Tomatoes can sometimes be a struggle because they are hard to grow and attract pesky pests.
Companion planting, the method of pairing certain beneficial plants together, can offer a solution to these common problems gardeners face.
In this article, I’ll share the best tomato companion plants that will not only enhance your tomatoes’ health but also aid in pest control.
- Companion planting can significantly improve the growth and health of your tomato plants while also helping with pest control.
- Some of the best companion plants for tomatoes include calendula, chives, radishes, sage, French marigolds, and nasturtiums.
- These companion plants help repel pests such as aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and tomato hornworms while attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and green lacewings.
- By including these companion plants in your tomato garden, you can enjoy increased crop yields, improved soil health, efficient use of garden space, and effective natural pest control.
- Key Takeaways
- Understanding Companion Planting
- Benefits of Companion Planting
- Characteristics Of Tomatoes
- Best Tomato Companion Plants for Pest Control
- Tomato Companion Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects
- Tomato Companion Plants for Weed Control
- Tomato Companion Plants to Increase Pollination
- Tomato Companion Plants to Improve Tomato Health
- Companion Plants to Avoid with Tomatoes
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions About Tomato Companion Plants
- What Should You Not Plant Next To Tomatoes?
- What Is The Best Companion Plant For Tomatoes?
- Can Peppers And Tomatoes Be Planted Together?
- Do Marigolds Help Tomato Plants?
- What is a good cover crop for tomatoes?
- How do companion plants benefit tomato plants?
- Can companion plants prevent pests from attacking the roots of tomato plants?
- Are there any plants that can deter tomato hornworms?
- Can planting tomatoes and carrots together improve their growth?
- Which plants make good companions for most garden plants?
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Understanding Companion Planting
Companion planting is the practice of pairing various types of plants together. From increasing nutrient uptake and pollination to providing pest control and reducing disease, this method embraces the science-based approach of intercropping or creating a well-diverse garden.
Here’s a short video explaining the concept of companion planting.
The strategy behind companion planting stems from understanding each plant’s specific needs, such as rich, well-drained soil or sunlight exposure preferences.
Also, certain plants emit chemicals that act as natural pesticides or attract beneficial insects like green lacewings and ladybugs.
Other low-growing herbs serve as living mulch, maintaining soil moisture, while taller flowering plants provide shade for those needing less sunshine. They also increase pollination by attracting native bees and other pollinators, all of which help your tomatoes grow larger.
Benefits of Companion Planting
There are many benefits gardeners will love from companion planting. Companion planting can help increase garden yields, improve soil health, create more efficient use of garden space, and provide more effective pest control.
Increased Garden Yields
Using companion planting with your tomato plants helps boost productivity in your garden. This approach can significantly increase the number of tomatoes you get each season.
Companion plants can improve nutrients for your plants by creating a more diverse soil structure and improving soil fertility.
Plants like beans, for example, add nitrogen back into the soil, which is an essential factor for the healthy growth of your tomato plants.
Other companion plants, such as borage or basil, release anti-fungal compounds into the soil that protect against diseases like blight, which commonly affect tomato plants.
Instead of monocropping, which is where one type of plant is grown alone in an area, causing them to be more susceptible to pest infestations and diseases, companion planting considers all members of your vegetable garden as potential “plant partners.
This method promotes a healthier environment that attracts beneficial insects and pollinators such as ladybugs, green lacewings, bumblebees, and honeybees, which play key roles in enhancing pollination.
This means more juicy tomatoes for you and your family 👍.
It’s science-based gardening at its finest, giving you bigger and better tomato harvests year after year.
Improved Soil Health
Healthy soil forms the foundation for successful gardening, particularly when growing nutrient-demanding plants like tomatoes.
Companion planting nurtures the soil by enhancing nutrient uptake and supporting beneficial microorganisms in the garden ecosystem.
For instance, root crops like radishes not only aerate your garden’s bed but also break up compacted dirt to facilitate tomato root development.
Herbs like oregano or parsley boost soil health and attract beneficial insects that keep harmful pests away.
Crimson clover serves an important role as a living mulch that maintains ground moisture while adding much-needed nitrogen to your soil. Focusing on improving soil health makes sure your tomatoes produce more fruits and stay resistant to disease and pests.
