Broccoli Companion Plants – What to Grow Near Broccoli (And What to Avoid)
Growing a vegetable garden takes a little bit of planning and a lot of care. If you’re new to gardening, you might be wondering what grows well with broccoli and other brassicas. Consider finding broccoli companion plants to increase the chances of a successful crop this year!
Brassicas in general prove to be a challenging type of crop in our garden here in Pennsylvania. Starting broccoli from seed is the easy part – it’s getting to the harvest that keeps tripping us up!
To date, with broccoli, our biggest problem continues to be the dreaded white cabbage butterfly. Plant enclosures or row covers will likely be our best defense.
Still, finding the best and worst companion plants for broccoli can help to set up your plants for success. Here’s a guide to some planting partners you can try.
What makes broccoli a good planting companion?
The biggest companion planting benefits of broccoli to other plants is providing shade for leafy greens like lettuce and spinach. The shade helps to slow the process by which these plants bolt and go to seed during the hotter summer months.
Broccoli also loves calcium in the soil, so plants that don’t need much calcium tend to grow just fine around broccoli.
Best Broccoli Companion Plants
As you plan your garden layout, consider choosing good broccoli companion plants to maximize space and benefits.
In many combinations, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers can all play a role in the garden ecosystem.
Think about what else you plan to grow and find a few planting companions to broccoli.
Vegetable Companion Plants for Broccoli
Pairing up vegetables in the garden helps to make the most of your space. Try these companions for broccoli:
- Beets – Beets require little calcium, making them great partners for broccoli. Broccoli takes up loads of calcium from the soil, so this pairing works well together.
- Celery – Some believe that celery growing nearby can improve broccoli’s flavor.
- Lettuce – Shade from broccoli helps cool-weather crop lettuce to delay bolting as the summer heats up.
- Onions – Onions also help to improve broccoli’s flavor, according to popular belief.
- Potatoes – Likewise, potatoes growing near broccoli might also enhance the flavor.
- Radishes – A small footprint makes radishes ideal to grow nearby towering broccoli. The shade from broccoli also keeps radishes cool.
- Rhubarb – Rhubarb is believed to deter whiteflies, which can benefit broccoli.
- Shallots – Like onions, shallots may also improve the flavor of broccoli.
- Spinach – Cool-weather spinach enjoys the shade that broccoli can provide.
- Swiss Chard – Anecdotal advice suggests Swiss chard is a good match as well.
Companion Planting Broccoli with Herbs
Growing broccoli near herbs can create benefits in the garden as well.
Chamomile is believed to improve broccoli’s flavor. And, strong, aromatic herbs in particular can help to ward off problematic insects in the garden.
Consider these companion herbs for broccoli:
Bad Companion Plants for Broccoli
As with just about any crop, you can also find bad broccoli companion plants.
Avoid planting broccoli near any of the following vegetables:
- Other Brassicas – Brassicas share many of the same pests. Avoid drawing in a pest overload by planting too many brassicas together.
- Corn – As a relatively heavy feeder, corn does not make a good companion for broccoli.
- Cucurbits – Likewise, members of the cucurbit family do not tend to grow well with broccoli as heavy feeders also. This includes pumpkins, melons, squash, and cucumbers, to name a few.
- Nightshades – Nightshades including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants do not work out well as broccoli companions in most cases. As heavy feeders, nightshades decimate the soil from its nutrient supplies.
- Strawberries – Strawberries are believed to slow the growth of broccoli.
What to Plant with Broccoli
The best broccoli companions are the ones that your family will enjoy most from your garden.
Look at these suggestions for what to grow near broccoli and decide which ones would be most enjoyed. Look for combinations that keep all the plants nearby happy.
Keep in mind that growing broccoli under row covers may protect it from cabbage moths and other pests.
What I’m Planting Near Broccoli
I decided on a lettuce and broccoli companion planting setup. I’ve also planted carrots in the same raised bed.
While carrots aren’t specifically touted as the perfect buddy for broccoli, they take up little room and the roots shouldn’t compete much with the broccoli plants.
Also, as an experiment in broccoli companion planting, I am growing some kale off to the side of the garden bed so they aren’t directly near each other.
The plants are in the same 4×4 raised bed, but I’m planning to keep the cover down most of the time so I can hopefully discourage the cabbage white moth.
Do you have any favorite broccoli plant pairings to recommend? Feel free to share any tips or ask questions about companion planting for broccoli in our comments below. We love hearing from you!
05.09.23 – Updated to improve spacing, refresh text and headings, and add new photos. Added section for what I am planting near broccoli and faq with schema. Updated alt tags and added .edu sources. Republishing from original 05.05.22 date due to extensive changes.