Companion Plants For Cauliflower

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There are 23 good companion plants for Cauliflower in this list along with 9 plants you should avoid. Cauliflower is a brassica, a vegetable in the Brassicaceae family.

It’s an annual plant (one that completes its life cycle in one growing season and then dies) with a head or “curd”, big leaves, and a stem about 50cm (20 in) tall.

Ideally, only the plant’s head is eaten. This is the edible part made of partially developed flowers and fleshy stalks. The most common color is white but there are some in yellow, green, orange, brown, and purple.

Cauliflower is raw, pickled, or cooked in several cuisines by boiling, frying, grilling, pickling, or steaming. It may be used as a healthier substitute for rice, flour, and mashed potatoes. It is sometimes used to make pizza crust as well.

The plant is best grown in cool temperatures, with soil that is able to retain water and is rich in nitrogen. It easily gets affected by a fungal disease called clubroot and is eaten by insects like aphids, cabbage loopers, and cabbage whites.

Several other crops may be planted alongside cauliflower in the garden. They may encourage its growth, help keep pests away, attract useful insects to it, help the soil with nutrients, provide ground cover, or shade it from excess sunlight.

Such grouping for the purpose of sharing benefits is called companion planting. It is a tried and true method, ensuring for years that crops are grown with some other crops that help them grow healthy.

In this article, you will learn about twenty-three (23) good companion plants and nine (9) bad companion plants for cauliflower in your garden. Reasons, why they are or are not ideal beside your plant, are explained as well.

Good Cauliflower Companion Plants

1. Basil

Basil plant
Basil plant in pot

Basil is a culinary herb belonging to the mint family. Also referred to as great basil, it has a sweet, spicy, and slightly peppery flavor. This tender plant makes a very good companion for cauliflower in the garden.

One benefit of planting basil alongside cauliflower is that basil attracts beneficial insects to your garden. Butterflies and a number of other insects that aid pollination or eat harmful crop pests are attracted to this plant.

In addition to bringing useful insects to your cauliflower plant, basil is also repellent to several harmful insects. Aphids are known to attack cauliflower but basil keeps them away. It also deters beetles, hornworms, and white flies from other plants.

2. Beets

2 fresh beets on a brown wooden table
2 fresh beets on a brown wooden table

Beets are good companion plants for cauliflower. They are flowering plants that produce an edible and usually deep red taproot. The leaves of these plants may also be prepared and eaten as vegetables.

Cauliflowers require a lot of calcium from the soil to grow very well. Compared to some other plants, beets take up only a little amount of calcium from the soil, reducing competition with your cauliflower and allowing it enough of this nutrient.

In turn, cauliflowers aid the growth of beets. They do this by enriching the soil with nutrients, helping your beets grow and grow properly. Beets and cauliflowers are very friendly so it is ideal to grow them together.

3. Celery

Celery being grown in a green house
Celery is grown in a greenhouse

The presence of celery beside cauliflower is very beneficial to the latter. It is ideal to grow celery with any vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.

Celery has aromatic leaves that deter pests like the white cabbage moth. White cabbage moths are known for causing serious harm to the leaves of cauliflowers. Moreover, celery draws useful insects to your plant.

Also, this plant is a water hog. It requires a lot of water to grow properly. Despite this, celery leaves enough nutrients in the soil for your cauliflower. Celery keeps pests away, attracts beneficial insects, and allows cauliflower necessary nutrients.

4. Chard

Chard growing in greenhouse
Chard growing in a greenhouse

Also called Swiss chard, chard is a leafy green vegetable that you can comfortably plant next to cauliflower in your garden. These plants do not necessarily provide each other with nutrients or help protect each other from pests.

They are good companions on the basis of convenience. For instance, planting other brassicas near your cauliflower can cause them to battle for nutrients in the soil as they have similar requirements.

In the case of chard, it requires different nutrients from the soil than cauliflower does. They might not boost each other but chard provides good ground cover, creates a friendly space in your garden, and does not need the same nutrients.

