12 Best Squash Companion Plants (Plus 3 to Avoid)

If you’re looking to successfully grow squash in your garden, learning about companion planting is crucial. Growing your squash can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle against pests and diseases.

However, the strategic pairing of crops, known as companion planting, could be the secret weapon your garden is missing.

In this post, I’m going to share some of the best squash companion plants to plant, three plants to keep away from your squash, and why the use of companion plants makes your garden thrive. 

Key Takeaways

  • Companion planting for squash involves strategically pairing different plants to maximize their growth potential and improve overall garden health.
  • The benefits of companion planting for squash include space-saving, increased crop variety, nourished soil, effective pest control, and attraction of beneficial insects.
  • Best companion plants for squash include garlic, marigold, peas, mint, corn, and onions among others. Avoid planting potatoes pumpkin or cucumber next to your squash plants.

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Understanding Squash Companion Planting

squash companion plants

Companion planting is a trusted gardening technique that leverages the natural synergies between different plant species.

At its core, this practice involves strategically situating vegetables, fruits, and herbs alongside each other in your garden to maximize their growth potential.

The magic of companion planting lies in how these diverse plants work together to boost each other’s health and productivity. Choosing the best companion plants to grow with zucchini and other summer squash will help your garden thrive.

For instance, nitrogen-fixing plants like beans can enrich the soil with essential nutrients, benefiting heavy feeders such as squash and zucchini.

Similarly, tall crops like corn offer structural support for climbers while simultaneously shading the soil and keeping weeds at bay.

Certain herbs also play key roles in this biological orchestra by producing fragrant aromas that chase away harmful pests.

Blooming edible flowers may act as trap crops, which attract insects away from primary crop areas. They may also attract bees and other pollinators critical for high-yield harvests.

Companion planting not only fosters stronger growth but also paves the way for a healthier garden ecosystem that’s brimming with biodiversity.

The Benefits of Companion Plants for Squash

companion planting squash

Companion planting for squash and zucchini offers several benefits. It saves space, encourages crop variety, nourishes the soil, helps in effective pest control, and attracts beneficial insects for many varieties of squash.

Saves space

Companion planting truly maximizes your garden’s potential. By pairing plants that thrive side-by-side, you can utilize the space in between each plant more effectively and efficiently.

Consider squash and corn as an example. Their growth habits complement each other perfectly.

The tall stalks of corn not only provide a natural trellis for climbing beans but also offer shade to squash vines sprawling low on the ground.

Therefore, instead of dedicating separate rows or beds for each type of plant, intercropping allows them to grow together harmoniously in the same plot.

This clever gardening practice saves valuable square footage while promoting diversity and high yields within your vegetable garden.

Encourages crop variety

Companion planting for squash is a fantastic strategy to boost crop variety in your garden. By incorporating diverse companion plants, you cultivate an abundant mix that not only looks appealing but also yields a variety of harvests.

Diverse plantings mimic natural ecosystems, reducing pest pressures and increasing resilience. For instance, interplanting squash with beans and corn – the famous “Three Sisters” concept used by Iroquoian American Indian tribes – demonstrates this perfectly.

The beans enrich the soil with nitrogen which benefits the heavy-feeding squash, while corn provides support for vining beans and suppresses weeds by shading the ground.

Marigolds or nasturtiums can be added to this planting trio acting as trap crops, which repel squash vine borers and common pests away from valuable vegetables.

Choosing companion plants squash and zucchini crops enjoy will make both plants easy to grow.

Nourishes the soil

Companion planting offers numerous benefits for squash, and one of the key advantages is how it nourishes the soil. By strategically planting companion crops like beans, peas, and corn alongside squash, gardeners can improve the overall health of their soil.

Beans and peas are nitrogen-fixing plants that add vital nutrients to the soil, promoting robust growth in zucchini and squash. Corn provides shade for the soil, reducing weed competition and helping retain moisture.

This combination creates a balanced ecosystem where all plants thrive together, resulting in healthier soil for future plantings.

So not only do companion plants enhance your squash harvest, but they also work together to improve the quality of your garden’s foundation.

Helps in effective pest control

Companion planting for squash offers a natural and effective way to control pests in your garden. By strategically pairing certain plants with your squash, you can create a beneficial ecosystem of plants to prevent harmful insects like beetles and squash bugs and reduce the need for chemical pesticides.

