Tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables grown in gardens, raised beds, and even in containers. Learning which plants are its best companions can help you increase the yield of both tomatoes and other veggies.
Read on to learn what can grow in the same bed as your tomatoes.
Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum
On the plate, basil and tomatoes are a match made in heaven. What you may not know is that they are a match made in heaven in the garden, too.
Basil and tomatoes have similar growing requirements. Both plants require plenty of sunlight, regular watering, and well-draining soil, making them well-suited to being grown together.
But that’s not the only reason why basil makes a perfect tomato companion plant. Its natural insect-repelling properties can help keep harmful pests such as aphids, spider mites, and tomato hornworms away from your tomato plants.
Moreover, when grown alongside tomatoes, basil can enhance the flavor of tomatoes. This is particularly true for heirloom tomato varieties, which tend to have a stronger and more complex flavor than hybrid varieties.
Scientific name: Tagetes
If you’re new to square foot or container gardening, you might wonder what marigolds do among the edible plants. The truth is that they can help all veggies, and make perfect companions for tomato plants.
Like basil, marigolds are a natural insect repellent. They contain a substance called alpha-terthienyl which is released by the marigold’s root into the soil, eliminating the need of using chemical pest control.
Moreover, marigolds are known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps, which further help with pest control.
Marigolds also have deep roots that can help to break up compacted soil and improve its structure. This can be beneficial to tomato plants, which require well-draining soil to thrive.
Lastly, they are beautiful and colorful flowering plants that can add visual interest to your garden.
Scientific name: Tropaeolum
Similar to marigolds, nasturtiums are great tomato companions. Their role is to attract pollinators and good insects to your yard, while repelling the nasty ones. The aroma of nasturtiums is particularly effective at repelling aphids and spider mites.
Nasturtiums are known as a trap crop, which means that they can attract harmful pests away from your tomato plants. But their role in the vegetable garden is not purely repellent and decorative.
These plants are edible, their leaves and flowers often being added to salads or used to garnish dishes.
Scientific name: Daucus carota
Carrots and tomatoes are both nutrient-rich vegetables that are packed with vitamins and minerals. By growing these plants together, you can create a healthy and diverse vegetable garden that provides a variety of nutritional benefits.
But what exactly makes carrots good companions for tomatoes? Like the plants above, they can act as pest control.
However, that’s not all. Carrots and tomatoes have complementary growing habits, which means that they can be grown together without competing for resources.
Carrots grow underground, while tomatoes grow above ground, so they do not compete for the same space or sunlight.
Moreover, they are not susceptible to the same soil-borne diseases. This is another reason to grow carrots and tomatoes together.
Scientific name: Allium sativum
Garlic is an herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. When grown alongside tomato plants, garlic can provide several benefits that can help to improve the health and yield of your tomato plants.
Besides the natural pest control, garlic has natural antifungal properties that can help prevent fungal diseases such as tomato blight and powdery mildew.
Like carrots, garlic and tomatoes also have complementary growing habits and can be planted in the same space without competing for resources.
Scientific name: Allium cepa
Like garlic, onions are versatile vegetables that can be grown alongside tomato plants in a garden. The two – garlic and onions – are part of the same family; thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that onions bring similar benefits.
They can prevent fungal diseases that tomatoes are susceptible to. They also repel a variety of pests and can enhance the flavor of tomatoes.
However, while onions are great tomato companions, they shouldn’t be grown together with garlic, or the competition for resources will be fierce.
Scientific name: Petroselinum crispum
Herbs are typically good plant companions with tomatoes and most other vegetables, and things are no different for parsley.
The deep roots of this plant can break up compacted soil and improve aeration. This reduces the risk of fungal diseases, even though parsley can’t fight fungi on its own. Nevertheless, it does act as a natural pest control.
Like the plants in the allium family, parsley has complementary growing habits to tomatoes, so the two won’t compete for resources.
Scientific name: Allium schoenoprasum
Chives are a tasty herb to have in your garden and a reliable companion for tomatoes, just like its garlic and onion cousins.
This herb repels mites, nematodes, and aphids. It has antifungal properties, and doesn’t compete with the tomatoes for resources.
Like all plants in the allium family, chives also have gorgeous flowers. They can add both flavor and a bit of color to your garden.
Scientific name: Borago officinalis
Both edible and ornamental, borage is more than a perfect tomato companion. You can use it to make attractive centerpieces and decorate your dishes. In the garden, borage benefits tomato plants in a number of ways.
Like other tomato companions, borage has natural insect-repelling properties, keeping away tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, and aphids. Borage also adds organic matter to the soil as it grows, which can improve soil fertility.
Borage flowers are also known for attracting pollinators to your garden, creating a more balanced and healthy ecosystem.
Scientific name: Calendula
An ideal combination to grow your tomatoes, calendulas are great companion plants. They combine the benefits of most other plants on this list.
Calendulas are natural pest repellents, they have antifungal properties, can improve the soil, and attract beneficial insects.
These bright flowers are also healthy for humans. The petals can be used in salads, added to omelets, or made into tea. They are also perfect for preparing infused oils and homemade cosmetics.
