There are 10 good companion plants for broccoli in this list and 10 additional ones that make bad companions for broccoli.
When you are setting up your garden, knowing the right companion plants is a very important part of the process. Ideally, you want to be able to harvest the plants at the same time, but it’s also important to make sure that they have the same or similar soil requirements and that they aren’t going to fight over nutrients.
Some plants will even act as a defense for their companion, too, and if you know which ones these are, then you can put this science to good use!
With that in mind, today we’re going to talk about some of the best companion plants for broccoli. For each entry, we’ll tell you a little about each plant, along with what makes them a good or bad fit for cohabitating in close quarters.
By the time that we’re done you should have all the basic information that you need to strategize your planting so that both companion plants can grow healthy and thrive! If you’re ready, then let’s get started with the best companion plants for broccoli!
Table of Contents
The best companion plants for broccoli explained
In the sections below we will tell you about the best and worst companions for broccoli, starting with 10 of the most positive pairings and then moving on to 10 of the worst. We’ll try to keep things ‘short and sweet’, but we’ll be sure to include why they are or are not a good fit for your broccoli in the limited space that we have. Without further ado, let’s start with your ‘Broccoli buds’ and we’d build up to the rest from there!
Good companion plants for Broccoli
Below you’ll find a list of ‘Broccoli buds’ that should grow well with your broccoli and not be a challenge for available resources in your garden. We’ll tell you a little about each one below so that you’ll have the basic reasoning behind the pairings and once we’ve finished these, then we’ll flip the coin and tell you the plants that definitely should not share space with your beloved broccoli.
Let’s take a look at some of the official ‘Broccoli buds’ and you can see what you think!
Onions, chives, garlic, shallots – these plants get a whole lot of use in your kitchen and they all belong to a large family called ‘Alliums’. Their distinctive scent is one of the first perks, as it will help to keep away pests from both the alliums and your broccoli and some alliums, such as onions, are even said to improve your broccoli’s flavor.
Broccoli comes from the Brassica family, which includes cabbage and lettuce, and is susceptible to diseases and pests such as cabbage worm, cabbage looper, and weevils, but with an allium such as onions nearby, your broccoli will enjoy a higher resistance to these through the protection of their garden mate.
Protip: Consider planting some alliums around the edge of your garden as well if you have deer. The scent will often keep them away and save more than just your broccoli!
Beets and broccoli can be the best of buds in your garden, as they will pair together extremely well. Beets develop underground, while broccoli is mostly above it, and so from the get-go they will not be competing for the same nutrients. Broccoli also needs a lot of calcium as it grows and because of this, it will leech this nutrient from the soil in order to grow up healthy and strong. The beets don’t mind this, as their own calcium requirements are quite minimal, and so this pair will both thrive when planted together side by side.
Both broccoli and beets enjoy cool weather, as well, so they also share the same seasonal preferences and you’ll be able to see it firsthand. During the spring and fall, they’ll be growing like gangbusters, and their progress during this time is almost impossible to miss. As far as companion plants go, beets and broccoli are among the best!
Protip: Give them about 12 – 15 inches of space in-between each other when you’re planting. Broccoli can grow tall and start throwing shade on your beets, which will compensate with larger leaves and things will get crowded. A 12 – 15 inch space will help you to avoid this and they’ll grow together happily.
Another great ‘broccoli bud’ that you can plant 12 – 15 inches away is Celery and like onions, this allium is said to help sharpen-up the flavor of your broccoli, too. This will help to give your plants extra insurance against cabbage worms, as the scent tends to keep them at bay, and as celery stalks grow nice and tall there won’t be any fighting over who gets the most sun – just as long as you give them that 12 -15 inches of space.
Celery also likes to keep cool, just like your broccoli does, so this pair will be actively growing and thriving during the spring and fall months, making your celery and broccoli cluster stand out in your garden to remind you that your fresh veggies will be coming soon!
Everyone has had a chamomile tea packet before, but making it fresh from bundles of your own fresh and dried chamomile is really a treat. A little piece of advice from the author – brew a batch and make it like Southern iced tea — You definitely won’t regret it!
Chamomile is a good companion plant to your broccoli. While it doesn’t keep insects away like alliums, it attracts beneficial insects in the form of pollinators, so that your whole garden may benefit from their presence.
Protip: Chamomile should be planted 8 – 12 inches away from your broccoli and if you want to have fun with it, make a ring around your broccoli patch so that when the chamomile blooms you’ll have a lovely circle of flowers around your delicious growing veggies.
Having access to fresh, dried dill is always nice in the kitchen and it just so happens that this herb grows quite well with broccoli. It’s actually good for all Brassicas, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kales, or lettuce, as the scent of the herb helps to keep cabbage worms, loopers, and moths at bay.
It will also attract useful insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which will devour any curious aphids who are out and about and have their eyes on your veggie garden. As it is a light feeder that doesn’t need a lot of resources, you can take it a step further and sow a little dill throughout your garden to take advantage of its benefits – it’s good for most plants, but as a companion to broccoli alone it’s also a great pick.
When it comes to a home garden, you’ve just gotta have lettuce! This salad staple is not just great for your diet, though – it’s also an awesome companion for your broccoli.