Garlic, for example, is known to repel aphids (one of the most common pests for squash plants). Using garlic as a companion plant not only protects your squash from these tiny invaders but also adds an extra flavorful component to your harvests.

Additionally, marigolds are great companions for squash due to their ability to deter nematodes and other soil-dwelling pests. These vibrant flowers not only add beauty to your garden but also provide an important line of defense against unwanted critters.

By incorporating companion plants like garlic and marigolds into your squash garden, you’ll be able to enjoy healthier plants without resorting to harsh chemicals or constant pest monitoring.

Attracts beneficial insects

Planting companion plants that attract beneficial insects is a key strategy in promoting healthy squash growth. Flowers like nasturtiums and marigolds act as trap crops, luring pests away from your precious squash plants.

These flowers add a touch of beauty to your garden and also provide a safe haven for beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies. These helpful bugs are natural predators of common squash pests like aphids and flea beetles.

Squash acts as an inviting habitat for these insects. and you can significantly reduce the need for chemical pesticides while allowing your squash and zucchini to grow.

Characteristics of Squash

Plant Family
Watering Conditions
Well-draining soil, keep consistently moist
Mature Size
Varies by variety; typically 1-3 feet tall
Soil Requirements
Rich, fertile soil; pH 6.0-6.8
Sunlight Needs
Full sun
Temperature Tolerance
Warm-season crop, sensitive to frost; thrives in USDA zones 3-11
Growth Habit
Annual vining or bushy plant, depending on the variety
Flowering Period
Flower Color
Yellow or white
Foliage Characteristics
Large, green, and often lobed leaves
Propagation Methods
Seeds (direct sowing)
Pruning and Maintenance
Support may be needed for vining varieties; prune to improve air circulation and manage growth
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, squash bugs, cucumber beetles; powdery mildew, downy mildew
Companion Planting
Nasturtiums, marigolds, radishes, and other vegetables
Edible Parts
Edible fruits (squash)
Wildlife Attraction
Squash flowers attract pollinators like bees
Special Care Instructions
Regular harvesting encourages continuous fruiting; protect from vine borers and squash vine borers

12 Best Squash Companion Plants

companion plants for squash

Knowing which plants work best next to neighboring squash will ensure your garden produces as much zucchini and squash as possible. 

For example, garlic helps deter pests and improves the flavor of squash. Marigolds attract beneficial insects and repel predatory ones.

Peas fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting squash’s nutrient needs. Mint acts as a natural pest repellent for many types of squash plants. 

Different companion plants also help zucchini or summer squash thrive as they create a natural barrier your plants need.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a powerhouse when it comes to companion planting for squash. It adds flavor to your favorite dishes and helps protect your zucchini and summer squash plants from pests.

Garlic deters aphids, which are notorious for attacking tender squash leaves. By planting garlic nearby, you can keep these pesky insects at bay and ensure healthier growth for your squash.

This natural pest control method saves you from relying on harmful chemicals while still safeguarding your precious crop.

Garlic is an easy crop to help boost the health of your zucchini and summer squash plants while adding some delicious flavor to your meals!

2. Marigold

Marigolds are a gardener’s best friend when it comes to companion planting. These vibrant flowers do more than just add beauty to your garden – they also act as natural pest controllers!

Marigolds attract pests like flea beetles and aphids away from your precious squash plants, acting as trap crops.

But that’s not all – marigolds also repel whiteflies, root-knot nematodes, and other harmful bugs that can damage your squash crop.

Plus, these sunny blooms are irresistible to bees, which are essential for pollinating squash flowers.

Plant some marigolds alongside zucchini and squash and your garden will look stunning and be a pest-free oasis.

3. Peas

Peas are an excellent companion plant for squash and provide numerous benefits in the garden. One of the key advantages of planting peas alongside squash is their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil.

Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for plant growth, and heavy feeders like squash greatly benefit from this nitrogen boost provided by peas.

Additionally, peas act as a natural living mulch, helping to conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth.

Their tall vines also offer some shade for the soil, which can help keep it cooler during the hot summer months.

4. Mint

Mint is a fantastic companion plant for squash, offering numerous benefits to your garden. The combination of flowers and herbs helps repel pests and insects naturally but also enhances the growth and overall health of zucchini and summer squash.

Mint’s pest-repelling properties make it effective against common offenders like aphids and squash bugs, while its attractive fragrance lures in beneficial insects such as bees for improved pollination and increased crop yield.

Plus, mint is incredibly low-maintenance, adapting well to various garden conditions and requiring minimal care.

