Whose grandfather or grandmother hasn’t grown tomato plants?! It’s like a gardener’s rite of passage. Wanting to grow wonderful tomatoes like my dad and grandfather, I realize I also need to focus on figuring out what to plant with tomatoes. I leaned on tribal gardening knowledge to help find the best companion plants for tomatoes.
Fortunately, tomatoes are friendly in the garden! You’ll find lots of great tomato companion plants, allowing you to choose something that works for your family’s tastes and preferences.
Keeping that in mind, let’s look at herbs, vegetables, and flowers that grow well with tomatoes.
Exciting Tomato Companion Plants
To get the most out of your garden, be sure to try companion planting. Tomatoes grow very well with various other vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
Companion Herbs for Tomatoes
When you think about a garden that caters to your kitchen’s needs, an herb garden is vital!
So, it’s only natural to look for companion herbs for tomatoes. After all, you’ll likely use them together making your own homemade tomato sauce, salsa, and other delicious dishes.
Here are a few favorite tomato companion herbs to consider for your garden:
Basil and Tomatoes Companion Planting
My all-time favorite tomato companion plant is basil! We grow both green and purple leaf basil throughout our garden. It all smells incredible!
The mingling fragrance of tomato plants and basil plants living in harmony is the stuff dreams are made of. Our kids call it the Pizza Garden!
By the way, you can read up more on basil on my post, Growing Basil: From Planting to Harvest and Seed Saving.
Benefits of Growing Basil and Tomatoes Together
- Repels Some Insects – Basil’s aromatic fragrance is too much for some garden pests like mosquitoes, flies, mites, aphids, and dreaded tomato horn worms.
- Pollinator-Friendly – Basil’s fragrance and its flowers attract bees and other pollinators. This is good for all the plants in your garden, not just tomatoes!
- Flavor Profile – Basil in close proximity to your tomato plants may result in flavor enhancement for the tomatoes. Think Italian food! Yum!
- Compatible TLC – These two plants are like peas in a pod! Basil and tomatoes both like similar care: lots of sunlight, watering, and hot temps.
- Maximize Space – When you choose basil as one of your tomato companion plants, you leave space in other places for other plants while improving so much for these two.
Tips on Basil / Tomato Companion Planting:
- Plant three basil plants for every tomato plant. This pairing makes the biggest impact. Besides the plant health benefits, the fragrance will be out of this world!
- Harvest basil often. Snip sprigs of basil from the plant to encourage new growth! You can also let some go to seed toward the end of the season so you will have plenty for next year.
- Plant new basil later in the summer. Basil grows quickly, so you can usually get a succession planting in before the growing season’s done.
If you only choose one of these tomato companion plants, basil gets my vote.
Basil and tomato companion planting will be one of the scents of summer I hope my girls remember forever!
Borage (Borago officinalisis)
I’ve yet to grow borage but received seed packets for Christmas so I’m very excited to give it a try!
Luckily, I discovered borage is also a great companion plant for tomatoes. Here’s why:
Benefits of Borage / Tomatoes Pairing
Companion planting with tomatoes and borage offers a few benefits, including:
- Deters Some Pests – Borage fends off tomato hornworm, one of the most serious tomato plant pests. Small bristles on the stems and leaves prove effective against larval pests in particular.
- Stunning Flowers – The beautiful blue borage flowers add a lovely hue to your garden. This brings a new dimension to the vegetable patch.
- Attracts Pollinators – Bees love borage! This reason alone is reason enough to choose it as a tomato companion plant.
- Shade Provider – Larger borage plants can help to shade the stems and roots of tomato plants. This keeps them cooler and helps them thrive.
- Edible! – Borage leaves and flowers are edible. Enjoy them in salads or sautés.
Something to Know about Borage: This plant can often reseed itself in the garden, growing robustly and wildly. Don’t go into it expecting a nice, compact little plant.
Another fragrant herb, thyme pairs nicely with other plants in the garden, including tomatoes.
Benefits of Thyme / Tomato Companion
- Flavor Profile – Enhance the flavor profile of your tomatoes with thyme growing nearby. The lovely scent also adds to the pleasant aroma of your garden.
- Creeping Aesthetic – Choosing creeping thyme as a companion allows you to add an attractive draping herb to your tomato container garden.
- Repels Pest Insects – Thyme discourages bad bugs like flea beetles, cabbage worms, and tomato horn worms.
- Attracts Pollinators – Bees and other pollinators love the tiny flowers that grow on your garden thyme.
