12 Best Tomato Companion Plants for a Bountiful Harvest

12 Best Tomato Companion Plants for a Bountiful Harvest

Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the garden are the taste of summer. But without the right supporting players, your tomato plants can falter. Don’t let pests and diseases steal your success!

By growing companion plants, you can create an ideal garden ecosystem for big, beautiful tomatoes. These plant partnerships control pests, enhance flavor, and keep your tomatoes thriving with less effort. Companion planting is like playing matchmaker for your garden!

In this article, we’ll explore the top 12 companion plants to pair with tomatoes. These beneficial buddies will:

  • Deter hungry insects and diseases
  • Attract pollinators for better fruiting
  • Improve soil nutrition
  • Maximize garden space and yield
  • Enhance the sweet summer flavor of everyone’s favorite fruit

With a well-designed garden layout, your tomatoes will be the envy of the neighborhood! Let’s get growing…

What is Companion Planting?

Have you ever noticed that certain plants seem to thrive together? Like happy couples, some plants just go better with others.

Companion planting uses this knowledge to your advantage by thoughtfully arranging mutually beneficial plants in close proximity. With smart pairings, every plant helps create an ideal little ecosystem for its neighbors.

Here are some of the key benefits of matchmaking in your garden:

Pest Patrol

Some plants naturally repel harmful insects and diseases. By interplanting these guardians, you can protect more vulnerable crops like tomatoes.

For example, strong scents from onions and garlic mask the tempting aroma of tomato plants. This disguises them from pests like aphids and hornworms.

Flavor Enhancers

Can companion plants really make your tomatoes taste better? Many gardeners swear by certain pairings that boost flavors.

One theory is that plants share nutrients through the soil, and their biochemistry impacts taste. Things like basil, garlic, and carrots are thought to sweeten tomatoes.

Efficient Use of Space

By selecting varieties with different growth habits, you can maximize productivity in each square foot.

Low-growing lettuces thrive in the dappled shade of tall tomato vines. Vining peas and beans use your tomatoes as a natural trellis. Companion planting increases yields without needing more beds.

Improved Pollination

Flowering companion plants attract busy pollinators like bees to your vegetable garden. These pollen-covered helpers improve fruit set while visiting all your plants.

Weed and Pest Control

Densely planted companion plants crowd out space so weeds can’t sneak in. Low-growing varieties also act as living mulch to conserve moisture and block soil-borne diseases.

Soil Enrichment

Through processes like nitrogen fixation, nutrient accumulation, and soil conditioning, companion plants improve the food web on the earth. This creates a nurturing environment for the essential microbes, fungi, and other helpers your plants rely on. Healthier soil grows healthier plants!

Now let’s explore the 12 best companion plant picks for tomatoes…

12 Super Sidekicks for Tastier Tomatoes

1. Basil

Sweet basil is the perfect match for tomatoes. In the kitchen and the garden, these two just go better together. The fragrant aroma of basil deters pests like ants, mites, and aphids from settling in. It also provides ground cover and shade for tomato roots. Plus, many gardeners report their tomatoes taste sweeter and more flavorful with basil as a neighbor. Could this be why tomato sauce always improves with fresh basil?

Tip: For best results, plant basil transplants near your tomatoes. Choose types like Genovese, Thai, or cinnamon basil. The bushy growth will maximize pest protection and flavor enhancement for your tomatoes.

2. Borage

With its vibrant blue flowers and fuzzy leaves, borage makes a great tomato companion. This heat-loving herb deters those pesky tomato hornworms that can decimate a plant overnight. It also repels other damaging pests and diseases. Borage attracts beneficial pollinators while providing a living mulch around your plants. The edible flowers are simply a bonus!

Suggestion: Sow borage seeds directly with your tomatoes. The fast-growing annual will reach 2 feet tall. Over the season, it will self-seed and continue protecting your tomato plants.

3. Marigolds

No vegetable garden should be without marigolds! These cheerful flowers are champions at protecting your tomatoes. Research shows marigolds release a compound called limonene that deters whiteflies. They also repel nematodes and other soil-dwelling pests.

Warning: Don’t plant marigolds too close to your tomatoes, as they can stunt tomato growth. Keep them 6-12 inches away for best results.

Choose compact marigolds like ‘Lemon Gem’ and ‘Tangerine Gem’. Scatter them throughout your beds for vibrant pest protection. The small, bushy marigolds will smother weeds while attracting pollinators. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to encourage continuous flowering all season.

4. Garlic

Garlic’s pungent aroma hides the tempting scent of tomatoes from many insects. The sulfur compounds it releases also boost tomato growth and yield. Studies demonstrate garlic repels aphids, spider mites, beetles, leaf miners, and other tomato pests.

Recommendation: Plant garlic cloves in the fall and allow a few to go to seed. Scatter these “wild garlic” plants around your tomatoes come spring. More is better for pest protection! The more garlic, the stronger the protective effects will be. Space cloves 4-6 inches apart for maximum growth.

5. Nasturtiums

Vibrant nasturtiums attract butterflies and hummingbirds but repel pests like whiteflies and squash bugs.

