For some reason, eggplants seem to have a reputation for being difficult plants to grow. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you give the plants what they require to grow healthy and strong and grow some eggplant companion plants around your crops, you should be able to produce a bumper crop!
The Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting brings a whole host of benefits to the organic home garden. All plants have beneficial partners who can help improve growth, taste, yield, and deal with pests and diseases. Companion plants can help:
Attract pollinators: Flowers with bright colors and heavy food sources attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Those pollinators will help increase yields in your vegetable gardens. Make them comfortable in your garden and they will reward you with heavy harvests.
Attract beneficial predatory insects: Marigolds attract helpful bugs like parasitic wasps and ladybugs which will dispatch common garden bugs like aphids.
Repel harmful insects: Some plants have strong aromas that repel common garden pests, such as squash bugs and tomato worms. Other scented plants can attract harmful pests and work as a trap crop to keep these pests away from your veggies.
Help improve the soil: Some flowers like marigolds help destroy root-knot nematodes that live in the ground and destroy plants from below. Other plants, like spinach, can act as living mulch to help control moisture in the soil. In some other cases, plants with large taproots like parsnips can help break up heavy clay soils.
Help control weeds: Densely planting under plants like beans or in open spaces around other veggies like spinach makes it difficult for weeds to take hold. The plants choke out the sun and make it difficult for weeds to take hold.
Companion planting can help with disease issues. Diseases are spread more quickly through your garden when plants of the same type are grouped. Adding different species throughout the planting can help break up the garden and slow the spread of diseases like powdery mildew or blight.
You can see from this list that companion planting offers many benefits for organic gardens.
Quick Planting And Care Tips for Eggplants
Solanum melongena (eggplant) is a tropical perennial plant often grown in colder regions as a half-hardy annual. The most common types have egg-shaped fruit with glossy deep purple skin.
Planting out: Eggplants needs extended warm conditions to thrive. If you buy plants from a garden center, be sure to choose sturdy, upright plants.
Seed Starting: Eggplants require a very long growing season, so be sure to start eggplant seeds about eight weeks before planting outside. Transplant outdoors after low nighttime temperatures are above 50F.
Soil requirements: Eggplant prefers well-drained, sandy loam fertile soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7.
Fertilizer: Work 2 inches of compost into the soil before planting the eggplant starts. Eggplants require lots of nitrogen, so be sure to use a quality fertilizer that contains nitrogen. You can also side-dress your plants with additional compost through the season to ensure healthy, hardy growth.
THE QUICK LIST OF eggplant COMPANION PLANTS
These are the plants that partner well interplanted with eggplants:
- Bush beans
- French Tarragon
Vegetable Companion Plants for Eggplant
The best companion plants for eggplant primarily come from two specific families of plants, legumes, and nightshades.
Vegetables like bush beans, pole beans, green beans, and peas are nitrogen-fixing plants and are one of the best companions for eggplants.
These plants co-operate with bacteria in their roots to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available in the soil. Eggplants LOVE and require lots of nitrogen to grow as strong.
Planting bush beans next to eggplants is also an effective method of keeping the Colorado potato beetle from destroying the crop.
Plant your eggplants in front of trellised peas or beans or to the north side of runner beans in rows.
Night Shade Family
The nightshade family, like tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, and hot peppers get along just fine with eggplants. This companionship exists because the plants all share similar likes in the growing environment, not negatively impacting growth.
Hot peppers make an excellent companion for eggplants because they emit a chemical from the plant roots that help prevent Fusarium, root rot, and a whole host of other plant diseases.
You should note that members of the nightshade family also share similar pests and diseases, which could negatively impact your garden. In addition, it is more difficult to fight a spreading infestation or infection in a large swath of plants than containing a smaller one.
aromatic Herbs Make Great Companions for Eggplants
Eggplant can be prone to pests. Pests will not only eat and destroy your crops, but they spread disease through the garden. Managing pests is one of the best strategies for having a healthy garden.
