Alicia DeVore

Having a best friend can be one of the greatest joys. To have someone that you can share your life with, to know that they will defend you, and to feel like you matter are all qualities of a best friend.

Same thing goes with plants. Plants have friends too and they are called companion plants. Let’s explore some companion plants for tomatoes that thrive when grown with tomatoes, a species that typically grows during the early summer harvest and months.

In this post I’m going to show you how tomato companion planting can help your tomatoes grow like crazy.

how tomato companion planting can help your tomatoes grow better

What are Companion Plants?

As a garden educator, I want to share with you about companion plants and how they can benefit your garden. The definition of companion planting is that different plant species grow close together to enhance growth and productivity.

Companion plants are like garden friends who help neighboring plants and each other grow by offering support, nutrients, and protection. So, instead of growing many of the same plants together or all by itself, plant them with complementary plant species to create a thriving garden ecosystem.

Companion planting has several benefits, such as pest control, pollination, and soil enrichment. Certain plants attract insects that prey on other insects that potentially could have harmed your crops. Other plants attract pollinators like bees that help increase fruit and vegetable yields. Companion plants also help to improve soil fertility by providing nutrients that other plants might need to thrive.

For example, planting beans with corn and pumpkin creates a beneficial ecosystem. The beans take nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots. The corn and pumpkins then take in the nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil to grow stronger and healthier.

Overall, companion plants for tomatoes helps you maximize your vegetable garden space, improve crop health, and attract natural predators to keep pests at bay. By growing different plants together, you create a beautiful, diverse, and sustainable tomato garden too!

picture of green tomato on vine with marigolds behind it

Benefits with Veggies

In vegetable gardening, great companion plants can offer many advantages such as enhancing the nutrient availability of soil, improving pest control, increasing yields, and more.

Improves Soil

One of the key benefits of companion planting is improving the quality and nutrient-richness of the soil. Leguminous plants, such as beans and peas, help to fix nitrogen in the soil which makes it more available to other plants.

When planted with other vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants or peppers, they can help those plants grow stronger and healthier. Carrots and onions, on the other hand, when planted together, can help repel insect pests, such as carrot flies.

Pest Control

Companion plants for tomatoes is also an effective way to control pests in a garden naturally. Some plants such as marigolds and nasturtiums contain pest-repelling properties that can keep harmful insects at bay. Planting these alongside vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers can help prevent infestations while boosting overall yields.

Boost Production

Companion plants for tomatoes can also significantly boost yields of vegetable crops by improving garden conditions.

This practice of combining different beneficial crops can reduce the need for chemicals, making it sustainable and environmentally friendly.

If you are curious about getting started with companion planting, you should consider the specific properties of different companion plants to help you select the best ones for your desired vegetables.

pot with tomato, marigolds, and basil plants

What Tomato Plants Work with Companion Plants?

Growing tomato plants with other companion plants can be a method that can be a great way to increase the health and productivity of your plants.

When it comes to tomato plants, some great companions to consider are basil, marigolds, and onions. Basil can help to repel pests such as aphids and hornworms, marigolds are known to deter nematodes, while onions can deter pest insects and rabbits.

On the other hand, it is best to avoid growing tomatoes with members of the brassica family, such as cabbage and cauliflower, as they compete for the same nutrients, the same pests and can attract similar pests.

To get started with great companion plants, simply plant your tomato seedlings with appropriate companion plants in the same planting area or in close proximity. The goal is to create a network of plants that can support each other as they grow.

herbs lined up in pots with labels

Planting Herbs with Tomatoes

Here’s a list of herbs that are ideal to plant alongside tomato plants for optimal growth, taste, and nutrition:

  1. Basil is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, and for good reason. It repels pests like aphids, whiteflies, and hornworms, while also enhancing the flavor of your tomatoes.

  2. Parsley is another herb that can help deter pests, while also providing beneficial nutrients like calcium and magnesium to the soil.

  3. Thyme is a great herb to plant alongside tomatoes, as it can improve the taste and aroma of your tomatoes, while also helping to deter pests like slugs and snails.

