If you are growing watermelon in your garden this season, you may want to consider adding a few watermelon companion plants. This article will take you through the benefits of companion planting, from pest control to improved pollination and better harvests.
As you prepare your garden for the upcoming watermelon season, incorporating companion plants can be a game-changer. Beyond traditional cultivation methods, companion planting opens up a world of possibilities to enhance your garden’s ecosystem. By strategically selecting companion plants, you safeguard your watermelon crop and foster a thriving environment that encourages natural pest control, boosts soil fertility, and maximizes harvest yields. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of companion planting, exploring how the right combination of plants can benefit your watermelon patch, from deterring pests to improving pollination and overall plant health.
Table of contents
- The Best Companion Plants for Watermelon
- The Worst Companions for Watermelon
- Expert Tips
- Final Remarks
- Related Posts
The Best Companion Plants for Watermelon
There are many wonderful companions you can plant alongside your watermelons:
Garlic, Onions, and Chives
Firstly, their pungent aroma helps deter common pests such as aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs, which are known to damage watermelon vines and fruits. By interplanting alliums in your watermelon patch, you create a natural barrier that repels these unwanted insects.This reduces the need for chemical pesticides.
Alliums also have natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help prevent diseases commonly afflict watermelon plants, such as powdery mildew and downy mildew. This can contribute to overall plant health and vigor, leading to stronger, more resilient watermelon vines.
Additionally, alliums are shallow-rooted plants that do not compete heavily with watermelon roots for nutrients and water. This means they can coexist harmoniously without causing undue stress to plant species. In fact, alliums can even help improve soil quality by suppressing weeds and adding organic matter as they decompose.
Lastly, the flowers of alliums attract beneficial insects like bees and parasitic wasps. These insects aid in pollination and provide natural pest control services by preying on harmful insects. This symbiotic relationship fosters a more balanced and biodiverse ecosystem in your garden, ultimately benefiting your watermelon crop’s overall health and productivity.
Nasturtiums offer several specific benefits as companions for watermelons in your garden.
Their strong, peppery scent is a natural repellent to common pests like aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. This helps protect watermelon plants without chemical pesticides.
Additionally, the vibrant flowers of nasturtiums attract beneficial insects such as bees and predatory insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, aiding in pollination and serving as natural pest control agents.
With shallow, spreading roots, nasturtiums compete with weeds for space and resources, helping to suppress weed growth and reduce competition for water and nutrients in the soil.
Beyond their pest-repelling and soil-enhancing qualities, nasturtiums also offer edible flowers and leaves, adding a flavorful and nutritious element to your culinary endeavors.
Marigold companion plants offer several benefits as companions for watermelons in your garden.
Firstly, their strong scent is a natural deterrent to pests such as aphids, nematodes, and whiteflies, helping protect watermelon plants from infestations without chemical pesticides.
Additionally, the bright colors of marigold flowers attract beneficial insects like bees and parasitic wasps, which aid in pollination and serve as natural predators to pests, contributing to a more balanced ecosystem.
Marigolds also have allelopathic properties, releasing compounds into the soil that can prevent eggs from root-knot nematodes from even hatching.
Dill, Mint, Catnip, Lavender (Aromatic Herbs)
Their strong fragrances act as natural repellents, deterring pests such as aphids, ants, and mosquitoes, helping to protect watermelon plants from potential infestations without the need for chemical pesticides.
Additionally, these herbs attract beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies. these insects aid in pollination and serve as natural predators to harmful pests, promoting a healthier garden ecosystem overall.
Their aromatic foliage also adds a pleasant scent to the garden and can be harvested for culinary or medicinal use, offering additional benefits beyond pest control.
Hairy vetch is one of the best companions for watermelon.
Plant a hairy vetch cover crop where you want to grow your watermelon. Cut back the vetch before it blooms, leaving the cuttings on the garden bed as mulch.
Vetch has many benefits, including controlling Fusarium wilt, anthracnose, and gummy stem blight, which can affect your watermelons.
Some studies suggest that growing watermelon after a cover crop of hairy vetch can increase the sugar content of the fruits.
You can use radishes around the edges of your growing hills to act as a trap crop for harmful insects like beetles. For example, cucumber beetles that will transmit wilt to your watermelon plants if left untreated.
Radishes also help break up the soil with their long taproots.
Integrating corn companion plants with watermelon can be an excellent idea for your garden, as it offers numerous benefits.
Corn’s towering growth can serve as a natural trellis for watermelon plants, supporting their vines and preventing them from sprawling everywhere. It’s broad leaves provide shade that can protect watermelons from the scorching sun and strong winds that can damage their delicate leaves.
Corn’s deep roots complement watermelon’s shallow roots, making it easy for them to coexist without competing for nutrients and space. The corn’s dense canopy also helps reduce weed growth, a significant problem for watermelon plants.
When you plant corn alongside watermelon, you can disrupt pest and disease cycles, making your plants healthier. Corn plants attract predators that feed on pests that infest watermelon, thus reducing the likelihood of an infestation.
