15 Best Watermelon Companion Plants for a Thriving Garden

Having trouble growing watermelons in your garden? Finding the right companions for these juicy fruits can be a struggle.

After extensive research and personal experience, I discovered that choosing specific “friend” plants can help boost your watermelon’s growth and keep pests at bay!

In this article, I’ll share some of the best watermelon companion plants, how companion planting can improve your garden, and a few plants you should avoid if you don’t want to harm your watermelon.

Key Takeaways

  • Companion planting with the right plants can enhance watermelon growth and protect against pests, creating a thriving garden ecosystem.
  • Watermelon and other melons act as an effective ground cover that suppresses weeds, prevents soil erosion, and reduces competition for nutrients in the garden.
  • Perfect companion plants for watermelons include basil for pest control, beans and peas for nitrogen boost, cabbage as a trap crop, corn as a trellis, dill to attract beneficial insects, garlic to repel pests, lettuce as ground cover, marigolds for pollinators and nematode control, and mint to repel aphids and flea beetles.

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Understanding Companion Planting

watermelon companion plants

Companion planting is planting certain plants near each other for their mutual benefit to create a sustainable and thriving garden ecosystem and allow your plants to grow fully.

For instance, some companion plants help enhance the nutrients in the soil, offering a natural nitrogen boost as beans and peas do for watermelons.

This comes into play particularly when using the well-known Three Sisters method of planting corn, beans, and squash (or in our case watermelons) together.

Additionally, other companion plants serve as effective pest control agents. They either repel unwanted pests with their strong scent or attract beneficial insects that prey on harmful bugs.

Basil, for example, keeps pesky thrips at bay while dill draws ladybugs known for their aphid-eating tendencies. Also, cabbage can act as a sacrificial trap crop to divert pests away from your precious watermelon vines.

Companion planting is an easy way to create a lush garden by creatively using different types of plants that support each other.

The Role of Watermelons in Companion Planting

companion planting watermelon

In the world of companion planting, watermelons play an essential role. Equipped with long, sprawling vines, they act as effective ground cover in your garden.

This means that they can suppress those pesky weeds and help maintain a healthier environment for other plant companions by reducing competition for nutrients.

These vigorous green curtains offer significant protection against soil erosion caused by wind and rain.

But the benefits don’t stop at weed suppression and erosion control; watermelons also come to the table – or rather, the garden – with specific demands that influence their relationship with fellow plants.

Watermelons require frequent watering and crave nutrient-rich soil. You might have to add more fertilizer or compost to your garden beds.

You could potentially add “soil-fixing” plants to improve the nutrients, but I’m getting ahead of myself 😀.

Other than yielding juicy melons under optimal conditions, their thirsty nature pairs well with plants like beans and peas that can provide a nitrogen boost to enrich your soil further.

You will need to spend some time keeping their growth in check though. If not, you could run the risk of your watermelon choking neighboring plants out inadvertently.

But, a little bit of management in terms of placement within a shared space or careful vine pruning will ensure your watermelons and compatible plant partners get along.

Benefits of Companion Plants for Watermelons

watermelon companion planting

Companion plants offer numerous advantages for your watermelon patch, enhancing its productivity and overall health.

Here are some benefits to be aware of when you choose companion plants that enrich your whole garden.

  1. Pest Control: Certain companion plants, like basil, cilantro, dill, and nasturtiums effectively repel harmful pests. Plants like these keep away troublemakers like thrips, flea beetles, or nematodes.
  2. Attraction of Beneficial Insects: Some companion plants can bring beneficial insects to your garden. For example, dill attracts aphid-eating ladybugs while dwarf bee balm draws in helpful pollinators.
  3. Soil Improvement: Beans and peas offer a fantastic nitrogen boost to the soil – a crucial nutrient for watermelon growth.
  4. Weed Prevention: Watermelons themselves serve as useful companion plants by acting as a ground cover that keeps weeds at bay. Pairing them with lettuce reinforces this advantage.
  5. Trap Crops: Strategically planting certain crops can save your watermelon patch from destructive pests. Cabbage works as an excellent trap crop that lures pests away from your melons.
  6. Ground Cover and Erosion Prevention: The long vines of the watermelon plant help prevent soil erosion caused by wind and rain while inhibiting the growth of unwanted plants.
  7. Natural Pest Deterrence: Garlic’s pungent aroma is a natural pest deterrent that helps keep pesky invaders away from your watermelons when planted in between rows.
  8. Nematode Control: Marigolds have shown to be effective in controlling nematode populations within the soil protecting the root system of your beloved watermelons.
  9. Containment of Invasive Species: Mint’s strength lies in keeping aphids and flea beetles at bay; however, it’s best to contain it properly within the garden space to prevent uncontrollable spread.