Scientific name: Asparagus officinalis
Asparagus is a tasty perennial vegetable and one of the best companions for tomato plants. Its greatest advantage is the soil improvement achieved with the deep root system. Asparagus can break up compacted soil and improve aeration.
This is particularly important, since the two don’t grow in the same season.
Asparagus is a spring veggie, while tomatoes grow in summer. Nevertheless, the aerated soil allows tomato seedlings to develop stronger roots faster. This makes asparagus an excellent companion for the tomato’s early days.
Scientific name: Mentha
Mint is a herbaceous perennial commonly found in herbal teas and essential oils. What you may not know is that mint is also a great companion for tomatoes.
Like most herbs, its primary purpose is that of fighting pests. With its strong scent, mint repels common tomato buggers, including spider mites and whiteflies.
The herb also has complementary growing properties and can act as a fungicide. This makes it as good a companion as garlic.
Scientific name: Anethum graveolens
Dill and tomatoes are good plant companions – pretty much like any other herbs. However, there is a fine balance in play.
The herb is a pest repellent, much like mint and plants in the allium family. It can also break compacted soil and help tomato roots develop. However, dill is only a good plant companion as long as it is young.
After it flowers and starts to spread seeds, it can inhibit tomato growth. For this reason, you should only plant dill with tomatoes if plan to consume it before flowering.
Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is another herb that can provide several benefits to tomato plants when grown together in a garden.
Like most herbs, cilantro relies on its strong smell to repel pests and attract predators, including ladybugs and wasps. Its natural antifungal properties protect tomato plants from various diseases.
This herb is also rich in nutrients that tomatoes need for healthy development. By releasing them into the soil, cilantro can boost tomato growth.
Scientific name: Salvia rosmarinus
Grown for its pleasant scent and culinary richness, rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb that goes hand in hand with Mediterranean cooking. It can also help boost tomato growth, but it is a good companion plant only from afar.
Theoretically, when planted in the same bed, rosemary can break up compacted soil and help tomato roots develop. Its very strong scent also keeps away pests.
The problem is that rosemary needs very little water compared to tomatoes. Both plants need sun, which is a plus, but the herb might not handle all the moisture tomatoes need.
Thus, you can plant rosemary in pots and place it around your tomato garden to get some of the benefits without damaging either plant.
Scientific name: Geranium
A good repellent against cabbage worms and Japanese beetles, geraniums are other perfect companions for tomatoes.
They are also known to attract beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, which can help to pollinate your tomato plants and control harmful pests.
Beyond benefits for your tomatoes, geraniums can add visual appeal to your garden.
Scientific name: Phaseolus
Beans, and other legumes, are another companion for tomatoes that can boost their growth. The main advantage comes from the legume’s ability to fix nitrogen into the ground.
Tomatoes are avid nitrogen consumers, utilizing the nutrient for healthy growth and fruit development. Moreover, the beans also help with soil aeration, allowing for proper root development for tomatoes.
To some degree, beans can also act as pest repellents, while the colorful flowers attract many pollinators in spring and early summer.
Scientific name: Capsicum
In the same family as tomatoes, peppers are generally not considered good tomato companions. After all, they compete for the same resources.
Yet, peppers make the best tomato companions in small or container gardens, when you want to optimize the yield from a small space.
Use a nutrient-rich soil that can provide plenty of nitrogen and allow the tomato and pepper plants to climb on trellises, so that both can get plenty of sunlight.
Scientific name: Apium graveolens
Grown as an herb, celery is another perfect tomato companion. Its effects are similar to those of other herbs.
Celery can repel pests, act as an antifungal, and improve the soil. It is also very healthy despite its strong taste, so another good reason to grow it.
Scientific name: Spinacia oleracea
Spinach is one of the odd companion plants for tomatoes, but this match simply works. While spinach is a cold-season crop, growing it in the shade of tomato plants can help you harvest a spinach crop in the middle of the warm season.
The leafy green adds important nutrients to the soil and acts as a ground cover. Its presence inhibits weed growth and the spread of root rot.
On the other hand, tomatoes deter pests that could attack the spinach, so it’s a win-win. In a similar fashion, you can grow tomatoes with lettuce and other leafy greens.
Scientific name: Helianthus
Tall and colorful, sunflowers can bring brightness into your yard and some benefits to your tomato plants.
In this companionship, tomatoes benefit from the repellent action of sunflowers that can combat aphids. They also attract predatory insects that can further help tomatoes stay healthy.
The long pedicel of sunflowers also provides a natural support for tomatoes to climb onto. This natural support makes it easy to grow tomatoes in a garden without the use of trellises.
Sunflowers also get some advantages, as tomatoes attract various pollinators.
Tomatoes are popular vegetables with plenty of good companion plants. Among the best options, you can find plants in the allium family, such as garlic, onions, and chives. Peppers are great companions if you want to maximize yield in a small space, while spinach can inhibit weed growth or root rot spreading.
Herbs provide tomatoes with pest control, and so do flowers including calendulas, geraniums, marigolds, and sunflowers.
Whatever tomato companions you end up choosing, we hope this guide can help you select the best plants.