15 Great Companion Plants For Squash

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Selecting the right companion plants for squash can be a delicate task. Given squash’s nature as a nutrient-demanding plant, a poor companion choice could spell trouble for your garden. However, with the right guidance on companion planting, you can successfully foster a thriving environment for your squash.

This article delves into a comprehensive list of the best companion plants for squash, as well as those you should steer clear of. Equipped with these insights, you’ll be well-prepared for your next planting season. Witness the impact that apt companions have on your squash’s growth, and you might even consider introducing additional plants into the mix!

Let’s dive into the world of companion plants for squash, unlocking a few handy ‘Nature hacks’ to elevate your gardening game to unprecedented heights!

Good companion plants for squash

The most famous companion planting option for squash is known as the ‘Three Sisters’ which was a method used by both the Iroquois and Cherokee Native American Tribes. In this planting, squash is planted with pole beans and corn, so that the squash provides ground cover, while the pole beans spike the soil with nitrogen and use the corn as a living trellis!

We’re going to start with simple pairings first, however, and the plants that we’ll share with you today will be divided up into these categories to keep things interesting:

  • Kitchen and medicinal herbs
  • Healthy Veggies and Delicious fruits 
  • Ornamental additions

For each plant, we’ll tell you a little about what they bring to the table in their relationship with squash and once we’ve finished telling you about the good companions, then we’ll ‘flip the coin’ and tell you about the plants that you should definitely keep far away from your squash.

Kitchen and medicinal herbs

1. Mint

Top of a mint plant
Top of a mint plant
  • Botanical name: Mentha
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, and rich soil

Mint is a hardy option that smells amazing and it is extremely easy to take care of. You’ll have to keep an eye on it – it can spread quickly if you let it – but provided that you watch it this plant will grow well with your squash and won’t even mind some of the shaded areas of the foliage.

The scent of the mint will work towards helping your squash in two ways. First, it can attract useful insects such as ladybugs who will eat-up pests that have found your squash and want a taste, and secondly it will repel fleas, some flies, and spiders from your squash patch.  It’s a simple, but solid companion planting option and well worth giving a try on your own!

2. Oregano

Oregano growing in the field.
Oregano growing in the field.
  • Botanical name: Origanum vulgare
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun (or partial shade in warmer climes)
  • Soil Type: Sandy, well-drained soil

A lot of us like growing fresh oregano for our gardens and if you grow it around, instead of between your squash plants, it can act as a living defense measure for a number of pests. Oregano can repel pests like cutworms, aphids, spider mites, thrips, and spittlebugs, just to name a few.

The reason that you shouldn’t plant it between your squash plants is that it will need a lot of sunlight, so it’s really not fit as a ‘between the plants’ companion. Placed around the perimeter, however, your oregano will serve as both a tasty spice and one of Nature’s little security ‘hacks’ that can make a big difference come harvest time.

3. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm or (Melissa officinalis) mint
Lemon balm or (Melissa officinalis) mint
  • Botanical name: Melissa officinalis
  • Sun Requirements: Full sunlight, will tolerate light shade
  • Soil Type:  Slightly sandy, well-drained soil

Used as a substitution for lemon peels in recipes, as well as an herbal medicine that is said to help you relax, Lemon balm is another great companion planting option for your squash. It’s actually related to mint, so you can plant it in between your squash plants if you like and it will do very well.

The Lemon balm will attract useful pollinators and it can also help to keep pests like mosquitoes and gnats at bay. Some gardeners will even use the leaves to make a useful spray that can keep aphids away naturally, rather than having to resort to chemicals that you definitely don’t want near your food. All in all, it’s a sweet-smelling, useful companion that will go really well with your summer squash.

4. Dill

Dill growing in an herb garden
Dill growing in an herb garden
  • Botanical name: Anethum graveolens
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, slightly acid soil

Your tzatziki sauce won’t taste right without some fresh, delicious dill, but this spice certainly has a lot of other applications, with fish and potato salad being another two examples. As a companion plant for your squash, it can also perform some useful functions that you’ll be sure to appreciate once you see them in action.