Its versatility doesn’t end there – you can also utilize this culinary herb to add flavor to your favorite dishes.

5. Corn

Corn is a fantastic companion plant for squash due to its many benefits. First, corn provides support for vining plants like squash and creates shade for the soil, helping control weeds.

While both corn and squash are classified as heavy feeders, corn actually fixes nitrogen in the soil, providing essential nutrients for nutrient-hungry plants like squash.

Plus, planting corn close to beans fix nitrogen deficiencies and improves the soil. The combination of these three plants – known as the “three sisters” approach – has been practiced by indigenous peoples such as the Seneca Branch of the Iroquoian American Indian tribes.

With its ability to support and nourish other crops while conserving space effectively, planting corn is a smart choice when it comes to companion planting with squash.

6. Onions

Onions can be excellent companion plants for summer squash. They add flavor to your favorite dishes and help protect your squash plants from pests and attract beneficial insects to the garden.

Onions release a strong scent that repels pests like aphids and flea beetles, helping to keep them away from your precious squash plants.

Additionally, onions attract pollinators such as honeybees, which are essential for the successful development of fruit on your squash plants.

Planting onions alongside your summer squash adds great taste to your recipes while providing natural pest control and healthy pollination in your garden.

7. Sunflower

Sunflowers are a fantastic companion plant for squash, offering numerous benefits in the garden. Not only do they add beauty and vibrancy to your space, but sunflowers also play a crucial role in pest control and attracting beneficial insects to your squash blossoms.

Their tall stems provide shade and support for sprawling squash vines while their large, bright yellow flowers serve as beacons for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Additionally, sunflowers can act as trap crops, diverting pests away from your precious squash plants.

8. Borage

Borage is an incredible companion plant for squash, as it not only attracts beneficial insects but also repels common pests like aphids.

Planting borage near your squash plants lets you create a garden ecosystem that supports natural pest control.

The beautiful blue flowers of borage attract honeybees and other pollinators, leading to healthier and more productive squash harvests.

Plus, the presence of borage in your garden can keep the soil quality high and ample nutrients available for your squash plants.

9. Turnips

Turnips make excellent companion plants for squash, as they help deter pests and improve soil health. These root vegetables can repel squash bugs and attract beneficial insects that prey on common pests.

Additionally, turnips have a deep taproot that helps break up compacted soil, improving drainage and allowing squash plants to access nutrients more easily.

By planting turnips alongside your squash, you’ll not only enjoy a bountiful harvest of both crops but also create a healthier garden ecosystem overall.

10. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are a fantastic companion plant for your summer squash and zucchini. These vibrant, flowering plants serve multiple purposes in your garden.

First, they attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which help control pests like aphids and flea beetles that can damage your squash crops.

Secondly, nasturtiums act as trap crops by luring these pests away from your zucchini and squash plants. This means fewer bugs attacking your precious harvest!

Not only do nasturtiums provide pest control benefits, but they also add a pop of color to your garden with their beautiful blooms.

By including nasturtiums in your companion planting strategy, you’re not only improving the health of your squash plants but creating an aesthetically pleasing environment as well.

11. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a fantastic companion plant for squash and zucchini. Their leaves smell amazing and add a refreshing aroma to your garden. Plus, they also help to ward off pests and insects that can harm your precious crops.

Lemon balm is great for repelling mosquitoes, flies, and even rodents. It’s a great addition to your garden if you want to keep those pests at bay.

But lemon balm does more than just deter pests. It also attracts beneficial pollinators like honeybees, which are crucial for the successful pollination of squash flowers.

And as we all know, good pollination leads to healthy fruit development! Plus, lemon balm’s vibrant blooms create a beautiful contrast against the green foliage of squash plants.

To maximize the benefits of lemon balm in your garden, simply interplant it among your squash or create small clusters throughout your vegetable patch.

This will not only provide added protection against pests but also offer visual interest and create a dynamic ecosystem in which your plants can thrive.

12. Oregano

Oregano is an exceptional companion plant for squash, making it an essential addition to your garden bed. Not only does oregano have a delicious fragrance and flavor, but it also serves as a natural deterrent for pests and insects that can harm zucchini and squash plants.

By planting oregano alongside your squash, you create a protective barrier against unwanted visitors in your garden.

This aromatic herb has properties that repel pests effectively, helping to maintain the health and vitality of your squash plants.

