Choosing the best cauliflower companion plants can be daunting, especially for beginner gardeners. However, understand companion planting and how it works to make the right decisions. Companion planting is a gardening strategy that allows you to utilize space and maximize yields by growing different plants nearby.
Although most of the studies about companion planting have mainly focused on vegetable gardens, ornamental plants, such as roses, can also do well as companion herbs. Nonetheless, growing plants close to each other enables them to share their unique characteristics and boost their growth and production by attracting pollinators and repelling pests.
Also, companion planting can provide other benefits such as:
- Shade regulation
- Natural support
- Improved soil fertility
- Enhanced overall plant health
Some of the best cauliflower companion plants can also suppress the weeds in your garden. Cauliflower is one of the most common companion plants that you can quickly grow next to many other plants with fewer risks.
It’s a vegetable in the brassica family that many gardeners grow today. Some describe it as a modified form of cabbage, rich in natural fibers and B vitamins. Cauliflower contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect the body against different cancers. Its fibers can help with digestion and weight loss. Cauliflower also contains other essential nutrients for strengthening bones and boosting the cardiovascular system. You can adapt cauliflower into many recipes, but most people love it in crust pizza and soups.
One of the unique benefits of cauliflower is that it has nearly similar cultural requirements and traits as several other plants. So, which are the best cauliflower companion plants? This article reviews some of the best cauliflower companion plants, highlighting their qualities, uses, benefits, and other important information.
Which Are the Best Cauliflower Companion Plants?
Although there are several plants to grow with cauliflower, every gardener usually has unique needs and preferences. That implies you may want to consider factors such as the size of your garden, soil type, and reasons for companion planting. Nevertheless, the following are the best companion plants for cauliflower.
1. Pole Beans
Pole beans are among the best cauliflower companion plants that are also very easy to grow since they do well in different climates. Beans’ roots attract and retain nitrogen and other essential nutrients, making them great for improving the growth and health of cauliflower plants. Unlike most plants, the best way to plant pole beans is by directly sowing them into the garden. Besides, you can harvest pole beans at least five times every season. However, beans do not do well with onions, so avoid them if you also plan to grow onions in the garden.
Squash is a common plant in most vegetable gardens and one of the best cauliflower companion plants. It also does pretty well in most regions and is easy to grow. Wide varieties of squash exist, including bush and vine types, but the most common ones are summer and winter squash. Squash summer and winter varieties come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Although some people do not consider corn a vegetable, it is also among the good companion plants for cauliflower. Corn is one of the most resilient garden plants that are easy to grow and manage. It can provide proper shade regulation and enhance the overall health of your cauliflower.
Basil is also one of the best cauliflower companion plants, recommended by several gardeners. Basil has solid insect-repellant qualities that can help keep pests like thrips out of your garden. It can also suppress moths that often attack tomatoes and other vegetables. Studies have also established planting basil with other vegetables can reduce armyworms and attract bees, thereby improving pollination and overall plant health.
Cucumbers are great for salads and pickles, but you can also eat them fresh from the garden. Pickling and slicing are the most common types that come in different varieties. Cucumbers have compact shapes and bushy leaves, ideal for shade regulation. They can also provide better moisture retention, keeping your cauliflower and other plants in the garden healthy. So, consider cucumber when looking for the best cauliflower companion plants.
Garlic’s strong scent is one of its unique qualities, making it one of the best cauliflower companion plants. The aromas deter many insects, including aphids, onion flies, Japanese beetles, and ermine moths. Planting them between the rows of cauliflower, tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce will deliver the most impact.
Tansy is an instant attraction to ladybugs and other predatory insects, known to eat various types of pests. However, it also repels several harmful insects, including cutworms that often attack vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots. Nonetheless, tansy is a perennial plant that you can only plant once in your garden.
Sage is no doubt one of the best vegetable companion flowers. Apart from its delicious taste, sage offers several benefits to the other vegetables in your garden. Its flowers attract bees and many other pollinators, improving the pollination of all your plants.
Like beans, lentils are also legumes, enabling them to replenish the soil with nitrogen and other essential nutrients to help your cauliflower and other plants in the garden to flourish. Besides, lentils can also provide shade to reduce the loss of moisture. And this makes them feature among the best cauliflower companion plants.
Broccoli is a vegetable rich in vital nutrients. Some eat it fresh, others use it in stir fry and soups, but people consume it in several other ways. Many companion plants for cauliflower and broccoli exist because it is easy to grow in cool seasons. Its flowers are attractive and ideal for promoting pollination. Besides, broccoli usually develops side shoots that enable you to maximize the harvest. However, you must observe the best cauliflower companion planting and broccoli conditions to ensure better plant health and a bountiful harvest.
Like cabbage, broccoli is also a member of the brassica family. It requires similar nutrients and attracts nearly the same pests as cauliflower. Managing broccoli and cauliflower can be challenging for beginners due to the intense competition for resources. Planting them together is not recommended, but you can still do it with proper spacing and organic pesticides. The crops should have a spacing of at least 90cm or 3 feet to grow well. Also, mix compost and aged manure into the soil before planting. Then, use a balanced fertilizer throughout the growing season.
