There are 23 good companion plants for collards in this list including herbs, vegetables and even trees and shrubs. Growing collards in your home garden is a great way to save up and enjoy a constant supply of greens. But, did you know that you can get even more rich foods by adding the best companion plants for collards in your garden?
In addition to yielding you a rich host of vegetables and herbs, pairing collards with their companion plants does wonders for your garden’s overall health. Curious to know how? Check out this lineup of the best companion plants for collards and why they are ideal for pairing with greens.
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What Are The Best Companion Plants for Collards?
The best companion plants for collards include garlic, onions, mint, dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, chamomile, mugwort, catnip, southernwood, hyssop, and potatoes. Companion plants come with a wide range of benefits for your collards. These include fighting pests and disease infestation to enrich the soil, loosening it, and keeping it moist.
Some companion plants even promote good pollinators, enhance overall growth, and increase your collards’ yield. Collards have a long list of companion plants to pick from. The best part is that each companion plant comes with its benefits to suit your particular growing needs.
For example, in addition to their companion plant benefits, potatoes are great for smaller gardens (or limited space around your collards, thanks to their shallow roots. On the other hand, you can plant chamomile if you notice a decline in the growth of your collards.
Below, we’ve outlined a full lineup of companion plants for collards and how they benefit your garden.
Best Collard Companion Plants
Part of the brassica family, collards are leafy greens with light to dark green leaves with a rosette pattern surrounding the central stalk. Further, the color ranges from light green to dark purple, depending on the variety with the leaf size ranging from 6 inches to about a foot.
Collards are a cool weather and frost-resistant plant. But, it requires full sunlight exposure to thrive. The greens grow well when planted about 18 to 24 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8. To promote even healthier growth, mix your soil with compost or other rich organic matter and continue to water consistently
The biggest threat to collards in the garden is harmful pests, such as cabbage loppers, harlequin bugs, and aphids. So, pairing it with such pest-repelling plants is the perfect companion plant pairing setup.
Here are the best plants for this healthy pairing;
A perennial plant native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, Mugwort produces aromatic, slightly bitter leaves you can eat raw or cooked. Paired with collards in your garden, mugwort helps to keep the cabbage moth away.
Part of the Lamiaceae or mint family, Hyssop packs a host of medicinal and traditional herbal medicine properties. This evergreen garden herb develops aromatic leaves and flowers for your garden. When paired with collards, it is equally effective as mugwort at repelling cabbage moths.
A popular culinary herb, thyme is also a useful companion plant for collards. Thyme possesses incredible pest-repelling abilities, deterring harmful pests from the garden, such as cabbage moths and cabbage loopers.
Tip: Due to their slightly varying growing styles (thymes are perennials), your soil tilling efforts during the particular period will be much easier when thyme is planted in containers you can move around.
Like thyme, mint is an excellent pest repellent. The herb develops a powerful aroma which gives it its natural insect-repellent abilities. But, the insects are not all the herb repels. The herb repels a host of other pests, including cabbage loopers, flea beetles, aphids, and whiteflies. However, mint is also a pretty invasive herb with many different types and you don’t want it overtaking your leafy greens.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to harvest your greens before the herbs take over, prune the herbs from time to time, or plant them in containers to control their growth. But, when planted on the ground mint also improves soil conditions and boosts the flavor of collard greens.
The multi-branched annual culinary herb, dill, grows faint aromatic leaf foliage with flat wide flowers that add interest to your garden. Native to Asia and Europe, dill is also beneficial to where you grow collards. It helps to deter unwanted pests, like cabbage worms. The herb deters cabbage worms by attracting wasps that feed on worms. Dill also attracts beneficial herbs such as hoverflies, ladybugs, and lacewings. These good insects take care of the bad ones, such as cabbage worms and aphids.
These floral herbs add an elegant interest to your garden while also offering several culinary advantages, including making tea. Chamomile loves the cool climate and grows under ample sunlight. However, the flowering herb can also grow well indoors near windows exposed to the sun. Paired with collards, chamomile promotes the growth of leafy greens.
Rosemary doesn’t only add utility to your kitchen but adds flavor to your steaks, bread, stews, and sauces. This green herb is prized for its distinctive aroma and powerful insect-repelling properties. Like sage and thyme, rosemary is effective at repelling pests, such as cabbage moths. In fact, you can even pair these three herbs together.
Sage complements the insect-repelling properties of rosemary and thyme, while also repelling garden slugs.
Whether or not you plant collars in proximity, in the same garden, thyme promotes its healthy growth. Thyme also boasts powerful pest-repelling properties.
Tip: Thyme is an effective insect repellent when still in the garden. However, you can also use its branches to make a natural pesticide that’s safe for humans. All you do is steep a few thyme branches in boiling water and let the mixture cool. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your collards to deal with whitefly infestation.