Characteristics of Watermelon

Plant Family
Watering Conditions
Well-draining soil, keep consistently moist
Mature Size
Varies by variety; typically 1-2 feet tall, 6-12 feet wide
Soil Requirements
Rich, sandy loam soil; pH 6.0-7.5
Sunlight Needs
Full sun
Temperature Tolerance
Warm-weather crop, sensitive to frost; thrives in USDA zones 4-11
Growth Habit
Annual trailing vine
Flowering Period
Flower Color
Foliage Characteristics
Large, green, and lobed leaves
Propagation Methods
Seeds (direct sowing)
Pruning and Maintenance
Train to grow along a trellis or support for better air circulation; thin fruit for larger, sweeter melons
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, squash bugs, cucumber beetles; powdery mildew, anthracnose
Companion Planting
Nasturtiums, marigolds, radishes, and other vegetables
Edible Parts
Edible flesh and seeds
Wildlife Attraction
Watermelon flowers attract pollinators like bees
Special Care Instructions
Provide consistent moisture, especially during fruit development; protect from extreme heat and cold

15 Best Watermelon Companion Plants

To make sure you grow the largest watermelons possible 😀, consider planting these perfect companion plants alongside your watermelons: basil for natural pest control, beans and peas for nitrogen boost, cabbage as trap crops for pests, corn as a natural trellis, and dill to attract beneficial insects like ladybugs.

Here is a comprehensive list of the best watermelon companion plants that should be planted together.

1. Basil

You’ll love growing basil around your watermelon plants because it serves as a natural pest repellent. Basil has the amazing ability to deter pests like thrips, which can wreak havoc on watermelon crops.

By planting my basil close to watermelons, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in pest infestations and damage.

Not only does this herb protect my precious watermelons, but it also adds a delightful aroma and flavor to my garden.

Plus, having fresh basil on hand for cooking is an added bonus!

2. Beans and Peas

Two great companion plants for watermelons are beans and peas. These legumes, especially bush and pole varieties, are not only delicious additions to your garden but also provide a nitrogen boost to your watermelon crops.

Beans and peas have the unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, which acts as natural fertilization for your watermelons.

So by planting these legumes alongside your watermelons, you’ll be enriching the soil and promoting healthy growth without relying on synthetic fertilizers.

Plus, they can serve as a great trellis if you opt for pole bean varieties, providing support for both plants while maximizing vertical space in your garden.

3. Cabbage

I absolutely love planting cabbage alongside my watermelon plants in the garden. Not only does cabbage belong to the brassica family, but it also acts as a natural deterrent for pests that commonly target watermelons.

The beauty of this companion planting strategy is that cabbage lures pests away from my precious watermelon vines, serving as a sacrificial crop.

By strategically positioning cabbage at the ends of my watermelon rows, I can effectively manage and control pest infestations.

It’s amazing how something as simple as planting cabbage near watermelons can help create a healthy and thriving garden.

If you’re looking to protect your watermelons from pesky insects like aphids or flea beetles, consider adding some cabbage companions to your garden bed.

Not only will they attract pests away from your juicy fruits, but they’ll also boost the overall health and growth of your entire ecosystem.

4. Corn

Another great companion plant for watermelons is corn. Corn not only adds height and structure to your garden but also serves as a natural trellis for beans or peas in the watermelon patch.

In fact, corn is associated with several other ideal companion plants for watermelons, especially when using the Three Sisters gardening method.

This traditional Native American technique involves growing corn, beans, and squash together harmoniously.

While sunflowers are commonly used in this method, corn can be a great alternative to provide sturdy support for pole beans and peas without casting too much shade on the watermelons.

5. Dill

Dill is a fantastic companion plant and is best planted between your watermelon. Not only does it add a touch of fragrant freshness, but it also attracts ladybugs and other aphid-eating insects that help keep pests at bay.

By planting dill between your watermelon rows, you’re creating a natural pest control system that can protect your precious vines from unwanted critters.

Plus, who doesn’t love the added bonus of having fresh dill on hand for cooking or pickling? Sprinkle some dill seeds alongside your watermelon seeds – you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make in keeping those pesky aphids away!

