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Cauliflower Companion Plants
As a member of the brassicas family, cauliflower can fall prey to all the usual pests: cabbageworms, diamondback moths, aphids, and many more. The good news is that there are plenty of cauliflower companion plants that can help with defense, as well as promote the growth of your cauliflowers!
Full List of Cauliflower Companion Plants
The following plants can help with pest control and growth for your cauliflowers. Most require interplanting, which means a row of the companion in between rows of cauliflower, or a mixed row of both cauliflower and the companion plant. Remember to give a reasonable amount of space between the rows: cauliflowers generally need 18-24 inches of space around them since they grow to be quite large.
Vegetables to Plant with Cauliflower
• Beans – Planting beans and cauliflower together is mutually beneficial – they both attract good bugs, while repelling each other’s enemies. Beans also add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil and can help shade the cold-loving cauliflower.
• Beets – Beets can improve soil quality and encourage cauliflower growth.
• Celery – Celery attracts helpful insects, repels cabbage moths, and leaves important nutrients in the soil for your cauliflower.
• Chinese Mustard and Other Mustard Greens – Mustard greens are excellent for keeping harlequin beetles and other pests away. For flea beetles, try Chinese mustard. Since mustards are also in the cabbage family, you can additionally try using them as a trap crop around the edge of your cauliflowers.
• Lettuce and Spinach – Cauliflower can shade lettuce and spinach, which may keep them from bolting as quickly. In turn, the leafy greens provide ground cover for your cauliflower.
• Onions, Garlic, and Shallots – Alliums, like onions, garlic, and shallots, can repel bad bugs from your cauliflower.
• Potatoes – Potatoes can act as somewhat of a trap crop for aphids and flea beetles when interplanted with cauliflower.
• Radishes – Planting radishes near your cauliflower can loosen the soil and defend against pests.
Flowers to Plant Near Cauliflower
• Marigolds – Cauliflower benefit from having pest-defying marigolds nearby.
• Nasturtiums – Nasturtiums can act as an excellent aphid trap crop for your cauliflower.
Herbs to Plant Near Cauliflower
• Basil – The strong scent of basil can defend against cauliflower pests.
• Chamomile – Fragrant chamomile attracts pollinators and other helpful insects.
• Chives – The strong scent of chives can keep pests at bay.
• Dill – Planting dill and cauliflower together can prevent cabbageworm buildup.
• Fennel – While fennel doesn’t get along with very many garden vegetables, cauliflower is an exception. The strong smell keeps pests away, and it isn’t known to harm cauliflower growth.
• Hyssop – Pretty purple hyssop can act as a pollinator attractor and trap crop for bad bugs. Grow it around the perimeter of your cauliflower patch, and enjoy the leftover minty leaves and blossoms yourself!
• Mints – Members of the mint family can improve cauliflower’s flavor, as well as prevent pests.
• Rosemary – Rosemary can help deter cabbage moths and cabbage loopers.
• Sage – Planting sage near a cauliflower crop can keep flea beetles at bay and attract pollinators.
• Thyme – Thyme can decrease the number of eggs laid by aphids, cabbage moths, and cabbage loopers, as well as attract pollinators.
• Yarrow – Like many of the other herbs mentioned, yarrow has a strong smell that can repel most pests while attracting good bugs who either pollinate or prey on bad ones.
What NOT to Plant Next to Cauliflower
Some plants should be placed far away from cauliflower. Common reasons are because they’re in the same family and can share pests, will compete for nutrients or growing space, or will otherwise stunt your cauliflower’s growth.
Vegetables to Avoid with Cauliflower
• Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli – Both brussels sprouts and broccoli are fellow brassicas family members, and will attract the same pests as your cauliflower. They’re more likely to share them with each other than act as a trap crop.
• Corn – Corn will take nutrients away from the cauliflower, as well as allow too little space and light for the much smaller cauliflower to grow.
• Peas – Peas can stunt a cauliflower’s growth if planted too closely.
• Peppers and Tomatoes – These nightshades can take too many nutrients away from your cauliflower.
• Squashes – Summer and winter squashes, as well as pumpkins, are large, heavy feeders which take nutrients and sunshine from cauliflower.
Fruits to Keep Away from Cauliflower
• Strawberries – Strawberries can attract slugs and other pests, which will harm your cauliflower crop. They may also stunt cauliflower growth.
Happy Cauliflower Companion Planting!
You now have a variety of cauliflower companion plants to add to your garden this year.
If you’re also planting broccoli, a fellow brassicas, check out the full list of broccoli companion plants.