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Rhubarb Companion Plants: Full List of Pairings
Rhubarb is a large, hardy perennial that produces a generous helping of beautiful green and red stalks every summer. We all know the wonderful pairings that it can be baked with (like strawberries!), but due to its size you may wonder whether there are any rhubarb companion plants that can be planted nearby.
Luckily, rhubarb gets along with most garden favorites! Here’s a list of exceptionally great companions, along with a few listed at the end which you should avoid growing near rhubarb.
Full List of Rhubarb Companion Plants
Most rhubarb companion plants help with pests or diseases, and, in return, the rhubarb offers shade and further pest protection to its companion.
The most important thing to account for is the rhubarb’s size. Rhubarb takes up quite a lot of space, especially once full grown, so your companions need to be placed at a distance where they won’t be crowded out. This is less of a problem for ground cover companions, which are already benefitting from the rhubarb’s shade.
Fruits and Vegetables to Plant with Rhubarb
• Asparagus – Fellow perennial asparagus can improve the soil quality of your rhubarb patch. Planting the two together also means neither one will need to be disturbed by annual companion planting.
• Beans, Peas, and Other Legumes – Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil for rhubarb, and, in return, the rhubarb produces oxalic acid, which deters aphids on the legumes.
• Beets – Beets appreciate the shade rhubarb can offer. In exchange, some suggest that the beets can improve the rhubarb’s flavor.
• Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, and Other Brassicas – Cool weather loving brassicas can be shaded by rhubarb. The brassicas also benefit from the rhubarb’s ability to inhibit whiteflies.
• Garlic, Onions, and Other Alliums – Strongly scented allium family members can deter many rhubarb pests.
• Rhubarb – The most common companion plant for rhubarb is… more rhubarb! Since they’re a perennial, it’s ideal to set aside a special section of the yard for rhubarb growing activities. They’re easy to care for and watch over when they’re altogether!
• Strawberries – Strawberries pair well with rhubarb both in and out of a pie! In the garden, strawberries will offer your rhubarb ground cover, helping with weeds and moisture retention without competing for space or nutrients. As an added bonus, both are perennials, which means you won’t need to disturb the area with annual plants year after year.
• Turnips – Turnips can repel pests.
Flowers to Plant Near Rhubarb
• Marigolds – Marigolds can repel bad bugs from your rhubarb, while bringing in beneficial ones.
Herbs to Plant Near Rhubarb
The following herbs can all keep away pests, and many draw in beneficial insects.
What NOT to Plant Next to Rhubarb
Because most fruits, vegetables, and flowers pair well with rhubarb, it can be more helpful to know what should specifically be avoided. The following can stunt rhubarb growth or overcrowd them.
Plants to Avoid with Rhubarb
• Black Walnut Trees – Black walnut trees produce a chemical that inhibits rhubarb growth.
• Cucumbers – Cucumbers suck valuable nutrients away from your rhubarb, which stunt its growth.
• Dock Weed – While not a regular crop grown in the garden, this weed can be extremely harmful to rhubarb. It attracts the rhubarb curculio, a bug which hurts your rhubarb crop by boring into it to lay eggs. Make sure you thoroughly destroy this weed anywhere that you want to have rhubarb.
• Melons – Melons grow too large to be near rhubarb and can choke it out.
• Pumpkins – Like melons, pumpkins grow larger than rhubarb and will harm its growth.
• Sunflowers – Sunflowers and rhubarb can share pests.
• Tomatoes – Tomatoes can attract the same pests as rhubarb.
Enjoy Your Rhubarb!
You should now be able to try a variety of rhubarb companion plants. Consider your garden needs and see what works best!
Looking for a great way to use up some of that rhubarb? Try this 3-ingredient strawberry rhubarb jam!