If you are a gardener looking to maximize your eggplant yield while promoting a healthy and pest-resistant garden, knowing what to grow as eggplant companion plants is important. In this guide, we will explore the world of companion planting and offer expert advice and recommendations tailored specifically for those who want to improve the health and productivity of their eggplant crops. This article will provide the knowledge and strategies to pair eggplants with compatible companion plants to help create a thriving garden with a plentiful eggplant harvest.
If you’re a gardener, knowing which plants make good eggplant companion plants is important for maximizing your yield while promoting a healthy and pest-resistant garden. This guide provides expert advice and recommendations tailored specifically for improving the productivity of your eggplant crops. You can create a thriving garden with a bountiful eggplant harvest by pairing eggplants with compatible companion plants.
The Best Companion Plants For Eggplants
The best types of plants for eggplants will help support their growth without competing for nutrients and water and not sharing similar pests or diseases. Here are several types of plants you can safely plant near your eggplants to improve harvests:
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 cooperate 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 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.
Nightshades (Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes)
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 helps 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 in containing a smaller one.
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 types 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.
Grow Nasturtiums with your eggplant to get several benefits:
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 work in the garden, from pollinating to standing guard to keep your veggies free of pests.
Nasturtium plants and vines make a lovely ground cover, providing shade to the soil and helping to prevent moisture loss.
Marigold’s vibrant flowers and heavy food sources attract 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 good eggplants companions.
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 is well planted near eggplants.
Borage is also very attractive to pollinators. Planting the flowers around your eggplant patch will help pollinate and increase yields.
Lettuce Or Spinach
Planting leafy greens like lettuce or spinach companion plants around your eggplants can help conserve moisture in the soil and suppress weeds. These cool-season crops also provide a living mulch to help regulate soil temperature and improve overall soil health.
Onions Or Garlic
Onions and garlic companion plants are believed to repel pests like aphids, flea beetles, and spider mites, which can damage eggplants. Interplanting onions or garlic with eggplants can help protect them from these pests while providing additional flavor options for your culinary endeavors.
Comfrey is a nutrient accumulator, meaning it draws up minerals deep within the soil and makes them available to other plants when its leaves decompose. Planting comfrey around your eggplants can help improve soil fertility and overall plant health.
Bad Companions For Eggplants
A few plants will cause issues if planted near your eggplants. These plants can stunt growth, pass diseases and pests, or 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 those compounds inhibit or even kill nearby plants. So, planting fennel next to your eggplant will guarantee stunted crops.
Corn is a heavy feeder; 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.
- Learn More: Corn companion plants.
Geraniums are hosts for diseases that can pass to eggplants.
- Strategic Placement: When planting companion plants with eggplants, consider their growth habits and space requirements. Place taller plants, such as peppers or tomatoes, to the north or west side of the eggplants to avoid shading them. Low-growing companions like basil or lettuce can be planted around the base of eggplants to maximize space.
- Succession Planting: Plan for succession planting to ensure continuous crop production and maximum use of space. After harvesting early-season companions like lettuce or spinach, replace them with heat-loving companions like peppers or beans to maintain a diverse and productive garden ecosystem.
- Interplanting: Rather than dedicating entire beds or rows to single plants, intersperse them among your eggplants. This technique can help confuse pests and create a more diverse and resilient ecosystem. For example, plant a few basil or marigold plants between each eggplant to provide continuous pest protection.
- Complementary Pairings: Choose companion plants that complement the growth and health of eggplants. For instance, plant nitrogen-fixing legumes like beans or peas near eggplants to improve soil fertility. Pairing aromatic herbs like basil or thyme with eggplants can help deter pests and enhance flavor.
- Trap Cropping: Use companion plants as trap crops to attract and divert pests away from your eggplants. For example, planting nasturtiums or marigolds can attract aphids or whiteflies, which prefer these companion plants over eggplants, reducing pest pressure on the main crop.
- Mulching: Apply organic mulch around eggplants and companion plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and create a favorable environment for beneficial soil organisms. Mulching with materials like straw or compost can also improve soil structure and nutrient availability for all plants in the garden.
- Rotate Crops: Practice crop rotation to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases that target eggplants and their companion plants. Rotate eggplants and their companions to different garden areas yearly to disrupt pest cycles and maintain soil health.
- Observation and Adaptation: Regularly monitor your garden for signs of pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or other issues. Be prepared to adjust your companion planting strategies based on observations and feedback from your garden.
Planting a heavy feeder like zucchini with eggplants is not a good idea. 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.
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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 need to consider the “why” before adding a companion.
Planting eggplants with thyme, for instance, will help prevent aphids and cabbage worms, but planting beans will help with growth. Either of these plants would make good companions, but one will be better in your specific environment.
Author: Laura Kennedy
Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 6, 2022. It was updated on February 27, 2024 for clarity, and to add table of contents, expert tips and FAQs.