Growing a garden can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to gardening. But one of the easiest plants for beginners is rhubarb! Rhubarb grows well in many different soils and climates, but it does require some extra consideration when choosing companion plants because it takes up quite a bit more space than usual crops do.
Companion planting with rhubarb should always include three main considerations:
- How tall they grow or shade will block out sunlight from reaching other plants.
- Whether certain plant varieties might crowd each other out. Taller growing companions need to stay away from shorter ones as opposed to near them,
- What benefits that particular crop provides by being planted nearby.
Companion Planting – Fact or Fiction?
It might sound too good to be true but it really isn’t! Companion plants improve your chances of success when gardening by providing support through mutually beneficial relationships.
It is possible that companion plants can make you more successful with less work because they do some of the jobs for you! For example, mint will deter pests from eating vegetables, asparagus will help loosen soil, and garlic will repel aphids.
Companion plants can also help fight off diseases and improve your soil quality while improving the overall health of those plants in proximity to each other.
Because companion planting is not a one-size-fits-all concept, you may need to do more research on the specific plants that work best for your specific goals and environments.
Companion Plants for Rhubarb – A comprehensive list!
These planting additions all make great companions for rhubarb. They’re also easy enough to grow and provide benefits such as pest control, soil fertility improvement, nitrogen fixation (and the list goes on!)
You should be able to find a companion for your rhubarb from this list. We’ve also included a write-up about each companion detailing their specific role and relationship companion planting with rhubarb below.
Beets are a great companion plant to help reduce pests and bloat in the soil. Plant beets and rhubarb together to keep rhubarb from going too woody or having its flavor diminish prematurely.
Beets can benefit from the bit of shade they receive from the tall stalks of rhubarb later in the hotter summer months.
Visually the beat greens look lovely planted around the taller leafier rhubarb.
Catnip – Another plant that’s great for resisting insects and repelling mice and other rodents from getting into your crops while also attracting pollinators like butterflies!
The smelly catnip will create an aromatic barrier around its surroundings, making sure any bugs stay out. Companion planting catnip with rhubarb takes care of aphids, beetles, cabbage worms, mosquitoes, and many others!
You may have to deter the local outdoor cats – they all love catnip!
Dill is another companion plant that can help reduce pests and bloat in the soil. It deters aphids and attracts pollinators (especially bees).
In addition, dill has deep taproots to break up heavy soils that can lead to weeds. Loosening the soil also helps the rhubarb roots spread, which in turn helps the plant grow thicker.
With its high sulfur content and natural pest repellent abilities, garlic is a great companion to rhubarb. Plant garlic in the neighboring bed or near rhubarb plants for maximum benefits.
You will also be able to harvest cloves from your garlic throughout the summer and into early fall. Garlic planted with rhubarb will also keep ants away, which can be a problem for rhubarb.
Specifically, garlic protects against aphids, whiteflies, and other pests, with its strong scent, can also deter rabbits.
Companion gardening with marigolds near your rhubarb plants can help them grow better, make the leaves less susceptible to diseases and pests. Marigolds also attract predatory insects, which will go after other bugs attacking nearby plants while not harming any of the marigolds.
We love interplanting our vegetable gardens with companion flowers. It makes the vegetable garden dazzle while helping to protect our harvests. We dot our potager garden with marigolds every summer.
Sage will attract predatory insects that prey on nearby bugs while not harming the sage you plant alongside your rhubarb plants; it also breaks up tough soil clumps and aerates deeper layers of earth where most rhubarb roots live.
With its bright purple flowers, sage attracts pollinating insects into the garden.
In addition to being an excellent insect repellant, it also does wonders breaking up tough topsoil clumps and aerating the deeper layers of earth where most rhubarb roots live. Onions have some natural fungicidal properties.
Onion family members like garlic, onions, and chives make great companion plants for nearby rhubarb because they love the same soil conditions as rhubarb! They also thrive with their shallow roots in the light shade the rhubarb provides.
Strawberries make an excellent companion plant for rhubarbs on the perimeter of your patch. They are low-growing and do not get in the way of rhubarb; they have deep taproots to break up the soil and help suppress weeds.
Strawberries also benefit from the shade cast by rhubarb provides during hot summer days.
If you are looking for an attractive planting, you cannot go wrong with strawberries. Their blooms look lovely against the dark green leaves and red stalks of the rhubarb plant.
Asparagus is amazing for breaking up compacted soils like heavy clay or soggy earth that can lead to root rot in plants; it also absorbs excess water from its roots, thus reducing some of the stress on nearby rhubarb plants.
Learn More: Want to know what else to plant with your asparagus? Check out this full guide to companion planting with asparagus.
You can plant it in a ring around the base of plants like asparagus or rhododendron (both excellent companion plants) to deter slugs; chamomile is also an all-around fantastic herb used medicinally and culinarily.
Mint plantings can also go a long way in creating pest suppression around nearby plants and would work great with your other companion planting ideas.
Peppermint specifically deters aphids and attracts pollinators. There are many different types of mint, but peppermint seems to be the best variety for pest repellant.
Peppermint can be invasive, so plant it in a pot to control it.
Brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower make great companions for rhubarb as they will help prevent a lot of the pests attracted to rhubarb. Rhubarb, in turn, will help shade the broccoli plants, preventing sun damage.
Broccoli provides nitrogen-fixing properties beneficial to a plant, such as rhubarb, which prefers soil rich in organic matter. Companion planting broccoli with rhubarb can lead to richer soils and more delicious produce from both crops!
Companion gardening with thyme near your rhubarb plants can help keep many insects away from them and other nearby plants, too!
Planting thyme next to rhubarb will also help prevent root rot in their wet soil.
Rhubarb is a great pollinator food source, and thyme will attract them to the area!
It’s always important to keep other flowering plants nearby when you have rhubarb because they’ll provide an attractive nectar-producing plant and be another natural pest repellent for these bad bugs.
Companion planting with chives can be just what your garden needs if it has poor soils or too much shade from taller plants nearby. In addition, chives will deter insects and add some chlorophyll (and flavor) to rhubarb, making them more nutritious than ever!
Companion Planting With Rhubarb – let’s Wrap up!
Companion gardening near your rhubarb plant is an easy process that can help keep the soil in good condition, protect against insects, and even increase the production of both companion crops.
Personally, I have always planted strawberries under my rhubarb plants because it always seemed like such a natural pairing. They also seem to ripen around the same time, making harvesting easier. So I call it my strawberry rhubarb pie patch.
Have you had success with companion planting? Have you tried companion planting, and it didn’t quite work for you? Could you drop a comment below and let us know?
More Gardening Resources
We have so much more vegetable gardening information for you to check out:
- Container Gardening with Carrots
- The Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots
- The 28 best vegetables to grow in the shade
- How to Grow Cinderella pumpkins
- Companion Plants for Pumpkins – A Gardeners Guide!
- 28 Vegetables That Grow in Shade For Gardens Without Full Sun
- How to Keep Cut Roses Fresh
- Can You Plant Peonies in the Spring?