Posted by Sue
The Ultimate Guide To Tomato Companion Plants

What are the best companion plants for your home grown tomatoes?

Companion planting is one way gardeners naturally maximize their harvests and grow healthier plants with fewer pests and diseases.

Why grow your tomatoes with companion plants?
Tomato plants attract many pests and diseases, so using a variety of tomato companion plants is an excellent way to ensure your tomato plants thrive.

There's a science to companion plant growth for tomatoes
Companion planting isn't new; gardeners and farmers have used these techniques for years. Nowadays, we know why certain plants are beneficial because science shows us that companion planting truly has benefits.

The remarkable thing is that there are plenty of suitable companion plants for tomatoes. Let's take a look at some of the choices…some of which will surprise you!

Tomato plants are friendly to many other plants, so picking tomato companion plants is easier than many other veggies in your garden. When selecting companion plants, make sure to consider what benefits you want to provide.

5 Common tomato growth questions we're looking to solve for you in this article:

  • What do tomatoes like to be planted next to?
  • What to plant with tomatoes to keep worms and insects away?
  • Do tomatoes need a second plant?
  • What flowers can be planted near tomatoes?
  • How do you keep tomato plants short and bushy?

What are tomato companion plants?

Companion plants are plants that are grown together to provide mutual benefits. These plants can help each other grow, repel pests, and even improve the flavor of fruits and vegetables. Companion planting is an ancient technique that has been used for centuries to improve crop yields and reduce the need for pesticides.

Companion planting involves planting different species of plants together that have a beneficial relationship. Some plants have the ability to attract beneficial insects that can help control pests, while others can repel harmful insects. Some plants can also help improve the soil by fixing nitrogen or adding organic matter.

Companion planting can also help improve the flavor of fruits and vegetables. For example, planting basil near tomatoes can help improve the flavor of the tomatoes. Additionally, planting marigolds near tomatoes can help repel harmful insects and improve the overall health of the plants.

Overall, companion planting is a sustainable and natural way to improve crop yields, reduce the need for pesticides, and improve the overall health of your tomato plants. By planting the right combination of plants together, gardeners, beginners and experts alike, can create a thriving and healthy garden.

What are the main benefits of using tomato companion plants?

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves growing different plants together to enhance their growth and productivity. When it comes to tomato plants, companion planting can offer several benefits that can help improve the health and yield of your tomato crop.

One of the main benefits of companion planting for tomatoes is pest control. Certain plants, such as marigolds, can help repel harmful insects and pests that can damage tomato plants. Additionally, planting herbs like basil and parsley alongside your tomato plants can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can help control pest populations naturally.

Companion planting can also help improve soil health and nutrient availability. For example, planting nitrogen-fixing plants like beans or peas alongside your tomato plants can help add nitrogen to the soil, which is essential for healthy plant growth. Similarly, planting plants like comfrey or borage can help improve soil structure and moisture retention, which can also benefit your tomato plants.

Another benefit of companion planting for tomatoes is improved flavour and aroma. Certain herbs like thyme or oregano can help enhance the flavour of your tomatoes when grown together, while also providing additional culinary benefits.

Overall, incorporating companion planting techniques into your tomato garden can offer several benefits that can help improve the health and yield of your plants. By choosing the right companion plants and planting them strategically, you can help create a thriving and productive garden.

1. Amaranth

Amaranth is a grain that you can grow in your garden. It makes an excellent tomato companion plant because it repels pests by attracting beneficial predatory insects.

2. Basil

One of the most common tomato companion plants is basil. It's the most notable because the flavour combination is delicious, but basil also deters thrips and tomato hornworms. Both of those pests are severe problems to your tomato plants.

Basil plants belong on the companion plant list for many veggies because the plant releases volatile chemicals that mask the scent of plants that the pests enjoy. So, that means the pests aren't able to find their desired plant to eat.