Efficient Use of Garden Space
We all have limited space in our gardens. Carefully selecting plants that work well together allows you to efficiently use every inch of your garden and increase overall productivity.
For example, interplanting tomatoes with low-growing herbs like thyme or basil not only saves space but also improves the soil for healthier tomato plants.
Another effective technique is using living mulch such as sweet alyssum or winter rye between rows of tomatoes to stop weeds from growing and conserve moisture.
Companion planting is an effective way to naturally control pests in your tomato garden. Certain plants grown together can create a natural barrier against common tomato pests and reduce the need for chemical pesticides.
For example, marigolds are amazing companion plants for tomatoes as they release a scent that repels whiteflies, which are one of the most common tomato plant pests.
Chives, on the other hand, not only deter harmful insects like aphids with their strong smell but also attract beneficial predators like ladybugs that feed on these pests.
Radishes act as trap crops, luring pests away from tomatoes. Sage has a similar effect by deterring cabbage moths and spider mites from infesting nearby tomato plants.
Another way to control pests is to attract beneficial insects that prey on garden pests. Cilantro is useful because it attracts tiny parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside destructive caterpillars such as hornworms, which then become food for the newly hatched wasp larvae.
Oregano’s aroma attracts hoverflies and lacewings, which feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects that damage tomato plants. Parsley also draws in beneficial insects such as predatory beetles that eat pests attacking tomatoes.
Characteristics Of Tomatoes
Solanaceae (Nightshade family)
Regular watering, keep the soil consistently moist
Varies by variety, typically 1-6 feet tall
Well-draining, fertile soil with organic matter
Full sun to partial shade
Hardy in USDA zones 5-8
Herbaceous, sprawling or climbing vine
Green leaves with serrated edges
Seeds or stem cuttings (grafting)
|Pruning and Maintenance|
Remove suckers to encourage fruit production; staking or trellising may be needed
|Common Pests and Diseases|
Aphids, whiteflies, tomato hornworm; early blight, blossom end rot, powdery mildew
Basil, marigold, carrots, onions
Attracts pollinators like bees
|Special Care Instructions|
Consistent watering to avoid fruit cracking; provide support for the vines
Best Tomato Companion Plants for Pest Control
Repelling harmful insects is a major part of getting more out of your tomato plants. Here are some of the best tomato companion plants for naturally repelling harmful pests.
Calendula, with its vibrant golden flowers, is not only a beautiful addition to any garden but also a great companion plant for tomatoes. Because it has a strong aroma, this herb repels harmful insects that can damage tomato plants.
By planting calendula near your tomatoes, you create a natural pest control barrier that helps your tomatoes grow. These colorful blooms attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and green lacewings that prey on aphids and other common tomato pests.
Calendula also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help protect tomato plants from soil-borne diseases.
Chives are awesome companion plants for tomatoes. They offer multiple benefits to improve tomato growth and ward off pests. They naturally repel common tomato pests like aphids, spider mites, and nematodes, helping to protect your tomato plants from damage.
Chives also attract beneficial insects such as bees and ladybugs that prey on harmful bugs in the garden. If you plant chives alongside your tomatoes, you not only provide natural pest control, but both plants will actually see improvement just by being close to each other.
Additionally, chives offer shade and cooling to tomato plants during hot summer months, extending the growing season and promoting healthier growth.
One fantastic companion plant for tomatoes is radishes. These root crops not only add a pop of color to your garden but also offer several benefits when planted alongside tomatoes.
Radishes help aerate the soil, which creates channels for air and water to reach the roots of tomato plants easily.
Radishes also naturally repel certain pests, such as cucumber beetles and flea beetles, which reduces the risk of infestation on your tomato plants.
Sage is a fantastic companion plant for tomatoes due to its strong scent. This can repel insect pests and contribute to improved growth and pest control.
When planted alongside tomatoes, sage acts as a natural deterrent against common garden pests like aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and even the destructive tomato hornworm.
This herb not only helps protect your precious tomato plants from pests but also adds a delightful fragrance to your garden.
By planting sage near your tomatoes, you’ll be creating a welcoming environment for beneficial insects like green lacewings and ladybugs that also prey on harmful pests.
