Best Tomato Companion Plants

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Quick Answer: Best Tomato Companion Plants

Companion planting helps absorb nutrients, keeps bugs away, attracts pollinators, increases plant vigor, and reduces the incidence of diseases. Some of the best tomato companion plants are marigold, basil, nasturtiums, chives, garlic, asparagus, and many more. Few plants, including broccoli, fennel, cabbage, and kale, are not compatible with tomatoes.

In this super detail guide, I will discuss the best companion plants for your tomato plants.

I have used my experience, insights from fellow gardeners, and research studies to prepare this elaborate list.

Let us dive straight into the article!

What is Companion Planting? Why Do it?

Companion planting is growing two different species of plants with similar growing conditions nearby. 

The benefits of companion planting are 

  • It saves space.
  • It may attract beneficial insects and pollinators.
  • It may deter harmful bugs and decrease pest issues.
  • It may help in controlling weeds by covering the ground.
  • The tall plants may create shade for the shorter plants and protect them from the scorching sun.
  • These plants share the nutrients rather than competing with each other.
  • Few plants may serve as sacrificial trap plants to protect the tomato plants.

Best Companion Plants For Tomatoes

In this section, I discuss companion plants that benefit the tomato plants.

They help with pest control, increase beneficial insects,  and reduce the incidence of diseases.

You may pick a tomato companion plant depending on the intended benefit.

1. Marigold

Marigolds may deter whiteflies, suppress root-knot nematodes, and attract beneficial pollinators. It acts as a good companion plant for tomatoes as both share similar growing conditions.

I have planted marigolds alongside tomatoes as both share similar growing conditions. It also helps in protecting them from pests.

Tomatoes are predominantly infested by common glasshouse whiteflies. Many gardeners plant marigolds near the tomatoes to deter the whitefly populations by releasing limonene. But, it may be less effective after the significant whitefly build-up.

Also, marigolds may suppress the root-knot nematodes that attack tomato plants. Also, it adds a pop of color to my garden. The pollinators are drawn due to their bright color.

You may watch this video on growing marigolds near tomato plants:

2. Basil

Basil may repel thrips, flies, and mosquitoes and protect tomato plants. It may enhance the flavor and taste of tomatoes.

I love the flavor of tomatoes and basil in my salads and pasta.

Many gardeners claim that basil is one of the good companion plants to tomatoes. It may enhance the taste and flavor of the tomatoes as they share the nutrients in the soil.

Missouri Botanical garden and the University of Minnesota point out that the oils in the basil repel thrips, flies, and mosquitoes. It may limit the egg-laying of the adult moths and protect the tomato plants. So, it may promote the growth of tomatoes when planted near.

There is no scientific evidence to prove that planting basil next to tomatoes produces tasty fruits.

Nevertheless, it may deter pests, and the flavor of both goes well together in cooking.

Here is a video companion planting tomatoes with basil:

3. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums act as a trap plant for attracting bugs and protecting tomato plants. It is appealing in the garden with a similar growing condition as tomatoes.

Another flower that looks splendid when planted next to tomatoes is nasturtiums.

It is also used as a trap crop for attracting aphids or squash bugs that would otherwise eat your precious tomato plants.

One advantage is that these annuals require minimal care and have the same growing conditions as tomatoes. Also, it is edible and works well in the salad with a mild peppery flavor.

Take care not to plant nasturtiums close to tomato plants as it has a deeper root system. It may interfere with the growth of tomato plants.

4. Chives

Chives pair well with tomatoes and help in deterring the pests attacking the tomato plants. It also attracts pollinating insects.

Another herb that grows well with tomatoes is chives.

Its flavor complements tomato dishes. Also, it is a heavy feeder that makes it compatible with tomato plants.

It may repel aphids, nematodes, and mites that trouble the tomato plants. Its spiky, purple flowers help in attracting the bees. 

It may also help with pollinating and improving the growth of tomatoes.

5. Garlic

Garlic may repel spider mites and aphids and balance the nutrients in the soil. Its pungent odor protects tomato plants from pests.