3. Borage

Borage attracts pollinating insects, so using it as a tomato companion plant ensures that your plants have all the pollinators needed. At the same time, borage helps improve the flavour of ripened tomatoes.

Another bonus of growing borage with tomatoes is that it acts as an organic repellant of hornworms and cabbage worms!

4. Dwarf French Beans

Planting dwarf french beans near your tomato plants helps to reduce diseases by increasing air circulation. Poor air circulation encourages fungal diseases because fungi live in damp, humid conditions.

Try interplanting tall tomato plants and shorter dwarf french beans in between each one. This keeps plenty of space between the plants.

5. Carrots

Most people never think of planting carrots near tomato plants, but carrots grow deep into the soil since they're root crops. This helps to break up the ground near your carrot plants, aerating the soil and allowing nutrients, water, and oxygen to reach the roots of tomato plants.

6. Celery

Celery is a great companion plant for tomatoes because the root system loosens up the soil around the tomato plants, encouraging earthworms and other beneficial insects. Then, the worms release more nutrients into the ground.

7. Coriander

Humans might debate over whether coriander is delicious or not, but we know that many beneficial insects think this herb is incredible. For example, coriander blooms are a nectar source for predatory insects that eat common tomato pests.

Plant a few around your garden and let them go to flower. You'll be surprised by how few pests are in your garden.

8. Crimson Clover

You can use crimson clover as a living mulch (green manure), it's one of the best tomato companion plants. Try planting it between tomato rows or between tomato plants, letting it grow the entire season.

Crimson clover is a great companion plant because it competes with weeds and provides nitrogen into the soil. So, it fixes any nitrogen issues in surrounding plants.

Another reason it works well in your garden for tomato plants is because it attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.

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9. Cucumber

Cucumbers tend to be on the bad list for many companion plants because these vegetables produce growth-inhibiting allelochemicals that dramatically reduce germination. So if you have to plant surrounding crops by seeds, avoid putting them near cucumbers, but tomato plants are transplanted.

Cucumbers have several benefits for tomato plants. Not only do the blooms attract a variety of pollinators, but bush cucumber plants act as a weed management tool.

10. Dill

Some tomato companion plants list dill as a wrong choice, but science shows us that dill is beneficial to tomato plants because dill attracts parasitic wasps. Parasitic wasps are beneficial insects that love to feed on tomato hornworms, tomato fruit worms, and other caterpillars.

Many of the most destructive pests in the garden are caterpillars!

Adding dill throughout your garden, including near your tomato plants, attracts all sorts of other beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, tachinid flies, and more.

11. Winter Tares

Never heard of Winter Tares? You aren't alone; it's not a common garden plant, but this is an excellent tomato companion plant if you struggle with tomato diseases like early leaf blight.

Try planting a winter tares cover crop (green manure); this crop is proven to reduce foliar disease in tomatoes more than other methods! Winter Tares is also a legume, so it adds nitrogen to the soil.

If you want to use this plant to add nitrogen to your soil, sow it in early autumn and remove the plants by hand or cut them down when the first seed pods appear in late spring. Then, plant your tomato transplants in the cut-down winter tares. Doing this also suppresses weeds.

12. Lettuce

Growing lettuce between your tomato plants fills vacant spots and helps to protect the soil from erosion. In addition, lettuce loves the shade that tomato plants cast over them, so you'll end up with an excellent lettuce harvest.

Another reason that lettuce is one of the best tomato companion plants is that it helps to regulate soil moisture. Tomato plants benefit from consistent soil moisture (but never soggy); it helps their growth.

13. Pot Marigolds

Pot Marigolds are one of the best tomato companion plants; they work as great companion plants for many different vegetables in your garden. I plant marigolds throughout my garden – you'll reap so many benefits.

Marigolds give your garden pops of colour and cheer, but at the same time, they counteract root rot that is caused by tomato worms and slugs. Many pests stay away from marigolds!

14. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are one of the most popular edible flowers, and they look lovely when planted in your garden. When planted near tomato plants, they act as a trap crop for aphids, luring the pests away from the plants you want to keep.

Plus, the flowers are tasty and make delicious additions to salads.

15. Oregano

Another fantastic herb that is also a companion plant is oregano, and it belongs near your tomato plants. Let's be honest; the flavour of tomatoes and oregano together is perfect!

Oregano works, but you have to let it go to flower. So I plant a few oregano plants that I trim and harvest throughout the growing season and a few that I let go to flower to attract different pest-eating beneficial insects.

16. Parsley

Parsley works well when grown with tomatoes. This herb attracts hoverflies to your veggie garden, so try putting parsley throughout your garden beds. Hoverflies are beneficial insects that feed on destructive garden pests that you don't want to have on your tomato plants.

17. Radish

I love radishes; they're such an underrated plant that people seem to avoid growing. It's because no one knows how to enjoy them. Radishes act as a trap crop for flea beetles, luring them away from your tomato plants. To make this work, they need to be planted adjacent to the tomato plants.

This works because flea beetles love to eat radish leaves more than tomato leaves. So they'll munch on the leaves happily rather than destroying your tomato plants. This is truly important for young tomato plants that suffer the most from flea beetle infestations.

18. Sunflower

Sunflowers are lovely in any garden, and when you plant them near your tomato plants, they increase pollination rates. In addition, bumblebees love sunflowers, along with other pollinators and bee species. So, putting them near your tomato plants gives bumblebees plenty of nectar sources.

19. Thyme

Thyme is one of the best pest-busting companion plants out there, especially if you struggle with armyworms. Interplanting tomatoes with thyme reduces egg-laying by adult armyworms. Since these plants are a ground cover, you end up with a living mulch around your tomato plants.

The only downside is that thyme is a perennial, and tomato plants aren't. So, you might have to keep adding new thyme plants each year.

20. Forage Rye

Forage Rye isn't a typical garden crop; it's a green manure that helps to reduce and smother weeds around your plants. Most gardeners plant forage rye green manure so that it puts nutrients back into the soil and cut down in the spring when it starts to flower. Then, you plant your garden plants right into the cut-down forage rye.

That's not how you want to use it as a tomato companion plant.

Typically, you plant forage rye around the base of your tomato plants and let it grow, protecting the soil and regulating soil temperature.

Tomatoes are a popular and versatile garden crop that can be grown in many different regions and climates. Companion planting is a great way to help your tomato plants thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.

Throughout this article, we have explored some of the best companion plants for tomatoes, including basil, marigolds, and carrots. These plants can help to repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and provide necessary nutrients to your tomato plants.

It is important to note that not all companion plants will work well with every tomato variety or in every garden setting. It is always a good idea to do your research and experiment with different combinations to find the best companions for your specific needs.

By incorporating companion plants into your tomato garden, you can create a healthy and thriving ecosystem that benefits all of your plants. Happy planting!

So there you have it, 20 different types of companion plants that will help to produce the best tomato crops using totally natural pest deterrents.

Here are our final tips for successful companion planting with tomatoes:

  • Plant basil near your tomatoes to help repel pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and tomato hornworms. Basil also improves the flavor of tomatoes.
  • Plant marigolds near your tomatoes to help repel nematodes, which can damage tomato roots. Marigolds also attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings.
  • Plant onions near your tomatoes to help deter pests such as aphids, thrips, and spider mites.
  • Avoid planting tomatoes near members of the nightshade family, such as peppers and eggplants, as they can attract the same pests and diseases.
  • Rotate your tomato crops each year to prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases.
  • Plant tomatoes in soil that has been amended with compost or other organic matter to improve soil fertility and drainage.
  • Water your tomatoes deeply and regularly, but avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent the spread of diseases.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your tomato plants are healthy and productive, while also creating a diverse and thriving garden ecosystem.

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