If you are new to gardening, then one of the most difficult decisions is what to plant next to each other. Plants are fickle at the best of times, and if you choose the wrong companion plant, then you might find that your entire crop is destroyed. In particular, finding the perfect companion plant for your peppers can be a difficult task.
In an ideal world, you want your companion plant to deter any potential pests or threats that could harm your peppers. You cannot simply plant your vegetables as and where you please, it has to be a military-style operation if you want all of your plants to grow successfully.
If you are struggling to find the perfect companion plant for your peppers, you are in the right place. In this guide, we’re looking at the best (and worst) companions for your peppers. So, let’s get started.
What is a Companion Plant?
Companion planting is a technique used by gardeners to help protect their crop. It requires you to plant two plants alongside each other with the goal of protecting one plant by using the other as a deterrent. Some pests will feast on some plants, but be completely turned off by others.
This technique uses the deterrent plant to protect the attractive plant, ensuring that both grow successfully, ready for harvest. Some companion pairings are more successful than others. So, let’s take a look at the best companion plants for protecting your peppers.
The BEST Companion Plants
We’re going to kick this list off with a potentially controversial option, and that is tomatoes. Some people think that tomatoes cannot grow alongside peppers, but in our experience these two plants work well together. This isn’t as straightforward as some other companion plants, but it is very effective.
For both your tomatoes and peppers to grow well alongside each other, you will need to rotate the crop every year to avoid any damage caused by root pathogens. You should also keep a sizeable gap between the tomatoes and the peppers. But, if they are planted in the same pot, the tomatoes should help protect your peppers.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Some people find Brussels sprouts a very difficult plant to grow, but these vegetables actually thrive when they are grown alongside peppers. A lot of people run into pest issues when growing Brussels sprouts, but growing them alongside peppers can help limit the risk of this.
However, Brussels sprouts are definitely an acquired taste, so before you use these as your companion plant, you might want to ask yourself if you are going to eat them. Or if you know someone who will eat them. Brussels sprouts are a love or hate vegetable, so it is pointless growing them if they aren’t going to be used.
If you want a companion plant that has a low footprint, then you might opt for beets. These are generally a vegetable that most people love, so they will not go to waste. Additionally, they pair incredibly well with peppers, and both plants make an excellent companion for one another.
Beets make an excellent companion plant as they are very hardy. They will grow pretty much anywhere in your garden, and they usually grow very well. But, it is usually best to avoid planting your beets too close to sweetcorn as this can damage their growth, and could result in them being smaller than planned.
Another wonderful companion plant for your peppers is onions. These make a great companion because they do not take up too much space, so they definitely will not infringe on your peppers. Also, onions are very easy to grow, making them a perfect companion if you are new to gardening.
Onions are also a great plant to use as a companion because they are commonly used in lots of different meals. Unlike some other companion plants, you are guaranteed to use your onions. So, anything that you grow will not go to waste.
5. Green Beans
This is another controversial combination, but again, in our experience this pairing has always worked well. The main argument against growing green beans alongside peppers is the fact that green beans like neutral soil, and peppers like acidic soil. But, we find that they can both grow happily in acidic soil.
Green beans are an excellent companion plant if you are limited on space because they don’t take up much room. So, you can get all the benefits of a companion plant without your peppers being infringed upon.
Eggplant, or aubergines as they are known in some areas, also make wonderful companion plants for peppers. In fact, we think they make the perfect companion plant. This is mainly because both of these plants require a similar amount of maintenance as one another.
Both eggplant and peppers also require their soil to be similar to one another, and they are harvested around the same time. Additionally, these plants also taste wonderful when cooked together. So, if you have space, eggplant is the perfect companion plant for peppers.
You might be thinking ‘what?’, but peppers actually make the perfect companion plant for other peppers. For this reason, some people like to grow multiple varieties of peppers in the same planter, organizing them by heat to ensure that you never get any unpleasant surprises.