 A popular companion plant that I use for tomatoes is garlic.

It is known to repel aphids, codling moths, Japanese beetles, snails, and borers and control late blight.

Some studies have shown that garlic repels spider mites that affect the tomato crop. It may be because of its pungent flavor and aroma.

Another advantage is that you may also use garlic spray too.

I make my spray by crushing the cloves of garlic and steeping them in a liter of water. It may be transferred into a bottle and used as an insecticide.  

In addition, garlic may balance the soil nutrient levels and improve soil health.

6. Asparagus

Asparagus and tomatoes are mutually beneficial when planted together. They deter pests from each other by emitting chemicals. They don’t compete for nutrients as they have different maturity times.

Tomatoes and asparagus are good companion plants. Both help ward off the pests by emitting chemicals. 

The asparagus deter root nematodes from affecting tomato plants. In turn, tomatoes may repel asparagus beetles by emitting solanine.

Both asparagus and tomatoes require long hours of sunlight but have different maturity times. Asparagus grows to maturity before the tomato plants and does not compete for nutrients.

Interplanting tomatoes and asparagus saves time and is a win-win for both crops.

7. Borage

Borage is a good companion plant that may attract pollinating bees and pest-eating wasps. It adds a pop of color and repels hornworms attacking the tomato plants.

Another good tomato companion plant that may improve its growth and flavor is borage. Its stunning blue flowers are a visual treat for the garden.

The scent of borage may repel the tomato hornworms, the biggest threat for tomato plants. It also attracts good bugs, including bees and wasps that are beneficial for the tomatoes.

You can experiment by planting squash near borage and tomatoes. The borage may help in deterring the pests from tomatoes and fertilize the squash by attracting pollinators.

This three-way companion planting always works for me.

8. Carrots

Carrots help in loosening the soil when planted near tomato plants. In return, tomato plants deter pests from attacking the carrots by producing some chemicals.

Carrots and tomatoes are mutually beneficial plants. Tomatoes produce chemical solanine, a natural insecticide. It repels pests from attacking the carrot plants.

In return, carrots may aerate the soil and improve its quality. It allows more air, nutrients, and water to reach the tomato roots.

The tomato plants may provide some shade for the carrots as they are heat sensitive.

Few gardeners warn that carrots do not grow bigger when planted near tomatoes. But, the yield nor taste was not affected. 

9. Lettuce

Lettuce is a low-growing crop that provides a living mulch for tomato plants. In return, it gets some shade from tomato plants.

Tomatoes and lettuce grow well together in the same garden bed. When I have gaps between tomato plants, I prefer filling them with lettuce. It helps in making use of the space efficiently.

The tomatoes grow quite tall and provide shade for the lettuce plants.

Lettuce, on the other hand, is a low-growing plant that covers the ground. It keeps the soil cool and protects the tomato roots by acting as a living mulch.

Plus, tomatoes and lettuce are perfect for a summer salad.

10. Parsley 

Parsley is a companion plant that acts as a living mulch, preventing weeds in the tomato garden. It gets shade from tomato plants.

Another herb that is compatible with tomatoes is parsley. It acts as a living mulch controlling weeds around tomato plants. Also, it may improve the health and flavor of tomatoes. 

The pretty flowers of parsley attract beneficial insects, including parasitic wasps and flies. It may be used as a trap plant to repel aphids that attack the tomato plants.

Tomato plants in return provide shade and protect parsley from sun damage. It shouldn’t be planted near mint as the two plants don’t grow well together.

11. Lemon Balm And Bee Balm

Lemon balm and bee balm help in attracting bees and beneficial pollinators. It may improve the flavor of tomatoes. However, these mints are aggressive growers.

Few members of the mint family, including lemon balm and bee balm, work as good tomato companion plants.

Both attract bees and other beneficial pollinators. It improves the flavor and growth of the tomatoes.

One drawback is that lemon balm and bee balm may become invasive and take over the entire garden.

Some gardeners suggest planting them in containers to prevent their aggressive growth.

