Enhance Your Corn Crop with These 17 Perfect Companion Plants


When it comes to growing corn, farmers and gardeners often seek out the best companions to plant alongside this towering crop. Companion planting is a practice that involves growing different plants together to create a mutually beneficial relationship. By choosing the right companions, you can promote healthy growth, deter pests, and improve the overall productivity of your corn plants. In this article, we’ll take a look at 17 companion plants that are compatible with corn and can help you achieve a successful harvest.

One of the most popular companion plants for corn is beans. The climbing nature of beans makes them a perfect companion for corn, as they can use the corn stalks for support. Additionally, beans are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means they can help replenish the soil with this essential nutrient. Another legume that pairs well with corn is peas, which can also provide nitrogen to the soil and help improve its fertility.

Some plants can help deter pests that are common in corn, such as earworms. Marigolds are a great companion plant for corn as they have a strong aroma that can repel pests. Planting marigolds alongside corn can help keep pests away and protect your corn crop from damage. Another aromatic companion plant for corn is dill, which can attract beneficial insects that prey on common corn pests.

In addition to pest control, some companion plants can provide other benefits to corn. For example, planting clover between rows of corn can act as a living mulch, keeping the soil moist and preventing erosion. Clover also helps in nitrogen fixation, enriching the soil with this essential nutrient. Another popular companion plant for corn is squash, which can provide shade and act as a natural weed suppressor.

Rotating crops is essential for maintaining soil health, and corn has several compatible companions that can be planted after the corn harvest. Spinach is a great choice for post-harvest planting, as it is a cool-season crop and can grow well alongside corn. Another post-harvest companion for corn is mint, which can help repel pests and keep the soil healthy.

While these are just a few examples of the many companion plants available for growing alongside corn, they demonstrate the range of benefits that can be achieved through companion planting. By selecting the right companions and following good gardening practices, you can create a harmonious and productive garden that rewards both you and your corn plants.

Companion Plants for Sweet Corn

When it comes to growing sweet corn, companion plants can be very helpful. They not only add beauty to your garden, but they also work together with the corn to benefit both plants. For example, planting dill, beans, or squash near your sweet corn can attract beneficial insects and wildlife that help with pollination and pest control.

Marigolds are another great companion plant for sweet corn. They not only add color to the garden, but their strong scent can deter pests like aphids and nematodes. Be sure to plant marigolds nearby to keep these pests away from your corn.

Cucumbers and peas are also great companions for sweet corn. They can be grown together in a small-scale garden or in larger fields. The peas help to fix nitrogen in the soil, which benefits all plants in the area, including the corn. The cucumbers can climb up trellises or corn stalks, making good use of vertical space.

Nasturtium is another companion plant that can benefit sweet corn. It attracts pollinators and can help deter pests like aphids and squash bugs. Its beautiful flowers and green leaves add a pop of color to your garden.

Another example of compatible companion plants for sweet corn is the combination of corn and beans. The beans can be planted at the base of the corn stalks and will climb them as they grow. This method, known as “Three Sisters,” has been used for centuries by Native American farmers. The corn provides a tall, sturdy structure for the beans to climb, and the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, benefiting the corn.

Aside from these specific companion plants, having a diverse garden with a mix of flowers, herbs, and vegetables can also be beneficial for sweet corn. Flowers like marigolds, nasturtium, and blue salvia can attract pollinators, while herbs like dill and parsley can attract beneficial insects.

When choosing companion plants for sweet corn, make sure they are compatible with each other and with the corn itself. Avoid planting anything that may be detrimental to the corn, such as plants that require a lot of water or that spread aggressively. Also, keep in mind the space required for each plant to grow.

In summary, companion plants like dill, beans, squash, marigolds, cucumbers, peas, nasturtium, and beans can all make great companions for sweet corn. They attract beneficial insects, deter pests, and provide additional benefits like vertical space usage and nitrogen fixation. Consider adding these companions to your sweet corn garden to create a beautiful and harmonious environment for your plants.

Nitrogen Fixing

If you’re growing corn, companion planting with nitrogen-fixing plants can greatly benefit your vegetable garden. Nitrogen-fixing plants have the ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that other plants can use, making them an excellent addition to your corn garden.

Some other plants that are known for their nitrogen-fixing capabilities include beans, peas, and clover. These plants work well with corn because they help provide the nitrogen that corns need for healthy growth and development.

