Do you have a crop of peppers growing on your homestead? Or are you looking to start growing this plant soon? Then, you need to learn about picking suitable companions.
Not only does companion planting help add to the biodiversity of your garden, but it can give you fresher and more vibrant produce during the harvesting season. This method of blending several plants and peppers can be used outdoors or in a greenhouse.
Keep reading to find out how companion planting can benefit your peppers and how to make the most of this planting method with the right combinations at home.
Understanding Companion Planting for Peppers
Also known as intercropping, companion planting has existed for centuries as a way to prevent pests and increase the harvest. To succeed, you need to be thoughtful about pairing plants as it can end badly if they fight for nutrients or overcrowd each other.
Think of it this way; in a natural ecosystem, plants grow together because they’re compatible and attract the necessary pollinators. In the best cases, plants give each other the proper shade, nutrients, and support to grow.
When we try to imitate this harmonious relationship in our garden, it’s called companion planting. One great example of this is corn, squash, and beans. The corn supports the beans, and the squash acts as a mulch to keep the ground cool.
The most common type of pepper to grow is sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum) which belongs to the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Ever-popular jalapeño peppers have more kick and can be are in homemade dishes. Jalapeño peppers also have medicinal benefits!
In addition to the specific plants you’ll use, you need to think about the climate. Depending on your method of growing, you need to double-check that the companion plants can survive the same climate and location as the peppers.
Don’t forget that even the best companion planting can’t make up for poor care and neglect. So, you must be strict about watering schedules and providing the perfect climate for your peppers.
Vegetable Companion Plants for Pepper
Let’s start with what vegetables to plant next to peppers to keep it simple.
First on the list is beetroot. You can quickly grow this vegetable with peppers as long as there is enough space. Ideally, you can plant beetroot outdoors as it will help limit growing weeds and keep the soil cool for your peppers.
Another great vegetable companion for peppers is carrots. As carrots grow deep in the soil, they are great for keeping away weeds and maintaining a healthy environment. Plus, as the carrots grow low on the ground, they also work as mulch for the peppers.
Peppers and eggplants are both nightshades and they have similar growing requirements. Just watch out, they also share similar pests and diseases. Crop rotation is key.
4. Leafy Greens
You’ll be happy to know that you won’t need to skip your salads when growing peppers. These leafy greens are common in many gardens and go well with peppers.
Due to their low-growing nature, lettuce and spinach are fantastic when planted near peppers as they stay close to the ground and don’t restrict sunlight from reaching them. They will also be suitable for managing weeds and soil quality.
If you have limited space, onions and garlic are excellent choices for companion planting with peppers. They take up little space and have a strong smell which works against pests like aphids and stops them from destroying your crop.
And, when you harvest garlic and onion, you can use all the ingredients together to make delicious meals. It’s the perfect combination!
Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) fix nitrogen in the soil, which is excellent for peppers.
Cucumbers can be placed near peppers as they have similar growing requirements, although some gardeners are cautious about growing cucumbers and peppers together as they might fight for nutrients. Crop rotation can help avoid disasters.
Most of the time, you’ll have no issues with jalapeño peppers and cucumbers, but you should be careful about noticing any signs of mildew. This fungal disease can spread rapidly to your pepper plants, so it’s important to stay vigilant for signs of white powder or mold.
Buckwheat attracts pollinators and you can work it into the soil at the end of the growing season to use as a fertilizer.
Herbs and Peppers
A garden isn’t complete without some fresh herbs to fill the air with lovely smells and colors. Like vegetables, herbs can be grown with peppers as long as you know which ones to choose.
One of the top choices for herbs and pepper companions is basil. Basil can add a great source of nutrients to your peppers and has been proven to increase the harvest. Research also shows that growing these plants together will attract more bees and pollinators.
The combination of basil and peppers is said to improve the vegetable’s taste and the seed’s quality.
Dill is also a suitable choice for growing with peppers. It helps repel the aphids that like to feed on peppers, as one study in Environmental Etymology found.
Chives are in the allium family along with garlic and onions, and like their larger cousins, they repel pests. They also attract pollinators, for a double whammy.
Remember that study using dill as companion plants to repel aphids from peppers? Cilantro was found to have the same effect in that trial.
Parsley attracts the type of wasps that eat aphids. Definitely good to have around.
Those pretty chamomile flowers that are so delicious in tea also attract lots of good bugs.
Flowers and Peppers
When you encourage pollinators to pollinate your plants, you can save the seeds for future planting, produce bigger and better blossoms, and work in unison with the environment to create a larger harvest.
Flowers are a time-tested way to ensure that the local wildlife will visit your garden. And they look gorgeous when you have a space bursting with colorful petals and different textures!
For a multi-layered garden, you must include some flowers when planting peppers. Otherwise, you will miss out on exploring the unique combinations and companions that can be grown together at home.
Marigold flowers are a popular option when planting peppers. Many insects find the scent of marigold flowers unpleasant, so they will stay away from your crop. However, in some cases, the flowers will attract insects like white flies.
Study after study shows that they can make an effective repellant or trap crop, so it’s always worth having them around. Plus, you can eat them!
Petunias are also used for pest control as they work as a repellent. They can prevent aphids and attract bees to your crops. They also have a bold color and come in various shades. It’s the best of both worlds.
Nasturtiums are an effective trap crop for use against aphids.
Geraniums make an excellent companion plant because they repel certain pests that love peppers, like cabbage worms and Japanese beetles.
Never Plant These Crops With Peppers
Now that we’ve covered the good options for companion plants, this section will cover the bad combinations and what to avoid in your polyculture garden.
Even though some people will have varying opinions and experiences with companion plants and peppers, in most cases, everyone agrees fennel and pepper don’t get along.
Fennel gives off allelopathic chemicals which are toxic to surrounding plants. You don’t want to risk this plant negatively influencing the growth of your peppers.
Another crop to avoid is strawberries.
The fungus Verticillium spp. likes to target strawberries and cause them to wilt and die. If the soil has been infected with this fungus, it will cause problems for your peppers.
Crop rotation can help prevent the spreading of this disease, but planting strawberries in a different location helps, too.
Apricot trees are also not ideal for pairing with peppers. These fruit trees are gorgeous but susceptible to diseases that can harm pepper plants.
You should also avoid these plants as companions for peppers:
If you follow this guide, you can make a fantastic garden with colorful flowers, plants, and vegetables that will compliment your pepper collection wonderfully!