5. French Marigolds
French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are one of the best companion plants for tomatoes. These vibrant and fragrant flowers not only add beauty to your tomato patch but also act as natural pest deterrents.
French marigolds release volatile chemicals that repel harmful insects like whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites, helping to protect your tomato plants from infestations.
Additionally, their strong scent can confuse pests and disrupt their feeding patterns.
Plus, their flowering blooms attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and green lacewings that feed on common tomato pests like hornworms and aphids.
By planting French marigolds in close proximity to your tomato plants, you create a dynamic ecosystem that supports pollination while naturally controlling pests without having to use pesticides.
You might consider adding these beautiful flowers throughout your garden to help grow tomatoes in mass and protect against garden nuisances.
Nasturtiums are another amazing companion plant for tomatoes. These vibrant flowering plants not only add beauty to your garden but also work wonders at naturally repelling common tomato pests.
Nasturtiums release chemicals that deter aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and even tomato hornworms.
Furthermore, they help improve the growth and flavor of your tomatoes without competing with them for nutrients or overshadowing their much-needed sunlight.
Tomato Companion Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects
Many of the plants I already mentioned can attract beneficial insects to help protect your tomato garden. Here are a few more that do a great job of attracting beneficial insects that feed on tomato pests:
Cilantro is another fantastic companion plant to grow with tomatoes. Not only does cilantro attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and parasitic wasps that can help control pests such as aphids and whiteflies, but it also provides shade and cooling for tomato plants without competing with them for nutrients.
Planting cilantro near your tomatoes creates a symbiotic relationship where both plants thrive together. Plus, the cilantro leaves add a delightful flavor to your favorite tomato dishes.
Oregano is a fantastic companion plant for tomatoes that can improve growth and aid in pest control. This lovely herb emits a scent that repels insects and reduces the likelihood of them landing on your tomato plants.
By planting oregano alongside tomatoes, you can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, bees, and butterflies, which help control harmful bugs naturally.
Oregano also offers shade to tomato plants, resulting in better growth and potential pest prevention.
Additionally, it shields your garden from wind and rain damage and helps prevent soil erosion. With its physical support capabilities, oregano reduces the need for staking while ensuring healthier growth.
Parsley is a fantastic companion plant for your tomato garden. Not only does it add beauty with its vibrant green leaves, but it also attracts beneficial insects that contribute to pest control in the garden.
These insects, such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps, prey on common tomato pests like aphids and whiteflies. By planting parsley near your tomatoes, you can improve tomato growth and the health of your plants.
Plus, you will naturally reduce the population of destructive pests in your garden.
Tomato Companion Plants for Weed Control
Tomato plants can benefit from companion plants that help control weeds, such as Crimson Clover. While I have only included one plant here, there are many companion plants that help with weed control
Crimson clover is a fantastic companion plant for tomatoes, especially when it comes to weed control. This vibrant red legume not only suppresses unwanted weeds in your garden but also adds a touch of beauty to the overall landscape.
Unlike some other plants, crimson clover doesn’t compete with tomatoes for nutrients. This makes it an ideal partner for your tomato plants.
In fact, it actually enhances the soil by fixing nitrogen and increasing organic matter content.
Additionally, its dense foliage provides shade that helps protect your tomatoes during the hot summer months.
Tomato Companion Plants to Increase Pollination
Here are a few companion plants that tomatoes love. These plants attract pollinator insects that help improve growth and resilience in your garden.
Lavender is an excellent companion plant that attracts pollinating insects. Not only does the strong scent of lavender help repel pests from your tomato plants, but it also attracts beneficial insects like bees that aid in pollination.
By planting lavender near your tomatoes, you’re creating a partnership that boosts natural pest control and improves soil health and productivity.
Additionally, lavender acts as a living mulch for your tomatoes, providing them with much-needed shade and moisture retention.
This organic approach to pest control is not only effective but also adds beauty and fragrance to your garden space while supporting the overall well-being of your tomatoes.
Sunflowers are not only beautiful additions to your garden, but they also serve a vital purpose as companion plants for tomatoes. These tall and vibrant flowers attract pollinators like bees, which play a crucial role in tomato pollination.