5. Cucumber

Cucumber plant growing
Cucumber plant growing

The cucumber plant is a creeping vine bearing cylindrical fruits which are used in cooking as a vegetable or eaten raw. Cultivating cucumber and cauliflower side by side turns out to be a very good practice.

Because cucumbers are vine plants that need ground space to crawl and cauliflowers are more compact, planting them together helps maximize space in your garden. This way, cucumber serves as ground cover.

Cauliflower plants are also fairly protected from diseases and pests with cucumber plants around. The strong, sharp odor of cucumbers keeps cabbage root flies away. They also contain a compound, known as cucurbitacin, that stops the growth of fungal diseases.

6. Dill

Young Dill growing in the garden
Young Dill growing in the garden

Widely grown in Europe and Asia, dill is an annual herb in the celery family cultivated for its leaves and seeds. These may be used as herbs or as a food seasoning. Dill is another example of a good companion plant for cauliflower.

To be most beneficial, it needs to have produced flowers. The flowers attract beneficial insects to your plant, like bees and butterflies that aid pollination. It also draws insects that feed on the pests of your cauliflower, improving your plant’s health.

Some of such are hoverflies and ladybugs that eat aphids, and wasps whose laid eggs destroy aphids and caterpillars. In addition, dill and cauliflower have corresponding soil and care requirements, making this companionship comfortable.

7. Fennel

Bulbs of Fennel growing
Bulbs of Fennel growing in the field

Although fennel should not be planted next to dill in your garden, it is also a good companion for cauliflower. It is a flowering plant in the carrot family used as a herb. Its flowers are yellow and its leaves are feathery.

Its beautiful yellow flowers can, like dill, attract useful insects to your cauliflower. It attracts butterflies and bees which are agents of pollination. It also brings parasitoid wasps and ladybugs to the garden.

Parasitoid wasps lay eggs and in their larval stage, these young kill aphids and caterpillars. Ladybugs also feed on aphids. Also, fennel and cauliflower will not be in competition for water and root space.

8. Garlic

Garlic growing in a field
Garlic growing in a field

Garlic is a herb that produces sharp-smelling underground bulbs that come in cloves. It provides many health benefits and is used to make garlic oil. It contains allicin, the chemical that lends its smell and makes it effective for several ills.

This plant provides benefits to cauliflower and other crops around it. Garlic produces an antifungal sulfur compound and then releases this into the soil. The compound prevents fungal diseases like Fusarium wilt, and root and stem rot.

It does so by boosting the plants’ resistance to soil-borne fungi that cause the aforementioned diseases. Also, garlic is friendly to cauliflower as it does not take up too many nutrients or needs too much water.

9. Hyssop

Hyssop field in the garden
Hyssop field in the garden

The herb hyssop is a flowering plant in the mint family with aromatic and pungent leaves. The parts that grow above the soil may be used in the making of perfumes, to make herbal medicine, or as a seasoning for culinary purposes.

Hyssop is another plant that attracts beneficial insects to your cauliflower. These beneficial insects include pollinators like butterflies and bees. It also distracts pests of cauliflower by drawing them to themselves.

Some insects like caterpillars, flea beetles, and slugs also affect hyssop. This may be a benefit or a disadvantage. Nevertheless, your cauliflower has different requirements and so there will be little to no competition between the two crops.

10. Legumes

Bean plants in garden
Bean plants in the garden

To help replenish soil nutrients and provide shade for your cauliflower in the garden, it is advisable to plant legumes alongside it. A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae, the pea family, or the fruits or seeds (pulses) of such a plant.

Examples of legumes that are healthy for cauliflower are beans and lentils. Cauliflower uses up quite a lot of nutrients in its development. Legumes fix the soil with nitrogen and help to restore the nutrients the cauliflower has taken up.

Also, beans can be a good source of shade for your plant. Cauliflower does not like too much sunlight but prefers to be kept cool. The bean plant towering over it helps to protect it from excess sunlight by providing shade and coolness.

11. Marigold

Marigolds in a garden
Marigolds in a garden

Marigolds are mostly herbaceous annual or perennial plants with bold, beautiful, and colorful flowers, and a pungent odor. They are good companions to cauliflowers for these two reasons: their flowers and their odor.

