If you’re a gardening enthusiast, it’s important to understand the concept of companion plants for cucumbers to boost your cucumber yields and promote a healthy garden. This article provides valuable insights and practical tips on cucumber companion plants with novice and experienced gardeners in mind. We’ll explore the beneficial relationships that can enhance cucumber growth, repel pests, and promote overall garden health.
In the following article, we’ll uncover the benefits of strategic plant pairings for cucumbers, shedding light on how certain companion plants can act as natural allies, warding off common pests and diseases without harsh chemicals. You’ll discover a wealth of information on compatible plants that support cucumber growth and contribute to a diverse and resilient garden ecosystem. So please grab a cup of your favorite coffee and your garden planner, and let’s get planning.
Best Companion Plants For Cucumbers
Below is a comprehensive list of plants that thrive when interplanted with cucumbers. In the following article, we will explore the benefits of each of these plants and explain why they make great companions for cucumbers.
Beans & Peas
Legumes like peas, bush beans, and pole beans make great companion plants for cucumbers. They make excellent companions as the bean plants add much-needed nitrogen to the soil. Increasing nitrogen levels in the soil helps the cucumber plants thrive. In addition, pole beans and green beans are great for trellising behind cucumbers. Allow the cucumbers to trail in front of the trellised peas or beans.
Beans & peas produce best when planted in full sun. They require fertile, well-draining soil with lots of compost added at the start of the season.
Corn and cucumbers form a symbiotic relationship; Sweet corn makes a natural trellis for the cucumber vines to climb. In addition, the cucumber vines provide a living mulch along the base of the corn stalks, keeping the soil moist and weeds at bay. Corn plants are heavy feeders and require rich, fertile, well-drained soil to produce. Plant cucumbers at the edges of the corn patch and allow them to trail and climb. Be sure to choose smaller varieties of cucumbers to prevent toppling the corn stalks from heavy fruit.
Peppers and cucumbers are great companions in the garden. They confuse pests, require similar soil and environmental conditions, use garden space efficiently, and attract pollinators. Overall, planting them together fosters healthier plants and more productive gardens.
Radishes may help deter cucumber beetles, acting as a trap crop for flea beetles. In addition, root vegetables like radishes are well planted with cucumbers because their roots do not interfere with each other.
Lettuce plants have shallow root systems and co-exist happily with cucumbers, as their root systems do not interfere with each other. The plant acts as a living mulch under trellised cucumbers and helps prevent the soil from drying out.
Carrots and cucumbers share the same growing conditions and pair well in a garden bed. Since cucumbers only send down one large taproot, planting carrots before the vines will not negatively impact root vegetables like carrots. The same can be said for other root crops like beets.
Nasturtium companion plants work exceptionally well with cucumbers because they act as a trap crop for pests like flea beetles and aphids. The vines and flowers also look lovely intertwined with cucumber vines.
Plant nasturtium seeds outdoors in the spring after the last frost in your region. Nastriutums enjoy full sun but will tolerate light shade. Shade may deter blooming, but lack of bloom will not impact their ability to deter pests. The plants can also help improve the taste of your cucumbers.
Helpful: How to grow nasturtiums
Marigold companion plants look lovely in the vegetable garden but provide more than good looks. The plant makes an excellent companion plant that helps deter pests away from fruit vines and root vegetable crops. For example, marigolds help deter aphids, Japanese beetles, and spotted cucumber beetles. The strong scent of marigolds acts like a bug spray for the cucumber plants. If you continually deadhead marigolds they will flourish and bloom throughout the season until the first frost.
You can use sunflowers as natural trellises for vining cucumbers. Be sure to pick smaller growing cucumbers, like pickling cucumbers, to prevent the stalks from collapsing from heavier types.
Plant sunflowers in full sun with well-drained soil. You can directly seed Sunflowers in the spring after the last frost. In the fall, sunflowers are among the best flowers for bees and birds when other flowers and food sources have stopped blooming.
See: How to Grow Sunflowers.
Dill plants will help cucumbers by attracting beneficial predatory insects like ladybugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and hoverflies, while repelling harmful bugs like spider mites, and aphid midges. That’s a lot of general pest protection.
Borage is an excellent companion for cucumbers due to its multiple benefits. Its flowers attract pollinators, improving the yield of cucumbers. Its deep taproots break up compacted soil, improving soil structure and aeration.
Borage emits a scent that repels pests, providing natural pest control. Its low-growing habit complements the vertical growth of cucumbers, allowing efficient use of garden space. Overall, borage provides a combination of benefits, making it an excellent companion plant for cucumbers.
Bad Companion Plants for Cucumbers
The worst cucumber companion plants for cucumbers share similar diseases and or will negatively affect the taste of the cucumbers.