One of the most common herbs in kitchens everywhere, parsley is a fine friend for tomatoes.
Benefits of Parsley Companion with Tomatoes
- Beneficial Insects – Parsley attracts good bugs like hoverflies, which are predators of aphids. Free pest control!
- Trap Crop – Aphids will flock to parsley plants, leaving your tomatoes and other crops alone.
- Butterfly Magnet – We had SO many black swallowtail butterflies on our parsley and carrot plants this past gardening season! Hopefully them come back again if we do everything right. 🙂
Tip: Check your individual tomato variety to be sure parsley is a good companion. Also note that allium plants can stunt parsley’s growth. Cross check your companion plants!
Companion Flowers for Tomatoes
It’s lovely when you decide on a few flowers to plant near tomatoes! We always choose marigolds but may change it up this season to try some new tomato companion plants.
From the time I was young, my mother taught us the value of marigolds in the garden. Marigolds? Tomatoes? Companion plants? Yep!
They’re an excellent choice for so many reasons!
Benefits of Marigold and Tomato Companion Planting
- Deters Some Pests – Generally, marigolds are widely known to deter pests in the garden. I’ve seen some success with this, and I’ve also seen a few marigolds chomped to the ground, presumably by deer. Nonetheless, we will try again!
- Nematode Control – Besides animal pests, marigolds help to combat the root-knot nematode, serving as a trap crop.
- Attractive Aesthetics – Adding color to the garden oft results in a more visually pleasing setting. The pretty pops of color from marigolds add a lovely touch to your outdoor spaces.
- Fresh-Cut Flowers – In addition to the tomato garden benefits, you can also enjoy a vase of fresh-cut marigolds in your kitchen or bathroom ALL summer LONG! It’s glorious!
Marigolds and Tomatoes Companion Planting
Marigolds & Tomato Planting Tip: The most effective marigold and tomato companion planting combination often involves either French marigolds (Tagetes patula) or Mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta and Tagetes minuta) for the greatest benefits.
Beautiful, sprawling flowers are just the beginning. Nasturtiums and tomatoes live in harmony for quite a few reasons.
Advantages of Nasturtiums as Tomato Companion Plants
- Trap Crop – Planting nasturtiums near tomatoes creates a diversion from your food crops. Pests like aphids prefer the nasturtiums, leaving the tomato plants alone.
- Pollinator Attractors – Bees and other pollinators like nasturtium and may be more likely to visit your garden.
- Beautiful Aesthetics – The sprawling and crawling nature of nasturtiums adds a lovely dimension to the garden. Layer your container garden with tomatoes, basil, and nasturtiums for great benefits and a lovely visual.
- Low Maintenance – Nasturtiums grow easily without being too fussy. Plant and enjoy!
- Great Groundcover – Entice spiders and other beneficial garden friends to help protect your favorite plants.
- Edible! – If you’re open to eating flowers, nasturtiums work well in salads and as a garnish.
Nasturtiums Companion Tip: Some well-growing nasturtiums can really take off! Keep watch so they don’t fully overtake your garden. 🙂
The burst of color alone makes me want to scatter my entire yard with zinnias! There’s many reasons why you’d consider these as a tomato companion plant.
Benefits of Zinnia / Tomato Companions
- Attract Beneficial Bugs – Pollinators and beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs will like to visit your garden when zinnias are in bloom.
- Vibrant Colors – Zinnias bring all the color you need all season long. They’ll keep blooming until the first major frost takes them down in the fall.
- Low Maintenance – Such an easy flower to care for! Zinnias are so forgiving if you forget them, and they’ve got similar wants as your prized tomatoes if you plant them nearby.
- Glorious Cut Flowers – If you thought marigolds would be great for cut flowers, wait till you try zinnias! They’re gorgeous in every way and a great mood booster as cut flowers in the home.
- Japanese Beetle Trap – Zinnias can save other plants from Japanese beetle attacks. You can inspect the blooms and knock the beetles down into soapy water to reduce their population in your garden.
Companion Vegetables for Tomatoes
Planting vegetables near their friends is rewarding for so many reasons! Consider these vegetable companions for tomatoes.
While it takes a few years to grow from seed, asparagus is a wonderful perennial that can feed your family for years to come! It also offers benefits as a companion plant.
Benefits of Asparagus and Tomato Plantings
- Nematode Repellent – Asparagus works against root-knot nematodes in the soil.
- Give and Take – Meanwhile, tomatoes repel asparagus beetles! These two plants work very well together, helping each other.