The strong and sharp smell of marigolds is unpleasant to rabbits and some other pests that live in the ground. This odor masks the scent of cauliflowers, keeping the pests away from them.

Another way marigolds keep pests away from cauliflowers is through their flowers. The flowers attract aphids to the marigold instead of the cauliflower. They also bring bees closer, and bees aid pollination.

12. Mint

Mint plant growing in garden
Mint plant growing in the garden

A mint plant is any aromatic perennial (a plant that completes its life cycle in three or more growing seasons) herbaceous plant in the mint family that has wide-spreading runners underneath, on, or above the ground. Such plants are native to the Old World (Africa, Europe, and Asia).

Mint encourages the growth of cauliflower by helping its taste and hiding its smell. It has a bold and pungent smell that masks the more subtle smell of cauliflower and so protects it from pests that would rather destroy the plant.

Although there is not much scientific evidence to prove this, mint is believed to help improve the flavor of cauliflower. Mints easily take over any area where they are planted so it is better to plant them in a pot and place the pot beside your cauliflower.

13. Nasturtium

Nasturtium tropaeolum leaves close up
Nasturtium Tropaeolum leaves close up

Also known as Tropaeolum, nasturtium is a genus of close to a hundred species of annual and perennial herbs. Native to South and Central America, they have showy round flowers and are used in herbal medicine, cooking, or pest control.

Nasturtiums are creeping plants that can serve as ground cover. They can take up free ground space, inhibiting the growth and activities of weeds. They are used in pest control as trap crops because of their beautiful and showy flowers.

Trap crops attract pests (in this case aphids, beetles, and whiteflies) which would otherwise destroy the plants they are protecting (the cauliflower). Nasturtium does not use up too many nutrients and so will not compete with your cauliflower.

14. Onions

Green onions growing on windowsill in rectangular pot
Green onions growing on a windowsill in a rectangular pot

Onions are widely cultivated vegetables belonging to the genus Allium. Also called bulb onions or common onions, they are close relatives of chives, garlic, and scallions. The onion plant produces a sharp odor.

This strong aroma covers the scent of cauliflower, keeping pests away from the plant. Aphids and caterpillars that specifically feed on brassicas like cauliflower are some of the insects that onions deter.

Onions are also known to improve the flavor of the plants and vegetables grown around them. Cauliflower requires more nutrients than most plants (it is a heavy feeder) so it needs companions like onions that do not compete with it for these soil nutrients (light feeders).

15. Oregano

Fresh Oregano growing in garden
Fresh Oregano growing in the garden

Like some other plants in the mint family, oregano is a good companion plant for cauliflower. It is a woody flowering perennial plant. It may be harvested after a growing season but its flowers may not have bloomed yet.

When allowed to blossom, the beautiful flowers of the oregano plant draw several beneficial insects to your garden. They may be agents of pollination, like bees and butterflies, or predatory ones like ladybugs that feed on crop pests.

Even without its flowers, oregano is beneficial to cauliflower. Its strong, pungent smell is able to keep some pests away. It is tolerant of low moisture conditions, as it needs moderate amounts of water, so it would not compete with your plant.

16. Peppermint

Peppermint plant (mentha piperita) in garden
Peppermint plant (mentha piperita) in garden

Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint, two species in the genus Mentha (mint). Growing it beside your cauliflower in the garden is not the most ideal as it spreads quickly and competes for nutrients with the plant.

Like other mint plants, it can prove helpful to cauliflower if it is grown in a container or pot and kept in your garden. Although it still requires lots of care and nutrients, it does not compete with your cauliflower for nutrients this way.

The strong scent of peppermint wards off pests like aphids and cabbage moths. Also, its flowers attract bees, hoverflies, and parasitoid wasps that eat pests. It may also serve as a trap crop for caterpillars, flea beetles, and nematodes.

17. Potato

Potato plants growing in rows in field
Potato plants growing in rows in the field

The perennial root vegetable known as potato may be sown with cauliflower for several advantages. Potatoes require some care methods and nutrients similar to cauliflower so they can be comfortably grown together.

