The tomato is a sun-loving tomato plant that can grow up to 3 feet in height and produce tomato fruit. The tomato’s leaves have an interesting shape, with a long stem and broad blade which often has a serrated edge.
Companion planting can help improve tomato growth and yield by repelling pests or attracting pollinators from other plants nearby.
Some great common tomato companion plants include basil (helps repel aphids), borage (attracts bees), chives (attracts hoverflies), clover (protect against spider mites), comfrey (improves tomato root structure), dill weed (repels tomato worms and nematodes), marigolds (protect against whiteflies or tomato worms), and nasturtiums (protect against tomato hornworms).
Working tomato companion plants into your tomato garden can improve your tomato growth and yield, especially if you live in a warm climate. Planting companion plants near tomatoes will help attract pollinators to encourage tomato fruit set while repelling pests that would otherwise feed on the tomato plants.
It is important to plant tomato companion plants in the same season as tomato fruits because tomato companion plants can affect tomato growth and tomato yields next year. Some examples of tomato companion plants include:
The tomato companion plant that you choose should be based on the tomato pest you are trying to control.
Table of Contents
- 1 6 Common Problems Pests That Impact Tomato Plants
- 2 17 of the Best Tomato Companion Plants
- 3 What NOT to Plant Near Tomatoes
- 4 What is Companion Planting?
- 5 What Are the Benefits of Companion Planting?
6 Common Problems Pests That Impact Tomato Plants
1. Tomato Hornworms
These green, juicy things are disgusting. I dread the days I have to pull some off my plants. Don’t get me wrong, I love gardening but some bugs still creep me out. The tomato hornworm is a moth larva that feeds on tomato plants and tomato leaves. They can grow up to 4 inches long, have five “horn” over each eye, and purple spots on their hind sections.
If tomato worms are present, look for tomato plant leaves with holes in the middle of them. Small clusters of eggs will also be laid on tomato plants.
If tomato worms are a concern, plant marigolds around tomato plants to repel tomato hornworms.
Ahh, the glitter of the garden. They move in quick, end up EVERYWHERE and getting rid of aphids isn’t the easiest task in the world.
These little suckers are small, soft-bodied insects that can be green, black or red in color. They infest tomato plants and tomato fruits, cause leaves to curl under, and leave a sticky residue on tomato fruits.
Aphids can travel from plant to plant through the wind, but companion planting can help keep them under control.
If aphids have been a problem in the past, try planting petunias nearby.
4. Leaf Hoppers
17 of the Best Tomato Companion Plants
Basil is one of the best companions for tomatoes, as they really benefit one another. The basil helps to drastically improve the flavor of your tomatoes, and tomatoes help keep bad bugs away from the basil.
It’s a match made in garden heaven.
- improves the flavor of tomatoes
Borage is a great companion for a lot of plants as it attracts bees, beneficial insects and keeps some of the destructive bugs away.
- attracts hoverflies
- The flowers of cilantro are what you’re after here. They attract predatory insects that eat that bad bugs that will destroy your tomatoes.
Repel spider mites; brings a ton of pollinators to the plants.
Improves tomato root structure; promotes plant growth
Attracts pollinators; repels tomato worms and nematodes.
Companion plants in the Parsley family (Apiaceae) like cilantro, dill, and fennel are great for attracting predatory insects to your garden that feed on pesky aphids.
Garlic helps create better-tasting tomatoes, AND they’re a good pair in the kitchen as well.
Marigolds have been used for centuries by farmers and homemakers as natural pest repellants. They seem to do an amazing job at keeping aphids, whiteflies, and even deer away from gardens. They’re easy to grow, and the bright flowers are beautiful. They also protect against tomato worms.
Mint keeps the aphids at bay, so plant tomatoes near your mint and basil.
They also help repel hornworms, and attractor pollinators so they’re definitely one you should keep in mind while planting your garden.
These are a great companion plant for tomatoes because they keep asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, aphids, and tomato worms at bay.
Radishes help keep flea beetles away but you’ll need to plant them very close.
Great for helping reduce diseases that tomatoes are susceptible to.
Most of the diseases that tomatoes are impacted by are caused by water and dirt splashing back up from the ground when it rains or the plants get watered. The leaves of the sweet potatoes can help protect them against this if you plant them close together.
Thyme is naturally a great repellent for hornworms, and if you’ve ever grown tomatoes before you’ll know what a great relief that is!
What NOT to Plant Near Tomatoes
While there are quite a few good options to plant near tomatoes, there are some you should never plant near your tomatoes.
Limits the growth potential of both plants
Fennel will actually inhibit growth in tomatoes, bush beans, and kohlrabi.
Limits the growth of both plants, leaving you with mediocre broccoli and unproductive tomato plants.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is basically adding plants together to improve the growth of one or both.
Companion planting will help deter pests while attracting beneficial insects and pollinators into the mix. Tomatoes need a lot of pollinators to get those flower buds turning into fruit!
Next time you’re planning your garden, see if you can add any of these options to your garden!
What Are the Benefits of Companion Planting?
Companion planting is about putting together plants that will either help or not hurt each other. Some are believed to ward off pests, vermin, and diseases. It is said that if you plant certain plants together, then the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. You can attract helpful predator bugs when you grow marigolds or sunflowers. You can keep aphids away by planting mint. And on, and on.
Attracting Beneficial Insects
The best thing about companion planting is for the purpose of attracting beneficial insects. You want to attract these guys because they’re eating up your bad bugs. Besides, they are also pollinators. If you have an herb garden or vegetable garden, then surely you know how important bees and butterflies are.
The most obvious example of this is growing tomatoes and basil together. The combination of the two just make your tomatoes taste INCREDIBLE.
Organic Pest Control
Growing your tomatoes near certain herbs and plants will give the tomato a boost of natural pest repellant.
Companion planting is a great way to help increase the health of your tomato plants and get a bigger yield.