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Pepper Plant Companions

Pepper Plant Companions

Wondering what to plant with your chile peppers to help them thrive?


Flowers, chives, carrots, radishes, squash, basil, parsley, dill, marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, cucumbers, eggplant, and onions all do well when grown in close proximity to peppers. But don't plant them too close that they will shade your pepper plants: Squash and cucumbers, for example, need ample space so we plant them at least 3-4' away from our pepper patch. You can also use trellises for your cucumbers to grow them up off the ground, just make sure to place them so they don't shade your peppers for a bulk of the day.


Spinach and lettuce are suitable pepper companions because they are low-growing with shallow roots, providing an edible ground cover that helps control weeds. 


Make sure not to plant things too close to your peppers, so as not to shade or inhibit air circulation. Including lots of flowers, herbs and other vegetables in your garden will help increase your edible harvest and create a pollinator habitat and healthy ecosystem. Learn more about
Attracting beneficial insects to your vegetable garden »



OUR TOP 20 LIST
of the
BEST PEPPER PLANT COMPANIONS:

Pepper Plant Companions: Flowers

1. Flowers

Planting annual and perennial flowers near your pepper patch is a sure way to invite pollinators to your garden, which, in turn, help boost your pepper harvest.  Sunflowers, Echinacea, Lavender, and Nasturtiums are all great flowers that will attract lots of pollinators and beneficial bugs for pest control.

Native plants are particularly helpful, so contact your native plant society in your city or state to find out what flowering plants are native to your region. Native plants are easy to grow as they thrive in each area's natural conditions without extra fertilizers or water – plus the birds, butterflies, and bees thrive on native flowers! Some of our favorite native flowers for our area in the west include Goldenrods, Coneflowers and Wild Geraniums. But it varies depending on where you are, so connect with your local native plant society to find out the best plants for your region.

Read more about growing your own
Homegrown National Park »


Good flowers to grow around your vegetable garden include:
Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Goldenrod, Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers / Echinacea, Penstemons, Alliums, and Geraniums (Geraniums are known to repel Japanese Beetles!)

Of course, with any flowers or plants, make sure not to plant them so close to your peppers that these flowers shade your peppers, as peppers like sun! If you have them nearby, that will be enough. 

Pepper Plant Companions - ConeFlowers



Attracting  Beneficial Insects:

Flowers like Lavender, Nasturtiums, or herbs like Cilantro, Oregano, BasilSunflowers, Echinacea or Nasturtiums are great for attracting pollinators and beneficial insects when they are in bloom.  Native plants especially attract beneficial insects like Lacewigs, Ladybugs, and Hoverflies, resulting in their incredible pest-eating larvae that devour aphids, caterpillars and other pests of your vegetables. Ask your local native plant society about what plants are best for your area.

Learn more about Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects

    Pepper Companion Plants - Nasturtium Flowers

    We like to keep a patch of Nasturtium growing (it reseeds every year if you leave the large seedpods). It's great as the leaves and flowers are edible, it self-sows, and it looks beautiful in the vegetable garden. The bees love Nasturtium, too! 

    Pepper Companion Plants - Nasturtium
     
    This slightly over-planted pepper garden (yes, we do it, too!) still provides an abundant harvest. Note the Nasturtium growing in the top of the photo. 

    Basil - Pepper Companion Plants
    2. Basil

    Basil is a wonderful herb for using in all sorts of recipes, and some people say that it boosts peppers flavor if grown nearby, and it also repels pests such as aphids and spider mites. It's beautiful too, and the pollinators love the blooms! We usually let a few basil plants bloom for the pollinators, and trim and  harvest our other basil plants to keep them growing vegetation. Basil is also super easy to grow from seed, we even collected seeds from our basil last year and started them with great success indoors in our seed starter trays. 



    Chives - Pepper Plant Companions

    3. Chives

    Chives are great to grow as they come back every year (perennial), and they are also said to improve the flavor and boost pepper yields. They are also super charming in the garden with their edible purple blossoms, which the bees also adore!

    Dill for Pepper Plant Companions

    4. Dill

    Growing dill in your vegetable garden is wonderful because they are beautiful plants with firework blooms, and the pollinators and other beneficial insects LOVE dill, which means more pollination and less aphids. 

    Did you know that Dill makes a great Trap Crop for Tomato Hornworms? 

    Hornworm moths prefer dill over the tomatoes so having lots of dill growing in your garden will keep these pests away from your precious tomato plants. Did you know that hornworms turn into sphinx or hawk moths, also known as hummingbird moths? Yes, those ones that zoom around the garden at dusk and they look like hummingbirds. :) We love them. Plus, our dill is so prolific and self-seeds so much that we really don't mind if these guys munch on it. As long as they don't attack our tomatoes! Dill also attracts ladybugs, and Black Swallowtail butterflies love laying their eggs on it. So if you enjoy these amazing creatures in your garden, invite them to visit with dill! Dill also attracts hover flies, predatory wasps, and other beneficial insects, so we highly recommend growing it!