This companion planting may be beneficial or detrimental as both crops are affected by the same pests. Planting them side by side may cause these insects to come to your garden more or may reduce their effects on each plant.

However, when planting potatoes with cauliflower, ensure you do not plant them with fennels or onions to avoid struggling with nutrients and ground space. Potatoes have deep roots that cauliflowers’ shallow roots do not compete with.

18. Radish

Gardener digging out ripe red radish
Gardener digging out ripe red radish

A radish is a root vegetable belonging to the same biological family that cauliflower belongs to. Its roots are edible and so are the leafy greens atop them. They may be eaten raw, which they mostly are, or cooked.

Like potatoes, radishes need care and nutrients similar to those that cauliflowers need. Planting them together may not be the most ideal as radishes attract flea beetles, pests that destroy cauliflower leaves.

Be that as it may, radishes are beneficial for the fact that they help to loosen the soil surrounding your cauliflower plant. This allows the plant more room to absorb the water and nutrients it needs.

19. Sage

Wild sage leaves
Wild sage leaves

Sage, otherwise known as common sage, is a perennial plant easily distinguished by its grayish leaves and blue to purple flowers. It is another herb in the mint family. It is aromatic, bushy, and edible.

Its beautiful flowers attract insects that aid pollination. These insects help improve harvests in the garden, boosting the health of your plants including cauliflower. Such pollinators include bees and butterflies.

In addition to this, the aroma of sage is strong and can help keep several pests away from your cauliflower. Some of these pests are black flea beetles, carrot flies, and cabbage moths.

20. Shallots

Fresh Shallot onion bulbs on wooden kitchen
Fresh Shallot onion bulbs on wooden kitchen

Growing shallots alongside cauliflowers lend the same benefits as onions. Shallots are small bulb vegetables in the same family as onions: Allium. They are close relatives of garlic and chives, used for seasoning food.

Shallot plants are aromatic like other alliums. Their pungent smell keeps different pests away from the crops in your garden. When planted next to cauliflower, shallots deter insects that would otherwise be harmful to the plant.

Like radishes, shallots loosen up the soil around the roots of cauliflower plants. By doing so, your cauliflower is able to take up needed nutrients and water. Its roots also have enough space to grow properly.

21. Spinach

Spinach growing on organic farm in field
Spinach growing on an organic farm in the field

Spinach is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. Its green leaves are edible and commonly eaten as a vegetable either raw or after preservation. Spinach is a good companion plant for cauliflower.

Although it does not necessarily add much to your plant, its roots grow to a different soil level than cauliflowers’. It also has different nutrient requirements than cauliflower. For these reasons, spinach does not compete with your plant.

Instead, they live and grow peacefully when planted next to each other. Also, spinach serves as a good ground cover, filling holes and spaces within your garden. This maximizes the potential of the garden.

22. Thyme

Bush of growing thyme in garden
Bush of growing thyme in the garden

Another herb you can conveniently plant besides cauliflower is thyme. It is one of the best companions that cauliflower could have. It provides ground cover, deters pests from the garden, and attracts pollinating insects to your plant.

By providing ground cover, the roots of your cauliflower are kept cool by thyme, and weeds are prevented from growing. Thyme has a very strong scent which masks the scent of cauliflower, keeping pests away from it.

When it blooms, the flowers of thyme bring useful insects to your plant that aid pollination or eat pests. Thyme does not need nearly as much water as cauliflower does. For this reason, it does not compete with it.

23. Yarrow

Yarrow growing in meadow
Yarrow growing in a meadow

Yarrow is a flowering plant with several medicinal uses. It has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. This plant has a smell that is unpleasant to several harmful insects and so it benefits cauliflower.

The smell does not adversely affect butterflies which are agents of pollination. Yarrow’s attractive flowers bring useful insects to your cauliflower. Some are hoverflies, lacewings, ladybugs, and parasitoid wasps which prey on aphids.

