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Tomato Companions: The Best Plants to Grow with Tomatoes (and Which To Avoid)

Tomato Companions: The Best Plants to Grow with Tomatoes (and Which To Avoid)

Companion planting is an age-old gardening technique that involves growing different plants together to enhance growth, flavor, and protection from pests. Tomatoes, a favorite in many gardens, thrive when paired with the right companions. Choosing the right companions can make a world of difference. In this article, we'll explore the best plants to grow alongside tomatoes and identify which plants to avoid. It will help you make sure the tomato plants flourish without any hassle!

Benefits of Companion Planting

Companion planting offers numerous advantages that can lead to healthier and more productive tomato plants. Here’s why it’s worth considering:

  • Enhanced Growth and Health: Certain plants can improve the overall vigor of tomatoes by providing necessary nutrients or shading.
  • Natural Pest Control: Some companion plants repel harmful insects and attract beneficial ones, helping to avoid the need for chemical pesticides.
  • Improved Flavor and Yield: The right companions can enhance the taste of tomatoes and boost their productivity.
  • Soil Health and Nutrient Balance: Companion plants can help maintain soil health by adding nutrients and preventing soil depletion.

Let's dive into the best companion plants for tomatoes and see how each one can benefit your garden.

Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes

Here are some of the best companion plants for tomatoes and how they contribute to a healthier and more productive garden:

1. Basil:

Basil is often dubbed the perfect partner for tomatoes. This aromatic herb offers multiple benefits when planted near your tomato plants.

  • Enhances Flavor: Basil is said to improve the flavor of tomatoes, making them even more delicious. The aromatic oils from basil infuse the soil, subtly enhancing the taste of your tomatoes.
  • Repels Pests: Basil effectively repels common tomato pests like aphids, mosquitoes, and tomato hornworms. The strong scent of basil confuses these pests, keeping them away from your precious tomato plants.
  • Promotes Growth: Basil can help boost the growth of tomato plants, leading to a more abundant harvest. Studies suggest that basil releases compounds that promote healthy growth and increase yield.
Up close of two different types of basil

2. Marigolds:

Marigolds are a vibrant addition to any garden and offer fantastic benefits when planted near tomatoes. According to a3-year research, Marigold was 46.38% effective as a companion plant against root-knot nematode invasion in tomatoes.

  • Repels Harmful Insects: Marigolds are known to repel nematodes, which can damage tomato roots. They also deter other harmful insects like whiteflies and aphids.
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects: Marigolds attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and predatory wasps, which prey on pests that harm tomatoes.
  • Enhances Soil Health: The roots of marigolds release substances that help cleanse the soil of harmful nematodes and other pests, promoting a healthier environment for tomato plants.

3. Garlic:

Garlic is a strong companion plant for tomatoes, offering several advantages that help keep your garden healthy and productive.

  • Repels Pests: Garlic repels red spider mites and aphids, which are common pests that affect tomato plants. Its strong odor acts as a natural deterrent.
  • Improves Flavor: Garlic planted near tomatoes can enhance their flavor, making them taste richer and more robust.
  • Natural Fungicide: Garlic has antifungal properties that help protect tomato plants from fungal diseases, such as blight, which can devastate a tomato crop.

4. Chives:

Chives are another excellent companion for tomatoes, providing multiple benefits that enhance tomato growth and health.

  • Repels Aphids: Chives effectively repel aphids, one of the most common pests that attack tomato plants. The strong scent of chives confuses and deters these pests.
  • Enhances Flavor: Chives can improve the flavor of tomatoes, adding a subtle onion-like taste that complements their natural sweetness.
  • Mild Pest Control: In addition to aphids, chives can help deter other pests such as Japanese beetles and carrot rust flies, contributing to the overall health of your tomato plants.

5. Parsley:

Parsley is not only a popular culinary herb but also a beneficial companion plant for tomatoes.

  • Attracts Beneficial Insects: Parsley attracts hoverflies, which prey on aphids and other pests that harm tomato plants.
  • Enhances Flavor: When planted near tomatoes, parsley can enhance their flavor, making them taste even better.
  • Provides Ground Cover: Parsley provides excellent ground cover, helping to retain soil moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering.

6. Borage:

Borage is a lesser-known companion plant but offers significant benefits for tomatoes.

  • Deters Tomato Hornworms: Borage is known to repel tomato hornworms, one of the most destructive pests for tomato plants.
  • Improves Growth: Borage helps improve the growth of tomato plants by enhancing soil health and providing necessary nutrients.
  • Attracts Pollinators: The beautiful blue flowers of borage attract pollinators such as bees, which can help increase the yield of tomato plants.

