Cauliflower can be a bit of a challenge to grow well. It’s a cold-weather crop that is particularly fussy about its growing environment. It’s also a favorite delicacy for harmful pests, and those pests can be challenging to manage. However, there are several cauliflower companion plants you can grow to help control those pests and help improve the quality and flavor of your cauliflower.
We have the complete guide below that will list out all the benefits and challenges of each companion plant so you can plant cauliflower with confidence this season. Read on!
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Companion Planting Cauliflower – The Best Plants To Grow With Cauliflower
There are so many great companion plants you can plant alongside your cauliflower plants:
Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Turnips, and Brussels Sprouts
Cauliflower belongs to the brassica family and grows well with other family members, including broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, and brussels sprouts. They all enjoy the same type of growing environment and will do well-planted side by side.
Usually, we suggest planting members of the same family away from one another to help prevent the rapid spread of diseases and insect pest infestations. Still, I find it easier to control those environmental challenges when they are together in the garden with the brassica family.
- Learn More: Are you a Turnip fan? If you are, we have a dedicated post about the best companion plants you can grow with turnips. Check it out!
Celery makes a wonderful companion for planting with cauliflower. The pungent smell of the celery leaves can help repel white cabbage months from laying eggs inside the cauliflower.
Beets are an easy companion planting for cauliflower. They take up little space and can be planted between the heads.
Cauliflower plants are heavy calcium and magnesium users, but beets seem to not care!
Beets also like similar watering schedules as cauliflower, making them a good companion plant for your cauliflower beds.
- Related Post: Did you know you can grow beets in containers, even on a patio? We have the full guide to growing healthy robust beets in containers!
Spinach is one of the best cauliflower companion plants!
Cauliflower and spinach are both cool-season crops and enjoy being planted simultaneously.
When planted densely around the cauliflower, the spinach can help choke out weeds and keep the soil cool and moist by providing shade. It is essential to keep the roots of the cauliflower plant cool to prevent early bolting.
Gardeners claim that planting spinach with cauliflower will result in higher yields for both plants.
- Learn More: See our complete guide on planting spinach as a companion plant.
If planted densely around the cauliflower plants, lettuce will also help to choke out weeds and keep the soil cool and moist.
Lettuce will also grow exceptionally well in the shade of the big cauliflower leaves.
Sage’s pungent early scent will deter pests like cabbage moths. But, at the same time, its beautiful blue flower blooms will attract bees and butterflies and beneficial insects like hoverflies and wasps, which will prey on caterpillars and pesky aphids.
Sage will also never compete with cauliflower for moisture.
Rosemary is one of the best cauliflower companion plants you can add to your garden bed.
The robust and spicy aroma will help confuse pests like cabbage worms, but more so than any other aromatic herbs.
Thyme plants are one of my favorites to grow in the garden. The low creeping thyme looks lovely in bloom around a cauliflower bed.
These aromatic herbs will attract beneficial insects to the garden, including pollinators. The scent will also deter pests away from your cauliflower.
Thyme plants can be grown as a ground cover that will keep weeds down and help keep the cauliflower roots cool to prevent the plants from bolting.
Dill is known to improve the health of cauliflower plants.
This powerfully scented herb can help repel cabbage moths, cabbage worms, and cabbage loopers that can all attack and feed on cauliflower plants.
Mint plants make wonderful cauliflower companion plants. The strong scent will confuse and deter pests.
Mint is a very invasive plant. If you add it to your garden beds, add a barrier to prevent it from spreading.
Mint leaves and stems can also be added to cauliflower beds as mulch.
- Learn More: Mint makes a great companion for many plants. See our full article and information about growing mint as a companion!
Potatoes are very heavy feeders and are do not make great companion plants for many vegetables.
However, cauliflower and potatoes do not compete for the same nutrients, and their roots reside at different levels in the soil.
They also prefer the same moisture environment, making them easy companions.
Chamomile’s claim as a companion plant for cauliflower is that it improves the taste! Any companion plant that can enhance the flavor of my vegetables is a win.
Plant chamomile to help deter pests like cabbage worms and aphids. Chamomile aromatic flowers attract bees, which will help with pollination for the rest of your garden.
