the rewards!

Basil & Tomato

Basil and tomato can be grown together in containers by companion planting. Tomatoes provide shade for the basil, while basil repels some of the insects that might otherwise damage tomatoes.

The two plants also benefit each other through nutrient exchange, as tomatoes improve soil fertility while basil adds nitrogen that tomatoes need. Finally, growing both herbs in the same container keeps them in close proximity and makes it easier to harvest them at the same time.

Lettuce & Chives

Lettuce and chives can be grown together in containers through companion planting. Growing lettuce and chives together helps to deter pests from the lettuce plants, while the strong aroma of the chives may attract beneficial insects.

The combination also helps to conserve moisture and provide shade for the lettuce. For optimal growth, plant one or two chive plants amongst every four to five lettuce plants in a container.

Radish & Nasturtium

Radish and nasturtium can grow well together in containers by companion planting. Radishes are a fast-growing root crop, while nasturtiums are an attractive flowering vine.

When planted together, the radishes provide a shady cover for the slower-growing nasturtiums, helping them to thrive. The nasturtiums help keep pests away from the radishes as well. Additionally, their complementary colors create a beautiful display in any container garden.

Leeks & Carrots

Leeks and carrots grow well together in containers by companion planting because their root systems are similar and will not compete for nutrients.

Carrots provide a natural shade for leeks that keep them from getting too hot in direct sunlight. The leeks will also attract beneficial insects like hoverflies, who feed on aphids that may target your carrot crop.

Marigold & Cucumber

Marigold and cucumber can grow well together in containers by companion planting. Marigolds deter pests such as aphids, which may otherwise attack the cucumbers.

The strong smell of the marigolds may also help repel some insects that attack cucumbers. Marigolds are also known to attract beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, which help pollinate the cucumbers.

The cucumbers provide a taller structure for the marigold to grow against, giving it extra support and allowing them to both get enough light. Planting them together in a container helps contain their growth and makes it easier to manage water and soil levels for optimal growth of both plants.

Leafy Greens & Onions

Companion planting in containers is a great way to maximize the space for growing leafy greens and onions. When companion planting in containers, it is important to select plants with similar needs in terms of soil type, water and light. Leafy greens need plenty of sun and regular watering while onions are more tolerant of less sun and dryer conditions.

Planting them together can help take advantage of their differences—the leafy greens will provide shade to the onions in hot temperatures while the onions will help deter pests from attacking the leafy greens. Furthermore, because they both require regular harvesting, it makes sense to group them together as much as possible which is facilitated by companion planting in containers.

Oregano and Squash

Oregano and Squash can be companion planted in containers by providing them with a nutrient-rich soil, ample sunlight, and adequate drainage. Oregano prefers a slightly acidic soil and can act as an insect repellent to protect the squash from common pests such as aphids and cucumber beetles. The oregano’s strong scent will also help repel other garden pests such as slugs, so it should not be planted directly next to the squash.

Squash needs plenty of room to grow, so it’s best kept on its own or in its own container for optimal growth. Both vegetables prefer consistent water levels, but make sure you don’t over-water, as this can lead to root rot.

Garlic & Beets

Garlic contains many beneficial minerals and nutrients that are essential for beet growth. These include sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus, manganese, and potassium.

Garlic also helps to improve the level of soil drainage and aeration around beets. Additionally, garlic deters pest infestations which can damage or stunt the growth of beets.

Finally, garlic improves the soil's fertility by providing additional organic matter that helps to increase the availability of necessary minerals and nutrients for plant growth.


Companion planting in containers is an effective way to maximize the space for growing multiple crops. When selecting plants, it’s important to consider their individual needs such as soil type, water and light requirements.

Finally, several plant combinations exist that can provide additional benefits such as improved soil fertility, increased levels of organic matter, and greater insect diversity. In summary, companion planting in containers is a great way to optimize the space and resources available for successful gardening!

Get free resources, useful, well researched new ideas. Subscribe.

Subscribe for free Permaculture resources periodically. 

Subscribe for more relevant information on small space gardening and Urban permaculture. Be the first to see exclusive and new content. Be updated on the latest on what's going on in the urban gardening world.

See More

bottom of page