7. Mint:

Mint is a versatile herb that can benefit tomato plants, but it needs to be managed carefully due to its invasive nature.

  • Repels Pests: Mint repels aphids, ants, and flea beetles, which can damage tomato plants. Its strong scent masks the smell of tomatoes, making it harder for pests to locate them.
  • Enhances Soil Quality: Mint can improve soil quality by adding nutrients and organic matter as it grows.
  • Plant in Containers: Due to its invasive nature, it's best to plant mint in containers to prevent it from overtaking your garden while still providing its benefits to nearby tomato plants.

8. Nasturtiums:

Nasturtiums are beautiful flowering plants that provide excellent benefits when grown alongside tomatoes.

  • Trap Crops for Pests: Nasturtiums attract aphids and other pests away from tomatoes, acting as a trap crop.
  • Repels Whiteflies and Squash Bugs: Their strong scent deters whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles.
  • Edible Flowers: Nasturtium flowers are edible and can add a peppery flavor to salads and dishes, making them a dual-purpose plant in your garden.

9. Calendula:

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is another valuable companion for tomatoes.

  • Attracts Beneficial Insects: Calendula flowers attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on pests that damage tomatoes.
  • Repels Tomato Worms: The strong scent of calendula helps repel tomato worms and other harmful insects.
  • Improves Soil Health: Calendula roots help improve soil structure and health, benefiting nearby tomato plants.

10. Asparagus:

Asparagus may seem like an unusual companion, but it offers significant benefits when planted with tomatoes.

  • Repels Nematodes: Asparagus repels root-knot nematodes, which can cause severe damage to tomato roots.
  • Mutual Growth Benefit: Tomatoes help repel asparagus beetles, creating a mutual benefit between the two plants.
  • Early Harvest: Asparagus is harvested early in the season, allowing tomatoes to have full access to soil nutrients later in the growing season.


Incorporating these additional companion plants into your garden can further enhance the health and productivity of your tomato plants. Each of these plants offers unique advantages, creating a more balanced and resilient garden ecosystem.

Plants to Avoid Near Tomatoes

Choosing the right companion plants for tomatoes is essential for a healthy garden, but knowing which plants to avoid is just as crucial. Certain plants can compete for nutrients, attract pests, or inhibit tomato growth, leading to poor yields and health issues. Here are some plants you should avoid planting near your tomatoes:

1. Potatoes

Tomatoes and potatoes belong to the nightshade family, sharing common pests and diseases such as blight. Growing them together increases the risk of spreading these diseases, and both plants are heavy feeders, competing for nutrients in the soil. Keeping them separate helps prevent cross-contamination and ensures each plant gets the nutrients it needs.

2. Corn

Corn and tomatoes are both susceptible to the corn earworm (also known as the tomato fruitworm), which can devastate both crops. Planting them together makes it easier for these pests to spread, potentially leading to significant damage to both your corn and tomato plants. Additionally, corn's tall stalks can overshadow tomato plants, limiting their sunlight exposure. 

3. Fennel

Fennel releases a chemical from its roots that can inhibit the growth of many plants, including tomatoes. This allelopathic effect makes fennel a poor companion for tomatoes, as it can stunt their growth and reduce their productivity. It’s best to plant fennel away from other crops or in containers to avoid these issues​.

4. Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower)

Brassicas, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are heavy feeders that compete with tomatoes for soil nutrients. They can inhibit tomato growth and reduce their yield. Additionally, brassicas can attract pests that might also harm tomatoes, making it best to keep these plants apart​.

5. Eggplant

Like tomatoes, eggplants are part of the nightshade family and are vulnerable to similar pests and diseases, including blight. Planting them together can increase the risk of disease spreading between the plants. Additionally, eggplants can compete with tomatoes for nutrients, leading to poorer growth and fruit production. 

6. Dill

Dill can be a good companion for tomatoes when young, as it helps repel pests. However, once dill matures, it can inhibit tomato growth. To manage this, you can plant young dill near tomatoes and then relocate it once it starts to mature. Alternatively, avoid planting dill near tomatoes altogether to prevent any negative effects on their growth. 

7. Walnuts

Walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone, which is toxic to many plants, including tomatoes. This allelopathic effect can severely inhibit tomato growth and lead to poor yields. It’s best to avoid planting tomatoes anywhere near walnut trees to prevent this toxic interaction​.

