Growing cauliflower can be challenging at times, but by choosing the right cauliflower companion plants, some of the struggles can be alleviated. Cauliflower companion planting enhances the plant’s growth while reducing pest infestations and improving yields. In this article, we will explore five best cauliflower companion plants that can benefit your patch and five to avoid. Are you ready to learn more? Let’s get planting!
Summary of How to Grow Cauliflower
Let’s begin by summarizing the key factors for successful cauliflower growth before we explore companion planting.
Cauliflower is a cool-season vegetable that thrives in well-drained soil, ample sunlight, and regular watering.
To prevent rotting, consistent moisture is essential alongside good drainage. In addition to this, enriching the soil with organic matter works wonders for your cauliflower yield.
Best Conditions for Growing Cauliflower
|Best Climate||Thrives in a cool and temperate climate with moderate sunlight. It prefers temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). While it can tolerate slightly warmer or colder temperatures, it generally does best in these moderate conditions.|
|Plant Spacing||18–24 inches (45-60 cm) apart for summer and autumn varieties. 28 inches (70 cm) apart for larger winter varieties.|
|Time till Harvest||Around 12 weeks (80 days)|
|Position||Full-sun or part shade|
|Annual or Perennial||Annual|
Best Cauliflower Companion Plants
Now that we have a basic understanding of cauliflower cultivation, let’s explore its ideal companions.
Cauliflower and onions make great gardening mates! Onions have a pungent scent that repels destructive pests, such as aphids, that can harm cauliflower plants. Planting onions close to cauliflower also helps ward off harmful insects like carrot flies.
Moreover, being shallow-rooted, onions do not compete with the nutrient intake of cauliflower making them an excellent choice for cauliflower companion planting.
Mint makes for an excellent cauliflower companion plant. Its strong scent naturally deter pests like cabbage moths and aphids, creating a protective barrier around the vegetable.
It’s worth noting that mint is quite aggressive and can easily overpower other plants, so I always recommend confining it to a pot or container which you can read more about in my how to plant herbs article.
Hyssop is a magnet for bees and butterflies – both key pollinators that contribute to maintaining garden health. Gardeners can strategically plant hyssop near cauliflower to attract these valuable insects and create an optimal growing environment.
Potatoes surprisingly make great cauliflower companions! When you plant them side by side, the potatoes act like a natural umbrella for their neighboring florets, shielding them from scorching heat and sunlight. Additionally, since they have distinct root patterns, potatoes won’t clash with the cauliflower when it comes to accessing essential nutrients.
Just keep an eye on your spud plants’ size – if they grow too big, they could overshadow and harm the precious little florets!
Planting dill alongside cauliflower is beneficial in multiple ways. Dill not only enhances the taste of cauliflower, but it also attracts helpful insects like wasps. Wasps are known to hunt down caterpillars that can cause harm to cauliflower plants.
Worst Cauliflower Companion Plants
Let’s look at those plants that should be avoided next to cauliflower.
These berries are a sweet and tasty fruit on their own, but they don’t play well with cauliflower. Strawberries are vulnerable to pests and diseases that can quickly spread to the cauliflower crop.
Additionally, they have conflicting soil preferences; strawberries like acidic soil, while cauliflower requires slightly alkaline conditions.
It’s not a good idea to plant corn alongside cauliflower. Both plants have high nutrient needs, which means they’ll compete for resources if grown together. Furthermore, corn can create shade where cauliflower needs full sun exposure to thrive. To get the best results for both plants, it’s essential to grow them in different areas.
Growing tomatoes and cauliflower together in a garden is not advisable. Both are vulnerable to the same pests and diseases. If grown too close together, these plants can attract fungal infections, aphids, and caterpillars that can harm them.
To minimize potential problems, it’s best to keep some distance between tomato and cauliflower plants.
Pumpkins and cauliflower don’t make great plant pals. Although they both enjoy similar growing conditions, the sprawling vines of pumpkins can simply take over and shade out precious cauliflower plants. Plus, pumpkins are needy plants that soak up a lot of nutrients from the soil. This can put pressure on the cauliflower’s growth and productivity by depriving it of essential resources.
Cauliflower and peas should be kept separate in the garden. Peas are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means they take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that is beneficial for other plants. However, cauliflower doesn’t require excessive amounts of nitrogen and can be negatively affected by the high nitrogen levels provided by peas.
Final Thoughts on Cauliflower Companion Planting
Cauliflower companion planting can greatly benefit your cauliflower plants, optimizing their growth and health. Improving pest resistance, nutrient uptake, and creating a balanced ecosystem in your garden are some of the advantages to be gained by selecting the right cauliflower companion plants. To ensure compatibility between the two plants, it is important to consider their specific needs and characteristics. Happy gardening!
What are companion plants for broccoli and cauliflower?
Many companion plants for cauliflower, such as onions, mint, and dill, also work well with broccoli. Other suitable broccoli companions include chamomile, marigold, and celery.
Can you plant cauliflower next to lettuce?
Cauliflower and lettuce are excellent companions in the garden. They share similar growing needs, making them ideal planting partners. The lettuce acts as a natural shade to the cauliflower and helps to retain moisture in the soil.
Can I plant zucchini near cauliflower?
It’s not a good idea to plant zucchini and cauliflower together. Zucchini plants are pretty aggressive and can compete the cauliflower for resources such as light, water, and nutrients. That means your cauliflower might struggle to grow to its full potential. So it’s better to keep these two veggies separate.
About the Author
Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.