Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden crops. They’re delicious, easy to grow, and can be used in various recipes. But growing tomatoes can be challenging.
If you’re new to gardening, you may struggle with pests or diseases attacking your tomato plants. A companion plant that improves the health of tomatoes and reduces harmful pest infestations may be just what you need.
Companion plants for tomatoes are essential for the health and growth of your tomato plants. The right companion plants will help to attract beneficial insects, deter harmful pests and even improve the soil.
This article will explore some of the best companion plants for tomatoes. But before we jump into the list, let’s talk more about tomatoes and why companion planting is essential for them.
- What Is Tomato?
- What Is Companion Planting?
- Why Is Companion Planting Important for Tomato?
- 8 Best Companion Plants for Tomato
- Companion Plants To Avoid With Tomatoes
What Is Tomato?
Tomato is a well-known vegetable that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. It is native to South America and has been used as food for thousands of years.
The tomato plant grows well in most climates and soil types, making it an ideal vegetable for the home garden. Tomato plants grow best in full sun with rich soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves planting certain species of plants together to create a beneficial relationship between them.
It is an age-old practice that farmers initially used to increase their crop yields. Nowadays, it’s commonly done to improve a garden’s plant health and productivity.
Why Is Companion Planting Important for Tomato?
Long-term practice and research prove that companion planting with tomato plants can reduce pests and diseases. It also helps to protect the plants from environmental stresses such as heat, cold, or drought.
There are many approaches to how companion planting works with tomatoes. One theory is that plants exchange nutrients through their root systems, much like community members help each other by sharing resources.
Another way is that certain plants, when grown together, attract positive predators – bugs who eat the nasty bugs and leave behind pollinating insects and good germs so that the entire garden grows more harmoniously.
Companion planting can also improve soil quality by adding organic matter and nutrients.
Tomatoes love to grow in soil that is high in nitrogen. If you want to try planting tomatoes with other plants, look for plants with low nitrogen requirements, like pansies and other flowering plants.
8 Best Companion Plants for Tomato
Below are the 5 best companion plants for your tomato.
Plant #1: Basil
Basil is one of the most popular companion plants for tomatoes, and it’s easy to see why. Basil helps deter whiteflies and other harmful insects that feed on your tomatoes. It also repels aphids and keeps them away from your tomato plants.
Basil is an annual herb that grows quickly in full sun conditions. You can harvest basil leaves as soon as they reach their mature size or let them grow into large bushes by pinching off new growth regularly throughout the season.
Plant #2: Borage
Borage attracts beneficial insects and is said to keep tomato hornworms away. This ornamental annual has pretty blue flowers, and its leaves taste like cucumbers.
It grows as a low-climbing yearly and can be planted alongside tomato plants in the spring.
Plant #3: Carrot
Carrots and tomatoes are a classic pair in the garden—they both like well-drained, sandy soil and full sun.
Some gardeners believe that planting carrots beneath tomatoes will help aerate the soil. The theory is that the carrot’s long taproot will break up the ground, allowing air and water to penetrate deeper.
Carrots also have a reputation for improving the flavor of tomatoes. The two plants are said to grow better together than individually, so consider planting them side by side or in a vertical garden.
Plant #4: Celery
Celery helps tomatoes by attracting beneficial insects and pollinating bees. It also improves the health of tomato plants by cleaning up after them. They absorb excess soil nutrients so they don’t reach toxic levels.
Celery can be planted directly next to tomatoes or grown in containers next to the tomato plants. The soil should be rich in organic matter and well-drained. Add compost or manure to increase the nutrients available for both plants.
Plant #5: Oregano
Oregano is a good groundcover for tomatoes because it conserves moisture. It also has high phenols that help protect against soil-borne fungal diseases.
The aromatic oils in oregano attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden.
You’ll want to plant oregano when you grow tomatoes, as the two complement each other gorgeously in cooked dishes.
Plant #6: Beans
Beans can fix nitrogen in the atmosphere into the soil. When planted with tomato, this helps the tomato plant grow bigger and better. Beans also deter pests, like Mexican bean beetles, from attacking tomatoes.
Beans can also help to prevent blossom-end rot and increase the tomato plant’s overall productivity. Try planting bush beans around your tomato plants. They are compact and easy to grow with less space required.
Plant #7. Garlic
Berries generally grow well with garlic, and it’s a good companion plant for many vegetables.
Garlic has many benefits for the garden, including repelling insects and boosting soil health. It also improves the flavor of any vegetable that it grows near.
Plant #8: Lettuce
Lettuce is a great companion plant to tomatoes because it attracts beneficial insects. The scent of lettuce will also attract predatory wasps, which eat the nasty bugs that would otherwise attack your tomato plants.
Moreover, low-growing veggies like lettuce will flourish under the shade of taller tomato plants. If you plant your tomatoes first, this trick may give you a few weeks with fresh greens on dinner tables.
Tomatoes work well together because the mild onion flavor helps keep the tomato plants from developing diseases. At the same time, the garlic’s strong aroma repels pests like aphids and whiteflies that attack tomatoes.
Companion Plants To Avoid With Tomatoes
Here are some plants to avoid planting near tomatoes:
- Corn: Tomatoes and corn do not get along well together. The two plants compete for the same nutrients, so one will suffer if you grow them close to the other.
- Fennel: Fennel is another veggie that should be avoided near tomatoes. It’s a potent herb that emits chemicals that can make your tomato plants sick.
- Potatoes: Potatoes planted near your tomatoes may absorb the plant’s nutrients, resulting in stunted growth and poor yield.
- Walnut: Walnut trees are notorious for absorbing a lot of the nutrients from the soil. If you have one planted near your tomato patch, likely, your veggies will grow better than they should.
- Eggplants: Like potatoes, eggplants are notorious for stealing nutrients from the soil. If you have one planted near your tomato patch, likely, your veggies won’t grow as well as they should.
Planting the right companion plants will improve your tomato yield.
You should avoid planting plants that will steal nutrients from the soil, such as eggplants and potatoes.
It’s also a good idea to plant other veggies that can help your tomatoes grow, such as garlic and lettuce.