Here are the Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes

Image of purple, white and orange flours in gardens with a yellow banner that reads the best tomato companion plants.

Learn how companion planting with different plants may affect tomatoes in your garden.

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This post is all about what to plant with tomatoes.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants to grow in home vegetable gardens.

Gardeners often wonder if there are plants that should or should not be planted with tomatoes. This is an especially important question when growing tomato plants in a small garden, where plants may be planted closer together.

But it’s an important question for any garden where tomatoes are to grow. Some plants are reported to be better to plant near tomatoes than others.

Companion planting is the practice of planting different crops together so that the plants benefit each other. These benefits may include increased production, protection from harmful pests, and attracting beneficial insects to that area of the garden.

Companion plants tend to assist other plants in some way. For example, certain types of marigolds release a strong scent that repels aphids, hornworms, whiteflies, and other pests from tomatoes.

Much of what is known about companion planting is anecdotal information that has been passed down through generations of gardeners. It can be hard to measure some of the reported outcomes—for example, tomato flavor is subjective—but it can be fun to experiment with companion planting in the garden.

The book Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening, by Louise Riotte, is one of the most famous books about companion planting. There are also other great books about companion planting in the garden, including Companion Planting for Beginners: Pair Your Plants for a Bountiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden, by Brian Lowell.

What plants can be planted with tomatoes?

Companion plants for tomatoes include:

Herbs

  • Basil. Basil repels some pests, and it’s flowers can attract bees to the garden.
  • Borage. Borage is reported to improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes. It may also repel tomato hornworms.
  • Calendula (Pot Marigold, Calendula officinalis). Calendula may help repel both asparagus beetles and hornworms. However, it also may attract it’s own pests. Calendula may be a good trap plant in some gardens, so long as the plants are monitored and pests removed before they become a problem.
  • Chives. The scent of chives may repel some garden insects.
  • Garlic. Garlic can help to repel pests that target tomato plants.
  • Mint. Members of the mint family, including catnip and lemon balm, are reported to make good companion plants for tomatoes. However, mints can become invasive, so it is recommended to use caution when growing these plants.
  • Parsley. Parsley can attract beneficial insects that either pollinate flowers or feed on pests to a garden.

Vegetables

  • Asparagus. Tomatoes may repel the asparagus beetle.
  • Beans. Bush beans can grow under tomato plants, so long as they have enough light to grow.
  • Carrots. Carrots, a root vegetable, can help to loosen the soil around tomatoes.
  • Lettuce. As days grow warm during summer, lettuce appreciates the shade that tomato plants can provide.
  • Onions. Onions give off a strong scent that may repel or confuse pests that target tomatoes.

Flowers

  • Borage. Borage has long been thought to improve vigor and strengthen plants that it grows near. It is also believed to repel certain garden pests.
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus). Cosmos attract beneficial insects to the garden, including green lacewings.
  • Marigolds. Strongly scented marigolds can help to repel pests, including root-knot nematodes, in the soil. In particular, French marigolds are noted for displaying pest-repelling characteristics.
  • Zinnias. Zinnias are colorful, easy to flowers that can help to attract pollinators to a garden. These tall flowers can be good to use as a back border.

These herb, vegetable, and flower plants may compliment the growth of tomato plants in the garden.

Strongly scented plants, like garlic, onions, chives, and marigolds, may help to repel certain pests or confuse them from finding tomato plants in the garden so easily.

Borage is believed by some to help strengthen plants, and improve their flavor. It is also well loved by bees, who are excellent pollinators.

Planting flowers and herbs in a garden can attract pollinators and other beneficial insects, who can help to increase the harvest by pollinating your plants and also prey on bugs and pests that target those plants.

What should not be planted with tomatoes?

There are some vegetables that should not be planted with tomato plants. These non-complimentary plants include plants that stunt the growth of tomato plants or possibly introduce disease.

Plants that should not be planted with tomatoes include:

  • Brassicas. Broccoli, cabbage, and other members of the brassica family may thwart the growth of tomato plants. This includes plants like cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, and turnips. These vegetables should not be planted near tomatoes.
  • Corn. Corn can attract the corn ear worm, also known as the tomato fruit worm, to the garden. Why it matters: Tomato fruit worms burrow into tomatoes, ruining the fruit.
  • Fennel. Fennel is reported to stunt the growth of other plants that it is planted near.
  • Potatoes. Planting potatoes increases the chance of introducing potato blight into a garden. Blights can have a negative impact on tomatoes, as they also do on potatoes.

Planting tomatoes with good companion plants can help your tomatoes have a great growing season in the garden.

This post was all about what to plant with tomatoes in a garden.

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Credits
  • Photos by Katie Burandt / Pexels , Maddy Baker / Unsplash, and Amber Malquist / Unsplash
  • Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

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