Grow your cucumbers with confidence! Use companion planting to give your cucumber plants the best chances of success.
Nothing says summertime like eating delicious off-the-vine cucumbers. They're fresh, juicy, and totally irresistible. Cukes are a garden superstar, starring in famous recipes like dill pickles, relish, and salads.
There's something about growing my own vegetables that makes me feel like a true green thumb master. And let me tell you, cucumbers are one of my absolute favorites to grow. Not only are they incredibly versatile - but they're also relatively easy to grow.
Cucumber plants need warm soil, consistent watering, and plenty of sunlight to thrive. Maximize your harvest by using the right cucumber companion in the garden.
But, the best part? They're fast growers, so you won't have to wait long before you're picking off fresh cucumbers straight from your own backyard.
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What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of planting two or more plants together for mutual benefit.
Companion plants can help improve the growth and health of each other, while also repelling garden pests or attracting beneficial insects. By planting the right companion plants alongside cucumbers, you can improve the overall health and productivity of your cucumber patch!
Companion planting is like food gardening, but on a smaller scale!
What Are The Benefits?
This gardening method can be used to benefit other crops and improve overall yields through increased production or better quality fruit/vegetables.
Companion planting can help improve pest control measures and diseases without using toxic chemicals, improve growth and vigor, and in some cases, even flavor!
Additionally, companion plants can attract pollinators and beneficial insects, which will then prey on pests. Finally, companion plants can also improve soil health, through nitrogen fixation and nutrient cycling.
All of these benefits provide optimal growing conditions for cucumber plants, leading to a healthy and productive crop!
Best Cucumber Companion Plants
Beans + Peas:
Sugar peas, bush beans, and pole beans are part of the legume family and as such they have the ability to capture atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a plant-usable resource at the root level. This helps to feed and fertilize your hungry cukes.
Pole beans and trailing cucumbers can even share the same trellis!
Borage is a pollinator favorite. This self-seeding annual is a great addition to any garden, as it will come back year after year with little effort. The flowers can be eaten fresh as a stunning edible garnish for salads and desserts - they taste reminiscent of cucumbers themselves.
Celery helps to defend cucumber plants from pests like whiteflies while the cucumber offers a bit of shade and ground cover protecting soil moisture for both thirsty plants!
Celery generally grows taller than cukes so it's unlikely that both will compete for sunlight.
Corn creates a natural trellis for smaller trailing cucumbers. Low-growing bush cucumbers can help to create shade and act as a living mulch, reducing soil moisture evaporation.
Cucumbers and dill are a match made in pickle heaven. Not only do they taste delicious together but the dill will also attract beneficial insects and parasitic wasps like the braconid wasp that help to repel cucumber beetles.
I've always been taught to sow my cucumbers and plant dill at the same time so they mature together and are ready for half-sour pickles. This also comes in handy for other tasty recipes too, like my creamy cucumber dill salad. Not to mention, it's so easy to dry dill at home!
Be careful when using aromatic herbs around your cucumbers because they don't all play nicely together!
Marigolds make almost every companion planting list because they are a powerhouse plant. Their strong scent helps to mask the scent of your sweet cucumbers from foraging pests, like deer and rabbits while repelling insect pests like aphids, thrips, and whiteflies. Below the surface, they repel nasty root nematodes.
If you choose one companion plant each year in your vegetable garden, make it marigolds! Plus, they add a great pop of color to a usually green zone.
This is one of my favorite companion plants - they're a fast-growing ground cover with edible leaves and flowers that taste pleasantly peppery. Nasturtiums can act as a trap crop, enticing aphids away from your pickle plants.
Nasturtiums also attract beneficial pollinators, including predatory ladybugs, to the area, as they have a LONG flowering season - our nasturtiums in the food forests always have bees and other insects on them!
Like dill, oregano has a strong scent and can help repel sap-sucking insects and squash bugs from your cucumber patch.
Oregano also has a dense mounding growth habit, so it offers soil protection and ground cover.
If you're growing vining cucumbers up a trellis there is a lot of wasted space along the garden floor - this is the perfect place to grow root vegetables like carrots, beets, turnips, or parsnips.
They'll be unlikely to compete with the cucumbers for the same nutrients and also create a living mulch to lock in soil moisture.
Cucumber Companion Plants To Avoid
Basil planted near cucumbers can negatively affect the flavors unless you like mildly basil-flavored dill pickles!
Beyond potentially unpalatable cucumbers, which is as sad as it sounds, both plants require a lot of moisture and those big cucumber vines do not like to share resources and can hog soil nutrients!
Cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale are poor choices for companion planting with cucumber. Cole crops are known as heavy feeders and will compete with cucumbers for nutrients and moisture.
Brassicas are also cool-season crops - they can handle low temperatures and even light frosts without missing a beat while cucumbers are warm-season vegetables that cannot handle cool temps.
Cantaloupe and cucumber are both susceptible to cucumber beetle infestation. Planting them together is like putting up a neon sign for those nasty little beetles! These two plants are best spaced apart.
Both these plants are sunlight addicts, so they really don't want to be planted near each other in the garden. Either one plant will be much healthier and suffocate the other, or they'll both be stunted.
Cucumber doesn't get along with many plants in the garden. The huge, sprawling plants are space and resource hogs and lesser plants can easily be crowded out by the cucumber vines.
Sage is one plant that won't just get choked out - it can actually stunt the growth of your cucumbers!
Potatoes are heavy feeders and can compete with your cucumbers for vital nutrients and moisture. The act of hilling potatoes can also negatively impact the roots of your cucumber plants.
Unfortunately, both cucumber and watermelon are plagued by cucumber beetles, so planting them near any other crop that is susceptible to the same insect pests is like putting a menu board out front that says, "Free food here!"
Although there are both bush-type watermelons and bush-type cucumbers, both these plants are sunlight addicts! They will compete with each other for space and sunlight leading to stunted growth in both.
Notes From The Homestead Garden:
When you plant cucumbers in your garden, it is important to consider what other companion plants can help protect and support their growth. Using the right combination of flowers, herbs, and root vegetables that are beneficial to cucumber plants can increase your chances of a successful harvest.
It is also important to avoid certain plants such as basil, brassicas, cantaloupe, sage, and potatoes that can hurt or stunt the growth of your cucumbers. With careful consideration and planning, you can create a thriving garden for your cucumber plants!