Nasturtiums are lovely additions to any vegetable garden. They wind around plants, trail into paths, and bloom long and robust from summer well into fall. But the best part of adding Nasturtiums is the benefits they provide as companion plants. The flowers attract pollinators that will help increase yields. They also ward off pests naturally to protect the harvest. We have the full list of nasturtium companion plants for you to choose from.
Companion Planting Nasturtiums: Benefits for your garden & Flower beds
Nasturtium is a valuable plant that provides several different benefits as a companion plant in the garden :
- Repels insect pests. Various garden pests can attack vegetable gardens: cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, Mexican bean beetles, squash bugs, carrot flies, and cabbage moths. Many companion plants help repel specific pests and should be planted near specific crops as natural non-chemical pest control.
- Attract beneficial insects. The flowers help attract beneficial pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs.
- Encourage faster growth and better taste. Many companion plants release specific chemicals that encourage speedier growth or better taste in the plants around them.
- Provide ground cover. Plants spread low across the ground as a blanket over the soil and help keep the environment moist.
Nasturtiums also are excellent plants to add to your flower garden or patio container garden.
In the flower bed, add nasturtiums as a border. They are a pretty plant when allowed to spill over onto walkways.
Plant trailing nasturtiums in front of beds of marigolds, snapdragons, and hostas or add to window boxes as a spilling vine. Trailing nasturtium plants look lovely in the corners of raised beds or pots and containers.
Our favorite Varieties of Nasturtiums:
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Whirlybird series – Semi-double flowers atop bushy plants that have a spectacular display of color. The flowers come in cherry, gold, mahogany, orange, peach, and scarlet. Gorgeous as a border bedding plant. These plants will bloom prolifically all summer long.
Glorious Gleam Mixture: Trailing type, large, lightly scented, semi-double, and double flowers. We like to add these to the corners of vegetable beds and let them trail on the paths.
Growing Nasturtiums in The Vegetable Garden
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are generally carefree; they proliferate after sowing and do not require much fuss. They are lovely annual plants with attractive flowers that lure in beneficial pollinators.
Hardiness: Grow nasturtiums in full sun where summers are cool and in partial shade where summers are hot and dry. They are tender annuals that will die if exposed to frost. The growing season will last from late spring into early fall.
Direct Sowing: Sow nasturtium seeds outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep. Seedlings should emerge in 7-12 days.
Sowing Indoors: Nasturtiums are difficult to transplant and do not like their roots disturbed, so direct planting is advised over starting early indoors. However, you can start indoors in pots planted directly into the soil, like peat or choir. Start 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area.
Poor soil: Nasturtiums like sandy, dry, well-drained, poor soil that is not too fertile.
Edible Plant: Nasturtiums are entirely edible from the seed, stem, leaves, and flowers. They have a peppery flavor, and the edible flowers make an excellent addition to salads.
Seed Saving: You can save nasturtium seeds to plant next year. After the flowers die back, the seeds will readily drop. The plants seed so readily that you may find volunteers springing up from seeds that sowed themselves last year.
Cut Flowers: Nasturtiums make lovely trailing vines for informal cut flower bouquets.
nasturtium companion plants
Here is a quick list of the plants that do well interplanted with nasturtiums. In the remaining article, we go through each plant to explain why each one is a good pairing and the benefits. Vegetable plants, in particular, benefit significantly from interplanting with nasturtiums.
- Brussels sprouts
Apple trees and nasturtiums may not seem like a likely pairing, but underplanting apple trees with nasturtiums can help deter coddling moths from infesting the trees. It acts as a sacrificial plant to lure the coddling moth away from the fruit.
Although nasturtiums like full sun, they will grow under the shade of an apple tree; they may not bloom as profusely. Nasturtium leaves have the same repelling effect as the nasturtium flowers.
Nasturtium makes a good companion plant for beans. The plants act as a sacrificial crop, helping to lure aphids away. The flowers of the nasturtiums will also attract beneficial predators to help deal with the aphids.
The Brassica Family
Members of the brassica family grow stronger with nasturtium interplanted. In addition, the flowers keep Japanese beetles, aphids, cabbage worms, and cabbage loopers away from the crops.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi are companion possibilities.
CUCUMBER, SQUASH, MELON & OTHER CUCURBITs
Nasturtiums make excellent companions for cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini help improve the vegetables’ flavor and growth.
The plants help to deter aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. In addition, Nasturtiums are very distasteful to thrips and will prevent the insects from attacking the fruit.
Nasturtium leaves provide ground cover like a living mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.
Nasturtiums make a great companion plant for carrots because they repel carrot root flies and aphids, cucumber beetles, and other pests. They make an excellent trap crop for carrots.
The plants also provide carrots with a living mulch, which helps to keep the ground moist.
- Learn More: Did you know you can grow carrots in containers? You can! We have the full guide to help you get started.
In the potato garden beds, nasturtiums help repel the Colorado potato beetle as they act as an attractive sacrificial plant, luring predatory pests, such as aphids and potato beetles, away from the potato crops onto themselves.
Plant Nasturtium flowers alongside French marigolds in the potato beds to create a lovely potager garden-style display.
Other Vegetables In The Garden
Plant nasturtium around tomatoes, celery, radishes, and spinach to deter whiteflies, tomato hornworms, and aphids from taking hold.
Note: For tomatoes specifically, plant the nasturtiums away from the stems of the tomato plants. Aphids will go for the nasturtiums before they go for the tomato plants, but if they have not been pruned or are touching the ground, the aphids will not think twice about hopping on to the tomato plant.
Nasturtium as Companion Plants
As you can see, many different varieties of plants pair exceptionally well with nasturtiums. These lovely bushy plants with vibrant flowers and lazy trailing vines make an excellent visual addition to any garden while providing organic gardeners with a non-chemical way to deal with pests.
If you plant Nasturtiums in your gardens this summer, tag us on social media with your pictures. We love seeing gardens in blooms and how our readers creatively design their vegetable gardens every summer.
Cheers to a bountiful gardening season!
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