Strongly scented herbs such as thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, sage, basil, tarragon, and all varieties of mint help repel insect invaders. Thyme specifically is a great protector against aphids and garden moths.
When herbs flower, they attract pollinators like bees and butterflies into the garden, which in turn help with yields. The flowers also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, lacewings, and garden beetles.
Flower Companion Plants for Eggplant
There are so many beautiful flowers that are beneficial to a vegetable garden. The nasturtiums and marigolds offer a 1-2 punch for pests and
Nasturtiums are among the best companion plants to interplant with your eggplant for several reasons.
First, the flowers look lovely twisting around the ground with the eggplant. If you’re going for a potager-style garden you cannot deny how pretty pops of nasturtiums are all around the garden beds.
Second, the flowers of Nasturtiums attract many beneficial insects like bees, hoverflies, butterflies, and parasitic wasps. These beneficial insects do all kinds of work in the garden from pollinating to standing guard to keep your veggies free of pests.
Nasturtium plants and vines make lovely ground cover providing shade to the soil and helping to prevent moisture loss.
Marigold’s vibrant flowers and heavy food sources are very attractive to bees and other beneficial insects. Pollinators, for instance, will help increase yields in your vegetable gardens.
The flowers also attract helpful insects like parasitic wasps and ladybugs which will dispatch harmful bugs like aphids and beetles, making them a very good companion for eggplants.
Marigolds’ strong scents act as pest control for common garden pests such as the notorious squash bug! In addition, Marigolds attract slugs and spider mites, turning themselves into trap crops to keep these pests away from your precious crops.
Turning the flowers into the ground at the end of the season helps kill pests like root-knot nematodes.
Excellent all-around companion plant. Borage deters tomato hornworm and cabbage moths and does particularly well planted near eggplants.
Borage is also very attractive to pollinators. Planting the flowers around your eggplant patch will help pollination and higher yields.
What not to plant with eggplants?
A few plants will cause issues if planted near your eggplants. These plants can stunt growth, pass diseases and pests, or possibly even kill your eggplants!
Fennel is an allelopathic plant that doesn’t have a lot of friends. Allelopathic plants release compounds into the soil, and it is those compounds inhibit or even kill nearby plants. So planting fennel next to your eggplant will guarantee stunted crops.
Corn is a heavy feeder, and you want to avoid planting any heavy feeding plants near your eggplants. Eggplants and corn will compete aggressively for any available nutrients in the soil.
Corn is also a tall plant that will create shade near the eggplants. Eggplants require all the sun to produce mature fruit. As a result, the two plants will stunt each other’s growth.
Geraniums are hosts for diseases that can pass to eggplants.
Try Companion Planting
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The key to companion planting is to understand your challenges before planting. You can see from this list how specific plants and plant combinations work well in the garden. But you do need to consider the “why” before you add a companion.
Planting eggplants with thyme for instance will help prevent aphids and cabbage worms but planting beans will help with growth. Either one of these plants would make good companions, but one of them will be better in your specific environment.
If you want more information about companion planting, I highly recommend the book “Carrots Love Tomatoes.“
Looking For More Companion Planting Information?
Check out these guides:
- The Best Sweet Potato Companion Plants
- Rhubarb Companion Plants: A Very Detailed Guide
- The Best Spinach Companion Plants To Grow In Your Garden
- The Best Companion Plants For Cucumbers And The Ones to Avoid
- Companion Plants for Pumpkins – A Gardeners Guide!
- A Guide to Celery Companion Planting
- Strawberry Companion Plants – The Best and The Ones you Want to Avoid
It is not a good idea to plant a heavy feeder like zucchini with eggplants. The zucchini and eggplant will compete for nutrients in the soil and can cause stunted growth in both plants.
Eggplants have many companions: beans, peas, bush beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, french tarragon, thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, sage, basil, mint, marigolds, nasturtium, and borage.
Eggplants can grow very large so your best bet is planting small plants with small non-competing root structures like marigolds.