There are several other good companion plants for cauliflower that you can also consider for your garden, including chard, spinach, shallots, mint, celery, onions, Brussels sprouts, beets, radishes, and marigolds. Like the ones discussed above, those plants also have unique properties to deter garden pests, attract pollinators, provide shade, promote soil health and maximize harvest.
How to Choose the Best Cauliflower Companion Plants
Choosing what to plant with a cauliflower companion can still be challenging, even with the vast options discussed above. However, a few considerations can help you make a better decision on the plants to cultivate alongside cauliflower in your garden.
Gardening experts say the first element to consider when choosing the best cauliflower companion plants is the crop’s cultural requirements. The best cauliflower companion plants should have relatively exact conditions, such as even moisture distribution, organic soils, and full sunlight.
Also, remember that brassica family members, such as cauliflower and broccoli, are heavy feeders. Thus, they may not perform well if planted close to plants that require lots of nutrients. That implies you should consider companion plants that do not need a lot of nutrients to avoid intense competition.
The associated pests are another factor to consider when selecting what to plant after cauliflower. Do the plants attract pests that destroy cauliflower? Or do they draw the same insects that make them excellent trap crops? Find out if those plants have helpful growth patterns, such as sprawling, to prevent the spread of weeds or create bushes that provide shade to your cauliflower during hot afternoons. Similar factors can also apply when choosing the best companion plants for arugula.
It is also important to note that cauliflower is not the easiest plant with which to get along. That’s because it contains compounds known as allelochemicals that are usually intolerable to several plants and herbs. It releases these compounds into the soil, causing anomalies in the growth and production of many crops.
Remember that even some good companion plants for cauliflower that may not tolerate those compounds. Examples include corn, cucumber, squash, and pepper. Therefore, consider this when looking for the best cauliflower companion plants for your garden.
Bad Companion Plants for Cauliflower
Although many options exist for cauliflower companion herbs, there are also some plants you should not plant alongside cauliflower. Thus, it is also vital that you know the bad companion herbs for cauliflower. The following are some of the plants that you should not include in your cauliflower garden.
Strawberries often attract snails, slugs, and other destructive insects that could quickly overwhelm your garden and wither all the plants. Thus, they’re not among the best cauliflower companion plants to grow in your garden.
Like cauliflower, tomatoes require a lot of nutrients from the soil to thrive. The intense competition can make it extremely hinder the health of cauliflower.
Peas are also bad cauliflower companions because they can inhibit the latter’s growth and production. Therefore, peas can’t feature in the list of the best cauliflower companion plants. You should avoid planting some herbs near cauliflower, including pumpkins and melons.
Overall, there are several plants that you can cultivate in your garden alongside cauliflower to suppress pests and weeds, improve soil fertility and maximize harvests. This article has discussed the best cauliflower companion plants and the crops to avoid when choosing cauliflower companions for your garden.
Many people today use phrases such as, what can you plant with cauliflower, what is a good companion plant for cauliflower and what are good companion plants for cauliflower to search for answers online. The following section highlights frequently asked questions about the best plants to grow near cauliflower to help you make informed decisions.
What should you not plant with cauliflower?
There are several bad companion plants for cauliflower that you should avoid in your garden. Strawberries, tomatoes, peas, pumpkins, and melons are excellent examples of such plants. Strawberries attract destructive pests, while tomatoes require a lot of nutrients that could easily hinder the growth and production of cauliflower. Pumpkins and melons are too bushy, quickly attracting weeds and blocking your cauliflower from full sunlight. Please avoid these options because they are not among the best cauliflower companion plants.
Can you plant cabbage and cauliflower together?
Cauliflower and cabbage fall under the same family of brassica. Some even describe cauliflower as a modified version of cabbage. That implies they share similar cultural requirements for soil, water, and sunlight. While cabbage might seem like a good companion to cauliflower, it is a heavy feeder. Thus, planting cabbage with cauliflower is not advisable because it will create intense competition for nutrients and water. Besides, cabbage will also attract the same pests as cauliflower, making it a competitor and not a companion.
Can I plant lettuce with cauliflower?
Lettuce is a typical salad planted in many gardens around the globe. While lettuce is easy to grow and harvest, it’s not among the best cauliflower companion plants. That is mainly because cauliflower and other herbs in the brassica family have root secretions that can hinder the germination of lettuce seeds. Some lettuce varieties may complement cauliflower, but the risks can be overwhelming.
Can I plant eggplant next to cauliflower?
Eggplant is also a heavy feeder that requires tremendous water and nutrients from the soil to thrive. That means planting eggplant next to cauliflower will induce intense competition for nutrients, stunting the growth of one or both crops. Hence, it’s not one of the best cauliflower companion plants.
Can cauliflower grow with tomatoes?
Like eggplant and peppers, tomato plants are also members of the Solanaceae family. They require a constant supply of essential nutrients and water to grow and reproduce. According to gardening experts, cauliflower can stunt the growth of tomatoes, and you should, therefore, not plant them together.
Can you plant peppers and cauliflower together?
Although pepper is a member of the Solanaceae family, it does not require as many nutrients as most of its counterparts. However, it is also one of the bad cauliflower companion herbs because of its intolerance to the allelochemicals produced by cauliflower. The compounds can quickly wither or ruin your pepper plants completely. Besides, red peppers can attract harmful insects and birds that destroy cauliflower. Hence, peppers are not among the best cauliflower companion plants.