By interplanting sunflowers with your tomato plants, you can increase the chances of successful fruit production. Additionally, sunflowers provide shade for smaller plants, resulting in better productivity and potential pest control.
Zinnias are fantastic companions for tomato plants in the garden. Not only do they add a pop of vibrant color, but they also attract essential pollinators like bees that aid in tomato pollination.
Planting zinnias alongside tomatoes can increase pollination rates and improve your tomato crops. On top of that, zinnias are known to repel insects, making them an excellent natural pest control option for your tomato plants.
These beautiful flowers offer multiple benefits when planted with tomatoes. From attracting beneficial insects to serving as living mulch, zinnias are a great addition to your garden.
Tomato Companion Plants to Improve Tomato Health
Having the proper nutrients in your soil is important for your tomato’s growth. This group of companion plants helps repel insects, improves soil health, and tends to grow well with tomatoes.
Asparagus plants are fantastic companion plants for tomatoes. Not only does it add beauty and texture to your garden, but it also offers numerous benefits to tomato plants.
Asparagus contains saponins which are compounds that can repel nematodes and prevent soil-borne diseases from attacking your tomatoes.
Asparagus also has deep roots that help break up compacted soil and enhance nutrient uptake for neighboring plants.
By planting asparagus alongside your tomatoes, you’ll not only enjoy healthy and productive tomato plants but also reap the rewards of this versatile vegetable in your garden.
Basil is not only a flavorful herb that complements tomatoes perfectly in the kitchen, but it’s also a beneficial companion plant to plant around tomato plants in the garden.
When planted alongside tomatoes, basil can enhance their growth and flavor, making it an ideal pairing.
Basil emits a strong scent that repels insects like aphids and whiteflies. This helps protect tomato plants from pest damage. This scented herb acts as a natural deterrent without the need for harmful pesticides or chemicals.
In addition to its pest-repelling properties, basil can also help improve soil health by attracting beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies for pollination.
Borage is a fantastic companion plant for tomatoes, providing numerous benefits to enhance their growth and control pests.
This beautiful herb not only repels insect pests like tomato hornworms and aphids but also improves soil health by releasing nutrients as it decomposes.
Borage’s large leaves also act as living mulch, helping to retain moisture in the soil and suppress the growth of weeds.
Not only that, borage is associated with improved tomato health due to its production of anti-fungal compounds that can help combat diseases such as early blight and late blight.
It even attracts beneficial insects like green lacewings and ladybugs, which are natural predators of garden pests.
Carrots make excellent companion plants to grow around your tomato plants (plus, they are super tasty). They add a splash of color with their vibrant orange roots and also improve the overall health of tomato plants.
Carrots help aerate the soil around tomato roots, allowing for better nutrient absorption and root development. This improves plant growth and the overall yield of both crops.
Additionally, carrots release chemical compounds that repel pests and keep harmful insects away from your tomato plants.
Tomatoes and carrots pair well together in your garden because they don’t compete with each other and work together to improve the soil in your garden beds.
Garlic is one of the best tomato companion plants to grow near your tomatoes. When planted near tomatoes, garlic acts as a natural deterrent against insect pests such as aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and tomato worms.
Garlic releases compounds that have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that protect tomato plants from soil-borne diseases like early blight and late blight.
Garlic also improves the overall health of the soil by increasing its fertility and structure.
Not only does it repel pests and improve soil health, but it can even enhance tomato flavor when harvested together.
Companion Plants to Avoid with Tomatoes
Certain plants should be avoided when planting tomatoes, as they can have negative effects on growth and attract pests. Here are the plants to avoid planting with tomatoes:
- Cole crops (such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower): These plants can attract pests like cabbage worms and aphids that also attack tomato plants.
- Fennel: Fennel releases chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants, including tomatoes.
- Dill: Dill attracts tomato hornworms, which are notorious for feeding on tomato leaves and fruits.
- Nightshades (such as potatoes and eggplants): Nightshade plants are from the same family as tomatoes (the Solanaceae family) and can increase the risk of diseases that affect both tomato plants and nightshades.