- Space Saving – I planted my Roma tomato plant in the center of a 20-gallon grow bag that had asparagus ferns growing around the outer edge. I can’t wait to see how they do this spring! (By the way – check out my awesome tips for growing plum tomatoes like Roma!)
Onions, Chives, Leeks, & Garlic (Allium Family)
Often used together in the kitchen, it sure would be convenient having onions near your tomatoes. That’s not the only benefit, though!
Benefits of Planting Onions with Tomatoes (or any Allium species)
- Pungent Power – The strong odor of Allium plants like onions, garlic, and chives works overtime to deter pests. Notable insects like aphids, flea beetle, and carrot flies do not like onions and related crops.
- Rabbit Deterrent – Rabbits often plague our gardens! You can try onion companion planting with tomatoes for a change and hope it keeps the rabbits at bay.
- Harvest and Grow – You can snip the scapes from garlic and green onions and continue to let the bulb grow as well.
Many folks plant peppers next to tomatoes for the beneficial relationship of the two plants.
Some gardeners shy away from peppers as a tomato companion while others have seen success. Mine have done okay together in a container garden near each other.
(We’d love to hear your experiences of planting peppers near tomatoes in the comments below!)
Benefits of Companion Planting Tomatoes and Peppers
- Similar Needs – Similarities between peppers and tomatoes make them fine garden companions. They share comparable requirements for water, sunlight, and temperature, generally taking off and growing more robustly once summer gets into gear.
- Similar Timeframe – Planting and harvest timing aligns nicely, adding convenience when companion planting tomatoes and peppers.
Pepper & Tomato Companion Tip: When you grow peppers and tomatoes together, be mindful of the flavor profile you’re looking to achieve. It’s said that planting hot peppers next to tomatoes can lend hotness to the tomato’s flavor, as well!
Caution When You Plant Peppers Next to Tomatoes: Be aware that tomatoes and peppers often attract similar pests and suffer from the same pathogens. You will need to learn about crop rotation to avoid problems in following years.
Ah, yes, the salad garden! When planting tomatoes near cucumbers, you may find a few great advantages of this combination.
Benefits of Companion Planting Tomatoes and Cucumbers
- Similar Growth Requirements – Tomatoes and cucumbers share requirements for TLC in the garden. Both like sun and a lot of water. You can care for them conveniently in the same manner!
- Versatility – Train your cucumbers to grow up a trellis for space savings and ample sunlight while growing nearby a bushy tomato plant.
- Convenience – If planted in the right timing, your tomato and cucumber harvest will be conveniently matched as well.
Cucumber Tomato Companion Tip: Be aware that some pathogens, such as blight or root rot, affect both cucumbers and tomatoes. Planting them nearby can increase the spread.
Often a family favorite, carrots deserve a great place in the garden! This year ours brought us many black swallowtail butterflies who hatched and then returned to visit our yard for the next generation. The kids loved this magical experience!
Benefits of Carrots and Tomatoes Companion Planting
- Soil Aeration – A delicious root vegetable, carrots help to aerate the soil for tomato plants. This can be especially valuable for tomato container gardens.
- Pollinator-Friendly – Carrots, similar to parsley, attract butterflies like the Black Swallowtail, which will lay its eggs on the plants. These caterpillars grow and feast on the tops and then create their chrysalis to voyage into adulthood.
- Maximize Your Space – Carrots grow largely underground while tomato plants sprawl upward. Planting carrots with tomatoes helps you make the most of your garden space, however great or small it may be.
Lettuce and tomatoes grow well together. It’s a convenient plant pairing that I enjoy in my own garden.
Benefits of Tomato and Lettuce Companions
- The lettuce enjoys the shade provided by a tomato plant’s lush vegetation.
- Lettuce plants don’t require much space and their roots don’t go very deep.
- They enjoy similar growing conditions except for temperature, but they’re able to enjoy a symbiotic relationship in that respect.
Find out more about Growing Leaf Lettuce in Pots to expand your garden.
Best Tomato Companion Plants: Final Thoughts
It’s so rewarding to grow your own garden full of your favorite vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers. Tomato companion plants will help make sure your tomato patch is a success!
Don’t forget to cross check your companion plants when planting more than two crops together! Some crops grow fine with others but not ALL crops.
When you mix and match, be sure to check each partner matchup!
Read More: Ultimate Tomato Care Tips.
What are your favorite tomato companion plants? Let’s chat in the comments and share success stories!
08.20.22 – Edited to convert to blocks editor. Adjusted photo sizing and line spacing.