Growing broccoli has a lot of healthy perks, but what if you have problems with certain pests feasting on them? How can you grow the best-quality broccoli?
By growing companion plants for broccoli, you’ll not only have a bountiful garden – you’ll get fine, healthy broccoli come harvest time.
Keep reading to learn about the best plants that make good companions for your broccoli!
Vegetables as Companion Plants for Broccoli
Despite their pungent odor, onions make good companion plants for broccoli because they give the crop a better flavor. Shallots and scallions can do this, too.
The scent of onions even serves a worthy purpose while growing near broccoli. If pests such as aphids, slugs, cabbage worms, and deer are a problem for your broccoli, onions will keep them away. Try planting them as border plants around your broccoli crop!
Spinach is a good broccoli companion plant, as it keeps weeds from filling bare spaces in the garden. And its large leaves are useful for maintaining the soil’s moisture—something broccoli needs while growing.
If you’re planting spinach, you’ll need plenty of shade to prevent bolting in hot temperatures. Bolting means the sudden seeding of a plant. Broccoli provides adequate shade for spinach, so the two vegetables are perfect together!
Sweet companion plants for broccoli, like celery, are useful for removing any bitter taste from broccoli. Luckily sweet isn’t what comes to mind for pests; like onions, cabbage worms can’t stand the smell of celery.
As with spinach, broccoli’s shade serves celery well since it needs cool temperatures to be an effective companion plant.
These are one of the broccoli companion plants that assist with the vegetable’s growing process. Potatoes help break up the soil so the broccoli’s roots will spread out and take in nutrients easily.
If you have a weed problem in your garden, potatoes will suppress them if you’re not growing spinach.
A plant with different nutrient needs won’t bother broccoli, which needs plenty of calcium. Beets are the perfect companion plants for broccoli because, unlike broccoli, these vegetables won’t take in a lot of calcium.
Beets add minerals to the soil for your broccoli. They also help break up the soil for the broccoli’s roots.
Herbs as Companion Plants for Broccoli
A minty fragrance is a joy to some people but not to pests such as white butterflies, flea beetles, and aphids. By growing mint near broccoli, you’ll protect it from pests and enhance the crop’s flavor.
Remember, mint is an invasive herb if you don’t manage it properly. It’s worth noting that broccoli keeps mint from growing too quickly by shading it. To be safe, plant your mint in pots and insert them in the soil next to your broccoli.
This lavender-scented herb keeps cabbage flies, maggots, and loopers from laying eggs on or chewing holes through broccoli. This broccoli companion plant works well as a border plant, and you can also sprinkle the stems around the crop.
Because rosemary needs dry soil, we recommend potting it so watering the broccoli doesn’t impact the herb’s soil needs.
Unlike most herbs, this popular and fragrant tea herb does more for your broccoli than repel unwanted and harmful pests.
Like spinach, chamomile keeps the soil moist for broccoli. It also attracts beneficial insects like predatory wasps, ladybugs, and lacewings. This beautiful broccoli companion plant releases chemicals that make it grow faster and improve its flavor.
Dill is another multifunctional broccoli companion plant. When it blooms, it stimulates broccoli’s growth and improves its flavor. Its scent also deters cabbage flies, loopers, and worms from laying eggs on broccoli crowns.
Besides attracting beneficial insects that eat thrips, caterpillars, and other pests, dill also attracts pollinators to aid the crop’s reproduction.
Flowers as Companion Plants for Broccoli
Even certain flowers count as good companion plants for broccoli, especially ornamental ones. And marigolds are an example; they’re both a natural insecticide and a trap plant, which means they’re sacrificial plants for pests.
Marigolds emit chemicals that soil nematodes and aphids would rather avoid. Meanwhile, they lure other pests like caterpillars away from broccoli and attract pollinators. Best of all, they’ll prevent fungal diseases broccoli is susceptible to, like black spot and powdery mildew.
Nasturtium flowers are ornamental companion plants for broccoli, as their orange color complements this green vegetable. Their sprawling habit makes for great ground cover, suppressing weed growth and keeping the soil moist.
With their peppery scent, they function in a similar manner to marigolds—emitting chemicals that drive away broccoli-harming pests. Even if nasturtiums die, they’ll decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
Calendulas, like chamomile, make the best companion plants for broccoli because of their number of functions. They attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and calendulas’ continuous flower production encourages these insects to stick around, feasting on broccoli pests.
These flavor-improving flowers don’t just benefit broccoli; they benefit you too. You can eat them along with your broccoli and use them as medicinal herbs.
Geraniums have a peppery scent like nasturtiums, which deters cabbage worms, spider mites, and other pests from your broccoli.
In regard to soil, these companion plants for broccoli keep the soil cool and moist, thus preventing weeds. And if soil erosion threatens the soil’s fertility and topsoil, geraniums will reduce the risk.
What NOT to Plant as Companions for Broccoli
A variety of crops planted near your broccoli makes for an enhanced harvest of the vegetable, not just a bountiful garden. However, there are several crops that will compromise your broccoli’s growth and quality if you plant them near your broccoli.
Here are a few example crops you should never use as companion plants for broccoli:
Two of the same poles on a magnet will repel each other, and planting other Brassica crops together is no different. Like broccoli, other Brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower, and kale attract similar pests, and planting them together enables an infestation.
Another reason not to plant crops of the same genus together is nutrient competition. Broccoli and other Brassicas need the same nutrients, and the soil won’t hold enough for both crops.
Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are example nightshades that harm your broccoli. They attract broccoli-eating pests, and because they’re heavy feeders, they’ll hog nutrients, resulting in damaged, weak-growing broccoli.
Potatoes are also nightshades, but they’re an exception because they don’t compete with broccoli for nutrients like calcium and nitrogen.
Lima, pole, and bush beans boost the nitrogen content in the soil. While nitrogen is a vital nutrient to broccoli, beans have more of the nutrient than broccoli can handle. Too much nitrogen will stunt broccoli’s growth and increase the risk of powdery mildew infection.
Heavy feeders such as melons, pumpkins, and squash require a lot of nutrients, especially nitrogen and calcium. They won’t hesitate to hog these nutrients from broccoli if planted near the crop, damaging broccoli the way nightshades would.
Provide Your Broccoli Plant Companionship!
With this list of companion plants for broccoli, you can decide on the best crops to complement your broccoli. Not only will you aid your broccoli’s growth and prevent harmful pests and diseases, but you’ll also have a diverse garden.
Visit our post about companion planting benefits to learn more about how well this planting method will serve your garden!
- About the Author
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With a lifelong appreciation for the vibrant hues and serene beauty of landscapes, Sarah Keck brings a wealth of practical and observational gardening knowledge to her writing. Her hands-on experience stems from years of assisting her mother in tending a diverse array of plants, mastering the art of plant care through careful adherence to proven horticultural practices.
A seasoned observer, Sarah delights in the study and admiration of flourishing flower gardens and lush greenery during her frequent strolls through local parks and the quiet streets of her neighborhood. Her natural curiosity drives her to investigate various plant species, deepening her understanding of the flora she encounters.
In addition to her botanical pursuits, Sarah cherishes the culinary arts, drawing from her college experiences of handling and preparing fresh produce. Her penchant for discovery leads her to continually refine her methods, which she eagerly documents and shares with fellow gardening enthusiasts.