Companion planting has many benefits that every gardener should take advantage of, especially if you have limited gardening space – which we all do.
This article focus on companion plants for your tomatoes. Finding that companion plant for your tomatoes doesn’t have to be that difficult.
The majority of those who have succeeded or are currently having success with companion planting in their gardens have had to do it the hard costly way – by trial and error – but we have put here 15 tomato companion plants you should grow to get the best tomatoes so you don’t have to go the trial and error route.
This list contains herbs, flowers and vegetables so that whatever your garden’s purpose or your personal preference, you’ll have enough to try out.
So just pick whichever one or ones suit your condition and get on with your planting activities. You will be glad you did.
Here are the companion plants for your tomatoes.
The list is in no particular other of importance or benefits to your tomatoes so be sure to read through it all to know which one will benefit your situation the most.
Carrots are great companion plants for your tomatoes. They complement each other’s growth habits and benefit each other. Tomatoes prefer the warmth and sunshine of summer while carrots prefer growing in coolers soils and weather.
The root system of carrots provides extra air circulation for the roots of your tomatoes. Carrots suppress the growth of weed and retain soil moisture because of their full foliage that provides a natural mulch.
The tomato plants shade the soil making it cooler for the carrots.
Beans and tomatoes are both warm weather and soil lovers. Beans do mature faster than tomatoes so there is a little technicality in planting them together.
The specie of beans you plant also matters but, in general, arranging the vegetable in such a way that it allows the tomatoes to get the heat they love is the best way to plant them.
This is one of those symbiotic relationships where both parties do practically the same thing for the other. Asparagus helps to hinder root nematodes while tomatoes repel asparagus beetles.
When planted together, asparagus will mature first and be harvested before the tomatoes will. This saves space.
The Sweet Alyssum helps to retain moisture, preventing it from drying out without being soggy. This is beneficial to your tomatoes.
It also draws in tomato pollinating insects.
The relationship between tomatoes and parsleys is symbiotic. Parsley improves your tomato’s flavour and draws in hoverflies which help to fight caterpillars, thrips and aphids.
These insects destroy tomatoes. The tomatoes, on the other hand, provide the parsley partial shades.
Onions, garlic and other members of the allium family benefit your tomatoes greatly as ants, flea beetles, carrot flies, and aphids are repelled by them. These insects are known to be hazardous to your tomatoes.
One good thing about these herbs is that they can also keep growing even after harvesting them for cooking. Garlic sprays are efficient in controlling late blight while garlic itself drives away red spider might.
Lettuce, an annual vegetable, loves cold weather and soils. They also love the shade. It is a good space saver for saving up some space before you’re ready to plant your tomatoes. Tomatoes provide shade them from the heat.
Lemon balm, as well as bee balm, are members of the mint family and are very great at attracting bees they are called bee attractants. This helps in the pollination of your tomatoes and boosts its vigorous growth and flavour.
Basils are claimed by some to be the best companion plants for your tomatoes and they have good reasons for that. Growing basils with tomatoes improve the flavour and taste of your tomatoes.
This companionship works well in recipes too. The best way to plant them together for good air circulation (for both plants) is to have one tomato plant per two or three basil plants.
Chives also belongs to the allium family to which onion and garlic belong. It essentially benefits your tomatoes the same way onions and garlic do (by acting as a repellant to carrot flies, flea beetles, ants and aphids) but the flowers of chive also draw in bees and other insects that help pollination.
One thing to note about the chive plant is that to prevent it from taking over your garden, you should harvest the flowers before it goes to seeds. Failure to do so will mean that it will take over your garden by self-seeding.
Borage is a self-seeding annual plant that resembles a wildflower. The herb prevents soft body pests like aphids or larvae and tomato hornworm from destroying your tomato plants. Its flowers also attract insects that help the pollination process.
Like tomatoes, marigold is a warm-weather lover. It attracts insects for pollination and repels other insects that destroy your tomato plants like beetles, tomato hornworm, whiteflies, aphids, mosquitoes and nematodes.
Marigold is edible and because it blooms all summer, it gives your garden a beautiful look.
Calendula, another plant in the same family with marigold, is also a great companion plant for tomatoes. It is sometimes called pot marigold. Like marigold its flowers are edible but it is mostly used for its essential oil and its medicinal value.
Unlike marigold, it prefers cold weather areas and is a self-seeding perennial plant that grows in fall or cool spring. It also attracts insects that carry out pollination.
This is another self-seeding plant that may take over your garden if you fail to control it. Like some other plants on this list, it hinders beetles, whiteflies and aphids. Besides providing this benefit for your tomatoes, it is edible with a peppery taste.
Thyme helps to improve the taste of your tomatoes. Besides, it is an added benefit to have it in your garden because it is so delicious. It’s interesting to realize how much taste and scent each thyme leaf contains.
Spinach is like lettuce. It is a lover of shade, cold weather and cold soils. This qualifies it as an early vegetable to be planted in the spring or early fall. Your spinach will either produce seeds or go to bolting in the heat.
This is where your tomatoes benefit it. It prevents it from bolting early by providing natural shade for it.
This is not an exhaustive list of the best companion plants to grow with your tomatoes. There’s more. Some others are sage, mint, catnip, anise, dill, amaranth, celery, cleome, cosmos, stinging nettle, squash, sow thistle, and many more.
Whichever of these plants you chose depends on your situation and what your goal is. If you have been thinking of planting any of these plants before but did not think they were good companion crops or had space constraints, well, you now know they work together.
Why Should You Even Engage in Companion Planting?
Before ending this article, we would love to explore some of the reasons and benefits of companion planting or planting certain crops together.
Many people have either abandoned companion planting simply because it does take some trial and error to find crops that grow well together. Others simply don’t believe in it, have very limited space or just don’t know how to do it.
While the reasons for not doing it may be plenty, the benefits of planting different crops together far outweighs those reasons.
And some of those reasons include physical support for some plants (and at no extra cost), pest and parasite repelling, improved yield and flavour of vegetables and fruits, shade regulation, assisting in pollination, better utilization of space, luring of pests away from their targets, improving of soil health, suppressing of weeds, perennial interests, biological diversity and hiding of unattractive areas.
As you will read below, some plants naturally repel the pests that destroy other plants. This eradicates the need for you to use insecticides or herbicides. Some other plants like lemon balm attract bees that help in the pollination of your tomatoes.
Weed control is an issue with most gardens but with the presence of some of the companion plants on this list, you will have less weed to worry about.
And if you are looking to maximize the number of crops you plant and simultaneously maximize the space you have in your garden, what better way than to engage companion plants.
The benefits of companion planting are endless.