    Companion Plants for Peppers - Cilantro

    5. Coriander / Cilantro:

    This amazing herb is great to grow next to Pepper plants, cilantro attracts beneficial insects to gardens while simultaneously it discourages pests such as aphids. Planting cilantro in the shade of pepper plants helps cilantro grow into a lush and bushy plant. Plus, enjoy the blooms when it bolts and flowers, the flowers are a huge attractant for pollinators and other beneficial insects, plus, if you let the flowers ripen the seed, you can save the dried cilantro seeds, also known as coriander for use in the kitchen and for resowing.  Since it does like to bloom in the heat, we like to sow cilantro seeds every 2-4 weeks for a never-ending source of Cilantro for your salsas and recipes. Cilantro flowers are ornamental and look beautiful in pots with other flowers or vegetables.

    6. Carrots

    Growing carrots near peppers can create a living mulch to cut down on weeds, plus you get carrots! 

    Onions - Companion Plants for Peppers

    7. Onions

    Onions are easy to interplant with other vegetables as they don't take up a lot of room, and they help deter common pests such as aphids, slugs, cabbage worms. Plus, our bunching onions are great for using the greens and bulbs in salsas, green chile stews, and other recipes. 

     
    Lettuce - Companion Plants for Peppers

    8. Lettuce

    You can grow lettuce in small spaces as an edible living mulch. Lettuce can thrive in the shade of pepper plants in the summer. You can also plant lettuce in your garden beds long before you plant your peppers, as lettuce can withstand some frost, and grows very well in early spring when the temperatures are cooler.

    9. Spinach

    Spinach is also a good low-growing plant to grow near your peppers to act as a living mulch. Also great for salads, stir fries, etc. This is also a great plant to grow in your garden beds before you're ready to plant your pepper plants, as spinach is frost tolerant grows very well in early spring when the temperatures are cooler. Give it a little cover with a frost blanket, cold frame or hoop house and you can grow it nearly all winter long.

    10. Beets

    Growing beets around peppers is another way to use a living edible mulch around your peppers to shade the soil and help preserve moisture. Plus you get beets!

    11. Garlic

    Garlic is another small space plant that can be grown around pepper plants to maximize garden space. Garlic repels insect pests as well, and goes great in salsas, green chile stews and pretty much any other recipe!

    Pepper Plant Companions - Squash


    12. Squash

    You can grow squash nearby peppers, though make sure not to grow them too close or the large squash leaves could shade your peppers. Remember, zucchini and squash plants can get large so give them ample space from your peppers (at least a 3+' feet away).

    Fun side note: Squash is great to shade bare soil, and cut down on weeds in the garden. Squash like pumpkins summer squash, or spaghetti squash are often planted with Corn or Sunflowers and Pole Beans for a Three Sisters Garden.

    13. Oregano

    Oregano is also another short herb that works well to grow around peppers. The blooms attract pollinators in droves. And, Oregano is also delicious in many recipes that use peppers.

    14. Parsley

    Growing parsley attracts lots of beneficial insects such as hoverflies who's larvae eat aphids, thrips, and other harmful insects.

    15. Coneflowers / Echinacea:

    Perennial flowers like coneflowers attract bees all summer, and you only have to plant them once. You can also divide them in early fall to make more and spread their cheer throughout your landscape or garden.

    Pepper Plant Companions –  Cucumbers

    16. Cucumbers

    Cucumbers are also good companion plants to grow with peppers, and who doesn't like spicy pickles? Hot Peppers and cucumbers can combine to make the best pickles you'll ever eat. Just make sure to give them ample room, as cucumbers can spread and grow quite large – we like to grow them up a trellis.

    17. Eggplant

    A relative of peppers, eggplants grow well in the same soil conditions that peppers like. Make sure to space them further enough away from yor pepper plants so they don't shade eachother.

    Pepper Companion Plants - Thyme

    18. Thyme

    Thyme is a super easy to grow herb that is low-growing and is perennial (so it comes back better every year!) It also blooms and attracts pollinators out the wazoo. Plus, it's great with all sorts of recipes! You can even harvest Thyme in the winter months, which makes it's a great winter herb.



