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12 Reasons You Need A(nother) Houseplant in Your Life

If you are anything like us, 2020 is ending, and your houseplant collection is flourishing. You spent months building your plant collection by adding new green and flowery friends to your indoor space.

Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you wonder if your plant obsession is getting a little out of control. Well, it is not. You are in perfect control of building your well-deserved houseplant empire. One could easily argue you need more plants because of all the beautiful benefits houseplants offer their caretakers.

1. Sense of Accomplishment

There has never been a moment like now with social distancing efforts and having to stay home to wish to connect with someone.

Since contact with others is limited these days, the routine of the day tends to become even more limiting as we have less unique experiences to brighten the day.

That is where houseplants come in as saviors. Caring for houseplants takes the edge out of mundane day-to-day tasks.

Houseplants require attention, and in return, they thrive. As your plants thrive, you feel accomplished, and you are contributing positively to your world even if the world feels small right now.

2. Deep Breaths and Calm Down

Having plants in your home reduces not only psychological stress but physiological stress, as well.

The interaction with plants works to help your body produce its own antidepressants by triggering serotonin release. Interaction with plants means the daily and weekly care you give your plants, talking to them, and repotting them as they grow.

This stress-reduction happens because your heart rate goes down, and you get a feeling of comfort and satisfaction.

With everything going on in the world, this alone is a great reason to fill your home with plants.

3. I Feel So Disconnected, and I Like It

It is easy to get sucked into an online presence and create distractions by staring at your phone.

The conditions of the world right now and wondering what happens next create a lot of anxiety. It is easy to doom-scroll online, which manifests even more stress.

Pulling the plug from technology to focus on your houseplants will give you a break from the doom and gloom.

Also, investing that time to watch and see something grow because of your care is a special and unique reward.

4. I Feel So Close to You Right Now

There has never been a moment like now with the social distancing efforts and having to stay home to wish to be around others. Even introverts sometimes want to be around others.

Taking a break from technology to focus on something alive is fantastic, and houseplants help humans feel connected with something natural.

Since face-to-face interactions are at an all-time low right now, buying plants helps fill the crippling void of loneliness.

Plants respond to sound, so instead of talking to yourself, say nice things to your plants and watch them grow.

5. It Is Easier than You Think

Often potential plant owners shy away from houseplants because they struggle to keep things alive or feel as though houseplants are not worth the trouble.

However, this is not true.

Several houseplants are fantastic for those who cannot keep things alive.

For instance, spider plants are magnificent plants that do well in hanging baskets or just in a pot. These plants create baby spider plants that drape off the plant’s sides, making an impressive display of plant glory.

Snake plants are another hard-to-kill option for newbie plant-parents. Snake plants like light, but they are okay with neglect. These plants also tend to make snake plant babies easily so that you can add to your collection.

6. Keep it Clean

Plants are fantastic for humans because plants use photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. Even better than cleaning carbon dioxide from the air, plants remove toxins, as well.

Now, there is no real way to know how many plants you need in your house to effectively work as a purifier because NASA did their testing in a sealed room.

Obviously, your best option is to add as many houseplants as you can manage. We give you permission. It is for science, really, and who can argue with that?

7. Oh, the Humidity!

Houseplants can increase the humidity in your home, which can help with issues related to dry air. Nosebleeds, anyone?

Plants take the water from the soil to hydrate their leaves and stems. The plants use some of the water for their own needs; however, the rest evaporates. This process is called transpiration.

Some plants are better at raising the humidity levels in your home. Houseplants with small leaves like desert plants or succulents are not the best options.

However, plants with large leaves that can absorb more light through photosynthesis are the best at increasing humidity in your space.

8. Sleep Easy

It is not just the purified air that is amazing. Houseplants help your breath at night, too.

Many plants are active at night, such as the snake plant, which means they actively absorb carbon dioxide at night.

Other night active plants to consider are aloe vera and the neem tree, to name a couple.

Also, the bamboo palm takes it a step further and cleans formaldehyde from the air, just in case this was a concern you have.

9. Peace and Quiet

If you ever needed a reason to fill your home with plants, you will have one now. If you live in a noisy area with a lot of outside noise filtering into your home, plants can help.

All parts of a houseplant work to absorb sound.

However, for effective noise-canceling, you must remember the amount of plants matter. Therefore, you need more houseplants.

The size of the plant and the surface area of the leaves make a difference. Clearly, you need plenty of large plants, as well.

Also, pay attention to how you display your plants for noise reduction. Plants should be at the perimeter of your space, so the sound waves that vibrate off the walls have a chance for absorption by the plants.

10. I Feel So Productive

If you find yourself sluggish and unmotivated to accomplish your tasks and responsibilities, you are getting a clear signal that you must buy more houseplants.

Research proves that even though plants do not have a work-related function, having plants in workspaces increases productivity.

We feel it is a valid reason to buy another houseplant or three.

11. It is a Generational Thing

It may seem odd to think of houseplants or gardening being generational, but it often is.

Younger generations may find themselves newly interested in houseplants due to circumstances of the chaos that is 2020. Still, many witnessed an older family member indulge in the joy of gardening and houseplants.

It makes sense that level of joy makes an imprint as young adults pick up the habit of keeping houseplants.

Also, it is a fantastic bridge in a generational relationship because of a shared passion. For instance, if you have been socially distancing from your mom out of concern, talking to her about houseplants will help you feel closer.

12. Going to Need You to Stay in Your Lane

If you are getting the side-eye from your partner every time you eyeball a new plant or bring one home, remind them of all the great reasons why it’s worthwhile to invest in the houseplant hobby.

Many new plant wonders feel the end to hide their plant habit to avoid detection. Many quietly add to their collection subtly until the collection starts to take over the room

It is easy to feel guilty about any type of self-care, but if you feel bad for investing in your houseplants – do not do this.

Buy your houseplants because they please you and be happy.

Where Did These Bugs Come From?

One reason plant parents shy away from houseplants is the concern about pests.

Yes, pests are annoying. When you keep houseplants, they create a perfect environment that some bugs just love.

However, the pests are a lot easier to contend with than you think. Many pests require insecticides or fungicides to manage. Fortunately, some products are safe for plants and pets that handle more than one problem.

Just be sure to spray the leaves and the soil’s tops and underside to prevent and eliminate fungus issues, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and much more.

Also, if you find fungus gnats are taking over, and you do not want to use a spray, look into sticky fly traps.

Another fun option for houseplant pest control is the use of carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap, pitcher plants, or butterwort.

Creating Your Plant Space

There are several ways you can display your plants even if you think you do not have the room. If anyone tries to tell you differently, you can educate them on all your options.

Freestanding shelving dedicated to houseplants is an excellent option for houseplant display.

Hanging planters of varying length give you a lot of opportunities to take advantage of prime window space. Macrame hangers are making a come-back, although many would argue they never actually left the houseplant scene.

If your ceilings are high, you can add a shelf above your windows from which you can anchor your plants. Be sure to look for wood shelves so you can add the anchor hooks.

Also, there are plenty of wall brackets to add to the wall surface from which to hang plants. Just be sure you keep in mind how far the plant needs to hang from the wall or winder. For instance, a four-inch small pot will not need as much wall clearance compared to an eight-inch pot.

Also, window ledges and bathrooms are fantastic options, as well. Most houseplants are tropical or subtropical in nature, and they love humidity.

For instance, snake plants, prayer-plants, and even ferns love high humidity. Therefore, make sure your light conditions are suitable and fill your bathroom with the added tranquility of houseplants.

In the End, Buy the Plant

Houseplants are addictive and fun. However, there is so much joy to be had fiddling around and caring for plants.

We find the additional work pleasing because it enables us to see the fruits of our labor.

Plants grow and even bloom under the care and words of their caretakers.

Buying and keeping houseplants is rewarding, improves your emotional and physical health, and gives you something rewarding and productive to do with your time.

What houseplant did you buy today? Answer in the comments

Featured Image by Leonardo Iheme from Pixabay

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Houseplants in Winter: Care, Lighting, Fertilizer, and More

Quarantine has us bursting with houseplants, and while we know how to care for house plants in the winter, we have so many new types of plants to consider. Therefore, it is time for a refresher on how to handle houseplants in winter.

There is a lot to evaluate when thinking about caring for houseplants in winter. It would be best to consider where you live, the winter temperatures, how much light you have coming in your windows, humidity levels, drafts, and individual plants’ needs.

Winter Is Coming for Your Houseplants in Winter

Plant needs shift when the season change. Houseplants tend to go dormant and need less care. However, winter is also the time of the year plants are killed by their well-meaning caretakers.

Plants go dormant during colder months, and houseplants need this time to rest.

During this time, your houseplants may seem as though they are on the verge of a tragic death when they drop some leaves and stop growing. The truth is the roots are hard at work in the winter.

Therefore, it is vital to understand your plant’s winter needs.

I Have Seen the Light

The sun shifts lower in the sky during the winter, and the amount of light coming into your windows drop.

Therefore, the windows that gave adequate light in the summer may not be the best spot for your plants in the winter.

You can move plants closer to the windows. However, pay attention to drafts that could chill your plant.

Tropical plants and succulents will not appreciate a cold and drafty window, for example.

Clean the leaves of your plants. Dust accumulates on leaves, just like any other source. The dust gets in the way of photosynthesis, which is vital for plants.

Since you are cleaning, give your windows a good washing to ensure you make the most of the available light.

If you really want to dig in and make sure your plants are getting enough light, look into a digital light meter. A light meter will help ensure your plants are in a prime location.

Grow lights to the rescue for your houseplants in winter

If you find your light sources in the winter are just not enough, you could use grow lights, too.

There are several configurations of grow lights for house plants. However, consider a grow light with different brightness levels and a full spectrum of light such as VOGEK LED Lights.

Grow lights are a fantastic way to boost your level of light in the winter, and you can set a grow light up with a timer, so you do not have to remember another chore.

You will need to notice the positioning of the plants under the grow light. Many houseplants need to be about 12 inches from the light. However, succulents can be closer.

Water, Water Everywhere

One reason houseplants do not make it through the winter is due to overwatering.

During the winter, your plant’s roots need oxygen, and the best way for this to happen is by letting the soil get dry. Also, underwatering stunts your plants’ growth. Remember, even in dormancy, your plant is still doing some work.

However, when you do water in the winter, you want to ensure you water them thoroughly. One option is to reduce the amount of water you give your plant but still give your plants a deep watering.

For deep watering, you want to soak your plant in a basin of water until the bubbles stop coming up from the soil. Afterward, drain the water and allow the plant to dry out before watering.

It is fair to plan to reduce the watering by 25 percent but pay attention to the plant itself. If your plant begins to wilt, it needs some water.

Water needs in the winter depending on the plant itself. Also, the climate inside your house plays a role, as well. Consider a moisture meter and looking into the dormancy cycle of the different plants you own.

You can take the guesswork out of your plant’s moisture needs by researching your different houseplants to determine how they behave in the winter.

Also, consider a moisture meter that takes the guessing out of your plant’s needs.

Why Is It So Cold?

Most houseplants are tropical or from tropical or sub-tropical climates.

Because they prefer warmer temperatures, they are perfect for growing indoors.

Most houseplants are content at 75 degrees. You could go up to 85 degrees, but you want to adjust for higher humidity at that temperature.

Your houseplants are happiest between 60 and 75 degrees, and many become unhappy with temperatures below 60 degrees.

If you realize your plant’s leaves turn yellow and fall off, it may be due to a dramatic temperature change.

However, if the lower leaves look stressed and turn brown or wilt, it may be too warm.

Houseplants in winter: Unique needs of succulents

If you are like us, you went crazy for succulents while on lockdown.

Now that the temperatures are dropping, it is necessary to look at the specifics of succulent care during the winter.

Your succulents need warmth to survive. Depending on where you live, you may be able to leave your succulents outside year around. However, the ability to do this also depends on the succulent itself.

Pay attention to your zone and the zone recommended for your succulent. At the same time, notice which of the succulents go dormant in the winter and continue to grow. This information will help you as you meet the needs of your indoor plants.

Hot and Steamy: Humidity

Humidity is more than just that sticky hot feeling you have when you walk outside, and the air feels like soup.

Your plants care a lot about the humidity levels inside your home, as well.

Also, the lower the humidity in your home, the more the leaves lose moisture.

So, if your house is dry in the winter, you may need to evaluate how often you water during dormancy and consider your humidity.

Plants, when grouped, create their own little environment and raise the humidity. Therefore, if you have a group of high-humidity needing plants, you can group them together.

You could also consider misting your plants several times a day to keep the humidity up consistently, but that does add a lot of extra steps to an already busy day.

Humidifiers are a great idea, specifically if you can place one near a group of plants that thrive with humidity. You could go for a tabletop humidifier for small spaces or plant groupings. Otherwise, consider a whole room humidifier, depending on your needs.

Another option is to take a tray of water and rocks and place your plants on top or near them. You do not want to set your plants in water because the water needs are lower in the winter.

The bathroom is another great place to bring humidity needing plants, assuming you have enough light in your bathroom to suit the plants’ needs.

I Am on a Diet

Many plants need fertilizer regularly in the winter. However, this is not the case in the winter.

During the summer, houseplants are in active growth because the summer light levels are high, and the temperatures are perfect. You might consider fertilizing your houseplants in the fall but taper it off to a partial dose of fertilizer.

If you fertilize your plants in the winter, you run the risk of giving your houseplants fertilizer burn. Fertilizers contain salts and take moisture away from the roots, which can cause problems when those salts build up.

During the winter, the plant’s roots are hard at work, but photosynthesis is not at play to the same degree because the light is low. Therefore, the upper part of the plants do not grow much, and there is no need for extra fertilizer.

However, if you live in a climate where you still receive plenty of light, and your plants do not go dormant, fertilizing can continue.

I Need a New Home

For the most part, winter is a time for your houseplants to rest. Therefore, repotting your plants should wait until active growth begins in the spring.

It is a lot easier for houseplants to get over the shock and awe of moving to a new pot when winter is over. However, if the soil is degraded or the root system is so bound, you may have to repot in the winter.

Who Invited You?

Winter is a fantastic time to get your houseplant pest game in full force.

First of all, be sure you know the conditions your plant needs to be its best no matter the time of the year.

If your houseplant is not stressed or struggling, it is more able to withstand plant pests.

Common pest for plants includes fungus gnats, mealy bugs, and spider mites, to name a few.

Fungus gnats hang out in the soil and thrive on moist plant medium. Therefore, it is a lot easier to starve them out in the winter since your plants need a lot less water.

However, sticky traps are a great way to catch these little flies.

Mealybugs are another pest that likes houseplants. If you see white spots and a waxy-looking powder on the leaves, you may have mealybugs.

Mealybugs stay local to the plant currently infested and will not spread to your other plants. In bad infestations, you have to say goodbye to your houseplant. However, your first line of defense is using an insecticide.

Spider Mites love to hang out with your plants, as well. They like to feast on the sap in your plant’s leaves, and they leave behind a webbing to let you know they are unpacked and living on your houseplant.

Insecticides are a great solution to handle your spider mite infestation.

To Prune or Not to Prune

The best time to prune houseplants is when the growing season kicks back up. Typically, this happens in very late winter or early spring, depending on your local conditions.

However, not all plants are dormant in the winter. Therefore, it is vital to consider the unique needs of those plants. Also, winter growth is often leggy. You could pinch leggy growth to encourage branching and trim off dead leaves and branches.

Plant On, Plant Parent

In the end, caring for plants in the winter becomes simple once you have the conditions set up.

Each plant has unique needs, and your home has different availability of light. Once you augment light, water needs, temperature, and humidity levels, you can let your plants be dormant for the winter.

Typically, your plants won’t need fertilizer, repotting, or pruning. However, there are some exceptions. Some houseplants do grow during the winter. In that case, it is best if you learn about the needs of those select plants and adjust your schedule.

How did you handle your houseplants in winter? Answer in the comments.


A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.

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10 Delicious Indoor Herbs You Can Easily Grow Yourself

An empty windowsill or a spot in your sunroom may be the ideal place to grow a selection of indoor herbs. Nothing feels more satisfying than snipping a few home-grown ingredients to add to your dishes to give additional flavor and aroma.

A pot of aromatic herbs grown in between your houseplants is a beautiful thing, and eminently achievable.

Herbs form an essential part of so many home-cooked dishes, and they add a special something to every meal. Furthermore, growing indoor herbs is an excellent way of using a sunny windowsill and making it a useful and productive space.

Such a task doesn’t have to be difficult, and we could all grow delicious indoor herbs to use every day.

What Is an Herb?

An herb is any plant used to season food and for medicinal properties, fragrance, and household applications. We tend to think of herbs as those delicious leaves that we add to food to give it flavor and aroma.

Herbs may elevate our cooking and add that something special to our dishes.

Indoor Herbs

Who doesn’t love fresh parsley on their baked potato? What about a sprig of mint for that cheeky mojito of an evening? Perhaps you love to make Thai curries, in which case, having fresh lemongrass at hand may prove useful.

Imagine chopping some crisp, green chives to add to your salad or toss in with your tuna salad.

Indoor herbs are easy to grow as long as you choose the right varieties. A couple of small pots and a bit of sunlight will see your windowsills bedecked with delicious herbs ready to cut and use.

Cress, chervil, and cilantro will reward you with lush, fresh leaves to combine with your dishes at a fraction of the cost of buying them in the stores.

Growing Indoor Herbs

Growing indoor herbs is easy. Just give them a pot, some space on your windowsill, and some glorious sunshine, and you may soon harvest some fabulous stems and leaves.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have an outdoor space, which makes growing indoor herbs all the more vital.

Most of us have spare plant pots lying around, so why not put them to good use? Or you could buy a variety of containers and starter kits to get you going.

The advantage of growing indoor herbs

Unlike growing herbs in the garden, growing herbs in pots offer a great deal of flexibility. If the sun’s position changes throughout the day, you may quickly move your pot of herbs to capture the valuable rays.

When you start creating those delicious meals, you may have a pot of herbs on your counter ready to pick.

Additionally, growing indoor herbs will extend the growing season. When the weather turns cold, and the garden stops producing, indoor herbs continue to give you their bounty.

Start at the Very Beginning

Growing indoor herbs is easy. Start with a few simple herbs to gain experience before moving up to some of the more complicated varieties. With a little bit of space and some tender loving care, your herbs will flourish.

1. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a fantastic indoor herb filled with fragrance and flavor. The structural nature of the plant looks fantastic in pots.

Traditionally, the herb grows in the tropics, but give the plant a little moist soil and partial sun, and it should thrive on your windowsill.

2. Mint

Mint is such a versatile herb with the most incredible aroma. It adds a fresh, zingy flavor to your dishes and forms an essential ingredient to your mojitos. Fresh mint sauce on lamb is a match worthy of an award.

If left unchecked in the wild, mint grows rampantly like a weed. However, contained within a pot on your windowsill, it will behave itself. Just remember to keep your mint out of direct sunlight.

3. Parsley

Parsley is one of those old favorites that we should all have on our windowsills. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow and adds the most delicious flavor and aroma to sauces and stuffing.

The herb is easy to grow from seed, but taking cuttings from time to time to replace old plants will keep your stock going indefinitely.

A medium to large pot proves the best vessel in which to grow parsley. Parsley grows best in indirect sunlight.

4. Chives

Chives should sit on every windowsill. The herb is amazingly easy to grow and adds a subtle onion flavor to your dishes. The long graceful leaves in luscious green look striking in a pot.

Finely chop the leaves into your salad and see the difference it makes. Or fold chopped chives into cream cheese to make a fabulous topping for baked potatoes.

Chives like partial sun and moist soil to grow successfully. Note: You can split the roots to propagate and increase your stock easily.

5. Cress

Cress is a firm favorite for the kids to grow because it is so easy and quick. You don’t even need any soil. Simply place the cress seeds on a wet paper towel, and you can almost see them growing before your eyes.

The harvest tastes delicious in salads and dressings.

Cress likes partial sun, and if you sew fresh seeds every three to four weeks, you will have a constant supply.

6. Catnip

If you have cats, don’t grow catnip as they will go wild over it. But it’s interesting to note that catnip is a centuries-old traditional herbal medicine! Infuse catnip into a tea to help alleviate stress and induce restful sleep. Plus, catnip may help fight off colds and fevers.

Catnip is easy to grow from seeds, and you may take regular cuttings to keep your crop going. Grow the indoor herb on a sunny windowsill and water it well.

7. Chervil

Chervil is an easy to grow indoor herb and makes the most delicious herb butter. The herb tastes fantastic when combined with fish and poultry and adds a beautiful aroma when chopped into salads.

Grow the herb at room temperature, and because it is not overly fussy concerning light, it will cope with low light conditions.

8. Basil

The taste of fresh basil with juicy ripe tomatoes is a thing of pure joy. Add fresh basil to your pasta sauces to elevate them to the next level. Why not make fresh home-made pesto with your home-grown basil?

Basil is easy to grow on your windowsill in pots. The herb likes a warm sunny spot on your windowsill and moist, well-drained soil.

9. Sage

Sage is one of the most aromatic herbs and makes for the most delightful herb bags to hang in your wardrobe. Also, a fresh sage stuffing for your poultry is a thing of absolute beauty.

Sage may be one of the more challenging herbs to grow as it likes a South or West facing window with a minimum of five hours of sunlight. The herb takes a while to establish itself when grown from seed but is easy to propagate from cuttings.

10. Thyme

Thyme, like sage, has the most incredible aroma. Cut stems of thyme and hang them up in the kitchen to dry to release the most beautiful fragrances. Use the herb in stuffing recipes, soups, and casseroles to give the dish the most fantastic flavor.

Give thyme partial sun but ensure you expose the plants to at least five hours of sunlight a day to achieve successful growth.

Starter Kits

An easy way to grow indoor herbs is via the use of a starter kit. The advantage of using herb kits stems from their ease of use because they provide everything you need to get started.

A simple herb windowsill kit will provide a selection of easy to grow varieties to help cultivate your confidence.

Most starter kits come with the pots inside a propagating unit. Simply follow the instructions and watch your herbs grow.

Herbs are useful and easy

Make your own herbal vinegar to use as a safe, eco-friendly cleaner around the house. Not only that, herb room fresheners offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the synthetic, store-bought air-fresheners.

Rosemary, thyme, and oregano taste divine, but also have antiseptic properties. Additionally, the herbs have excellent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities.

Indoor Herbs Made Easy

Growing indoor herbs is an exciting hobby that may reward you with a delicious, aromatic bounty. Add your home-grown herbs to your recipes to add an incredible depth of flavor. Why not experiment with herbal teas and home-made cleaning solutions?

Parsley, chives, basil, mint, and chervil all prove easy specimens to grow on your windowsill. And they make for incredibly attractive houseplants that not only look good but serve a valuable purpose.

Buying fresh herbs from the store is expensive. With a little patience, some pots, and some sunshine, you may successfully grow your own indoor herbs. Full of flavor and heady with aromas, indoor herbs will enhance your cooking and give purpose to those empty pots!

What is your favorite herb to grow indoors? Share your growing expertise and recipes below.

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales, and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful jewelry making business and sells his creations online.

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The Many Benefits of Companion Planting

When growing a vegetable or herb garden, your goal is to get as large of a harvest as you can. After all, you put hours of work into planting and maintaining your garden, so it only makes sense that you would do all you can to increase the yield. That’s why it’s so important to learn about the benefits of companion planting.

And here’s the deal: if you don’t know about the benefits of companion planting, you are missing out on one of the best ways to grow a healthy and abundant garden. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What Is Companion Planting?

When most people picture a vegetable or herb garden, they think about long rows of vegetables, each row containing the same type of plant. For instance, in the fall, you may see a long line of broccoli plants or onions. But what if we told you that by mixing up some of the plants in your garden it would make it much more productive and healthy?

That, in a nutshell, is what companion planting is. In nature, the same types of vegetables or herbs aren’t lined up in neat rows to grow. Instead, the plants interact with each other and form small ecosystems that help keep harmful pests at bay and produce healthier crops.

And that’s the idea (and benefits of) companion planting.

11  Benefits of Companion Planting

Whether you are growing a vegetable garden or want to understand how to master herb companion planting, the benefits you will gain from using this method are numerous.

Let’s look at a few of them now.

1. Make room for the veggies!

If you’re like many vegetable gardeners, you never have enough room to plant all the things you want to grow. Some vegetables take up a lot of room — think Brussels sprouts — and you lose valuable space in your garden for other varieties.

Or do you?

When looking into the benefits of companion gardening — or herb companion planting — one of the most exciting things you will discover is all the space the method frees up in your garden. For instance, the three sister’s method of planting corn, beans, and squash together not only helps to provide each plant with the nutrition it needs, but it also increases the amount of space you have in your garden. This planting system has been around for centuries for a reason — it works!

Here’s a quick primer on how to use the three sister method in your garden:

When looking to save space, you aren’t limited to corn, beans, and squash. You can plant many plant varieties together that will provide support (corn), ground shade to keep the soil moist (squash), and a vining plant (the beans). For example, asparagus, parsley, and tomatoes also grow well together. Just make sure all the plant combinations are compatible by using a chart for reference.

2. No scorched Earth here

When caring for a garden, it’s important to keep the soil moist and prevent any erosion from creeping in. If the soil is left unplanted for a while, that’s exactly what will happen to it. But when learning the benefits of companion planting, you will quickly realize that this system will allow you to use all of the space in your garden. That means no lingering soil that deteriorates because of a lack of nutrients from plants.

3. Weeds no more

Ask most gardeners what their number one challenge is, and many will answer with one word: weeds.

Weeds are a part of gardening, and gardeners resort to many methods to keep them out of their garden beds. They can drain the soil of the nutrients vegetable plants need to thrive.

One way to naturally reduce weeds is to use up all of the space in the garden so the vegetable plants don’t allow any room for weeds to grow. For instance, in the three sister’s method, we mentioned earlier, one of the jobs of the squash is to block out the weeds by covering the ground.

4. Save more for yourself

It’s every gardener’s nightmare: you walk out to pick that squash for dinner and discover that it’s been ruined by squash bugs. Or you find that the cabbage moths devoured your brassicas. You don’t have to sit by and watch pests ruin your garden — instead, use the benefits of companion planting to combat them.

For instance, if you plant marigolds next to your beans, the Mexican bean beetles won’t be as likely to invade them. And to protect your brassicas from cabbage moths, plant wormwood alongside them to keep them away.

5. Put the doctor on hold

When a large group of people gathers together and one of them is sick, it makes it much easier for the disease to quickly spread among them. The garden is no different. When you plant like plants close to each other and one of them gets a disease, it will spread more easily throughout the rest of the similar plants.

But when you break up the plants by inserting different varieties between them, it slows down the progression of the disease.

You can also use herb companion gardening to help deter pests. Many herbs are experts at repelling pests, and if you plant them close to certain plants, you will reduce the chances of disease. For instance, planting horseradish near your potato crops will help keep potato bugs at bay. And to keep squash bugs from ruining your crop, plant nasturtium, and tansy near the beds.

6. An open invitation

Although keeping pests out of the garden is important, you will want to attract certain beneficial insects to help devour those that would ruin your plants. If you’ve ever had an aphid infestation in your garden and released ladybugs, you know how quickly beneficial insects can solve the problem.

For beneficial insects to want to spend time in your garden, you have to make it appealing to them — and you can do that with the species you choose to plant around your vegetables and herbs.

Planting flowering crops and flowers are great ways to attract these gardening pest assistants. Some of the helpful cover crops are buckwheat, clover, rosemary, thyme, and mint which will provide a home for ground beetles. Additionally, flowers like chamomile and daisies will attract insects like hoverflies and predatory wasps. Don’t forget to provide a few shady and protected areas so the beneficial insects have a place to lay their eggs!

7.  Leave behind the expensive trellises

When growing vining fruit or vegetables, you need something to support it as it grows. Most gardeners purchase (or make) trellises, but you can save that expense by using your tall, sturdy plants to support them instead.

For example, corn, amaranth, sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes, fruit or nut trees, and sorghum are all great support plants for lighter weight climbing plants. These taller plants can also help provide some shade for plants that don’t thrive in full sun.

8. Who said vegetable gardens can’t be beautiful?

Although most gardeners would argue that a patch of peas, carrots, and onions is one of the world’s most beautiful sights, others (non-gardeners) would struggle to see the beauty. You can change that by planting beneficial flowers and other blooming plants in your garden.

In addition to adding pest control to your garden, it also adds beauty. Just think: a brilliantly yellow/orange line of marigolds lining the front of your garden will not only keep away harmful pests but will make your garden pop with color so even your non-gardening friends will appreciate its beauty!

9. Ooooh, that’s good!

Want your tomatoes to taste better? Plant basil next to them. Want better lettuce? Basil will help with that, too. When you combine certain varieties of plants, one plant can help the other one taste better. Want another example? Chives not only repel aphids but also improve the flavor of carrots!

10. Encourage the yield

The more pollinators in your garden, the bigger the yield you will have. That’s why it makes sense to plant certain herbs and flowers in your garden that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

You can plant sage, oregano, marigolds, lavender, nasturtium, borage, and verbena to attract these pollinators and at the same time, repel unwanted pests.

11. Add some variety to your meals

Growing peas is a great way to add deliciousness to your meals, but adding a variety of peas is even better. And why would you settle for only orange carrots when you can also grow yellow and purple, too? When you use companion gardening, you will free up enough space to plant multiple varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables, ensuring that you continue to enjoy gardening even more!

These Two Don’t Get Along: What Not to Plant Together

For all the talk of the benefits of companion planting, you would think that all vegetables and herbs get along fine — but that’s simply not true. Some plants don’t get along, and you should never plant them together.

Here are the vegetables and herbs that just can’t seem to get along.

You say tomato, I say potato

Even though potatoes and tomatoes are both members of the nightshade family, they shouldn’t grow next to each other. That’s because they can both easily become infected with similar fungi that kill the plants. And chances are if one of the plants develops the fungi, the other one will quickly follow suit.

Sweet and savory

When growing cabbage and strawberries, you shouldn’t plant them close together. That’s because the insects that cabbage attracts also like to feed on strawberries. In other words, by planting these two together, you will put your strawberries in peril!

Two trellis plants

Both tomatoes and corn are great to use as trellises for lighter, climbing plants, but not next to each other. For starters, they both feed heavily, and next to each other, they will quickly deplete the nutrients in the soil. Also, both plants attract the tomato fruit worm, also known as the corn earworm. And once one of the plants are infected, the pest will quickly move to devour the other one.

They’re both too hungry

Two more plants that should never grow close together are cucumbers and potatoes. That’s because both require a lot of nitrogen from the soil. Even soil that is heavily supplemented with nitrogen-rich blood meal cannot support both plant’s needs at once.

Are There Disadvantages to Companion Planting?

Now that we’ve talked about all the benefits of companion planting, it only seems right to let you know about a couple of possible disadvantages. According to some, the possible drawbacks are:

  • Competition for the good stuff: When you grow crops close together, they can compete for the water and nutrients in the soil, and some consider this a disadvantage. But remember, it can work both ways. For example, when you grow beans near squash and corn, the beans will deposit nitrogen in the soil, which leads to healthier corn and squash.
  • Empty spaces: Others say that it’s easier for weeds to grow in the garden once the companion crops are pulled. That would be true if you left the spaces empty, but immediately filling them with another crop should eliminate the chances of weeds growing in the empty area.

The Benefits of Companion Planting: Get Started Now!

Whether you are an expert gardener or a beginner, the benefits of companion planting can help ensure that your garden produces more than ever next season. The system can ensure beneficial insects are drawn to your garden, harmful pests get eliminated, vegetables taste better, and the beauty of your garden shines through.

Do you use companion planting in your garden? If so, we would love to hear how it has changed your garden! Leave a comment below and tell us why you recommend this method!