12. Beans

Beans are popular companion plants for tomatoes as they add valuable nitrogen to the soil. You may grow bush beans as it is space-efficient.

Another popular companion plant that grows well with many different plants is beans. It is because they are nitrogen-fixers and add valuable nitrogen to the soil.

I prefer bush beans as they take up less space and are easy to grow. Pole beans may require a trellis to climb and are not compact.

13. Amaranth

Amaranth may attract beneficial insects and thereby, repels pests attacking tomatoes. So, it works well when grown with tomato plants.

Few gardeners have had success in growing amaranth with tomatoes. It acts as a host for beneficial beetles.

It may feed on the pests that attack tomatoes and protect them. 

14. Thyme

Thyme acts as a living mulch and deters armyworms from attacking tomato plants. However, you may have to replant thyme every year near them.

A popular herb that is compatible with tomato plants is thyme. It acts as a good living mulch.

A common pest that attacks tomato plants is yellow-striped armyworms. A research paper suggested that interplanting tomatoes with thyme may reduce armyworms.

One thing to remember is that thyme has to be replanted near tomatoes every year when you rotate them as it is a perennial.

15. Cosmos

Cosmos and tomatoes are good companion plants. It may attract bees and friendly pollinators, thereby increasing the fruit yield of tomatoes.

Cosmos is a pretty annual that visually attracts various beneficial pollinators. It may deter aphids from tomato plants if they are planted near.

As a result, tomato fruit yield may be increased.

Another advantage is that it adds a pop of pretty color to my tomato garden.

16. Sage

Another perennial herb that acts as a good tomato companion plant is sage. It may help in attracting pollinators and deterring troublesome pests from tomato plants.

Sage is a woody perennial that makes an excellent companion plant for tomato beds. It helps in attracting pollinators with gorgeous flowers.

Its strong odor may help in deterring pests, including tomato hornworm, flea beetle, and spider mites, from your tomato plants.

16. Dill

The young dill plants may help in attracting pollinators and repelling pests if planted near tomatoes. However, take care to move the dill plants away from the tomato plants after it is fully grown.

Dill is a perennial herb that has a complicated relationship with tomato plants.

It has a strong scent that helps in attracting beneficial pollinators. It keeps away caterpillars, aphids, and hornworms.

But, dill has to be moved away from tomato plants after it has matured, as it may hinder its growth.

17. Onion

Onion has a pungent odor that may deter pests when planted near tomatoes. Additionally, it shares similar growing conditions.

Like chives and garlic, onions are also great companion plants for tomatoes.

They have a strong odor that repels the pests away.

They share a similar growing condition with tomatoes and so, the whole garden bed may be cleared for replanting.

19. Mint

Mint is another flavorful companion herb for tomatoes. It may deter several pests away due to its strong odor.

If you are looking to add fragrant herbs as a companion plant for tomatoes, then mint is one of the popular choices.

It may repel common garden pests, including ants, mice, and fleas.

But, mint is an aggressive grower and may take over the entire herb garden. I plant it in the pots sunk in the ground near the tomatoes to contain its growth.

20. Celery

Celery is another good companion plant for tomatoes to save space. It may enjoy the shade from tomatoes as it prefers to be protected from intense heat.

Celery is a hardy biennial that is a perfect addition to soups and stews. It may be planted in the same garden bed as tomatoes without any harmful consequences.

It makes efficient use of available space.

Both require nutrient-rich soil for ideal growth. Tomatoes may provide shade and protect the celery from the scorching sun.

But, celery may need more water than tomatoes. 

21. Cilantro

Cilantro serves as a good tomato companion plant by attracting beneficial insects. Its strong fragrance repels many predator species from tomatoes.

One of my favorite flavorful herbs that is a good companion plant for tomatoes is cilantro. You may make efficient use of space between the tomatoes by planting cilantro.

Cilantro may attract beneficial insects and keep tomatoes pest-free due to its strong scent.

It produces aromatic compounds that mask the scent of tomatoes from the attacking whiteflies.