Another excellent perennial herb, oregano is a great companion plant for collards. Planted next to collards, the herb improves soil conditions. This, in turn, promotes the healthy growth of the leafy greens.
A member of the Lamiaceae family, the herbaceous perennial herb is a low-growing plant that produces aromatic grayish-green leaves with tiny white or pink florets. Native to Europe, herbs improve soil ability. This allows your collards to grow and thrive easily.
Yarrow is what comes to mind when thinking of a super plant. The herb grows a colorful array of beautiful tiny flowers that beautify your garden. The perennial herb also features peppery foliage with bitter leaves and flowers loved for their aromatic flavors. You can add them to your soups, vegetables, sauces, and even salads.
But, before hitting your kitchen shelves, these herbs bring excellent benefits to your garden. Due to its elegant and showy blossoms and aroma, yarrow attracts beneficial insects, like ladybugs, lacewings, and overflies. These beneficial insects feed on pests, such as aphids, keeping their population in control.
Member of the mint family, pennyroyal develops an even stronger aroma than mint. Thanks to its strong scent, pennyroyal boasts natural mosquito-repelling properties and repels a wide range of pests.
Showy and beautiful annuals, marigolds are a popular flower option for many gardeners. It belongs to the same plant family as chamomile, offering equally elegant flowers. This south North America native develops warm-colored flowers with striking green foliage and works best planted as a border. Paired with collards, the flowering plant repels a good number of pests.
Nasturtiums maintain their visual appeal from garden to plate. These floral herbs add that peppery element to your plant and are an attractive garnish. But, in the garden, planted with collards, they do more than enhance the visual appeal.
These flowering plants are effective at repelling a wide range of harmful pests. They do so by emitting a strong aroma that most pests don’t like. Further, nasturtiums also feed on some pests, like aphids before they can attack your collards.
Nasturtiums also attract good insects and pollinators, like bees. Their ability to cover the soil and keep it moist also allows them to double as mulch for collards.
A culinary perennial herb native to Eurasia and North America, tarragon offers protective benefits for collards. Planted near collards, these herbs offer powerful pest-repelling properties.
Part of the Apiaceae family, the Mediterranean and Middle East native, celery, benefits collards for its pest-controlling abilities. But, be prepared to deal with its slightly more demanding maintenance needs.
An essential culinary vegetable, offering a pungent, spicy, and sweet taste when cooked, garlic is one of the best collard companion plants. This incredible vegetable rubs off some of its delicious quality by improving the flavors of collards growing near it.
Further, garlic helps deter unwanted pests, such as aphids, which are quite detrimental to the growth of Brassicas. Garlic also keeps away animals, such as rabbits, from eating your vegetables. This is because animals, such as rabbits, detest the sulfuric smell of garlic.
Onions grow by developing blue-green leaves atop the soil with their actual bulbs buried underground. Member of the amaryllidaceae family, pairing onions with collard greens enhances the flavors of the greens while improving soil quality and loosening it.
Onions are also pretty effective at repelling a host of pests, including cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, and aphids. In fact, if you want to capitalize the most from this companion planting, add other beneficial plants, such as celery, corn, and garlic.
Note: Never plant onions near peas as it may affect their overall growth.
20. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are typically used as a trap crop when paired with collards. These plants are pretty effective at controlling unwanted pest populations. In particular, mustard greens attract harlequin bugs that feed on and control the pest population.
An herbaceous plant belonging to the Solanaceae family, this edible tuber grows well with collards. Thanks to their shallow roots, potatoes don’t compete with collards for nutrients and don’t take up much space. If you have limited space for collard greens, potatoes are an excellent pair.
Catnip doesn’t only get your cat excited. When incorporated into your garden, this perennial herbaceous plant does great for collard greens. Catnip is effective at repelling a range of unwanted pests, such as aphids and cabbage loopers. Planting the two near each other improves the overall flavors of collard greens.
The herbaceous perennial, southernwood, grows into a small, bushy, shrub-like plant. The plant develops a gray-green to deep green leaf foliage with a pleasant citrusy-like odor. While adding a natural and pleasant aroma to your garden, the scent it gives off also makes it an effective natural insect repellent.
While it’s not edible, the herby plant is great as a low hedge or border. Paired with collards, it boosts the growth behavior of the leafy greens.
11 Worst Collard Companion Plants
Collards feature an extensive lineup of excellent companion plants. However, there are also a good number of plants you should avoid planting near collards at all costs. Below are the worst companion plants for collards;
1. Brassica Family
Collards are part of the Brassica family. However, it doesn’t do well when paired with plants from the same family in the garden. While these plants typically boast similar growing conditions, they don’t grow well together as they may compete for nutrients. The competition for nutrients stunts their growth and affects other growth components.