Dill starts things off by attracting pollinators and other useful insects, of the type that tend to eat the pests that might otherwise plague your squash. Predatory wasps, ladybugs, and hoverflies absolutely love dill, so they will quickly find it and start performing as a ‘security patrol’ for your lucky squash. The scent of the dill itself will also act to keep squash bugs and aphids at bay. As a companion planting option, we’d have to say that dill definitely pulls its own weight, so be sure to give it a try and you can see for yourself!

5. Rosemary

Rosemary growing in the field.
Rosemary growing in the field.
  • Botanical name: Salvia rosmarinus
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Any well-draining soil, although clay or sandy loam is best

Rosemary is another useful kitchen favorite, that can flavor your foods or even act as a natural preservative in certain recipes. Paired with your squash, it can also do a whole lot more! These two plants have very similar requirements, so they are quite easy to raise together, and the rosemary will help your squash by attracting pollinators and some predatory insects.

These beneficial bugs can help to reduce the number of squash bugs and aphids that have their eye on your crop and the lovely scent also helps to keep mosquitoes and gnats away while you are tending to both plants. Not a bad pairing at all!

Healthy Veggies and Delicious fruits

6. Garlic

Garlic growing in garden in rows close up
Garlic growing in garden in rows close up
  • Botanical name: Allium sativum
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Loamy and well-drained, with lots of organic matter

Garlic is one of the best companions out there for your squash and we’ll tell you the why of it so that you can see if you agree. Starting off, it’s a tiny plant, so you can fit it in-between squash plants so that it’s close enough to work its magic. The biggest contribution will be keeping those pesky aphids away.

If you’ve grown squash before, then you know just how quickly aphids can ruin your crop if they make a concerted effort, and garlic does a great job at minimizing or even totally eliminating them. It will drive many other pests away, as well, but on aphids it really seems to be the strongest. Aside from this, garlic can also help to prevent fungus from getting ahold of your squash, as it acts like a natural disinfectant. If you had to pick only one from the list – garlic would be an excellent companion planting choice!

7. Corn

Sweet corn growing in the field.
Sweet corn growing in the field.
  • Botanical name: Zea mays
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Loamy soil with lots of nitrogen

Corn on its own won’t bring a lot of special perks to the table, but as long as you plant it in-between your squash plants in a way that won’t cast too much shade on them, then these plants will do very well together. Corn and squash have similar soil and nutrient preferences, so this is a companion planting scenario where you’ve simply got two plants that really get along well together and very ‘minor’ benefits.

You could always go the ‘three sisters’ route and throw in some pole beans, but even without this you’ll get a minor perk of the squash bringing in some ground cover to help keep weeds away. As they won’t be fighting over resources and will be easy to maintain together, it’s a practical companion planting option that you can certainly get some good mileage out of.

8. Beans

Beans growing in the field.
Beans growing in the field.
  • Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris L.
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained clay loam

Beans and squash will get along quite well together in your garden and will make for excellent companions. One of the biggest reasons for this is your squash’s dietary needs. Growing squash needs a lot of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and the last is where your beans will come in.

Beans have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria in the soil. The beans will feed this bacterium, who in turn will release nitrogen into the soil that your squash will put to good use. You could always add some corn in as a trellis if you like (you really should try the ‘Three Sisters’ but even without it, this is a pair that will get along like gangbusters!

9. Radishes

Radishes growing in a garden.
Radishes growing in a garden.
  • Botanical name: Raphanus sativus
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Sandy, well-drained, and light soils

If you like radishes, then you might want to consider planting them close to your squash plants, as they can do quite a bit of good for them. The main reason is a pest that you may have seen before, known as ‘squash vine borers’. These little bugs get into your squash vines, causing them to become fragile and wilting the leaves on your squash.

Thankfully, with radishes close by, the squash vine borers will find them before they get to your squash, and will turn right around to go somewhere else! It’s just one perk but if you’ve even had problems with these bugs before, you’ll know that it’s a BIG one.