The interplanting is also speculated to improve the flavor of tomatoes.

22. Calendula

An edible flower that grows well with tomatoes is calendula. It helps in deterring pests and attracting beneficial pollinators.

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a good companion plant for tomatoes. It profusely produces flowers that look good in the garden.

Also, it is edible and complements in salads.

Like tomatoes, it requires well-drained soil and sunny conditions.

It has a reputation for controlling pests that attack tomato plants and attracting beneficial pollinators.

23. Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum is a good companion plant for tomatoes. It is a food source for flies and wasps because of its sweet fragrance and white blooms.

A pretty annual that may attract beneficial pollinators and hoverflies is sweet alyssum. It may help in managing aphids and protecting tomatoes.

Also, it has a honey-like scent and colorful white bloom that may last long.

It is short-growing and keeps the soil around the tomato plants from drying out.

24. Oregano

Oregano is a popular perennial herb that helps to retain water around tomato plants. Its fragrance help in attracting many beneficial insects.

The fragrant herb oregano may disguise the smell of tomatoes from pests, including whiteflies or hornworms. It may also help in attracting bees and beneficial pollinators.

Plus, it helps in conserving moisture around the tomatoes.

Also, oregano complements tomatoes in the kitchen too. Many gardeners feel interplanting enhances the flavor of tomatoes.

25. Squash

Squash is a vining plant that shares similar growing conditions as tomatoes. It provides shade and controls weeds around tomato plants. 

A vining plant, squash makes a good companion plant for tomatoes as both share the same growing conditions.

It may sprawl around tomatoes and prevent soil from splashing onto tomato plants.

In addition, it controls weeds around tomato plants. I sometimes plant a third companion, including beans or borage for added benefits.

Make sure to allow a lot of space between these plants as squash is an aggressive grower.

Worst Companion Plants

Some plants are harmful when planted near tomatoes. It may include members of the cabbage, nightshade family, walnut trees, fennel, and corn due to similar nutrient requirements or be susceptible to pest attack.

Few companion plants are not suitable for tomatoes. They may have different growing conditions or fight with each other for nutrients. So, these plants show deficiency symptoms. 

Shall we see some of the bad companion plants for tomatoes?

Cabbage Family

Cabbage and other members of the Brassica family, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga, and turnip, may not work as good companion plants for tomatoes.

They may stunt their growth by consuming all the nutrients.

Nightshade Vegetables

Eggplants, potatoes, and peppers are in the nightshade family as tomatoes.

These vegetables are susceptible to similar fungal blight diseases and infections as tomatoes.

It is preferable not to plant them near tomatoes.

Walnut Trees

Another deadly companion plant for tomatoes is the walnut tree. It is allelopathic and may release a toxic chemical, juglone.

It may harm the surrounding tomato plants. Also, tomatoes are susceptible to walnut wilt disease.

Fennel

Another plant that is not compatible with tomatoes and many other crops is fennel.

The roots of this plant release a chemical that inhibits the growth of tomatoes.

Corn

The corn earworm that affects the corn is also called tomato fruitworm.

If corn is planted near tomatoes,  it may attract the same pests and may reduce the corn and tomato harvest.

So, keep the corn away from the tomato plants.

FAQ’s

Can we plant roses near tomato plants?

Yes. Roses may be planted near tomatoes. The tomatoes may protect these pretty flowers by warding off the disease, called black spot. You may also liquefy tomato leaves and then spray them after diluting on roses. 

Is arugula a good companion plant for tomatoes?

Arugula is not compatible with any nightshade family members as it requires neutral soil. Tomato also belongs to the nightshade family and prefers acidic soil. Also, arugula is aggressive and may take over the vegetable garden.

Summary

I hope this detailed guide has provided you with some great ideas for companion planting with tomatoes.

You may consider these tips when you are planning your garden layout and have a good tomato harvest.

Have you tried any companion planting with tomatoes? If yes, please let us know vegetables, fruits, or herbs that have worked for you.

If you find the article useful, please pass it on to your friends!


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