It’s all about the shade, you see.
Lettuce, like broccoli, is a bit of a ‘cool grower’, and if it doesn’t get a little extra protection from the sun, then things are going to go poorly for it. Tall-growing broccoli acts like a responsible big-brother, shading the lettuce, so that both can thrive and that the lettuce gets an extended growing period.
As an added bonus, they both have the same watering needs, making the care for this propitious pair a piece of proverbial cake!
A lovely, flowering plant that is 100% edible, Nasturtium is another cool companion choice for growing with your broccoli. It ‘sprawls’ as it grows, and this means that it will spread and end up at the base of your broccoli batch. This has the neat effect of acting as a natural mulch, so that your broccoli will definitely benefit from its presence.
As far as nutrient competition goes, there shouldn’t be any problems in that category, either. Nasturtium is a light feeder, so a little goes a long way, and it won’t be ‘taking food off’ your broccoli’s plate.
Finally, this flowering companion plant will also lure any hungry caterpillars away from your broccoli, making nasturtium one of the top companion plant options for you to pair with your beloved broccoli.
Potatoes are a staple in most gardens and when paired with broccoli, these two will get along like gangbusters! One of the reasons is their growth habits – potatoes hang out under the dirt, while the broccoli likes to spend its time aboveground, but more importantly they need different nutrients and so they will not compete.
While broccoli looks at the nutrient buffet and fills their plate with nitrogen and calcium, the potatoes are at the other end of that same buffet, stacking up phosphate and magnesium. Both will get their fill and thrive, so if you love broccoli and potatoes then feel free to plant them as companions – they’re the perfect roommates, courtesy of Mother Nature’s wiles.
Rhubarb plants are ornery little additions to your garden that will keep a lot of leaf-eating bugs at bay. That’s because they pack a punch in their leaves in the form of oxalic acid and let’s just say that these bugs aren’t so fond of ‘spicy foods’. There is a caveat, of course, but it’s not a very vexing one – you’ll need to give these two a little space with 12 – 15 inches being just about perfect.
Like with beets, the tall broccoli can throw a little shade on your rhubarb, which will puff up with larger leaves in order to compensate and thus get enough sunlight. This is not a problem, now that you know about it, so just be sure not to cram them too close together and they’ll get along just fine in your garden.
Fresh Rosemary is a delight in the kitchen. Added to soups, salads, or meats, it imparts a distinctive flavor, and it can even be added to things like homemade dog treats to help preserve them a little bit longer than you could without it.
Rosemary is easy to grow and will pair excellently with your broccoli, as their scent will keep away cabbage moths and loopers and also help to ensure that they don’t get any ideas about laying eggs in your broccoli. These two won’t fight over resources, either, as Rosemary is a light feeder and will be perfectly content living off of your broccoli’s ‘scraps’.
Protip: While these two are growing together, a neat little trick is to pluck and scatter a few rosemary leaves on your broccoli. The leaves on the ground will help to keep away slugs and snails, who really can’t stand the smell of it!
Bad companion plants for broccoli
Not all plants are going to play well together and in this section we’re going to give you some solid examples of ‘broccoli bullies’ that you’ll definitely want to only plant at a distance. We’ll tell you a little about each plant, their perks, and why they aren’t so good for your broccoli plants. That way you’ll know the ‘why’ of it so that you’ll be sure to keep them far away from your beloved broccoli.
Asparagus is a popular garden favorite and it’s easy to see the appeal. Aside from being delicious fried up in butter, it’s vitamin-packed, and really quite easy to grow. Unfortunately, you don’t want it too close to your broccoli, however, as this placement will result in stunted broccoli and asparagus and you’ll be disappointed when it’s time to pick them
Asparagus wants a rich soil, so it will fight your broccoli for nutrients, and it also spreads a bit on its own. As such, you can still grow them in the same garden, but you want them as far apart as possible or you won’t like the results!
Cabbage is another garden favorite that simply is not going to play well with your broccoli. While it is a member of the Brassica family, just like human family members fighting over a popular toy, their similar nutrition requirements are going to be very taxing on the soil. This means that both plants will suffer for it, but that’s not the only problem.
With Brassicas, you want to make sure that you don’t grow different types together, as this is going to act like an irresistible beacon to cabbage moths and other Brassica lovin’ pests who will find this cluster and eat as much as they can!
As such, make sure that the cabbage in your garden stays well-away from your broccoli and this will help to ensure that you avoid any concentrated pest attacks that could have been easily avoided.
Ever heard of the famous poison ‘deadly nightshade’? Well, believe it or not, Eggplant is a member of the same family and this is important to know. That’s because most nightshades are heavy feeders! Eggplants, as well as tomatoes and peppers are all part of the nightshade family and all 3 of them will make nutrient demands on the soil that are likely to stunt your broccoli’s growth.
As such, relegate them to another part of the garden, just keep them away from your broccoli!
