Incompatible Companion Plants: What You Need to Know

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Are you planning your garden and wondering which plants will grow well together? While companion planting is a great way to improve the health, yield, and flavor of your crops, it’s important to be aware of incompatible companion plants. In this article, we’ll explore what incompatible companion plants are, why you should avoid them, and how you can plan a successful garden.

Understanding Incompatible Companion Plants

Incompatible companion plants are those that should not be grown together due to their negative effects on each other. These negative effects can occur for several reasons, such as:

  • Competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight
  • Attracting pests or diseases that also affect neighboring plants
  • Releasing chemicals that can hinder the growth or development of other plants

For example, planting tomatoes near members of the Brassica family, like broccoli and cabbage, can lead to reduced growth and yield due to a chemical called glucosinolate. Similarly, planting peppers near beans can inhibit the growth of the latter due to a higher demand for soil moisture and nutrients.

Incompatible Companion Plant Combinations to Avoid

To avoid problems in your garden, here are some of the most common incompatible companion plant combinations to avoid:

  • Tomatoes and members of the Brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.)
  • Peppers and beans
  • Cucumbers and potatoes
  • Pumpkins and potatoes
  • Melons and other fruit-producing plants
  • Onions and beans, peas, or parsley

Why Avoid Incompatible Companion Plants?

Planting incompatible companion plants can result in several negative outcomes. In some cases, it can reduce the yield, quality, or flavor of your crops. In others, it can even attract pests or diseases, leading to a higher risk of crop failure.

Additionally, planting incompatible companion plants together can cause stress and competition among plants. This can lead to weaker plants that are more susceptible to diseases and pests, or that require more fertilizer or other resources to maintain their health.

Tips for Planning a Successful Garden

Now that you know why it’s important to avoid incompatible companion plants, here are some tips for planning a successful garden:

  1. Research the compatibility of different plants before planting
  2. Plant vegetables and herbs that have similar needs together (such as soil type, sun exposure, and watering requirements)
  3. Rotate your crops each year to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases
  4. Consider using companion planting strategies that can promote plant growth and deter pests, such as planting marigolds near tomatoes or basil near peppers

FAQs About Incompatible Companion Plants

Q: Can I plant incompatible companion plants in separate containers or areas?

A: Yes, planting incompatible plants in separate containers or areas can help prevent negative effects on nearby plants. This is especially useful for plants that have high nutrient or water needs, which can impact nearby plants that have lower requirements.

Q: Can companion planting really improve crop growth and yield?

A: Yes, companion planting can have many benefits for your garden. By strategically planting different crops together, you can attract beneficial insects, improve soil quality, and reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Additionally, some plants (such as beans and peas) can fix nitrogen in the soil, which can benefit nearby plants that have higher nitrogen requirements.

Q: What resources can I use to learn more about companion planting?

A: There are many online and offline resources that can help you become more knowledgeable about companion planting. Some useful websites include the Old Farmer’s Almanac and Mother Earth News. You can also find books and guides on companion planting at your local library or bookstore.


Incompatible companion plants can cause a host of problems in your garden, from reduced yield and quality to attracting pests and diseases. By understanding which plants should not be grown together, and following some simple tips for planning a successful garden, you can ensure that your crops thrive and provide you with delicious and nutritious food all season long. Remember to research the compatibility of different plants before planting, consider using companion planting strategies, and make sure to rotate your crops each year for the best results.


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