Tip: Plant nasturtiums around the veggie garden border to lure pests away from your tomatoes. Their trailing vines provide an edible ground cover with antibiotic properties.

Plus, the peppery flowers add a pop of spicy flavor when used in salads or as garnishes. A multifunctional companion! Nasturtiums grow quickly from seeds, blooming all summer long. Choose a dwarf or trailing variety to complement your tomato plants.

6. Carrots

This pairing may seem odd, but many gardeners report carrots and tomatoes thrive as neighbors. As carrots grow, they aerate and loosen the soil. This improves drainage and creates space for tomato roots to spread freely. Meanwhile, tomato vines provide dappled shade that protects carrots from overheating in the hot summer sun. A mutually beneficial match!

Suggestion: Sow carrot seeds around your transplanted tomatoes. Choose fast-growing round varieties like ‘Thumbelina’ to harvest before the vines spread too far.

7. Chives

Onions and garlic chives make excellent companions for tomatoes. They deter aphids, slugs, and diseases like early blight. Alliums also concentrate sulfur in the soil, which benefits tomato growth and flavor.

Warning: Chives can stunt tomato growth if planted too close. Allow at least 12 inches between plants.

Plant chive transplants in clusters around your tomatoes. Snip a few leaves to add a mild onion kick to your salads and sauces. The grass-like leaves don’t compete much with tomato plants. But the oniony aroma and pest protection they provide are invaluable.

8. Petunias

How can ornamental flowers assist tomatoes? The fragrant compounds that give petunias their scent also repel pests like aphids, beetles, leafhoppers, and more. Petunias also attract helpful pollinators to your garden. Their spread creates a colorful ground cover to block weeds.

For best results, select low-growing, spreading varieties like ‘Dreams’ or ‘Easy Wave’ in blue, purple, or pink hues. Scatter petunias liberally around the tomato plants for a beautiful pest deterrent. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage continuous flowering.

9. Beans & Peas

You can increase your garden’s productivity by pairing tomatoes with legumes like beans and peas. These fast-growing plants help enrich the soil with nitrogen while providing natural climbing frames for tomato vines. It’s a perfect match!

Tip: Just be sure to choose bushy beans and short peas so the vines don’t compete for sunlight.

Pole beans and tall peas like sugar snap peas make great trellises for tomatoes. Plant a few on the north side of the tomato bed. As they grow, gently train the tomato vines up the support.

10. Lettuce & Spinach

When summer heat arrives, cool-weather greens appreciate a little shade. Tomato plants provide the ideal sheltered spot. The large leaves shade lettuce and spinach just enough to prevent bolting, without limiting growth. Both thrive in the speckled sunlight beneath the sprawling vines.

Suggestion: Choose heat and bolt-resistant lettuce varieties like oakleaf or romaine to grow under your tomatoes. Direct sow seeds every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest into summer.

For spinach, go for ‘Malabar’ or ‘New Zealand’ types that need more heat protection.

11. Asparagus

Perennial asparagus makes a fantastic companion for tomatoes. Its ferny foliage offers pest protection and shade. Asparagus deters nematodes and beetles while attracting good bugs like ladybugs. Its deep roots also improve soil structure and nutrient uptake.

Grow asparagus along one border of your garden, then plant tomatoes on the opposite side to maximize every inch of space. The tall, airy spears don’t compete much with tomato plants. And the pest repelling abilities are an added bonus.

12. Onions & Chives

It’s no surprise that tomatoes pair perfectly with all alliums, like onions, garlic, leeks, and chives. Onions mask the tempting aroma of tomatoes, while sulfur deters pests like beetles, aphids, and cabbage worms.

Savory onions accentuate the sweet acidity of ripe tomatoes. Together they create a match made in culinary heaven!

Recommendation: Plant onion sets or transplants around the outer edges of your tomato bed. Go for multipliers like shallots or Egyptian walking onions for the biggest pest protection. Their nostalgic fragrance and beauty complement the tomatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do eggplants make good tomato companions?

Eggplants and tomatoes both belong to the nightshade family, so they share many pests and diseases. It’s best not to plant them together. Rotate planting spots each year to prevent disease carryover in the soil.

Should you plant peppers with tomatoes?

It’s best not to plant peppers and tomatoes together. They are susceptible to many of the same diseases and pests, so planting together can allow these problems to spread more quickly between both crops. Rotate planting locations each year.

What vegetable should not be planted near tomatoes?

Avoid planting cabbage family crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts near tomatoes. They are alternate hosts for tomato diseases like fusarium and verticillium wilt. Onions, fennel, and dill may also stunt tomato growth.

Get Growing!

Now you know the secrets to keep your tomatoes thriving all season long. It’s time to plant the perfect companions!

Use this list to thoughtfully arrange beneficial pairings in your garden beds. Observe how the tomato plants interact with their buddies. The results will delight you.

Companion planting creates a self-sustaining garden ecosystem where each plant contributes to the health of the whole. Here’s to a summer full of healthy, delicious homegrown tomatoes!

Let us know how companion planting works its magic in your garden


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Mohsin
By Mohsin

Hi, I’m Mohsin, creator of Tomato about website. I have over a two decade of gardening experience and I love helping others growing healthy tomatoes!


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