10. Tomatoes

Tomatoes staked in wire cages growing in a row next to nasturtiums
Tomatoes staked in wire cages growing in a row next to nasturtiums
  • Botanical name: Solanum lycopersicum
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Almost any – except clay- and sandy loam is best

While you wouldn’t normally mix vining plants together, tomatoes may be grown with your squash for the simple reason that you can give them a trellis to control where the vines go. Once there, they can help to repel mosquitoes and some other minor pests, but keep in mind that the effects are very minimal.

These two make good companion plants mostly because they have complimentary requirements of the soil, so this is more of a practical pairing than a perk-packed one, which will save you a little space and make tending both plants a little easier.

11. Strawberries

Strawberries ready to be picked on a plant
Strawberries ready to be picked on a plant
  • Botanical name: Fragaria × ananassa
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, sandy loam

Squash and strawberries can actually get along quite well in your garden, should you fancy pairing them up. The trick is to plant your squash every 7-8 feet between rows and when your squash starts growing, it will begin producing useful ground cover.

This ground cover helps to fill up space that would otherwise be populated with troublesome weeds, thus keeping them from strangling your strawberries before you can get any yummy fruits out of them, Try it out sometime and you can see it firsthand – it sounds odd, but squash and strawberries can be the best of bud sin your garden.

Ornamental additions

12. Sunflowers

sunflower bed
A close up photo of sunflowers growing in the field.
  • Botanical name: Helianthus
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-drained, sandy loam soil

If you fancy adding a little color to the area where you’ve planted your summer squash, sunflowers can provide it and do the job quite nicely. The trick is to scatter them, so that you don’t have a solid ‘wall’ of sunflowers blocking out sunlight for your squash.

Once in place, they’ll brighten up your squash patch, and also work as ‘trap plants’ to lure away aphids and other pests from your squash, and even when they get there, these pests can’t do much to harm the flowers. It’s a pretty pairing and provides a little extra defense for your squash plants.

13. Marigolds

Marigolds in bloom.
Marigolds in bloom.
  • Botanical name: Tagetes
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-drained

Marigolds come in yellow, gold, orange, and mahogany colors, and the florettes have lots of different and distinctive shapes that can really pretty-up your squash patch. Once in place, they are said to repel a number of bad insects, while attracting pollinators and other beneficial ones.

Where they really come in handy, however, is in their effect on root nematodes. Marigolds produce a chemical that they secrete into the soil which can kill these little pests before they can become a problem. Ultimately, that means that your squash patch will look amazing and it will also benefit from a few small perks and one really BIG one.

14. Nasturtiums

Nasturtium growing in a garden with green leaves in the background.
Nasturtium growing in a garden with green leaves in the background.
  • Botanical name: Tropaeolum majus
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Fertile, well-drained soil

With colors like cream, orange, red, and yellow, you can accessorize a fine color scheme to go with your squash while also reaping some serious benefits, courtesy of Mother Nature. Nasturtiums start things off by attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects which can go on patrol and help to clean your squash plants of a few pests that might otherwise eat them right up.

At the same time, however, Nasturtiums also act as a very effective trap for the same pests. That’s because the entire plant — roots, leaves, and flowers – is actually edible to humans, animals, and insects. The pests will gravitate to your nasturtiums, leaving your squash alone, and you’ll be very happy about this arrangement when harvest time arrives.

15. Borage

Close up view of an open Borage with several other flowers that have not bloomed yet
Close up view of an open Borage with several other flowers that have not bloomed yet
  • Botanical name: Borago officinalis
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil Type: Will grow even in poor soil, but thrives in well-drained, moist soils

Borage is a companion planting option for your squash that brings bright, blue flowers and a serious work ethic to the table. Attracting pollinators that will also help your squash, this perennial herb will quickly make itself useful, but it’s also good at repelling pests like tomato hornworms and cabbage worms.

As a final good deed for your garden, borage will also add trace minerals to the soil where it is planted, so that your squash will have a better soil to work with as it grows. All in all, it makes for an excellent companion and one you’ll really have to see to believe!