Additionally, oregano has been shown to improve the growth rate and yield of squash varieties, making it an excellent choice for companion planting.

With its many benefits and delightful characteristics, oregano is truly one of the best companions for squash in any garden setting.

3 Plants to Avoid Planting Next to Summer Squash

squash companion planting

The wrong plant next to your squash could hinder its growth, or even attract the wrong insects that harm your plants. Avoiding these plants will ensure they don’t compete for nutrients or attract similar pests.

Here are a few plants to avoid when choosing companion plants for zucchini and summer squash.

1. Potatoes

Potatoes should be avoided as companion plants for squash. This is because they compete for nutrients and can disrupt the root system of squash plants.

Potatoes are heavy feeders and tend to take up a lot of resources from the soil, which can negatively impact the growth and yield of squash.

It’s best to keep these two plants separate in your garden to ensure optimal growth for both.

2. Pumpkin

Pumpkin, despite being related to squash, is not an ideal companion plant for squash due to cross-pollination concerns and the potential for competition over resources.

Planting pumpkin alongside squash can result in hybridized seeds if they are allowed to cross-pollinate, which may not produce desirable traits in future generations.

Additionally, pumpkins are heavy feeders like squash and can compete for nutrients in the soil, leading to nutrient depletion and stunted growth for both plants.

Therefore, it is best to avoid planting pumpkins next to your squash plants and instead choose other compatible companions that can enhance their growth and yield.

3. Cucumber

Cucumbers are not recommended to be planted next to squash due to the negative impact they can have on each other’s growth. Both crops are in the same family. This means they compete for nutrients, water, and space in the garden.

Planting them together can result in stunted growth and reduced yields for both plants. To ensure your zucchini and summer squash thrive, it’s best to keep cucumbers at a distance and focus on companion plants that will enhance their growth instead.

Key Tips for Successful Companion Planting

  • When you plant zucchini and squash, choose companion plants that have similar soil and sun requirements to ensure they thrive together.
  • Rotate your crops each year to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases in the soil.
  • Plant taller companion plants on the north side of your squash plants to provide shade during the hottest part of the day.
  • Provide support for vining vegetables like beans by using trellises or stakes, allowing them to grow vertically and save space in your garden bed.
  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or diseases and take prompt action to control them, such as removing affected flowers and leaves or using organic pest control methods.
  • Mulch around your squash plants with organic materials like straw or wood chips to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and improve soil quality.

Final Thoughts

Companion planting for squash offers numerous benefits such as space-saving, crop variety, soil nourishment, effective pest control, and attracting beneficial insects.

Choosing great pairing plants like garlic, marigold, peas, mint, corn, onions, sunflower, borage, turnips, and nasturtiums to go with your squash plants will help you optimize their growth and yield.

However, it is important to avoid planting potatoes, pumpkins, or cucumbers next to your squash plants. With these tips in mind, gardening enthusiasts can create a thriving garden ecosystem that promotes healthy plant growth and maximizes harvest yields.

FAQs About The Best Companion Plants To Grow

What Should You Not Plant Near Squash?

It’s best to avoid planting certain vegetables near squash as they may compete for nutrients or attract common pests of the crop.

Avoid planting potatoes or other cucurbits (such as cucumbers and melons) alongside your squash.

What Is The Best Companion Plant For Squash?

Some plants that make great companions for squash include marigolds, nasturtiums, radishes, beans, corn, and herbs like dill and oregano.

These plants can provide benefits such as pest-repellent properties or attracting beneficial insects.

How Do I Create A Successful Companion Planting Layout For My Squash Garden?

To create a successful companion planting layout for your squash garden, consider factors such as plant compatibility (avoiding incompatible combinations), sun exposure requirements of each plant type, spacing recommendations to prevent overcrowding or shading issues, and the specific needs of your particular variety of squash.

What are the three sisters in companion planting?

The three sisters in companion planting refer to the combination of corn, beans, and squash, which are traditionally grown together.

Can I plant winter squash as a companion for zucchini?

Yes, winter squash can be planted as a companion for zucchini.

Can I plant beans and peas as companion plants for summer squash?

Yes, beans and peas can be planted as companion plants for summer squash.

Can squash and zucchini plants be planted together?

Yes, squash and zucchini plants can be planted together as they are from the same family and have similar growing requirements.

What are some other plants that can be grown well with zucchini and yellow squash?

A few other plants that grow well with zucchini are tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs like basil and oregano.