Companion planting with beans can help with the management of weeds, pests, and diseases while also allowing you to utilize every inch of soil in your garden. It also attracts beneficial insects like pollinators.
Since beans fix nitrogen into the soil, they can be great companions for plants that need a high intake of nitrogen from the soil.
You should always consider the nutritional requirements of the plants before pairing them with your beans because some plants won’t respond well to the high levels of nitrogen in the soil nearby.
Keep reading to learn more about which plants make the best companion plants for beans!
8 Companion Plants for Beans
Potato plants are fantastic companion plants for beans because they repel Mexican bean beetles from bean plants. Bean plants return the favor by repelling the Colorado potato beetle from potato plants.
Heavy-feeding potatoes make one of the best companion plants for beans since the soil around the beans will be infused with high levels of nitrogen needed for the optimum growth of potato plants.
Potato foliage will also cover the soil around your beans, mimicking the protection of mulch, protecting the bean plants.
Cucumbers make good companion plants for beans because they have similar growing needs, so they will help each other grow better when planted together.
Cucumber encourages strong bean growth, while the nitrogen-enriched soil from beans helps cucumber plants thrive.
For optimizing space in your garden, plant vining cucumber nearby pole beans and let the plants share the same support structure.
Peas make fantastic companion plants for beans since the two have similar growth patterns and care needs. These plants are natural companions.
Since pole beans and peas are both considered climbing plants, they can use the same trellis or support system in your garden.
Beans are generally harvested before peas, but when you pair these plants as companions you can extend the harvest window into the late summer.
Catnip is great for repelling pests from your bean plants, so it makes good companion plants for beans if you are looking for something for pest control.
Although catnip is known for repelling pests, it actually attracts beneficial insects, like butterflies and bees, that beans need for pollination so that the bean plants can form pods.
Catnip plants and bean plants are fairly easy to grow in containers so even if you don’t have much space you can grow these two companions beside one another.
Corn is one of the most popular companion plants for beans, often used in traditional Native American companion planting with beans and many other plants. It’s referred to as ‘the three sisters’ method. Using this method, the corn is planted first so it can get a headstart growing.
If you don’t have much space in your garden corn stalks can be used as natural trellises for pole beans. Make sure your corn stalks are tall and sturdy enough to support the weight of the bean plants when they start to vine out.
Corn is a heavy user of nitrogen, so it benefits from the pairing just as much as beans do. Since these plants occupy different levels of nutrients in the soil than one another, they don’t compete for water and nutrients.
Marigolds are good companion plants for beans if you want to add some color to liven up your vegetable garden or to use as a pest repellent.
Marigolds repel Mexican bean beetles and other insect pests from bean plants. They also produce a substance that repels nematodes.
Planting marigolds nearby bean plants increases insect biodiversity while reducing bothersome pests like aphids. For the best results alternate rows of marigolds and beans or plant marigolds between your bean plants.
Marigolds pair well with both bush beans and pole beans as long as the pole beans are trained up a trellis or other support system.
Nasturtium is another flower that is commonly used as companion plants for beans and their main purpose is generally pest control.
These beautiful flowers can act as a trap plant for aphids, flea beetles, and Mexican bean beetles, effectively distracting them from your bean plants.
Nasturtiums are also highly attractive to beneficial insects that feed on many of the pests that attack bean plants, acting as a natural pest repellent.
Nasturtium’s natural spreading growth can perform like a type of ‘living’ mulch around your bean plants, so it will keep weeds at bay and prevent soil erosion near your garden. And since the flowers can grow in partial shade they can still thrive in the small shade bean crops provide.
Radishes are another good companion plant for beans. These quick-growing vegetables can easily be squeezed around the base of bean plants so to utilize every inch of soil space in your garden.
Radishes, like nasturtium’s, act as a trap crop for flea beetles that are attracted bean plants, diverting them away from your beans.
In return pole and bush beans provide just enough shade to maintain your radish harvest well into the summer months.
Radish plants work well with beans because they don’t take up much space in your garden and will be harvested before they become a problem. They can also act as weed-suppressors for young bean plants.
Radishes grow quickly enough that they will be matured and ready to harvest by the time bean plants reach a few inches tall and start expanding to need the space.
Plants to Avoid
On the other end of the spectrum, some plants can inhibit the growth of your bean plants, so you should avoid planting them nearby.
When planning your garden for optimal space utilization, make sure not to plant the following plants near your beans.
Members of the allium family, such as onions, garlic, scallions, and leeks shouldn’t be planted near beans.
Avoid pairing these plants with beans because they release a substance that kills the beneficial bacteria present on bean roots, which then prevents bean plants from infusing nitrogen into the soil.
Don’t plant your pepper plants too close to pole beans. While both plants benefit the soil, pole bean vines are rather aggressive and can choke the pepper plants.
Beets are interesting because they affect bush beans and pole beans differently. Beets should never be planted with pole beans because they stunt one anothers growth. However, bush beans aren’t at all affected by being planted near beets so this pair should be fine.
Sunflowers, while proving useful as a support system for pole beans, shouldn’t be planted near any of your bean plants. As beautiful as sunflowers are, they are known to exude a natural chemical compound that inhibits the growth of bean plants.
While there are many varieties of plants that pair beautifully with bean plants, it’s important to research the specific needs of plants to choose the best companion plants for your beans.
Consider which plants you would enjoy the most and use the most when planning out your garden so as to avoid food wastes.
You can also make use of a garden planner notebook, like the Hoss Garden Planner to help you keep track of the plants in your garden. It even has helpful information about planting zones and some companion planting suggestions.
There is a nice variety of different plants you can successfully pair with beans. From pest control and weed control to support systems, the benefits of companion planting with beans are endless!For more information about planting beans, including varieties of bush beans and varieties of pole beans, check out our bean variety page!