Garlic plants make perfect companion plants for cauliflower as it is one of the best pest deterrents. It has an intense aroma, and pests do not care for the smell. The scent is also so strong that it will confuse pesky insects and help hide your prized crops.
It also emits sulfur into the soil, creating both an antibacterial and antifungal environment around your cauliflower which will help to keep diseases at bay.
- Learn More: Garlic is an excellent companion plant! See our article about the best way to use garlic as a companion plant in your garden.
Onions are another plant said to help improve the taste of your cauliflowers if planted nearby.
Additionally, onions are light feeders and do not compete for nutrients in the soil. The plants will also not compete for moisture, making them an ideal candidate for companion planting.
The plants will also repel a wide range of pesky insects like caterpillars and aphids, that feed on cauliflower.
Marigolds are good companion plants for cauliflower. They add some much need color around the beds, but they offer so much more than looks.
The spicy, very disliked scent of french marigolds works exceptionally well to deter brassica pests and mammals like rabbits, deer, and moles.
- Learn More: Marigolds offer benefits to many other plants in the garden. We compiled the complete companion planting list for marigolds to take the guesswork out of companion planting with these beautiful flowers.
Nasturtiums will help repel insects that will harm your cauliflower plants.
The flowers will also attract pollinators, and the plant attracts beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies. These insects can help manage infestations of cabbage worms.
- Learn More: Learn how to grow nasturtiums in your gardens from seed to flower and use these versatile plants as companions around the garden.
Geraniums are an unusual companion plant in the vegetable garden, but they help repel cauliflower pests like cabbage worms and loopers. In addition, their pungent aroma is not particularly enjoyed by pests (including deer and rabbits).
Plant radishes on the outside edge of your cauliflower plants to stand as soldiers to protect your crop. Radishes attract pests and can be used as trap crops or sacrificial crops to protect your cauliflower.
Avoid Planting These plants with your cauliflower
There are several plants that do not make good companions for cauliflower:
Grow cauliflower away from strawberries. Strawberries inhibit brassica growth, so avoid planting strawberries near any brassica family member.
- Learn More: Although strawberries do poorly planted with cauliflower they do have a number of excellent companions. We have a full guide to walk you through how to best use strawberries as companion plants in your garden.
Corn will compete for nutrients and create too much shade for the sun-loving cauliflower. It is best to plant these plants away from one another.
Cucumber plants are heavy feeders that will compete for nutrients and water. This competitive environment will cause stunted growth for both plants.
- Learn More: Cucumbers DO make wonderful companions for a number of plants, just not cauliflowers. Check out our list of companions for cucumbers before you plant!
Squash plants grow lush and are heavy nutrient feeders. The leaves of the squash plants can shade out the cauliflower, and they will compete for nutrients in the soil.
Pepper & Tomato Plants
Just like cauliflower, tomatoes are also heavy feeders of nutrients. If planted near one another, the plants will compete for nutrients.
We can attest to beans being a poor companion for cauliflower plants! Beans increase nitrogen availability in the soil and can be too much for cauliflower plants.
Too much nitrogen in the soil can cause cauliflower leaf tip burn.
Companion Planting Brings so Many Benefits to Your Garden
Companion planting brings a whole host of benefits to the garden beds. Using Companion planting in your garden can help:
Attract beneficial pollinators: Planting flowers around the garden will attract pollinators through scent and color and offer up a food source for those pollinators so they will want to hang around.
Attract beneficial predatory insects: Flowers and herbs will also attract helpful bugs like hoverflies, wasps, and ladybugs.
Repel harmful insects: Plants like onion work well to repel common insect pests, such as aphids, flea beetles, and mites.
Companion plants can assist in weed control. For example, densely planted greens like spinach or low-growing flowers like nasturtiums can act as a mulch to choke out and help prevent weeds.
Will help with disease problems in your garden: Diseases are spread quickly through gardens when plants of the same type are grouped in extensive mass plantings.
- Learn More: Companion Plants for the In The Veggie patch
Are you interested in companion planting? We have several resources for you to check out.
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