The same insects that like to infest melons also love to invade cucumber plants. Planting cucurbits together creates a monoculture, and diseases and pests thrive in monocultures. Avoid planting melons, squash, and pumpkins with your cucumber plants.
Cucumbers can encourage potato blight if the environment is just right. Once potato blight takes hold in your garden, it’s challenging to control, so be sure to plant your cucumbers as far away as possible from your potato beds. Potatoes and cucumbers also share similar fungal diseases.
Brassicas like cabbage, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts make poor pairings in the vegetable garden. They are very thirsty, hungry plants that will deplete the resources required to grow a brassica and a cucumber in the same bed. Brassicas are challenged with infestations of cabbage loopers, and planting cucumbers nearby is an invitation for the cabbage loopers to infest the cucumber plants.
Aromatic herbs like oregano, basil, sage, bay, summer savory, and mint can impart an off-flavor to the cucumbers. Unfortunately, all types of sage can also stunt the growth of your cucumber plants. Keeping the bulk of your herb garden away from your cucumber plants is a good idea.
- Choose compatible companions: Companion plants with complementary growth habits, soil requirements, and pest-repelling properties. Plants like beans, peas, dill, and nasturtiums make excellent companions for cucumbers due to their beneficial effects on soil health and pest management.
- Diversify your garden: Incorporate a diverse range of companion plants to attract various beneficial insects and create a more resilient ecosystem. Mix flowers, herbs, and vegetables strategically throughout your cucumber patch to make a balanced and biodiverse environment.
- Utilize vertical space: Take advantage of trellises or supports for vining companion plants like beans, peas, and cucumbers. Vertical vegetable gardens maximize space and improve air circulation and sunlight exposure, leading to healthier plants and higher yields.
- Practice intercropping: Intercropping involves planting different crops near one another. Pairing cucumbers with compatible companion plants can help suppress weeds, reduce soil erosion, and optimize resource utilization, resulting in healthier and more productive crops.
- Rotate crops annually: Rotate companion plants and cucumbers annually to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil. Crop rotation disrupts pest and disease cycles, improves soil fertility, and promotes overall garden health.
- Use companion plants as living mulch: Plant low-growing companion plants like lettuce or herbs around the base of cucumber plants to act as living mulch. Living mulch suppresses weeds, conserves soil moisture, and provides a habitat for beneficial insects, ultimately enhancing cucumber growth and productivity.
- Encourage biodiversity: Create habitat diversity by incorporating a mix of flowering plants, herbs, and grasses in and around your cucumber patch. Biodiversity attracts beneficial insects, improves pollination, and enhances ecosystem resilience, leading to healthier and more abundant cucumber harvests.
- Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor your garden for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies. Adjust your companion planting strategy as needed based on observations and feedback from your garden to optimize cucumber growth and harvest.
By implementing these expert tips for using companion plants around cucumbers, you can create a thriving and sustainable garden ecosystem that promotes healthy plant growth and abundant harvests.
Companion planting involves growing plants to enhance growth, repel pests, and improve overall garden health. For cucumbers, companion planting can involve selecting plants that benefit each other when grown nearby.
Several plants make excellent companions for cucumbers, including dill, sunflower, beans, borage, marigolds, and nasturtiums. These companion plants can help deter pests, attract beneficial insects, and improve soil health.
Companion plants offer various benefits to cucumbers, such as repelling pests like cucumber beetles, attracting pollinators for better fruit sets, and providing nitrogen fixation to improve soil fertility. Additionally, some companions can enhance the flavor of cucumbers or serve as living mulch to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.
When planning companion planting for cucumbers, consider plant compatibility, growth habits, and spacing requirements. Group together companion plants that benefit each other and stagger plantings to optimize space utilization and crop rotation. Additionally, monitor your garden regularly and adjust your planting strategy as needed based on observations and feedback.
Yes, companion planting can improve cucumber yields by promoting healthier plants, reducing pest pressure, and enhancing pollination. By creating a biodiverse and balanced garden ecosystem, gardeners can optimize growing conditions and maximize cucumber harvests.
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You can see from this list that numerous plants can be grown alongside cucumbers. Plants that provide excellent pest control help improve the soil and taste of the fruit as well as protect the plants from environmental stresses. We love to have companion plants in our garden to add diversity to our beds, which helps control environmental stresses like diseases and pests.
If you haven’t ever tried companion planting in your garden before, I urge you to try this year, even if only a few plants in a few beds. We would love to hear your results, so tag us on social media or drop us a line. We love seeing other folk’s gardens and hearing about what works for them. If you have any suggestions or comments we welcome you to leave them below.
Cheers to an excellent growing season!
Author: Laura Kennedy
Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on January 29, 2022, and was updated on Feb 22, 2024. The update includes better formatting, a FAQ, expert tips, and a TOC.