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Pepper Companion Plants: Full List of Pairings
From sprout to harvest, you want your pepper plants to stay happy, healthy, and productive. One of the best ways to manage that is by planting the right pepper companion plants! Luckily, there’s a very long list of plants that make good neighbors for your peppers.
Full List of Pepper Companion Plants
The following vegetables, flowers, and herbs all work well with both hot and bell pepper varieties. They may improve soil quality, discourage bugs and diseases, or otherwise help your pepper plants grow large and tasty.
Plan how you’ll arrange your peppers and their companions ahead of time. Large companion plants need careful spacing to make sure that they won’t eventually choke out your peppers. Most seed packets come with spacing information, so take both your pepper and the companion’s needs into consideration when planning. If you purchase from a greenhouse, ask the staff for size and spacing information.
Vegetables to Plant with Peppers
• Beans, Peas, and Other Legumes – Beans and other legumes grow happily alongside peppers and offer shade/wind protection. While some suggest that the nitrogen from bean plants can be a problem for peppers, I’ve never had an issue planting the two together. The only worry is keeping them spaced properly so that they don’t crowd each other.
• Beets, Carrots, and Parsnips – These root vegetables can be grown in between pepper rows as ground cover.
• Corn – While it may seem counterintuitive given its height, corn can actually make a good pepper companion plant. The corn’s shade and wind-breaking abilities can keep peppers from drying out, and it may act as an aphid trap crop for your peppers.
• Cucumbers – Sprawling cucumbers can offer ground cover, with moisture retention and weed prevention. Make sure you leave plenty of room or use a trellis.
• Lettuce, Spinach, and Chard – Lettuce, spinach, and chard all provide great ground cover for your peppers, retaining moisture and preventing weeds. In return, the peppers will shade the cool-weather-loving leafy greens.
• Okra – This southern favorite makes an excellent pepper companion, since it enjoys similar soil, water, and weather conditions. And yes, you can grow it in the north: simply start it indoors about 6 weeks ahead of time. A good variety is Clemson Spineless, which is ready to harvest in about 55 days.
• Onions, Garlic, and Other Alliums – These strong-smelling vegetables all help keep bad bugs at bay.
• Other Pepper Varieties – Some gardeners worry about growing different pepper varieties close together. (For example, a few bell peppers, a tabasco, and a jalapeno all in one space.) While it’s true that they can cross pollinate, the results are only noticeable when you grow seeds from the previous year’s crop. As long as you don’t intend to save the seeds, feel free to grow all your peppers together! They benefit from each other’s company.
• Pumpkins, Zucchini, Yellow, and Winter Squashes – Given ample space, even large squashes can make good companions for your peppers. They help retain moisture and prevent weed buildup.
• Radishes – Radishes grow quickly and pair well in between rows of peppers as ground cover. If started before your peppers, they can also function as a flea beetle trap crop.
Flowers to Plant Near Peppers
• Alyssum – Alyssum acts as a ground cover while also attracting beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other pests.
• Calendula – Pretty calendula attracts pollinators and other beneficial bugs.
• Geraniums – Large, attractive geraniums repel a number of bugs, including those awful Japanese beetles that infest the garden every summer.
• Marigolds – Both French and African marigolds can deter bugs.
• Nasturtiums – Nasturtiums can act as a great trap crop when planted near your peppers. They also bring in pollinators. But give them plenty of space – they get very bushy!
• Petunias – Colorful petunias can keep bad bugs at bay.
• Sunflowers – Sunflowers can encourage beneficial insects, like pollinators and predatory bugs that feed on pests.
Herbs to Plant Near Peppers
The following herbs can all keep away pests, and some may improve your peppers’ flavor.
• Bee Balm
What NOT to Plant Next to Peppers
You should place some plants and trees far away from peppers. They can share diseases or will otherwise stunt your pepper’s growth.
Plants to Avoid with Peppers
• Apricots – Apricot trees and peppers can share diseases.
• Broccoli, Cabbage, and Kohlrabi – These members of the brassicas family have different soil preferences.
• Fennel – Fennel can inhibit the growth of pepper plants.
• Potatoes – Potatoes and peppers can share blight.
Possible Companion Plants: Tomatoes and Eggplants
I’ve added fellow nightshades tomatoes and eggplants to an additional section for possible or “proceed with caution” companion plants. Eggplants and tomatoes are often considered good companions for peppers because they’re all in the same family and have similar growth needs.
However, that can also be a problem: tomatoes and eggplants can share diseases and pests, and they’ll require the same nutrients as peppers since they’re in the same family.
If you choose to plant eggplants or tomatoes with your peppers, make sure you rotate your crops frequently, and plant the nightshades in an area where they weren’t planted last year. And don’t crowd them all – offering space for air flow between all the tall, bushy plants will lessen the chance of rot and shared diseases.
You should now have a good list of companion plants for your peppers. Try them and see what works best!
Looking for more pepper-related tips? Here’s a guide to growing peppers in containers.
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