So yarrow is beneficial to cauliflower because it keeps some insect pests away from your plant. It also attracts beneficial insects to your garden. These insects aid pollination or prey on other insects that cause harm to cauliflowers.

Bad Companion Plants for Cauliflower

1. Broccoli

Broccoli plant growing in field pictured from above
Broccoli plant growing in field pictured from above

Other brassicas generally do well beside cauliflower. They are easily taken care of because they all have the same care and nutrient requirements. Despite this, avoid planting them side by side as it is detrimental to your cauliflower.

Although broccoli provides good ground cover and helps fill empty spaces in your garden, it has a tendency to battle for soil nutrients with cauliflower. Cauliflower is a heavy feeder and so requires more nutrients than most other plants do.

In addition to needing and competing for similar nutrients to cauliflower, broccoli attracts several pests that also harm cauliflower to itself. These crops should be kept away from each other with good companions between them.

2. Brussels Sprouts

Brussel sprouts being grown in snowy field
Brussels sprouts being grown in a snowy field

Another bad companion plant for cauliflower is the Brussels sprout. Growing them together is easy because they both belong to the same family and need similar amounts of light, water, and nutrients.

This could lead to more problems than benefits because it means that both crops would battle for water, nutrients, and space in the soil. Conflicting views exist on the topic of pests and diseases.

Because brassicas are susceptible to attacks from the same pests, one of two possibilities may occur. Pests may be more attracted to that area of your garden, causing more damage, or the damage may reduce, evening out between the crops.

3. Cabbage

Cabbage growing photographed from the top
Cabbage growing photographed from the top

Like cauliflowers, cabbages are heavy feeders and they both have similar care requirements. Cabbages belong to the biological family Brassicaceae and so they are brassicas like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

It is not advisable to plant both of these crops sides by side. They would suffer from similar diseases and spread them easily. Pests of brassicas would be more attractive to them. Also, these plants would compete for water and nutrients.

4. Corn

Corn being grown in field with blue sky
Corn is grown in a field with a blue sky

Cauliflower contains allelochemicals which are biochemicals that influence the developmental processes of other organisms, including germination, growth, survival, and reproduction.

Because of these chemical compounds present in this plant, cauliflower is not the easiest companion for several crops. The allelochemicals may have advantageous or disadvantageous outcomes on different crops.

One crop that cauliflower’s allelochemicals have detrimental effects on is corn. Corn may suffer anomalies or even die from the presence of this plant around it. Corn also takes up too much sunlight when grown beside cauliflower.

5. Kale

Kale plant being grown
Kale plants being grown

Another brassica that should not be planted near cauliflower is kale. Kale, also called leaf cabbage, is a cabbage cultivar grown for its edible green or purple leaves, or for use as an ornamental plant. It is a bad companion for cauliflower.

Although kale can deter pests from attacking your cauliflower, it is a heavy feeder too. It would battle with your plant for nutrients and space in the soil. Also, they attract the same pests and can easily share diseases.

6. Peas

Pods of green peas growing in field
Pods of green peas growing in the field

Notwithstanding the fact that peas are legumes and legumes are beneficial to cauliflower, do not plant them alongside your cauliflower. They help improve the nitrogen content of the soil thereby replenishing used-up nutrients.

In spite of this, peas are harmful to this species of brassicas. They could stunt or slow down the growth of cauliflower. They may even inhibit its growth entirely, leading to poor harvest and even the death of your crops.

7. Pumpkins

Pumpkins growing in garden attached to vines
Pumpkins growing in the garden attached to vines

Pumpkins are cultivars of winter squash (fruits of plants in the genus Cucurbita that have hard rinds, mature in winter, and may be stored for several months) that are round in shape and ribbed on their skin. They have deep yellow to orange skin and inside, they contain seeds and pulp.

Pumpkin plants are not good companions for cauliflower because they shade the plant too much. Although cauliflower requires cool weather, pumpkin plants grow too tall. They end up taking up too much sunlight.

When pumpkin grows beside cauliflower, the latter does not get adequate sunlight. Sunlight is paramount for the growth and health of your plant through photosynthesis. Pumpkin shades the plant too much, blocking your cauliflower from the sun.

