Companions To Broccoli: Suitable Companion Plants For Broccoli

Companions To Broccoli: Suitable Companion Plants For Broccoli

By: Amy Grant

Companion planting is an age old planting technique that simply put means growing plants that benefit each other in close proximity. Almost all plants benefit from companion planting and using companion plants for broccoli is no exception. So what should you plant next to broccoli? Read on to find out about the benefits of broccoli companion plants and which plants make suitable companions to broccoli.

About Broccoli Companions

Utilizing companion plants for broccoli or for any other crop means growing plants nearby that have a symbiotic relationship. This beneficial relationship may be one sided or benefit both types of plants.

Many times the benefit is that one plant acts as a pest deterrent for another plant. Repelling insects often has the benefit of preventing disease too, since many pests act as vectors for diseases. Companion planting also increases the diversity of the garden, which is nature’s way of thwarting disease and pest infestations.

Sometimes companion planting has the added benefit of improving soil either nutritionally or by aerating soil. Other companion plants become shade providers for more tender plants, which is the case when broccoli is used as companions for other plants, such as leafy greens. Companion plants may also act as natural trellises, help retard weeds, or retain water which reduces the amount of management a gardener has to do. They may even improve the flavor of a certain fruit or vegetable.

All in all, the purpose of companion planting is to improve the health of the plant and boost yields in an organic manner without the need for pesticides and other chemicals.

What Should You Plant Next to Broccoli?

Celery, potatoes and onions are companions to broccoli that are said to improve broccoli’s flavor. Chamomile is also purported to boost the flavor of broccoli.

Broccoli enjoys the company of beans and cucumbers as well. Beets, as well as nasturtiums and marigolds make great companions since they do not require the large amount of calcium that broccoli craves.

Chamomile isn’t the only broccoli companion herb. Other aromatic herbs make excellent companions as their scented oils repel insect pests. These include:

  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Mint

Rosemary repels cabbage flies that lay their eggs on broccoli. Cabbage worms can also be thwarted by planting geraniums around the broccoli plants.

Broccoli also does well interplanted with cool season crops such as lettuce, spinach and radish. These can be planted under the broccoli plants where they will enjoy the cool shade during the late spring and early summer.

As we know, there is a yin to every yang and compatible gardening is no exception. There are some plants that do not enjoy broccoli or vice versa. Avoid planting the following near broccoli:

  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

This article was last updated on

26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side

These species simply belong together.

Seasoned gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those pairings.

Companions help each other grow and use garden space efficiently. Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Vines can cover the ground while tall stalks grow skywards, allowing two plants to occupy the same patch.

Some couplings also prevent pest problems. Plants can repel harmful organisms or lure the bad bugs away from more delicate species.

These combinations of plants do way better, together:

What Are the Advantages of Vegetable Companions?

Companion plants are those that help other plants flourish and grow. They do this in a variety of ways.

Companion Plants Deter Pesky Pests and Attract Pollinators

Pesky insects like aphids, hornworms, cabbage moths, ants, and other pests can destroy your veggies. Certain plants possess properties, like a pungent smell, that help repel harmful insects, preventing them from feasting on your garden.

Alternatively, some plants attract beneficial bugs like honey bees and ladybugs that are excellent pollinators. Sometimes it could be a plant’s aroma that entices these helpful insects or perhaps its bright colors.

Companion Plants Create Markers

If some of the vegetables you plant take a while to sprout, you might end up forgetting where they are. This can make it hard to tend to your garden as well as you should. Therefore, planting fast-growing companion plants can give you instant markers in your garden.

Companion Plants Replace Soil Nutrients

As plants grow, they use up a lot of nutrients in the soil. Therefore, by the end of the growing season, nutrients can be slim. Choosing the right companion plants for heavy-feeders can save gardeners a lot of time and effort.

These companions help replace nutrients, such as nitrogen, in the soil to ensure a continuous supply to other plants. This saves gardeners the trouble of continually replenishing the soil’s nutrients, allowing them to do it less often.

Companion Plants Provide Protection from Certain Elements

As you probably already know, certain plants need a lot of sun, while others do well in the shade. Additionally, some plants thrive in soil that’s constantly moist, while others don’t need much water.

When you choose companion plants for different veggies, a good fit helps provide what the plant needs. For example, if your veggie likes a shadier spot, a plant might be a good companion because it grows tall. If your veggie needs cool, moist soil, then companion plants that offer lots of ground cover are a great match.

Promote Faster Growth and Enhance Flavors

Several companion plants help your garden grow more quickly, releasing various chemicals into the soil. These same chemicals that promote faster growth can also improve the taste of certain plants.

Unfriendly Neighbors For Broccoli

Broccoli, one of the most nutritious of all vegetables, gets along well with most of its neighbors: more plant species flourish when planted close to broccoli than fail. Broccoli’s only problem is getting along with its own family, especially in poor soil conditions.

Broccoli is a heavy feeder, preferring loamy, well-drained, fertile soil. However, broccoli is not fussy and grows just fine in sandy or clay soils enriched to enhance fertility. Other members of the cruciferous plant family Brassica (Brassica oleracea), which includes cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts, compete for the same nutrients as broccoli. Planting them together with broccoli results in nutritional deficiencies in the soil.

Competing members of the Brassica family will fight to the death for nutrients. Unless continually supplemented with well-aged herbivore manures (e.g. sheep, goat, cow, or horse), few soils contain enough essential nutrients to grow broccoli alongside other members of the Brassica plant family.

Pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, watermelon, strawberries, pole beans, lima beans, snap beans and asparagus are also heavy feeders, requiring nutrient-rich soil: calcium specifically is in high demand. Avoid planting broccoli next to these garden staples, which compete for the same nutrients as broccoli. Grapes and mustard plants, when planted next to broccoli, also negatively impact the growth of the broccoli plant.