  4. Chives can help improve the soil quality around your tomato plants, while also repelling pests like aphids and mites.

  5. Oregano can help boost the immune system of your tomato plants, while also providing a natural pest repellent.

  6. Rosemary can help repel a wide range of garden pests, while also improving the flavor of your tomatoes.

To care for tomatoes and other companion plants and herbs together, make sure to plant them so that each species has enough space to grow and thrive. Additionally, make sure to water them regularly, fertilize the soil as needed, and prune your plants to promote healthy growth.

When planting, consider planting your herbs in containers alongside your tomato plants. This can make it easier to care for them, as well as allowing you to move the containers to the best location for optimal sunlight as excellent plant partnerships.

patch of marigolds that are orange and red

Flowers with Tomatoes

Here is a list on varieties of flowers that can be planted alongside tomatoes to enhance the growth and pest resistance of the plants.

It’s important to note that not all flowers are good choices for companion plants for tomatoes. Use this list as your guide.

  1. Marigolds – These vibrant flowers are known for their pest-repelling properties. They contain a natural compound called thiophene, which repels nematodes and other harmful insects. Plant marigolds around the perimeter of your tomato bed or intersperse them throughout your garden to deter pests.

  2. Nasturtiums – These bright, colorful flowers are great for attracting helpful insects like ladybugs and hoverflies. They also have a slightly spicy flavor that can be used in salads or as a garnish. Plant nasturtiums in between tomato plants or around the perimeter of your garden.

  3. Petunias – These popular annual flowers come in a variety of colors and have a strong scent that can deter pests like aphids and tomato hornworms. Plant petunias near your tomato plants to deter pests and add a pop of color to your garden.

  4. Borage – This blue-flowered plant is a great addition to any garden. It attracts beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, and its leaves can be added to salads for a cucumber-like flavor. Plant borage near your tomato plants to attract pollinators and improve soil health.

Most of the above-mentioned flowers thrive in full sun but also require adequate watering.

borage growing

It’s recommended to plant flowers alongside tomatoes in the spring after the last frost date for your area. Water them regularly using a drip-irrigation system, especially during hot summer months.

Lastly, itโ€™s always a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs of disease or pests. Removing any damaged leaves or infected plants can prevent the spread of disease. Overall, planting the right flowers alongside your tomato plants can improve overall tomato plant growth and health, deter pests, and produce a bountiful harvest.

many types of flowers with tomatoes

Other Useful Veggies with Tomatoes

Here is a list to selecting the perfect tomato companion plants, for your tomato plants:

  1. Garlic: Garlic is a natural pesticide and can help to deter pests such as spider mites, aphids, and slugs. When planted alongside tomatoes, garlic can also improve soil health due to its natural fungicidal properties.

  2. Peppers: Peppers and tomatoes make great companions as they have similar growing requirements and can help to deter pests such as spider mites and aphids.

  3. Onions: Onions can help to deter pests such as onion maggots and spider mites when planted alongside tomatoes.

  4. Spinach: Spinach is a great choice for planting alongside tomatoes as it can help with weed control and can provide shade for the soil to keep it cool.

Different types of plants will thrive in different environments, so be sure to select plants that will do well in your area. For example, if you live in a hot and dry climate, you may want to consider planting drought-resistant plants such as peppers and basil alongside your tomatoes.

Best Tomato Companion Plants Combination

There are many companion plants that work particularly well with tomatoes, such as basil, carrots, peppers, onions, spinach, and marigolds. These plants can provide multiple benefits to your tomato plants, including pest control, improved soil health, and enhanced flavor.

In terms of climate, it’s essential to choose companion plants that will thrive in the same conditions as your tomato plants.

For example, peppers and basil prefer hot and dry conditions, making them ideal companions for tomatoes in regions with hot summers. Spinach, on the other hand, prefers cooler temperatures and can provide shade to the soil in hotter climates, helping to keep the soil cooler and moister.

When it comes to the planting process, it’s important to consider the science behind the interaction between the tomato plant and its companion plants for the best tomato companion plants.