8. Strawberries

Strawberry plants growing in field
Strawberry plants growing in the field

One of the worst companions for cauliflower is strawberry. Strawberries are not ideal for cultivation besides any plant in the family Brassicaceae. They are poor companions to crops like these.

As stated before, cauliflower contains allelochemicals that might be detrimental to other crops. Strawberry is one of such crops that may be adversely affected by or even die from being planted beside cauliflower.

Strawberries also attract destructive insects to your crops. They are known for attracting slugs and snails, two terrestrial invertebrates notorious for eating away at the leaves of plants like cauliflower destroying it and inhibiting its growth.

9. Tomatoes

Tomato plants growing in green house
Tomato plants growing in the greenhouse

Yet another very bad companion plant for cauliflower is the tomato. Tomatoes are not tolerant of the allelochemicals which cauliflower produces. This means that planting them side by side can cause harm to your tomato plant.

Like plants in the Brassicaceae family, tomato is a heavy feeder. It needs a lot of water, and nutrients, and cares for the best results. Placing these two crops beside each other makes them compete for nutrients.

Competition for nutrients will result in one or both of the plants being stunted. The crops are not allowed to grow and produce to their full potential. So for the best results, keep these two far apart.

Video

Infographic Companion Plants for Cauliflower

Infographic companion plants for Cauliflower

FAQs

What plants grow well with cauliflower?

Head of cauliflower growing in plant

Plants that grow very well with cauliflower are basil, beets, celery, chard, dill, fennel, garlic, hyssop, legumes (like beans and lentils), marigolds, mint plants, nasturtium, onions, oregano, sage, shallots, spinach, and thyme.

Can I plant cauliflower next to tomatoes?

Cauliflower plants growing in a field

No, it is not ideal to plant cauliflower next to tomatoes. This is because they both need lots of nutrients and would end up competing for these if they are green side by side.

Can broccoli and cauliflower be planted next to each other?

Budding head of cauliflower with leaf partially folded over

Broccoli and cauliflower are both brassicas. This means they have similar requirements and care needs so growing them together would be easy. Although this would be a good idea for crops in other families, brassicas are heavy feeders, plants that require more nutrients than most others. Broccoli and cauliflower should not be planted next to each other to avoid competition for nutrients and water.

Can I plant zucchini and cauliflower together?

Close up view of head of cauliflower

It is not ideal to plant zucchini and cauliflower together. This is due to the fact that cauliflower is likely to compete with this plant for nutrients and may even attract harmful insects to your zucchini.

What can you not plant next to cauliflower?

Cauliflower ready to be picked from garden

Some crops that you should not plant next to cauliflower are other brassicas, corn, melons, pumpkins, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Can I plant peppers next to cauliflower?

Row of cauliflower in field

It has been said above in this article that cauliflower contains allelochemicals that are beneficial to some crops and harmful to others. Peppers are adversely affected by these chemical compounds and so their growth may be impaired or they may die off. So no, you should not plant peppers next to the cauliflower.

Can I plant lettuce with cauliflower?

Man holding 2 freshly harvested cauliflower heads

Lettuce and cauliflower can be planted in the same garden bed, but they have different growing requirements. Lettuce prefers cooler temperatures and regular moisture, while cauliflower prefers cooler temperatures and consistent moisture.

Conclusion

Cauliflower is an edible vegetable in the family of Brassicaceae. Although not many crops are perfectly comfortable growing next to it, twenty-three (23) good and nine (9) bad companion plants for cauliflower are listed above.

This plant provides several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (folate), C, E, and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

In addition to the many nutrients it contains, cauliflower is high in fiber, water, and antioxidants, may aid weight loss, is a low carbohydrate substitute for grains and legumes, and contains a lot of choline, an essential nutrient that many people may lack.

While growing cauliflower, remember that it needs full exposure to sunlight, slightly acidic or neutral well-draining soil, cool weather (it is ideally grown in spring or winter), and lots of moisture and steady, regular amounts of these for optimal growth.

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