    19. Rosemary Deters Aphids

    Which companion plants affect the performance of green peach aphid on host plants? French researchers tested 12 candidate plants under laboratory conditions, and found Rosemary to be one of the best deterrants! Did you know it's super-easy to propogate Rosemary? Just take a snipping of a young stem and put in water, and it will grow roots within a week or two, then plant in soil! Easy peasy. Read more about their study below: 

    Want to deter aphids? Plant some rosemary throughout the garden, African and French marigolds work well too. A group of French researchers designed an experiment that tested how effective 12 different companion plants were at deterring aphids from infesting a garden. The researchers set up two rows of pepper plants inside 13 individual growing chambers (there were 12 companion plants treatments and one control treatment with no companion plant), and then placed adult female aphids on each plant. Then, the various companion plants were set in between the two rows of pepper plants and allowed to grow alongside each other. Each day, the scientists would count the number of adult females remaining on the pepper plants, and also the number of neonate nymphs (baby aphids) that were produced by the adult female.

    During the 12 day experiment, the scientists found that the aphids were more likely to flee from the pepper plants that were near companion plants. The control pepper plants did not lose any aphids, as the bugs were happy in their companion-plant-free environment. They also found that rosemary, lavender, geranium, African marigold, and French marigold significantly decreased the numbers of aphids being reproduced on the pepper leaves. In the end, rosemary outperformed the other companion plants in both deterring aphids, and lowering their reproduction numbers. The scientists attribute this effect to the VOC, or volatile organic compounds, produced by the plants. The VOCs signal to the aphids that the vegetation in a certain area near companion plants is not suitable for rearing young, so encourages the bugs to search on for more reproduction friendly fields.

    It looks like a flat of rosemary will be on the planting list for this spring.

    Sourced from: www.composttealab.com/research--development-blog/companion-plants-deter-aphids


    Pepper companion Plants: Beans

    20. Beans!

    Beans are one of our all time favorite pepper companion plants. Short growing beans such as Bush Green Beans are great to plant around your peppers, as they fix nitrogen in the soil which helps improve natural soil fertility.
    Plus you get green beans!

    Companion Plants for Peppers - Spring Flowering Trees like Red Bud

    Native Shrubs & Trees for Bees:

    You can also plant flowering trees to help the pollinators, early spring-blooming fruit trees are a wonderful first meal for hungry bees when not much else is blooming yet. Native shrubs and trees are best, so ask your local garden center or nursery what native flowers, trees and shrubs would thrive in your yard. Serviceberries, oaks, and other natives can really increase the presence of beneficial insects and pest-eating birds in your yard for a well-balanced ecosystem.

    You can also plant fruiting shrubs such as raspberries, elderberries, grapes, elderberries, and other flowering plants. Of course, make sure not to plant them too close to your peppers so as not to block the necessary 6+ hours of sun that peppers require to be most productive.


    Leaves in Garden Bed for Pollinators and soil Health

    Leave the Leaves!

    Rather than strip your garden and flower beds to bare soil over the winter, leave the leaves and even the perennial plant stalks and leaves. By doing this, you create a native bee habitat (most bees nest underground, and mulch helps keep them warm and insulated). Leaving leaves and grass clippings on your garden beds also helps to feed and insulate the soil during the winter months. You'll find that the soil will be rich and moist come spring if you give it a nice thick blanket of mulched leaves and grass clippings. By spring, you'll find that most of the leaves have reduced to near nothing, and you can dig them into the soil to continue to feed for the year. Note: we do usually clear out vegetable plant leaves and stalks at the end of the season, especially if there is any powdery mildew or other diseases or pests.


    PLANTS TO AVOID PLANTING WITH PEPPERS:

    Plants to avoid planting near peppers include pole beans, mustards, soybeans, lima beans, fennel, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, turnips, and strawberries. You can grow them nearby in a garden of course, just don't plant them right next to your pepper plants, many of these get very large and will take over and shade your pepper plants, which means: less peppers.


    Companion Plants for Chile Peppers ensure a great harvest!

    Use Companion Plants to grow more Peppers
    Growing companion plants with Chile Peppers ensures a great harvest! The more different types of plants and flowers you have growing in and around your vegetable and pepper garden, the better your garden will be! While peppers can self-pollinate with wind, having bumblebees, honeybees and other native pollinators give them an extra "buzz" boosts the likelihood of pollination. 


    Pepper Plant Companions – Flowers for Pollinators
     

    Have you heard of Hatch Chiles?
    Get some Hatch Green Chile seeds 
    and grow some New Mexico to your garden.
    All of the above companion plants will help your green chiles thrive!

    hatch chile seeds


    Peppers are easy to grow from seed!

    Sandia Seed specializes in unusual and rare pepper seed varieties, so check out our website seed collections for super hot pepper seeds, hot pepper seeds, Hatch chile seeds, and sweet pepper seeds. We also sell Heirloom Tomato seeds which go great with chiles. :)  Happy growing!
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