6. Garlic

One of my favorite companion plants for watermelons is garlic. Not only does it add a delicious flavor to your dishes, but it also helps repel common pests like rodents and aphids that can wreak havoc on your watermelon plants.

Garlic is best grown between fall and spring, so make sure to plan accordingly. It thrives in well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0, providing the ideal conditions for its growth and pest-repelling properties.

Be sure to plant garlic alongside your vining watermelon, you’ll not only enjoy the added benefit of fresh garlic for cooking but also protect your watermelons from potential damage caused by these pesky invaders.

7. Lettuce

Lettuce is a fantastic companion plant for watermelons, as it offers multiple benefits to your garden.

Not only does lettuce serve as a ground cover to prevent weeds from sprouting around the watermelon plants, but it also provides shade during the hottest parts of the day.

This creates a favorable microclimate for your watermelon patch and helps maintain a weed-free garden environment.

Plus, lettuce is a fast-growing vegetable that can be planted between spring and fall, making it an ideal choice for companion planting with watermelons.

By incorporating lettuce into your garden bed alongside your watermelons, you can enhance overall health and productivity while enjoying fresh greens throughout the growing season.

8. Marigolds

Marigolds are incredible companion plants for your garden. Not only do they add a pop of color and beauty to your garden, but they also boast numerous benefits.

These vibrant flowers attract pollinators like bees, ensuring that your watermelon plants receive optimal pollination and higher fruit production.

Marigolds also have a pungent aroma that repels pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and cucumber beetles – keeping your watermelon plants safe from harm.

By planting marigolds alongside your watermelon seeds, you create a natural barrier that deters weed growth and acts as a trap crop for pests.

Additionally, marigolds can improve soil health by reducing nematode populations, leading to an overall healthier garden ecosystem.

9. Mint

Mint is not only a versatile herb for culinary uses but also a perfect companion plant for watermelons in the garden. Its strong aroma is effective in repelling aphids and flea beetles, which are common pests that can damage watermelon plants.

However, it’s important to contain mint in pots or designated areas as it has a tendency to spread aggressively if left unchecked.

By planting mint near your watermelon patch, you can naturally deter these troublesome insects and protect your precious fruits from harm.

10. Nasturtium

Nasturtium is a fantastic companion plant for watermelons that not only adds beauty to your garden but also helps keep pests at bay.

These vibrant, flowering plants act as trap crops, diverting pesky aphids and caterpillars away from your precious watermelon plants.

Nasturtiums are perennials that provide a natural defense against garden pests, making them an excellent addition to any vegetable patch or garden bed.

With their stunning colors and ability to deter harmful insects, nasturtiums are a must-have companion plant for healthy and thriving watermelon plants.

11. Onions

Onions are also great companions for watermelons in your garden. Not only do they add a flavorful touch to your meals, but they also help protect your precious watermelon crop from pests.

The strong scent of onions can act as a natural deterrent, keeping unwanted insects and critters away from your watermelons.

Plus, planting onions near watermelons can help improve soil health by adding organic matter and nutrients to the ground.

12. Oregano

Oregano is a fantastic companion plant for watermelons, offering multiple benefits to your garden. It acts as a natural insect repellent, deterring harmful pests such as aphids and flea beetles that can damage your watermelon plants.

With its aromatic leaves and ability to attract beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybugs, oregano helps create a more balanced ecosystem in your garden.

Additionally, oregano contains compounds that can enhance the flavor of nearby vegetables, including watermelons.

By planting oregano near your watermelon patch, you not only promote healthier growth but also add a delightful taste to your harvest.

13. Radishes

Radishes are excellent companion plants for your watermelons because they serve multiple purposes in the garden.

Firstly, radishes can help maximize limited space by growing quickly and being harvested before watermelons need more room to grow.

Secondly, radishes act as a trap crop for aphids, keeping these pests away from your prized watermelon plants. Also, radishes deter cucumber beetles, natural enemies of watermelons.

By planting radishes alongside your watermelon vines, you not only create a beneficial environment but also ensure that your garden remains healthy and productive.

14. Sage

Sage is a fantastic companion plant for watermelons, providing multiple benefits to your garden. With its pest-repelling properties and shallow roots, sage can help keep unwanted visitors like flea beetles and cabbage loopers at bay.

By planting sage near your watermelon patch, you can prevent those pesky pests from infesting your plants and causing damage.

Plus, the shallow root system of sage won’t compete heavily with the watermelon’s nutrient needs or watering requirements.

15. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are one of my favorite companion plants for watermelons in the garden. These tall and majestic flowers not only add beauty and charm to the space but also provide numerous practical benefits.

Sunflowers act as natural support structures for watermelon vines, keeping them off the ground and reducing the risk of damage or disease.

They also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, which can help control aphid populations that could otherwise harm your precious watermelon plants.

Also, sunflowers create shade and protection for your watermelons from harsh sunlight and extreme temperatures, ensuring they thrive throughout the season.

Their vibrant blooms attract pollinators like bees, enhancing the chances of successful fruiting for your watermelon crop.

While sunflowers can be great companions, you’ll just need to keep an extra eye on your plants in case you start attracting harmful pests.

The Worst Companion Plants For Watermelons

There are many benefits to companion planting, but also knowing the potential disadvantages is important. One disadvantage is the risk of overcrowding.

When plants are not spaced properly, they can compete for nutrients and sunlight, leading to stunted growth and reduced yields.

This is especially true for watermelons, which require ample space to spread out their long vines.

Another issue with companion planting is that certain plants may attract pests or diseases that can harm your watermelon crop.

For example, roses can attract aphids, which may infest your watermelon plants and hinder their growth.

Similarly, growing potatoes nearby can attract different species of aphids that could affect your watermelons.

Also, some companion plants may have differing watering needs or nutrient requirements compared to watermelons. If you don’t meet these needs it could result in uneven growth or nutrient deficiencies in your crops.

To avoid potential issues when practicing companion planting with watermelons, make sure to research each plant’s compatibility thoroughly before planning your garden layout.

Proper spacing between plants and regular monitoring for pest infestations will also help ensure a successful harvest without compromising the health of your watermelon crop.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating companion plants into your watermelon garden can significantly enhance the overall health and productivity of your crops.

By carefully selecting the perfect companions such as basil, beans and peas, cabbage, dill, marigolds, and more, you can deter pests, improve soil fertility, attract beneficial insects for natural pest control, and create a harmonious ecosystem that allows your watermelons to thrive.

Try experimenting with different companion plant combinations to figure out what works best for your garden.

FAQs About The Best Companion Plants For Watermelon

What Are The Best Companion Plants For Watermelon?

There are several, but some of the best companion plants for watermelon include marigolds, nasturtiums, radishes, beans, and corn. These plants will help your watermelon grow while controlling unwanted and harmful pests.

Can I Plant Watermelons Next To Other Types Of Melons?

Yes, watermelons can be planted next to other types of melons, such as cantaloupe or honeydew, as they have similar growing requirements and can benefit from companion planting.

Make sure you give them enough space to grow, otherwise, their vines could choke other plants. It is advised to plant watermelons 4-8 feet apart depending on conditions. 

Are There Any Plants That Should Not Be Planted Near Watermelons?

While companion planting can be beneficial, there are a few plants that are considered to be the worst companion plants for watermelons, such as potatoes, onions, and fennel, as they may compete for resources or attract pests that love to eat watermelons.

What Are Some Companion Plants That Do Well With Watermelons?

Besides the ones mentioned above, some companion plants that do well with watermelons include sunflowers, zinnias, mint, dill, and basil.

These plants can attract beneficial insects and provide shade or support for the watermelon vines.

When is the best time to plant companion plants with watermelons?

It’s best to plant companion plants alongside watermelons during their early growth stages when they can establish themselves and grow together.

Don’t wait too long though as your watermelon vines might overtake your companions.

Can I grow watermelons without companion plants?

Yes, watermelons can be grown without companion plants. However, using companion planting techniques can provide additional benefits and improve the overall health and productivity of the watermelon plants.

Do different watermelon varieties have different companion planting needs?

While watermelon varieties may have slightly different companion planting needs, most watermelon varieties benefit from planting companion plants that attract pollinators, repel pests, or provide shade or support.

How close should companion plants be planted to watermelons?

Companion plants should be planted close enough to the watermelon to provide their intended benefits, such as attracting beneficial insects or shading the watermelon vines.

However, be careful not to overcrowd the watermelon plants or impede their growth. It is recommended to plant watermelons (and companion plants for them) about 4-8 feet apart depending on conditions.

Are there any companion plants that watermelons need to avoid?

While there are some companion plants that watermelons may benefit from, it’s best to avoid planting them near plants that have similar nutrient or water needs to avoid competition for resources.

For example, you should avoid planting sunflowers close by as they can attract harmful pets that love to eat watermelons.