For example, french marigolds contain natural insecticides that can help deter pests such as nematodes and tomato worms, which can be harmful to tomato plants. Furthermore, the roots of marigolds release compounds that can suppress harmful soil-borne pathogens, helping to improve soil health for tomato companion plant.

a bunch of red little tomatoes growing

Beneficial Insects with Tomato Companion Plants

Helpful insects are essential for a thriving garden. These insects work with companion planting to support the health and yield of crops. The use of good insects in companion planting creates a natural and organic approach to pest control.

Good insects are those that feed on or parasitize the pests that damage plants like tomato hornworms.

They are natural pest controllers and are key to a thriving garden. These insects include ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, praying mantis, and many others. They can be attracted to your garden with companion planting.

Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects

Some plants that are known to attract good insects include:

  • Dill

  • Fennel

  • Sunflowers

  • Marigolds

  • Lavender

  • Calendula

  • Mint

  • Thyme

  • Yarrow

Tomato Companion Planting with Cover Crops

Cover crops are a great way to improve soil health and promote crop growth. When used in companion planting, they can also help to attract beneficial insects and ward off pests.

When using cover crops in companion planting with tomatoes, there are a few important steps to follow:

  1. Choose the right cover crop: Select a cover crop that complements your tomato plants. Legumes like clover, peas or beans are ideal for fixing nitrogen in the soil and enhancing tomato growth.

  2. Plant the cover crop: Sow the cover crops a few weeks before planting your tomatoes. This will give them time to grow, establish and provide essential nutrients to the soil.

  3. Choose a planting pattern: Decide how you will plant the tomatoes and the cover crop in relation to each other. One popular method is intercropping, where you plant the cover crop between rows of tomato plants. This way, they will coexist and thrive together.

  4. Keep the soil healthy: Once it’s time to harvest your tomato plant, the cover crop can be mowed down and left on the soil as a mulch. This will improve soil health by retaining moisture and reducing soil erosion. Additionally, in the next planting season, this organic matter can be tilled back into the soil to enhance soil fertility.

By integrating a cover crop into companion planting practices with tomatoes, you can promote soil health, enhance growth, cut the same diseases, and reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

cover crop of red clover growing

What should not be planted as a tomato companion plants?

First of all, some plants attract pests that can damage tomato plants and are bad companion plants. For example, planting fennel or corn near tomatoes can attract aphids, which can transmit diseases that harm the tomato plants.

Secondly, some plants can also introduce fungal diseases that can easily spread to the tomato plants. For instance, planting potatoes near tomatoes can introduce blight, which is a fungal disease that can quickly spread to tomato crop and damage entire tomato crops.

Instead of planting these companion plants, consider planting plants that complement and benefit tomato growth in your garden bed.

Lastly, crop rotation is critical to maintaining soil health and for preventing the buildup of disease in your garden beds with planting tomatoes. Be sure to change the location of your tomato plants every year, ensuring that it is at least two years before tomatoes are planted in the same area again.

corn growing in a field

In Conclusion:

Tomato companion plants can help tomatoes grow by offering support, nutrients, and protection through pairing with beneficial plant species that improve soil, pest control, and yields. These partnering plants repel bad insects, slow weed growth, and can create a ground cover of protection.

Good companion plants are a must have in a tomato garden for the summer season.

tomato companion plants help tomatoes grow like crazy

FAQ’s

When is the best time to plant tomato companion plants?

Planting tomato companion plants with tomatoes can be beneficial for their growth and yield. Most companions like basil, marigold, and parsley should be planted at the same time as the young tomato plants are. The best time to plant companions with tomatoes depends on the plant and its compatibility with tomatoes.

Can peppers and tomatoes grow together?

Yes, planting tomatoes and peppers can be grown together as they are compatible companion plants. In fact, planting these two crops together can be beneficial as they have similar water, nutrient, and sunlight requirements.

Additionally, planting peppers and tomatoes together can help repel pests such as aphids and spider mites, while also promoting beneficial insects like ladybugs and pollinators to come to your garden.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that tomatoes are heavy feeders and can quickly deplete the soil of nutrients, so be sure to fertilize regularly to promote optimal growth for both plants with planting tomatoes.

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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