4. Lima beans
If you love broccoli and lima beans, then the only place that they need to be hanging out together is on your plate. Lima and other types of beans aren’t a great fit for growing too close to your broccoli for two main reasons. The first of these is the nitrogen spike. While broccoli likes a certain amount of nitrogen, the super-rich levels that beans enjoy is a little too much for it. Think of it like eating cake every day – you could do it for a while, but you wouldn’t be super healthy from it.
The other reason is that bean plants are tall and bushy, so the beans and broccoli are going to be throwing shade on each other and there will be much grumbling and leaf-widening on both sides in order to compensate – so keep them separated. It’s just not worth the trouble and in the end both plants will be the worse for this pairing.
We’d mentioned this in brief but due to the popularity of peppers, it’s best that we give them their own section to drive things home. Peppers, as a certified member of the Nightshade family, should not be anywhere near your Brassicas. The resulting fight for nutrients won’t do your soil or plants any favors and as long as you have the space, you can easily avoid problems by keeping these competing plants safely apart.
Pumpkins are another no-no when it comes to plants for growing close to your broccoli. That’s because those big ol’ beloved gourds are nutrient hogs – they have a big Christmas list of nutrients that they’ll be siphoning from the soil, plus very heavy watering requirements, and what’s left when they’ve eaten their fill is not going to be much. As such, keeping them in a place far away from your broccoli is always going to be the best practice.
Squash is delicious, but it will bully your broccoli if you happen to plant these two close together. Like pumpkins (which are technically a winter form of squash), squash plants also are very hungry for nutrients and when they’ve ‘cleaned their plate’, there won’t be much left for your broccoli to use at all. Best to keep these two separated, if you want them both to thrive!
Red, sweet, delicious, and absolutely not a good companion for squash, Strawberries fall into our ‘broccoli bullies’ list and for good reason. First off, they are hungry little plants, and making those delicious berries takes a lot out of the soil – too much for broccoli’s comfort. The second problem is that these yummy fruits will attract lots of pests and unlike some kids, these pests will DEFINITELY want to eat their broccoli.
Well, your broccoli – you get the idea! If you’ll be growing both, then be sure to give both plants lots and lots of space between them.
Another nightshade family member makes an appearance in the fruit known as the tomato! While certainly not poisonous, these tasty garden staples share the nutrient-hogging traits of other nightshades, so that your broccoli will be going to bed without dinner quite often if you pair them together.
If you like your garden, then just make sure that these two plants aren’t left together as playmates – they simply refuse to get along and you won’t like what happens!
Our final ‘broccoli bully’ comes in the green-striped, red-fleshed favorite that we all know and love – the watermelon! This summer must-have fruit can certainly have a place in your garden, but that place needs to be far away from the broccoli. The problem is the nutrient competition – which the watermelon will certainly win — but both plants will certainly suffer in the ensuing scuffle.
Watermelons and other melon plants need lots of water and additional nutrients in order to reach their full, yummy potential, and this is perfectly manageable — just give them their own space far away from the garlic.
In the sections below, we’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions on the subjects of companion planting and on companion plants for broccoli. We hope that this will help to ‘fill in any gaps’ that we may have missed along the way and once we’ve shared this information with you, then we’ll go ahead and start wrapping things up. Let’s take a look at those questions now and we hope that you’ll find the answers useful!
Can I grow carrots next to broccoli?
Sadly, no. While carrots grow under the ground and broccoli above it, there’s a nutrient that they both need and which both are willing to fight for – calcium. As such, it is not recommended that you grow broccoli and carrots together in order to keep them from fighting for this particular mineral.
Where and when is broccoli grown best?
When choosing a companion plant for your broccoli, it’s good to know what times your broccoli will thrive and what its specific needs will be, so that you can harvest both plants at the same time and so you’ll know that they won’t be fighting over resources.
Broccoli likes a steady cool temperature – this is why most of your commercial broccoli comes from the California central coastal area. It also likes a well-draining soil medium that falls somewhere in-between a sandy and clay loam, so that it will stay moist but not ‘soaked’. After that, you’ll want a moderate nitrogen level, and it prefers a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 to grow up healthy and strong.
Can broccoli grow next to cucumbers?
Yes, broccoli and cucumbers are excellent neighbors, as the cucumbers will grow low to the ground and the foliage will help to cover the soil and to keep it moist naturally. You can even trellis the cucumbers so that you can create a little shade for some of your other plants that only need partial sun, rather than full exposure!
Some closing words on companion plants for broccoli
In today’s article we’ve explored the best companion plants for broccoli to help you strategize your planting arrangements in your garden. As you can see, there are definitely some perks to be had! Alliums, for instance, can help to keep pests away from your broccoli, while Chamomile can attract pollinators and also help to sweeten up the space around your garlic.
It’s all about creating a ‘roommate scenario’ where both roomies are chipping in for the whole household!
So, try a little companion planting on your own and see what you think. We recommend starting from a practical standpoint – pick your least favorite pest that’s been troubling your broccoli, and strategize a companion plant that also likes cool weather and which can defend against this pest.
It’s a quick, practical experiment that will let you see the advantages of companion planting firsthand and once you do, then you’ll be well on the way to taking your garden-planning to the next level!
We want to thank you so much for visiting and ‘til next time, we wish you and yours the absolute best!
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