- Cucumbers: Cucumbers have similar nutrient requirements to tomatoes, which can lead to competition for resources in the soil.
- Sweet corn: Corn is a heavy feeder and may exhaust soil nutrients needed by tomato plants.
- Rosemary: Rosemary produces chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants, including tomatoes.
Pairing the right companion plants in your tomato garden not only improves growth but also provides natural pest control.
By strategically planting herbs like chives and sage, you can repel harmful insects while attracting beneficial ones like ladybugs and green lacewings.
Additionally, root crops such as radishes help maintain soil health and prevent weed growth. With the right combination of tomato companions, you’ll be able to enjoy a thriving garden with bountiful harvests and reduced pest issues.
If you’re looking for more information on companion plants, check out this guide to the best companion plants for your garden.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tomato Companion Plants
What Should You Not Plant Next To Tomatoes?
There are a few plants I would recommend you avoid planting near tomatoes, such as stink bugs and plants that inhibit the growth of tomato plants. This would include cabbage, broccoli, fennel, dill, potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, corn, and rosemary.
What Is The Best Companion Plant For Tomatoes?
Some of the best companion plants for tomatoes include marigolds, peas, cucumbers, and dill plants. You can find a comprehensive tomato companion plant list in this article.
Can Peppers And Tomatoes Be Planted Together?
Yes, peppers and tomatoes can be planted together. Peppers are a great companion to plant near your tomato plants. Both peppers and tomatoes have similar growing requirements and can thrive in the same soil conditions. However, it’s essential to provide 18–24 inches between plants to ensure good airflow and prevent the spread of diseases.
Do Marigolds Help Tomato Plants?
Yes, marigolds can be beneficial for tomato plants. Marigolds are known for their pest-repellent properties, particularly against nematodes. Planting marigolds as companion plants alongside tomatoes can help keep bugs away from your tomato plants. The strong aroma of marigolds is believed to mask the scent of tomato plants, making them less attractive to pests.
What is a good cover crop for tomatoes?
There are several cover crops that can work well next to tomatoes. Some popular options include:
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a fast-growing cover crop that helps suppress weeds and improve soil fertility. It has a fibrous root system that helps break up compacted soil and add organic matter when it is turned under.
- Crimson clover: Crimson clover is a nitrogen-fixing cover crop that adds nutrients to the soil. It helps improve soil structure and reduces erosion. When the clover is turned under, it releases nitrogen, which can benefit the subsequent tomato crop.
- Annual ryegrass: Annual ryegrass is a cool-season cover crop that can be planted in the fall and provides excellent ground cover. It helps prevent soil erosion, improves soil structure, and adds organic matter when it is tilled under.
- Winter rye: Winter rye is a hardy-cover crop that can be planted in the fall. It helps suppress weeds, prevents erosion, and adds organic matter to the soil. It also has an extensive root system that helps improve soil structure.
How do companion plants benefit tomato plants?
Companion plants can benefit tomato plants in various ways. When you plant certain plants together they can help deter pests, improve the flavor of tomatoes, attract beneficial insects, and provide shade or support for tomato plants.
Can companion plants prevent pests from attacking the roots of tomato plants?
Yes, some companion plants, such as marigolds, can deter pests from attacking the roots of tomato plants. Their strong scent repels certain harmful insects away from the base of the tomato plant.
Are there any plants that can deter tomato hornworms?
Yes, certain plants, like marigolds, can deter tomato hornworms. These plants release chemicals that repel these pests and protect tomato plants.
Borage will also deter tomato hornworms from getting into your tomatoes because it attracts pollinators and beneficial insects.
You can also use parsley and dill as companion plants to help get rid of tomato hornworms in your garden.
Can planting tomatoes and carrots together improve their growth?
Yes, planting tomatoes and carrots together improves their growth. Carrots are known to repel pests that commonly affect tomatoes, while tomatoes provide some shade for the carrot plants.
Carrots also aerate the soil, allowing for better nutrients and root structure for young tomato plants.
Which plants make good companions for most garden plants?
Marigolds are considered good companions for most garden plants and a favorite among gardeners. Their strong scent and insect-repelling properties make them a popular choice for companion planting.
You can find a full list in our complete guide to companion plants.