Broccoli fails to flourish when planted near members of the nightshade family, like tomatoes, hot peppers, and eggplant.

How broccoli Companion Planting Works

The main idea behind companion planting is that some plants produce more or grow better when they are planted in the garden near other types of plants. These plants create support system that minimizes the need for a gardener to use lots of fertilizer or pesticides. Gardeners use companion planting for three main reasons.

Putting one type of plant near another in the garden can help protect one plant from certain pests or diseases. Companion planting can also attract beneficial bugs to the garden and can create balance in the soil.

Finally, some people believe that companion planting helps improve the flavor of the plants that are grown together, such as broccoli and celery or broccoli and beets.

Protection Against Pests

Some of the claims made about companion planting are based on conjecture and old wives’ tales. Others have some scientific proof to back them up. The idea that companion planting can help protect broccoli and other plants from pests and diseases does have some scientific support behind it.

A British study from 2003 found that when plants in the cabbage or onion family were planted with a group of four other plants from another family, pests that commonly go for cabbage (like the cabbage fly) or onion (like the onion fly) were considerably confused.

Some plants were better at “protecting” their companions than others. Most notably, very aromatic plants, such as lamb’s quarters, offered the greatest amount of protection against pests.

Along with deterring pests, some companion plants help out in the garden by attracting beneficial insects. Plants with flowers attract pollen seeking insects, for example.

A Flavor Boost

While research backs up the claim that companion plants can help confuse pests, there’s little scientific proof that planting one plant next another, such as broccoli with mint or broccoli with onions, gives the plants a flavor boost.

The improved flavor might be due to the fact that garden-grown crops tend to be picked and eaten right away, rather than shipped many miles to a grocery store, as this video from Alberta Urban Garden notes.

Creates Balance in the Garden

Companion planting can also bring balance to the garden and allow each plant to take advantage of resources, rather than competing for resources.

For example, broccoli is a heavy feeder. For that reason, it’s is often planted with crops that don’t need the same amount of nutrients it does. One example is beets. While broccoli needs lots of calcium, beets don’t and will thrive in the same area and soil as broccoli.

In some cases, companion planting works well because one plant is able to provide shade to another or one plant is able to support its companion. In a video, the Curious Gardener visits Anarchy Farms and learns about the benefits of the traditional 3 sisters planting, which involves corn, squash and beans.

The beans use the tall corn plant as support while the squash is able to sprawl across the ground, providing some coverage to the soil. The beans also fix nitrogen in the soil, allowing the corn and squash to get the nutrients they need.

Good Companions for Broccoli

Here’s a quick list of good companion plants for broccoli:

  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Catnip
  • Thyme
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Nasturtiums
  • Chard
  • Spinach

Broccoli plants have a number of companions and allies in the garden. Allies are plants that are thought to improve broccoli’s flavor. They are include garlic and chamomile according to Burpee.

A variety of fragrant herbs are also thought to improve broccoli’s flavor when planted near it. These herbs are also good companions for the plant because their strong odor helps deter pests.

A few good companion herbs for broccoli include:Another popular companion plant for broccoli is marigold. Marigold flowers have a very strong scent, which is thought to confuse pests, according to Penn State.

Bad Companions for Broccoli

Broccoli doesn’t get along with every plant in the garden. In fact, if you want your entire garden to grow and thrive, it’s best to keep broccoli far away from other plants that are also heavy feeders.

That includes other members of the cabbage family, as they have very similar nutritional needs and are likely to compete for those nutrients when they have to share the same soil. Other cabbage family members include cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Strawberries, pole beans and tomatoes might also be bad companions for broccoli. All three plants are relatively heavy feeders and can compete with the broccoli for needed nutrients in the soil as well as for root space, especially in crowded conditions.

Broccoli and lettuce also don’t get along in the garden. The two plants don’t compete for the same nutrients. Instead, according to Companion Planting Made Easy, broccoli might actually be toxic to lettuce seedlings. When old broccoli plants are left to decay in the soil, they have caused harm to lettuce.

If you’re going to grow broccoli and lettuce, it’s best not to plant them near each other. If you’re going to grow lettuce after broccoli, make sure you clear away any remains of the broccoli plants or choose a different location in your garden entirely.

Before you plant your garden for the new season, carefully consider which plants will go where. Broccoli gets along well with lots of plants, from herbs to beets and from flowers to onions. But it’s best kept far away from its relatives and other hungry plants.

What is companion planting?

Seasoned gardeners and newbies alike are all about the simple technique of companion planting, or the gardening method that involves grouping certain plants together in your garden. Some plants do particularly well together, such as chives and tomato plants, according to Treehugger, or gooseberries and fruit trees, so doing your research ahead of time is key to reaping the benefits of this ever-popular technique.

There are so many different reasons why gardeners enjoy companion planting — according to Gardenista, certain companion plants can protect each other from pests that may be attracted to their partners, almost acting as natural pesticides (garlic is famous for this). Nitrogen-fixing plants can also enrich the soil for non-nitrogen-fixing plants, while taller plants can also provide natural trellising for climbing plants, or some much-needed shade to shorter, shade-loving plants.

Companion planting can also help with weed control, especially if you're planting wide ground-covering plants (which effectively take up space where weed would grow) next to thinner, upright plants that provide more space for weeds and other invasive plants. A handful of farmers also believe companion planting makes other fruits and vegetables taste better. We don't know the exact science behind this theory, but this could easily be the case, as so many farmers vouch for the practice.

Watch the video: Great companion plants