If you struggle with optimally arranging your garden, maybe it’s time to start companion planting! There are a ton of benefits to growing different plant species near each other. It can help with pest control, pollination, increased fertility, and more.
Lettuce is a prime example of a plant that greatly benefits from companion planting. So where do you start? And how do you choose which plants are best to grow as companion plants for lettuce?
Keep reading to learn all about the ten best companion plants for lettuce.
Fruits/Vegetables as Companion Plants for Lettuce
One benefit of having companion plants for lettuce is the ability of the other crops to fight off plant-eating insects and animals. As a result of their natural defense system (the thing that makes us cry when we cut into them), onions can help deter pests from your garden. This may include rabbits, birds, and other pesky bugs and animals you may find eating your crop.
Onion roots also establish themselves at different depths than lettuce roots, so they won’t compete for nutrients. These vegetables are easy to grow and are great to add to any home-garden recipe, making them an ideal choice for the best companion plants for lettuce.
Garlic works as a companion plant for lettuce for similar reasons as onions. This aromatic herb’s scent creates an unpleasant barrier around your plant, deters insects and other critters.
Beets are another great example of good companion plants for lettuce. Because they’re a root crop, beets can utilize the underground area to gather nutrients that are essential for your plant to thrive and grow successfully.
Unlike beets, lettuce has shallow roots, so they won’t compete with beets for nutrients. This is especially beneficial if you have a small garden. The different depths of root systems allow you to maximize space, without compromising the growth of your plants.
Like beets and onions, carrots are perfect for planting as companion plants for lettuce because of their deep roots. Along with helping to maximize space in your garden, carrots are also known to have positive effects throughout your garden through their ability to deter predators and protect your crops
Carrots are nutritious, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to grow, which makes them a gardening favorite. Your carrots will also benefit from lettuce’s large leaves, which help shade your carrots and keep them cool. Lastly, lettuce has natural weed prevention properties because it blocks sunlight from reaching the weeds. .
Tomatoes are among some of the best options for companion plants for lettuce because they provide a unique form of protection for your plant.
Tomatoes provide lots of shade, which protects your lettuce from overheating or drying out. They can withstand the heat of full sun, so you won’t have to worry about the tomatoes going bad.
Like carrots, there is a mutual benefit to planting your tomatoes with lettuce. The lettuce acts like mulch for tomatoes, by maintaining adequate soil moisture levels and encouraging healthy growth.
Melons are slow-growing plants, which is good news for small space gardens. Because lettuce (especially baby lettuce) is faster-growing, you can plant both of these crops at the same time, and harvest the lettuce before the melons grow large enough to take over the space.
Herbs as Companion Plants for Lettuce
Basil is a unique companion plant for lettuce because it improves the taste of any vegetable it’s planted near. The nectar and aromatic chemicals that make basil so full of flavor can also improve the flavor of lettuce and other companion plants.
Basil is also great pest control for your lettuce plants. Aphids are a major problem when it comes to growing lettuce. However, these insects are huge fans of basil flower nectar and are more likely to nibble at your basil than your lettuce.
But pests aren’t all that basil attracts. Beneficial insects, like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs will visit basil, which means more pollination throughout your garden.
Marigold, like basil, is another example of a plant that will attract plant-eating pests to eat it, rather than the nearby lettuce plant. However, instead of attracting aphids, they attract slugs. With marigolds planted near your lettuce, the slugs will be more inclined to munch on these flowers, leaving your lettuce plants alone.
The best type of marigold to use as a companion plant for lettuce is calendula. The calendula will not only protect the lettuce from slugs, but it’ll also attract other insects that won’t harm your crops and will help with pollination.
Chamomile is a great companion plant for lettuce to increase the growth rate of your lettuce. Chamomile releases chemicals that promote the growth of various vegetables (like lettuce), while also improving the flavors of other nearby produce.
Another reason chamomile works as a companion plant for lettuce is that it attracts parasitic wasps and hoverflies. These insects eat the aphids that tend to favor eating lettuce, helping to protect your plant.
Cilantro works as a companion plant for lettuce in a similar way to chamomile. It helps attract parasitic wasps and hoverflies which, as you know, love to feed on lettuce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What plants should I not plant with my lettuce plants?
As you may have already guessed, despite there being plenty of great companion plants for lettuce, there are also some not-so-great ones.
Cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale are all poor options for companion plants because they tend to compete with lettuce for nutrients in the soil. Other forms of brassicas, like mustard seed, can also produce harmful chemicals that will inhibit your lettuce’s growth.
Some other vegetables that make poor companions for lettuce plants are fennel and celery. These not only compete for the same nutrients as your lettuce but may also attract harmful insects.
Lastly, avoid planting your lettuce in close proximity to parsley. Although similar to herbs that are positive companion plants for lettuce, parsley will cause your lettuce to bolt. This means that the lettuce will begin to seed much sooner than it would have naturally and it will taste bitter.
Will my lettuce still grow if it has no companion plant?
Yes! Companion plants are just meant to help improve the success of your crop. However, lettuce is easily grown on its own and is often just fine by itself.
Time to Start Planting!
Now that you know more about the best companion plants for lettuce, it’s time to get growing! Hopefully, this article provided some insight and solutions to help your next growing project. Whether you’re short on space or struggling to get rid of pesky insects and animals that feast on your produce, companion plants are a great way to go.
Want to learn more about lettuce? Take a look at our Lettuce page for information on lettuce-based recipes, growing tips, and more!