Other common reasons to avoid pairing collards with other Brassicas are that they attract similar harmful pests and diseases. This, in turn, causes the plants to be overrun easily. Some of the common plants to avoid pairing with collards include;
- Brussels Sprouts
Lettuce is a relatively good companion plant for many plants it is compatible with. However, it is not ideal to plant this leafy green with plants from the Brassica family, like collards. While lettuce doesn’t necessarily affect these plants, the damage is reversed. Brassicas, such as collards, usually secrete a chemical that targets the roots of lettuce and prevents it from growing.
Equally healthy greens, leeks are not ideal companion plants for collards due to their competitive relationship. These two plants require the same soil nutrients and typically compete for them when planted together. so pairing the two results in their stunted growth.
Generally, pumpkins don’t attract unwanted pests that can affect collards or compete for soil nutrients. Nonetheless, their growing style deprives collards of a very important resource for their growth. Pumpkins are climbing plants with quite large leaves. These leaves can easily block out the sun from collards, casting too much shade and affecting their growth. Remember collards require extensive exposure to sunlight for them to thrive and grow well.
Strawberries are a favorite for unwanted pests, such as aphids. These harmful pests also attract collards and easily cause an infestation. Planting the two together increases the risks of growing the aphid population.
Melons grow large leaves and behave like pumpkins. When paired with collards, their leaves cast a shade to block and take away sunlight from collards.
Like collards, sunflowers require direct sunlight exposure to grow and thrive. So, when paired, collards may struggle significantly. Sunflowers grow tall and wide, attracting a lot of sunlight. This leaves collards with barely enough to allow them to grow. While collards may thrive in partial shade, they will most certainly die in full shade.
Similar to sunflowers, corn requires a lot of sun exposure to grow. They also grow quite tall with long leaves. When planted near collards, they draw all the sunlight to themselves, leaving collards with no access to direct sunlight.
Moreover, corn is a hungry plant, feeding on as many nutrients as it can get from the soil. When planted with collards, the two compete for these nutrients, leaving nothing behind for collards.
A few gardeners attempt to plant some varieties of beans with collards and other members of the Brassica family. But, generally, the two plants don’t really grow well together. Beans usually fall susceptible to mold and mildew, creating the perfect conditions for diseases.
The diseases can easily spread to the nearby growing collards. Depending on the diseases, some spread through their foliage or flowers, while others spread via the soil. Other bean varieties, such as pole beans, grow tall enough to block sunlight from collards.
Part of the nightshades family, tomatoes are also susceptible to aphids. Planting them near collards increases the risks of infestations on the two plants.
Most nightshades don’t grow well with collards. Other good examples of this variety of plants include peppers and eggplants. These plants are usually susceptible to a disease called verticillium wilt which can be passed on to other plants, including Brassicas. This is particularly true for Brassicas growing near the nightshades. This disease is more detrimental to Brassicas in a shorter period than nightshades.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are The Ideal Collard Growing Conditions?
Collards prefer to grow in fertile and well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 (slightly acidic). Space each plant about 18 to 24 inches from the other and water them with at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. To get an even healthier supply of collards, mix your growing soil with compost or any other rich organic matter.
Additionally, collards require exposure to full sun. This means putting them in a shaded area or growing them near plants that block them from sunlight will affect their growth.
Are Collards Good Companion Plants?
Collards are excellent companion plants. These leafy greens don’t only benefit other plants, but also return the favor. Adding collards in the garden reduces the risks of pest infestations and diseases. Collards also enhance the quality of your garden soil by loosening it, retaining moisture, and attracting good insects and pollinators.
Planting collards in the garden also improves the growth rate of plants they are compatible with. You just have to know which plants grow well with collards.
Can You Plant Collards with Other Members of the Brassica Family?
You should avoid planting collards with other members of the Brassica family. Also part of the Brassica family, collards boast similar growing needs and properties as other Brassica members. This makes it easy for these plants to compete for nutrients when grown together and not thrive very well.
Further, Brassicas attract similar insects and diseases. In the event of an infestation, it’s much easier to lose both plants when they are paired on the same bed.
Can You Plant Collards With Fruits or Berries?
Collards don’t do so well when planted with most fruit trees and berries. This is because most of them attract diseases and pests that can be detrimental to collards. For example, strawberries attract aphids (harmful pests) which are also attracted to collards.
Adding companion plants for collards near these leafy greens is a great way to boost the vitality of your garden. Most companion plants repel unwanted pests to keep the plants intact and safe from infestation. But, this is not all they do. The best companion plants for collards promote their growth, enrich the soils, and even enhance the flavor of the leafy greens.
As evident from the lineup above, collards’ companion greens come in a range of varieties. Whether you want to add herbs, vegetables, or regular non-edible plants, you have a huge selection of options for your garden.
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