The Best Tomato Companion PlantsDid you know that certain plants can help your tomatoes thrive even more? Published: 7/6/2022
Tomatoes grow in a bed with peppers, strawberries and basil, as well as flowers that attract pollinators. Photo by: Proven Winners.
Tomatoes are a staple in vegetable gardens and home cooking. Many gardeners plant them in their backyards and in containers because they are rich in nutrients, delicious and productive.
Tomato plants are easy to grow and maintain, but are sometimes impacted by pests, disease, low production or other issues. Luckily, there are vegetables, herbs and flowers that make great tomato companion plants. Below you’ll find a list of 10 plants that you can grow near your tomatoes to help them thrive.
What Are the Benefits of Tomato Companion Plants?
Companion planting is the practice of growing certain plants together to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Make sure the companions you choose flourish in the same conditions so they'll do well alongside your tomatoes.
Some benefits of growing tomatoes with companion plants:
- They attract beneficial insects that pollinate your tomatoes
- They repel pests that may eat your tomato plants
- They prevent diseases by acting as natural fungicides
- They create an eco-system that is good for everything growing in your garden
- They enhance the flavor of your tomatoes
- They improve yield and increase the quality of your fruit
- They partner well with tomatoes in recipes
Top 10 Companion Plants for Tomatoes
You may want to include some of these common companion plants in your garden:
The bright colors and strong scent of marigolds make them an excellent deterrent against insects like tomato hornworms and aphids. These very same attributes can also attract other pests. Planting a row of marigolds around your tomatoes can help ensure that the bugs feed on the marigolds and not on your fruit.
Garlic is a natural pest repellent that can help keep moths away from your tomatoes by masking the smell of ripening fruit. It also keeps other pests like cabbage loopers and root maggots away from plants with its strong odor.
Like garlic, onions are also known as natural pest repellents due to their strong odor. They are great companion plants for tomatoes. But, if you're struggling with thrips in your garden, avoid planting onions, leeks, or garlic near your tomatoes. While they are normally great companions, these root veggies are susceptible to thrips too.
The sweet-smelling flowers of lavender plants repel mosquitoes and other flying pests while also keeping aphids away from nearby crops such as strawberries or cucumbers (but not blueberries). Lavender also attracts bees that help pollinate your crops, which can lead to better yields and higher quality produce.
5. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
This herb helps control aphids, spider mites, and thrips. It’s also good for repelling mosquitoes because it contains eugenol oil in its leaves, which gives basil its distinctive smell. Many gardeners say that basil also makes your tomatoes more flavorful. Plus, they taste great together in recipes.
6. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Like basil, chives will protect against predators like aphids and spider mites by producing natural oils in its leaves that give off an onion-like odor when crushed or brushed up against—a smell most bugs don't like.
This is a textbook example of a symbiotic relationship between plants. Tomatoes produce a natural chemical called solanine, which is a repellant for the asparagus beetle. In turn, asparagus produces a natural fungicide that helps prevent early blight and botrytis. It also helps prevent root-knot nematodes in the soil.
Celery is a great bug-deterring companion for tomatoes. Something about the smell puts off many of the bugs that love to eat tomatoes!
If you're struggling with aphids destroying your tomato plants, you definitely need to plant a barrier of parsley. Parsley attracts hoverflies, and their favorite food is aphids! Be aware though, that not every tomato variety sits well with parsley, so do a little extra research before adding parsley near your tomato plants.
What Not to Plant with Your Tomatoes
Now that you know the best 10 plants to grow with tomatoes, here’s a list of plants that don't mix well with them. These plants can actually inhibit the growth of tomatoes by increasing the possibility of diseases and competing for nutrients in the soil.
- Brussel Sprouts
You can find out more about why these plants don't partner up nicely with tomatoes in this great companion planting guide.
A Note on Beneficial Insects
Beneficial insects are good bugs that help keep pests away from your garden. Identifying which bugs are good and which are bad is the first step. Once you identify pests that are damaging your garden, you may be able to introduce a beneficial insect to help keep them away. For instance, ladybug and green lacewing larvae love to eat aphids, as do hoverflies. Learn more about beneficial insects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I plant with tomatoes in a pot?
Beans, amaranth, basil, and asparagus are a few options. If you have a deep enough pot, you can even try planting carrots.
Can you plant squash next to tomatoes?
Yes, they make great companion plants. Squash have large, broad leaves which help to keep the moisture in the ground.
What family does the tomato belong to?
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. Potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco are also part of the nightshade family.
Can you plant zucchini and tomatoes together?
Yes you can! Members of the squash family and tomato plants prefer not to get their leaves wet. That makes irrigating these two crops together much easier.
What flowers to plant with tomatoes?
Nasturtiums, marigolds, and borage are a few. Sunflowers are also an excellent companion for tomatoes.
There are any number of ways to combine a few of your favorite companion plants with your tomato crop. Most of the buddy plants suggested here are edible, so you will be rewarded with an abundance of home-grown and healthy produce.