Bush Beans, Peas, and Pole Beans
Gardeners looking to maximize their watermelon crop can benefit greatly from planting companion crops such as bush beans and peas. These legumes have the ability to enrich the soil with nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for watermelon growth. Additionally, these companion crops help suppress weed growth by creating a dense canopy that shades out any potential competitors.
The presence of bush beans and peas in the garden can also attract beneficial pollinators like bees, which play an important role in watermelon production. By interplanting these crops, gardeners can create a more productive, resilient, and sustainable garden ecosystem that maximizes yields while minimizing the need for chemical inputs.
This practice also reduces the likelihood of pest infestations, as the dense intercropping creates a diverse habitat that is less susceptible to diseases and pests. Interplanting helps to conserve water by reducing the amount lost to evaporation, resulting in a more efficient use of resources.
The Worst Companions for Watermelon
Cucumbers and Zucchini
Cucumbers and zucchini share the same pests and diseases as watermelon and should not be grown together.
In addition, cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon share similar soil nutrients and moisture requirements, creating a competitive environment where all plants suffer.
Squash and Pumpkins
Squash and pumpkins will also compete for nutrients and water, and share the same diseases as watermelon, making them poor companion plants.
In addition to these challenges, pumpkins and squash grow large and can quickly take over a space. Your pumpkin vines can very easily overtake your watermelons.
- Learn more: Although pumpkins make poor watermelon companions, there are several great companion plants for pumpkins.
Tomatoes make very poor companion plants for watermelon.
Large vining crops like tomatoes will grow tall and can shade out the watermelons too much, causing stunted growth in the watermelons.
Potatoes also make poor companion plants for watermelon.
Aphids are attracted to potatoes, and many aphid species will attack the vines of the watermelon, so it’s best to keep these two plants growing away from one another.
- Learn More: See the full guide for companion plants for potatoes.
Sunflower companion plants attract aphids in droves. They also provide far too much shade for melons to grow well. It’s best to plant these beautiful flowers in another food garden area.
Related: Learn how to grow sunflowers! Although sunflowers make poor watermelon companions, they are a must-have in the garden.
- Choose Complementary Plants: Select companion plants that offer benefits such as pest deterrence, pollination assistance, weed suppression, or soil enrichment, complementing the needs of watermelon plants.
- Consider Growth Habits: Take into account the growth habits of companion plants and ensure they are compatible with watermelon vines. Avoid plants that may overshadow or compete excessively with watermelons for resources.
- Strategic Placement: Plant companion plants strategically around the perimeter or between watermelon hills to maximize their benefits while minimizing competition for space and resources.
- Interplanting: Interplant companion plants among watermelon vines rather than in separate beds to create a more integrated and synergistic garden ecosystem.
- Succession Planting: Consider succession planting to ensure a continuous supply of companion plants throughout the growing season, providing ongoing support for watermelon plants.
- Rotate Crops: Practice crop rotation by alternating companion plants with watermelons to disrupt pest and disease cycles and maintain soil health over time.
- Diversify Species: Incorporate a diverse range of companion plant species to enhance biodiversity and resilience in the garden, minimizing the risk of pest and disease outbreaks.
- Monitor and Adjust: Regularly monitor the garden for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies, and adjust companion planting strategies as needed to address any issues that arise.
- Provide Adequate Spacing: Ensure proper spacing between companion plants and watermelon vines to prevent overcrowding and promote optimal air circulation, sunlight penetration, and access to nutrients and water.
- Harvest and Prune: Harvest companion plants regularly for culinary or medicinal use, and prune as needed to maintain their size and vigor without overshadowing or inhibiting the growth of watermelon plants.
Companion plants benefit watermelons in several ways: repelling pests, attracting beneficial insects, suppressing weeds, enriching the soil, and providing physical support or shade.
Companion plants such as marigolds, nasturtiums, basil, and mint are known for their pest-repellent properties. They help to deter common pests like aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs from damaging watermelon plants.
While companion planting with watermelons offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider potential risks. Competition for resources, allelopathic effects, and the attraction of unwanted pests can all hinder your watermelon plants. Proper planning and monitoring can help mitigate these risks effectively.
The spacing of companion plants around watermelon vines depends on the specific requirements of each plant species and the available space in the garden. Generally, we aim for adequate spacing to prevent overcrowding and ensure optimal growth conditions for both watermelons and companion plants.
Grab Our Ultimate PRINTABLE Garden Planner
With 39 pages of planning and organizing and the ability to customize your planner with the pages you need, you won’t need another planner for the rest of your gardening life!
When planting watermelons, using companion plants can help create a healthy garden. Gardeners can improve pest control, pollination, weed suppression, soil health, and space utilization by choosing plants like marigolds, nasturtiums, herbs, beans, peas, and corn. This gardening method has been used for a long time, and it can help maintain a balanced ecosystem without relying on chemicals. Proper planning, monitoring, and care can help the garden reach its full potential while reducing the need for chemicals. Companion planting is a great way to produce a bountiful harvest and support plants, pollinators, and gardeners.
Author: Laura Kennedy
Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April4, 2022. It was updated on February 27, 2024 for clarity, and to add a table of contents, expert tips, and FAQs.