One great option is to plant beans or peas near your corn. These legumes not only fix nitrogen, but they also help repel pests like corn earworms. When planted together, corn and legumes create a symbiotic relationship that benefits both plants.

Clover is another nitrogen-fixing plant that can be planted alongside corn. Clover can help keep the soil healthy and fertile, and it also provides ground cover, making it an excellent choice for corn gardens.

When it comes to companion planting with corn, don’t forget about the wonders of marigolds. Marigolds not only attract pollinators like bees, but they also repel pests such as nematodes. Planting marigolds in between each mound of corn can help keep the bugs at bay.

Other companion plants to consider for your corn garden include borage, which attracts pollinators and deters pests; nasturtium, which provides both color and pest control; and lettuce, which can provide shade and help keep the soil moist for your corn plants.

So, if you’re looking to improve your corn yield and create a healthy vegetable garden, companion planting with nitrogen-fixing and pest-repelling plants is always a good idea. Give it a try and see how these plants can benefit your corn and other vegetables!

Legumes Beans and Nitrogen

One group of plants that are happy to include beans is legumes. Legumes are known for their ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to other plants. This is why they are often referred to as “nitrogen-fixing” plants.

When planting corn, it is beneficial to include legumes, such as beans, in the garden. Legumes help to improve soil fertility by adding nitrogen to the ground. They can also provide shade for the corn plants and help to keep the soil moist.

One example of a legume that can be grown alongside corn is the nasturtium. Nasturtiums are well-known for attracting beneficial insects to the garden, and they also help to repel pests. They can be planted once summer arrives and will continue to grow until the first frost. Nasturtiums are also a great companion plant for sunflowers.

Another legume that can benefit corn is the bush bean. Beans grow well in full sun and can be planted alongside corn to make use of the space. They provide additional nitrogen to the soil and their deep roots help to break up compacted soil. Plus, they make a delicious addition to your backyard garden and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Squash is another legume that can be planted with corn. Squash plants have prickly stems and leaves, which helps to deter pests like cutworms and deer. In return, the corn plants provide support for the squash to climb on. The two plants share space and resources, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

If you’d like a bit more variety, consider planting legumes like green beans, peas, or lentils alongside your corn. These legumes will help to add nitrogen to the soil and provide additional benefits to your garden. For example, planting mint near your corn can help to deter pests and attract beneficial insects. Planting lettuce or dill near your corn can help to attract pollinators, like bees, which benefits both crops.

So, if you’re looking for a natural way to improve your corn crop and keep your garden healthy, consider planting some legumes alongside your corn. They’ll help to add nitrogen to the soil, provide shade and support for your corn plants, and attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Corn and Beans

The combination of corn and beans is a classic example of companion planting. These two plants have a mutually beneficial relationship that makes them perfect companions in the garden. The corn provides support for the climbing beans, and the beans, in turn, fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting the corn.

Corn needs a lot of nitrogen to grow well, and beans are known as nitrogen-fixing plants. This means that they have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria that live in nodules on their roots. These bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that the plants can use as a nutrient. By planting beans alongside your corn, you can provide the necessary nitrogen for the corn to thrive.

In addition to providing nitrogen, beans also help to repel pests that are attracted to corn. The strong aroma of the beans can mask the scent of the corn, making it less appealing to pests such as corn borers and aphids. This can help to reduce the damage to your corn crop and promote healthier plants.

When planting corn and beans together, it is best to start the corn a couple of weeks before planting the beans. This gives the corn a head start and allows it to establish a strong root system before the beans start to climb. Plant the beans about 4 inches apart from the corn, and give them enough space to spread out as they grow. Be sure to provide a trellis or other support for the beans to climb on.

When planning your garden, consider planting the corn and beans alongside other companion plants, such as squash or melons. These plants are known as the “Three Sisters” and have been grown together by Native Americans for centuries. The corn provides support for the beans, the beans fix nitrogen for all three plants, and the squash or melons act as a living mulch, shading the soil and reducing weeds.

It’s important to note that while corn and beans are great companions, they do have some specific needs. Corn is a heavy feeder and requires a lot of water and nutrients, so be sure to provide adequate irrigation and fertilization. Beans, on the other hand, prefer well-drained, moist soil and don’t like to be over-watered.

In summary, planting corn and beans together is a tried and true method for growing healthy crops. The nitrogen-fixing ability of the beans benefits the corn, while the corn provides support for the beans. By including other companion plants like squash or melons, you can create a beneficial trio that will help deter pests and improve the overall health of your garden.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.