This is also a great method to use if you want to begin creating your own types of pepper. You might not have heard of this practice before, but it is called intentional cross-breeding, and is very popular if you want to create a pepper of a specific heat level to enjoy.
You can also grow herbs as a companion plant. This is a great option if you don’t have enough space in your planter to grow any more vegetables, but still want your peppers to have a companion. In particular, rosemary is a great choice.
Rosemary is a very hardy plant, so growing it is pretty much effortless. This plant will also help keep your soil moist for longer, which can help aid the growth of your peppers. This will allow them to grow larger and stronger, which will improve their taste and also allow you to enjoy them for longer.
Another great herb that you could use as a companion plant is chives. This herb is a great companion plant as the strong smell of the chives can often help deter flies, protecting your peppers from any unwanted guests. Chives also taste wonderful, and can be used to season lots of dishes, so you will definitely get your use out of them.
Additionally, chives are very hardy, and can even survive cold and harsh winters. So, they will usually last all year round. But, always avoid planting chives near peas and beans as this can be harmful to all plants involved.
Another popular companion plant that you might choose to grow alongside your peppers is garlic. Garlic is an excellent companion plant as it is filled with antiseptic properties which make it a natural insect and fungal deterrent. So, if you plant garlic alongside your peppers, it essentially works as a pesticide.
Plus, garlic has the added benefit of tasting absolutely delicious. It is for this reason that it is a common ingredient in most meals, so you will definitely get your use out of this companion plant. But, be careful and don’t plant your garlic near peas, beans, or artichoke as this could impact the growth of the vegetables involved.
The final companion plant, or herb, that we would recommend is basil. Just like chives, basil works as an excellent companion plant because its strong smell is a deterrent to some bugs. While this strong smell is appealing to us humans, it isn’t appealing to many insects, which is why this is a great choice.
To use basil as a companion plant, you do not need to plant it directly next to your pepper plant. Instead, you can simply scatter the basil throughout your garden, and it will do the job perfectly. Protecting not only your peppers, but all the other plants in your garden too.
The WORST Companion Plants
One of the worst companion plants for your peppers is cabbages. Unlike some other bad companions, cabbages will not destroy your peppers, but they will not help them grow either. Cabbages require different nutrients to peppers, so they really are not ideal for growing alongside each other.
Peppers require acidic soil, whereas cabbages require neutral soil. So, if you were to use either as a companion for one another, you would find that one of the crops would always end up damaged. That is why it is best to avoid using cabbages as a companion plant for your peppers.
Another bad companion plant for your peppers is beans. Beans produce a lot of nitrogen, and this level of nitrogen can actually be harmful to your peppers. You might find this confusing, as all plants need nitrogen to grow, however the amount that beans produce will be completely overpowering for your peppers.
In the past, you might have been caught out by this pairing, as you will not see the damage that the nitrogen causes your peppers until it comes to harvest. Only then will you see that the growth has been stunted by the excess nitrogen. So, it is best to avoid growing beans anywhere near your peppers.
Additionally, fennel isn’t a good companion plant for peppers. In fact, fennel isn’t a good companion plant for any vegetable. This is mainly because fennel does the exact opposite of what a companion plant is supposed to do, as it attracts insects and pests, rather than deters them.
Fennel is nutritious, and it tastes great. But, growing it is always very risky. So, if you do decide that you want to grow fennel, you should keep it far away from the rest of your plants.
Finally, we would not recommend growing Kohlrabi alongside your peppers. The chances are that you wouldn’t do this anyway, as Kohlrabi is a very uncommon plant. But, just in case you were considering using this as a companion, we would advise against it.
Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family, and so it is a massive attraction to butterflies, and other pests of this nature. So, using this as a companion will encourage pests to your peppers, rather than deter them. This is why you shouldn’t use it as a companion plant.
In short, this has been a handy guide to some of the best companion plants for your peppers, and some of the worst. So, if you are thinking of using companion plants to help your peppers grow, read this guide to find the best for you and your peppers.