8. Peppers

Peppers share similar pest problems with tomatoes, such as the tomato hornworm. They are also susceptible to blight, which can spread between the two plants if they are planted too closely. Keeping them separate can help manage pest and disease risks, ensuring both plants remain healthy.

By avoiding these plants near your tomatoes, you can reduce competition for nutrients, minimize pest and disease risks, and promote healthier growth and higher yields for your tomato plants. Planning your garden layout with these considerations in mind will help you achieve a more successful and bountiful harvest.

General Tips for Successful Companion Planting

Companion planting is a strategic method to enhance the growth and productivity of your garden. By carefully selecting plants that benefit each other, you can create a more balanced and healthy ecosystem. Here are some essential tips for successful companion planting:

1. Plan Your Garden Layout

  • Assess Space and Sunlight: Different plants have varying space and sunlight requirements. Ensure tall plants don’t overshadow shorter ones, depriving them of sunlight.
  • Group Plants by Needs: Group plants with similar water, soil, and sunlight needs together to simplify care and maintenance.

2. Choose Compatible Companions

  • Mutual Benefits: Select plants that offer mutual benefits, such as pest control, improved flavor, or enhanced growth. For example, basil improves tomato flavor and repels pests, while marigolds deter nematodes and other harmful insects​.
  • Avoid Competition: Avoid planting heavy feeders together, as they will compete for nutrients. Instead, pair nutrient-hungry plants with those that have different needs or are less demanding.

3. Rotate Crops Annually

  • Prevent Disease and Pests: Rotating crops helps prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil. Avoid planting the same family of plants in the same spot each year.
  • Maintain Soil Health: Crop rotation helps maintain soil fertility and structure. Different plants use and replenish different nutrients, keeping the soil balanced.

4. Use Trap Crops and Beneficial Plants

  • Trap Crops: Plant trap crops to attract pests away from your main crops. Nasturtiums, for example, attract aphids away from tomatoes​​.
  • Beneficial Plants: Grow plants that attract beneficial insects. Calendula attracts ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on pests harmful to tomatoes​.

5. Consider Plant Spacing

  • Optimal Spacing: Provide enough space for each plant to grow without crowding. Crowded plants are more susceptible to diseases and pests due to poor air circulation.
  • Layering Plants: Use vertical space efficiently by layering plants. Grow climbers like beans with bushy plants like tomatoes to maximize garden space.

6. Enhance Soil with Companion Plants

  • Nitrogen-Fixing Plants: Incorporate legumes like beans and peas, which fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting nitrogen-loving plants like tomatoes.
  • Soil Improvement: Use plants like clover or vetch as cover crops to improve soil structure and fertility during the off-season.

7. Monitor and Adjust

  • Regular Observation: Keep an eye on plant health and pest activity. Early detection of issues allows for timely intervention.
  • Adjust Planting Plans: Be flexible and adjust your planting plans based on what you observe in your garden. Some plant combinations may work better in your specific conditions than others.

8. Avoid Harmful Combinations

  • Incompatible Plants: Avoid planting tomatoes with potatoes, corn, fennel, or brassicas. These combinations can lead to competition for nutrients, increased pest issues, or inhibited growth​​.
  • Allelopathic Plants: Be aware of allelopathic plants like fennel, which release chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants.


Companion planting is a valuable strategy for creating a thriving garden. By understanding which plants benefit each other and which should be kept apart, you can enhance growth, improve soil health, and reduce pest problems. From planting basil to enhance tomato flavor to avoiding competition from brassicas, the right companions can make a significant difference in your tomato plant’s success. Remember to plan your garden layout carefully, monitor plant health regularly, and be flexible in adjusting your planting strategies. 

Happy growing!



Q1: Can I plant tomatoes and peppers together?

While tomatoes and peppers are both nightshades and might seem like good companions, it's best to avoid planting them together. They share similar pest problems, such as the tomato hornworm, and are both susceptible to blight. Planting them separately helps reduce the risk of these issues.

Q2: Why should I avoid planting tomatoes near potatoes?

Tomatoes and potatoes share common pests and diseases, including blight. Growing them together increases the risk of spreading these diseases. Both plants are also heavy feeders, competing for nutrients, which can hinder their growth and productivity​​.

Q3: How does companion planting help with pest control?

Companion planting helps with pest control by attracting beneficial insects that prey on pests and by planting certain herbs and flowers that repel harmful insects. For example, marigolds repel nematodes and other pests, while nasturtiums attract aphids away from tomatoes.