Bad companion plants for squash

Now that we’ve touched on some of the best companion plants for squash, it’s time to take a look at some of the WORST. Each of the plants in the sections below should definitely not be planted with your squash, and we’ll tell you the ‘why’ of it so that you can see where the problem lies.

Let’s take a look!

1. Melons

melons in the field

Melons and squash won’t get along for the simple issue of ‘dueling vines’. Both of these plants are aggressive about getting enough sunlight and nutrients, and so they’ll send those probing vines out in an attempt to get them. This can make for a real mess as these two compete and both plants will be worse-off for their little war. It’s best to keep them in their own little patches with more suitable companions, instead.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes are being picked up from the garden.
Potatoes are being picked up from the garden.

The problem with potatoes is that they are very heavy feeders and since they are root vegetables, they’re always going to get first ‘dibs’ on the soil’s nutrients. This will prevent your squash plant’s own roots from getting enough nutrition, so it’s best to put your potatoes on their own plot and far away from your squash plants.

3. Fennel

Close up of Fennel stalks in ground
Close up of Fennel stalks in ground

Fennel is an allelopathic plant, which is a fancy way of saying that it produces certain chemicals that are great for itself, but which can greatly weaken or even kill many other types of plants. As such, it’s best to grow your fennel somewhere isolated or with another companion that you know it will get along with.

4. Beets

Beets in organic garden
Beets in organic garden

While radishes will get along with squash, beets absolutely will NOT. It all has to do with their own particular root system, which is bulbous and has extruding tubers that can damage your squash’s own roots and stunt or prevent healthy growth. As such, your squash will definitely be better off without those beets.

5. Cucumbers

3 Amiga cucumbers growing on a vine
3 Amiga cucumbers growing on a vine – Buy seeds on Amazon

Like melons, Cucumbers will get aggressive with their vines and the squash will try to fight with them, both trying to get the most out of local sunlight and soil nutrients. What’s worse, Cukes are water-hogs and this definitely won’t bode well for your squash if they’re planted too close together!

FAQs

Sadly, we’re running out of our allotted space and time for the day, but before we go we thought we’d share some frequently asked questions to cram a little more useful info into this article today. Below you’ll find some of the questions that we get asked the most on companion planting with squash and we hope that you’ll find a nugget or two of useful info inside. Let’s take a peek!

Can I plant brassicas with squash?

Summer squash growing in a garden.

Squash and brassicas might go well together on your plate, but they really won’t get along in your garden. That’s because both types of plants are heavy eaters and even with crazy amounts of fertilizers, it’s likely that one or both of the plants are going to get hurt.

It’s better to simply separate them and save yourself a lot of trouble – they just don’t play well together at ALL.

What are some other good companions for squash?

Squash plant growing in a garden.

There are quite a lot of plants that will get along with your squash and even bring some useful perks to the table, and we’ll share some more of them so that you can try them out and see what happens on your own.

Some good examples include Cosmos, peas, lettuce, blackberries, and tansy, but try a little experimentation on your own to see what happens. If you have the space in your garden, you can even create a little ‘companion planting corner’ to try out some more obscure plants together, just to see what happens – it’s a lot of fun and you never know what kind of amazing combos you might find!

What are some of the worst companions for squash?

Companion plants for squash

Aside from brassicas, most vining options (excepting those that you can control with a trellis) are going to be a bad idea for growing with your squash. Other vining plants tend to compete with your squash and as it’s already a heavy eater, it’s not going to be pretty for either plant!

Some final words on companion plants for squash

In today’s article we’ve taken a look at some of the best and worst companion plants for squash. Depending on what you choose, you can affect its flavor, provide natural defenses or a ‘personal supply’ of pollinators, and even improve the soil – it all boils down to strategizing what you want for your squash and then planting the right companion. 

While you’re at it, be sure to look up the famous ‘Three Sisters’ method of planting from Native American history. You can learn some of the basics at this U.S. government link to get you started and if you have the space, you really ought to try it – it’s probably the most famous companion planting option and watching it work will really give a glimpse of the power of putting the right plants together in your garden.

Thanks so much for reading today and until next time, we wish you and yours the very best!

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