Tomato Companion Plants

by Jack Grover
tomato in a field
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In the grand orchestra of gardening, each plant plays its part, contributing to a harmonious ecosystem that thrives on interdependence.

This concept, known as companion planting, is more than just positioning plants in aesthetically pleasing arrangements. It’s an ancient practice rooted in permaculture and organic farming principles where certain plants are grown together for mutual benefit.

Companion planting taps into the symbiotic relationships between various plants, with some acting as pest deterrents while others improve soil quality by adding essential nutrients. In essence, it’s about creating a self-sustaining garden where every plant contributes to the well-being of others.

This article explores the fascinating world of companion planting for tomatoes, providing you with insights into their best plant buddies and those they’d rather not share soil space with. With this knowledge, you can enhance your garden’s productivity naturally and sustainably.

Top Tomato Companions

Gardening, like any science, thrives on understanding relationships. In the world of companion planting, learning which plants bolster others can transform your garden into a productive haven.

Let’s explore this green tapestry and uncover the best companions for your tomato plants:


Your tomato plants will love having basil as their neighbor. This fragrant herb wards off destructive pests such as aphids, hornworms, and spider mites, while its aromatic presence enhances the flavor of your succulent tomatoes.

Related: How to Get Rid of Tomato Hornworms

Plant several basil plants around the base of your tomatoes to create a protective and flavor-boosting ring.


Beans are like friendly climbers in the plant world. They elegantly twine up the tomato stalks, providing a delightful visual while releasing nitrogen back into the soil.

As tomatoes are voracious feeders of nitrogen, beans serve as a natural fertilizer, promoting robust growth.

Learn More: Blood Meal vs. Bone Meal For Tomatoes: The Ultimate Differentiation Guide


Carrots play a different role in this symbiotic relationship. Their lengthy growth deep into the soil helps break it up, enabling essential nutrients, water, and oxygen to reach the tomato roots more effectively.


Onions bring their unique pungency to the table as excellent tomato companions. Their strong odor naturally deters many garden pests that usually feast on tomato plants.

Learn More: 8 Natural Pest Control Methods for Your Garden


Introduce some cheer into your vegetable patch with vibrant marigolds. Beyond their aesthetic charm, marigolds combat nematodes, tomato worms, and slugs that can cause root rot in tomato vines.

Related: Companion Plants for Beneficial Insects


With its loose root system, celery encourages earthworms and other beneficial insects to thrive in the garden soil around your tomato plants. As these creatures flourish, they release nutrients back into the soil, enhancing its overall health.

Related: The Good, the Bugs, and the Bountiful: A Guide to Beneficial Insects in Your Garden

Leaf Lettuce

Lettuce makes excellent use of vacant spots in your garden bed. The shade-loving lettuce enjoys the cover provided by taller tomato plants.

Simultaneously, it acts as a living mulch, regulating soil moisture and protecting it from erosion and nutrient depletion.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables like radishes, beets, or the abovementioned carrots, make ideal companions for tomatoes as they rely heavily on phosphorous to develop strong root systems.

Since tomatoes primarily feed on nitrogen from the garden soil, both types of crops can thrive without competing for nutrients.


Adding parsley to your garden setup attracts hoverflies — insects that feed on many pests destructing tomato crops. This not only keeps pests at bay but also adds an extra layer of leafy green texture to your garden bed.

Related: Natural Pest Control: 7 Ways to Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden


Borage is a must-have in your companion planting scheme. It enhances garden health and adds superior flavor quality to ripened tomatoes.

Plus, borage serves as an organic deterrent against hornworms and cabbage worms — two pests that often plague tomato crops.

Neighbors to Avoid

As much as it’s essential to understand the harmonious relationships between plants, it’s equally important to know which ones simply don’t play well together. Certain plants can negatively impact your tomatoes, reducing their yield and overall health.

Here, we’ve outlined a few plants that might not be the best companions for your prized tomato crops:

  • Brassica family (Cole Crop). Cabbage cultivars and their relatives, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, ornamental kale, and kohlrabi, are known to stunt the growth of tomato plants. These crops compete aggressively for nutrients and should be kept separate from your tomatoes.
  • Fennel. It secretes a substance from its roots that hampers the growth of tomatoes and many other plants. To enjoy the benefits of fennel without compromising your tomato crop, consider planting it in a pot away from the main garden bed.
  • Corn. Corn attracts the tomato fruitworm, also known as the corn earworm — a pest that can wreak havoc on both crops. Planting corn and tomatoes together could result in an infestation that could potentially wipe out your whole garden.
  • Nightshade family. Eggplant, peppers, and potatoes share more than just family ties with tomatoes — they also share susceptibility to early and late blight. Planting them together increases the risk of disease transfer, potentially damaging your entire crop. The tomato hornworm, another common pest, is also attracted to these nightshade family members.
  • Dill. While dill might get along with young tomato plants, mature dill becomes a problem. It can harm tomato roots and cause stunted growth. It’s advisable to relocate dill as it matures to protect your tomatoes.
  • Cucumbers can carry cucumber mosaic virus and phytophthora blight, both of which can affect tomatoes. While cucumbers can technically grow alongside tomatoes, it’s safer to avoid this pairing unless you’re planting tomato transplants rather than growing them from seed.
  • Rosemary. Despite its delicious aroma, rosemary doesn’t make a good bedfellow for tomatoes. It depletes soil nutrients that tomatoes need and requires different soil types and growing conditions.
  • Walnut trees produce a natural herbicide called juglone, which can be extremely detrimental to tomato plants. This chemical is found in all parts of the walnut tree and can leach into the soil, inhibiting the growth of and potentially killing your tomato plants. If you have walnut trees in or near your garden area, it’s best to plant your tomatoes well away from their reach.

Remember: Gardening is as much about understanding compatibility as it is about nurturing growth. By recognizing which plants may cause harm to your tomatoes, you can ensure a healthier and more productive garden.


Companion planting might sound complex initially, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like conducting a beautiful symphony where each member plays their part harmoniously.

Not only does it boost your garden’s yield, but it also creates a healthier environment for your plants to grow in by reducing dependency on artificial chemicals.

So, why not give this natural method a try? Introduce your tomato plants to their new best friends (and steer clear of those frenemies!). Watch as they thrive together, creating a flourishing backyard orchestra that’s music to every gardener’s ears.

After all, isn’t gardening all about cultivating life, harmony, and beauty?

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