20 Potato Companion Plants + What Not To Plant With Potatoes

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Potatoes, a staple in many gardens, thrive in the company of certain companion plants that not only offer protection against pests but also contribute to soil health and promote robust growth. By strategically planting potato companion plants alongside potatoes, gardeners can create a harmonious environment that maximizes yield while reducing the need for chemical interventions.

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By strategically selecting companion plants that deter pests, enhance growth, and improve soil, one can foster a vibrant ecosystem that promotes the health and productivity of potato crops.

beans and potatoes companion planting

What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves strategically planting different species of plants in close proximity to one another to achieve various benefits. This age-old practice harnesses the natural relationships between plants, maximizing their potential to thrive and support each other’s growth.

At its core, companion planting offers a multitude of benefits for plant life:

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  1. Pest Management: One of the primary benefits of companion planting is its ability to naturally deter pests. Certain plants emit odors, produce chemical compounds, or attract beneficial insects that repel or control harmful pests, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. By interplanting pest-repellent species alongside susceptible crops, gardeners can effectively manage pest populations and protect their plants from damage.
  2. Nutrient Cycling: Companion planting facilitates nutrient cycling within the soil. Different plants have varying root structures and nutrient requirements, which can complement each other when grown together. For example, nitrogen-fixing legumes like beans can enrich the soil with nitrogen, benefiting neighboring plants that require this essential nutrient for growth. Similarly, deep-rooted plants can help break up compacted soil layers, improving aeration and nutrient uptake for shallow-rooted crops.

3. Improved Soil Health: Companion planting contributes to overall soil health by promoting microbial diversity, enhancing soil structure, and reducing erosion. Some plants, known as bioaccumulators, absorb nutrients from deeper soil layers and make them available to other plants when their biomass decomposes. Additionally, certain species have allelopathic properties, releasing chemical compounds that inhibit the growth of competing weeds and pathogens, thereby fostering a healthier growing environment for adjacent plants.

4. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Resilience: By diversifying plantings and creating polycultures rather than monocultures, companion planting fosters biodiversity and enhances ecosystem resilience. A diverse garden ecosystem is more resilient to pest outbreaks, diseases, and adverse environmental conditions. It also provides habitat and food sources for beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, contributing to overall ecosystem balance and sustainability.

Check out these Tips For Growing Potatoes to increase your harvest!

bad companion plants for potatoes

Potato Companion Plants to Deter Pests

In the intricate dance of gardening, the concept of companion planting emerges as a powerful strategy for cultivating healthier, more resilient crops. Among the myriad benefits it offers, one of the most compelling is the ability to naturally deter pests without resorting to chemical interventions. By strategically selecting companion plants known for their pest-repelling properties, gardeners can create an ecosystem that safeguards their precious crops, including potatoes.

1. Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)

Marigolds are renowned for their ability to deter detrimental nematodes, which are microscopic pests that can wreak havoc on potato roots. Planting marigolds around the perimeter of your potato patch forms a natural barrier against these soil-dwelling pests, thus protecting the potatoes from root damage. Additionally, marigolds release compounds into the soil that repel other harmful insects like aphids and whiteflies, further safeguarding the potato crop.

2. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

Horseradish is known for its pungent aroma and spicy flavor, but it also serves as an effective deterrent against several common potato pests, including potato beetles and aphids. Planting horseradish near potatoes creates a natural barrier that repels these pests, reducing the need for chemical insecticides. Moreover, horseradish roots penetrate deep into the soil, breaking up compacted earth and improving soil structure, which benefits the entire garden ecosystem.

companion crop for potatoes

3. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp.)

Nasturtiums are versatile companion plants that provide multiple benefits to potatoes. Their vibrant flowers not only attract pollinators, which aid in potato flower fertilization and subsequent tuber formation, but also serve as a trap crop for aphids and other sap-sucking insects. Additionally, nasturtiums are believed to repel certain pests like whiteflies and cucumber beetles, making them valuable allies in the fight against garden pests.

4. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is not only a flavorful herb for culinary use but also an excellent companion plant for potatoes. Its strong aroma acts as a natural repellent against pests like potato beetles and thrips. By interplanting basil among potato rows or placing basil pots near potato plants, you create a protective barrier that deters these pests. Furthermore, basil attracts beneficial insects such as bees and predatory wasps, which help pollinate potato flowers and keep pest populations in check.

5. Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic, with its strong scent and pungent flavor, is a powerful ally in the battle against pests in the potato patch. Planting garlic cloves around the perimeter of your potato bed or interspersing them between potato rows creates a natural barrier that repels many common pests, including aphids, spider mites, and fungal pathogens. Additionally, garlic’s sulfur compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of certain soil-borne diseases that can affect potato plants, promoting overall plant health.

6. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives, like other members of the allium family, are valuable companions for potatoes due to their pest-repellent properties and soil-enhancing qualities. Planting chives near potatoes helps deter pests such as aphids, carrot flies, and cabbage worms, which can cause damage to potato foliage and tubers. Moreover, chives contribute to soil health by increasing microbial activity and nutrient availability, creating a more hospitable environment for potato growth.

7. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Tansy is a hardy perennial herb with fern-like foliage and clusters of yellow button-like flowers. When planted near potatoes, tansy acts as a natural insect repellent, deterring pests such as ants, Japanese beetles, and cutworms. Its aromatic leaves contain compounds that repel these pests, creating a protective barrier around potato plants. Tansy also has allelopathic properties, which inhibit the growth of competing weeds and promote a healthier growing environment for potatoes.

companion for potatoes

8. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Dill is a fragrant herb with feathery foliage and delicate yellow flowers that attract beneficial insects to the garden. When planted near potatoes, dill acts as a natural deterrent against pests such as aphids, spider mites, and cabbage loopers. Its strong aroma masks the scent of potato plants, making them less attractive to pests. Additionally, dill attracts predatory insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on aphids and other harmful pests, helping to keep pest populations in check.

9. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip is a fragrant herb that is beloved by cats but also serves as a valuable companion plant for potatoes. When planted near potato crops, catnip acts as a natural repellent against pests such as aphids, flea beetles, and Colorado potato beetles. Its strong aroma confuses and deters these pests, reducing the risk of infestation. Additionally, catnip attracts beneficial insects such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which prey on aphids and other harmful pests, providing natural pest control.

10. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Tarragon is a flavorful herb with narrow, aromatic leaves that make it a valuable companion for potatoes. When planted near potatoes, tarragon acts as a natural repellent against pests such as aphids, spider mites, and potato beetles. Its strong aroma masks the scent of potato plants, making them less attractive to pests. Additionally, tarragon attracts beneficial insects such as predatory wasps and hoverflies, which feed on aphids and other harmful pests, providing natural pest control.

companion flowers for potatoes

11. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Chrysanthemums, known for their vibrant colors and diverse varieties, are valuable companion plants for potatoes due to their natural insect-repelling properties. Certain varieties of chrysanthemums contain pyrethrin, a compound widely used in organic insecticides. Planting chrysanthemums around potatoes can help deter pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Additionally, chrysanthemums attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which prey on aphids and other harmful pests, providing biological pest control.

12. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a cheerful annual flower with bright orange or yellow petals. It serves as an excellent companion plant for potatoes due to its ability to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. Planting calendula near potatoes can help deter pests such as aphids, flea beetles, and nematodes. Additionally, calendula attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which aid in potato flower fertilization and subsequent tuber development.

potato companion plants

Potato Companion Plants to Enhance Growth

Companion planting offers a unique opportunity to foster symbiotic relationships between different plant species, leveraging their complementary attributes to enhance overall garden vitality.

13. Beans (Phaseolus spp.)

Beans, such as bush beans or pole beans, make excellent companions for potatoes due to their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen fixation is a process wherein certain plants, like legumes, capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into a form that is readily available for other plants to use. Potatoes, being heavy feeders, greatly benefit from this nitrogen enrichment, which promotes healthy foliage and robust tuber development.

14. Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)

Sunflowers are not only a striking addition to the garden but also serve as beneficial companions for potatoes. Their tall stature provides shade and support for potato plants, helping to conserve soil moisture and reduce weed competition. Additionally, sunflowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which aid in potato flower fertilization and subsequent tuber formation. Sunflower roots also have a beneficial effect on soil structure, as they help break up compacted soil and improve drainage.

planting potatoes and tomatoes together

15. Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borage is a versatile herb with attractive blue flowers that make it a welcome addition to any garden. When planted near potatoes, borage acts as a dynamic companion plant by repelling pests such as tomato hornworms and cabbage worms. Its flowers also attract beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, which help pollinate potato flowers and prey on harmful pests. Additionally, borage leaves are rich in nutrients and can be used as a natural mulch to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture around potato plants.

16. Radishes (Raphanus sativus)

Radishes are quick-growing root vegetables that make excellent companions for potatoes due to their ability to repel pests such as flea beetles and cucumber beetles. Planting radishes alongside potatoes acts as a natural pest deterrent, reducing the likelihood of damage to potato foliage. Additionally, radishes have shallow roots that help break up compacted soil, improving aeration and drainage for the potato plants. As a bonus, radishes can be harvested early, providing an early-season crop before the potatoes reach maturity.

17. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile, with its delicate white flowers and apple-like fragrance, serves as a beneficial companion for potatoes. Planting chamomile near potatoes helps deter pests such as aphids, thrips, and spider mites due to its strong scent. Chamomile also attracts hoverflies and predatory wasps, which feed on aphids and other harmful insects, providing natural pest control. Additionally, chamomile has shallow roots that help improve soil structure and moisture retention, benefiting the growth of neighboring potato plants.

18. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is a hardy perennial herb with clusters of tiny flowers that attract beneficial insects to the garden. When planted near potatoes, yarrow acts as a natural pest deterrent, repelling pests such as aphids, spider mites, and flea beetles. Its feathery foliage also helps improve soil fertility by accumulating nutrients and increasing microbial activity. Additionally, yarrow’s deep roots help break up compacted soil, improving drainage and aeration for potato plants.

19. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Lavender, with its fragrant flowers and silvery foliage, is a versatile companion plant that offers several benefits to potatoes. Planting lavender near potatoes can help deter pests such as aphids, thrips, and moths due to its strong aroma. Additionally, lavender attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which aid in potato flower fertilization and subsequent tuber development. Its deep-reaching roots also help improve soil structure and drainage, benefiting neighboring potato plants.

companion gardening potatoes

20. Lupins (Lupinus spp.)

Lupins are nitrogen-fixing legumes that play a valuable role in improving soil structure and fertility. Their deep taproots help break up compacted soil layers, improve water infiltration, and access nutrients from deeper soil depths. As nitrogen-fixing plants, lupins form symbiotic relationships with soil bacteria called rhizobia, which convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be utilized by plants. This nitrogen enrichment not only benefits the lupins themselves but also neighboring plants, promoting healthier growth and higher yields. Lupins can be grown as cover crops or intercropped with other vegetables to improve soil health and prepare the ground for subsequent plantings. Additionally, lupins’ vibrant flowers add ornamental value to the garden, making them a multifaceted addition to any gardening endeavor.

plants that grow well with potatoes

Bad Companion Plants For Potatoes

While companion planting offers numerous benefits for promoting the health and productivity of potatoes, it’s equally important to be mindful of plants that may not fare well when grown in close proximity to potatoes. Certain plants may compete for resources, attract similar pests, or exude allelopathic compounds that can hinder potato growth.

1. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)

Despite their close botanical relationship, tomatoes and potatoes should not be planted together due to their susceptibility to similar pests and diseases, particularly late blight. Both plants are members of the Solanaceae family and can serve as hosts for pathogens such as Phytophthora infestans, which causes late blight. Planting them in close proximity increases the risk of disease spread and can lead to reduced yields for both crops.

2. Peppers (Capsicum spp.)

Peppers, another member of the Solanaceae family, are also best kept separate from potatoes. Like tomatoes, peppers are susceptible to similar pests and diseases, including late blight, early blight, and Colorado potato beetles. Planting them together increases the likelihood of pest and disease pressure, which can negatively impact both crops.

3. Eggplants (Solanum melongena)

Eggplants, belonging to the same botanical family as potatoes and tomatoes, should be avoided as companion plants for potatoes for similar reasons. They share common pests and diseases with potatoes, such as aphids, flea beetles, and verticillium wilt. Planting them together can create an environment conducive to pest and disease outbreaks, leading to reduced yields and plant health.

4. Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)

While cucumbers and potatoes may not directly compete for resources, planting them together can lead to logistical challenges during harvest. Both crops have sprawling growth habits and can quickly overtake each other, making it difficult to access and harvest the potatoes without damaging the cucumber vines. Additionally, cucumbers are susceptible to certain potato pests, such as potato beetles, which can increase in numbers when both crops are grown in close proximity.

5. Brassicas (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)

Brassicas, including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are generally not recommended as companion plants for potatoes due to their differing cultural requirements and susceptibility to similar pests. Brassicas prefer slightly acidic soil conditions, while potatoes thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil. Planting them together can lead to soil pH imbalances and nutrient competition. Furthermore, brassicas are susceptible to pests like cabbage worms and flea beetles, which can also affect potato plants if populations are allowed to proliferate.

Incorporating companion plants into your potato patch not only helps deter pests, improve soil structure, and enhance growth but also fosters a diverse and resilient garden ecosystem. By harnessing the power of companion planting, gardeners can cultivate healthier, more productive potato crops while minimizing the reliance on synthetic inputs and pesticides. Experiment with different combinations of companion plants to discover the optimal balance for your garden and enjoy the bountiful harvests that follow.

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