Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Companion Gardening

Spring is almost here in Chicagoland. Of course, that means temperatures one day can be a balmy 65-70 and the next it is 35 with driving rain. But, planting time is just around the corner, so it’s time to plan the flower and vegetable gardens!

 While you are planning, consider what we call “Companion Gardening,” placing plants together that can be beneficial to each other. 

Many of our vegetable plants need pollinators like bees, lacewings, and hoverflies, to propagate. Placing a scented flower near these plants will attract these pollinators and ensure success. Common Marigolds (Calendula) are wonderful for tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. Sow marigold seeds in-between the vegetables. They look great too! French Marigolds (Tagetes) will deter whiteflies on tomatoes. 

Aphids are nasty bugs that can wreak havoc on your vegetables. Herbs like chervil and coriander repel aphids while providing flavor in your cooking. Chives will also keep aphids away from your tomatoes while adding mild onion flavor to your dishes. Dill left to flower will attract aphid eating insects like hoverflies and wasps. Another delicious herb Thyme has a strong scent and will deter black flies that love to munch on bean plants. 

Lavender plants are so fragrant and beautiful. They are wonderful for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. Lavender can also be used for making sachets and even tea that can help with sleep. It’s always good to plant flowers that attract butterflies. We can all do our part to keep butterflies propagating. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago