Companion planting is a time-tested gardening method that enriches and protects vulnerable crops. Farmers and gardeners plant specific crops near each other in order to deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and stimulate growth.\n\nCompanion plants will either help a specific crop grow or will grow better beside a specific crop, and can do many support jobs in the garden:\n\n- __Repel insect pests__. Cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, Mexican bean beetles, carrot flies, cabbage moths—all kinds of pests can plague vegetable gardens. Many companion plants (like marigold flowers, catnip, and rue) repel specific pests and should be planted near certain crops to keep them pest-free.\n- __Attract beneficial insects__. Pollinators like bees and ladybugs can use a little encouragement to visit vegetable gardens and pollinate the crops. Gardeners often plant attractive plants like borage flowers to encourage pollinators to visit.\n- __Improve soil nutrients__. When crops grow, they take up valuable nutrients from the soil—leaving the gardener to do a lot of work at the end of the season to renew the soil’s nutrients. However, there are many companion plants (like bush beans and pole beans) that add nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil, helping keep other plants healthy and well-fed.\n- __Encourage faster growth or better taste__. Many companion plants (like marjoram, chamomile, and summer savory) release specific chemicals that encourage faster growth or better taste in the plants around them, leading to quicker and better harvests for home gardeners.\n- __Provide ground cover__. Plants that spread low across the ground (like oregano) serve as a blanket over the soil, protecting it from the sun and keeping it cooler for plants that need it.\n- __Provide necessary shade__. Plants that grow tall and leafy (like zucchini and asparagus) can provide welcome shade for sun-sensitive plants beneath them.\n- __Serve as markers__. When growing slow-growing plants, it can be difficult to tell where the rows will be while you’re waiting for the seeds to sprout. Gardeners often use fast-growing plants (like radishes) interspersed with the slow growers in their rows to delineate where the slow growers will be.\n\nBrussels sprout plants—straight columns of exposed sprouts topped with big, chard-like leaves for protection—are vulnerable to a variety of pests. Companion planting can deter the aphids, small green caterpillars called cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, maggots, Japanese beetles, and flea beetles that wreak havoc on the leaves as well. Here are just a few examples of good companions for Brussels sprouts:\n\n1. __Dill__ and other aromatic herbs, like rosemary, sage, oregano, and mint, lure leaf-chewing cabbage worms—which mature into white cabbage moths. Plant these herbs away from Brussels sprouts to attract the pests far from your crop.\n2. __Basil__ repels thrips, which suck out of the juices of young sprout leaves. You should also plant basil away from Brussel sprouts.\n3. __Chamomile__ is known as a flavor-enhancing companion plant, but be mindful when dispersing it near the rows of Brussels sprouts: it spreads quickly. Only aim for one plant approximately every 150 feet. \n4. __Garlic__ and other alliums like leeks, shallots, and onions also enhance the sweetness of mature Brussels sprouts. Alliums have anti-fungal properties that work as a natural insect repellent within the soil.\n5. __Geraniums and nasturtiums__ repel all things that harm brassicas—cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and flea beetles among them—with their peppery, astringent scent. They also attract pests like aphids away, which feed on Brussels sprouts. \n6. __Beets__ add a boost of fertilization to the soil, namely magnesium, which is a crucial component of growing successful Brussels sprouts.\n\n\nSome plants do not grow well with Brussels sprouts, either by attracting the pests or competing for the same nutrients. \n\n- __Strawberries__ stunt the growth of all cabbage plants, including Brussels sprouts, as they compete for the same space. \n- Other cabbages, like __cauliflower__ or __broccoli__, shouldn’t be planted near Brussels sprouts as they are in direct competition for many of the same nutrients and resources—and their proximity would make them twice as vulnerable to the same diseases and pests.\n- __Tomatoes__ and other nightshades, like __eggplants__, need a lot of nutrients to grow. Brussels sprouts are also heavy feeders, so two should not be planted next to each other as they will compete for the same nutrients.\n\nGrow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nBrussels sprouts, a member of the *Brassica oleracea* (cabbage), family along with kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and broccoli, are a [highly nutritious and easy-to-grow fall vegetable garden staple](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-grow-brussels-sprouts-in-your-home-garden).