Skip to main content

8 tasty companions for your tomatoes to help you get savory crops this summer

When building out your summer garden, you might have tomatoes on your mind. With ample sunlight, well-draining soil, and a sturdy trellis, you’ll be able to start a healthy and delicious crop. And luckily, there’s no shortage of delicious tomato companion plants out there that help repel pests, bring in pollinators, and improve fruit yield while mutually benefitting from tomatoes. When planning your garden beds and borders around tomatoes, here are the best plants to keep by their side.

1. Borage

Borage, a flowering herb with star-shaped blue flowers, goes well with tomatoes because it helps repel destructive tomato hornworms, which feed on tomato leaves and fruits. It also attracts pollinators thanks to its blossoms. You’ll commonly find tomatoes, borage, and squash planted together because squash shares similar care requirements as tomatoes and benefits from borage’s pollinator-attracting properties. What’s great about borage is that you can also use it as a garnish on your dishes.

Tomatoes and basil
Image used with permission by copyright holder

2. Basil

Tomato and basil pair together beautifully in the garden and the kitchen. Because it’s an aromatic herb, basil can repel destructive pests, such as whiteflies and hornworms. Basil may also help enhance the flavor and yield of your tomatoes. When it comes to care, both basil and tomatoes do well with consistent watering and full sun, so you can put them on the same plant care schedule.

3. Marigolds

Vibrant marigolds add cheer to your garden and make great neighbors for your tomatoes. These excellent companion plants keep out root-knot nematodes that are particularly parasitic in hot climates. As a bonus, marigolds’ strong odor repels other pests as well.

Like tomatoes, these lovely flowers do well in full sun. Although typically annuals, they self-seed so you can enjoy them year after year. Besides making for beautiful borders, marigolds can also add a golden color and a light citrusy flavor to your food. Not all marigolds are edible though, so double-check if your particular variety is.

A gardener harvesting asparagus
DUSAN ZIDAR / Shutterstock

4. Asparagus

Asparagus and tomatoes make for the perfect duo, both providing each other with benefits. Asparagus keeps out nematodes that feed on tomato roots while tomatoes deter asparagus beetles.

5. Carrots

Tomatoes can benefit from how carrots naturally aerate soil. On the other hand, carrots also appreciate the shade tomatoes offer. If you’re growing these plants together, start tomatoes first, then grow carrots when you have tomato seedlings. As a reminder, fennel, which is related to carrots, is not a tomato-friendly plant because it can spread diseases and slow down tomato growth. 

Garlic at the market
Artem Beliaikin / Shutterstock

6. Garlic

Plant your garlic in the fall to benefit your tomatoes around spring and summer. Garlic is not only a versatile kitchen staple, but it’s also a pretty handy plant in the garden. Garlic helps repel spider mites and can prevent nightshade diseases like blight. Its pungent odor also deters other garden pests that may nibble on your tomato vines and fruits. And clearly, tomatoes and garlic pair nicely in many dishes after they’re ready for harvest. 

7. Lettuce

Tomatoes and lettuce are summer salad staples, and it turns out that they also do well in the garden together. Tall tomato plants offer lettuce shade, while lettuce leaves can act as a ground cover to provide tomatoes with moisture-retaining mulch.

Mint growing in a white pot on a wooden table
karinrin / Shutterstock

8. Mint

Other than being a great garnish and tea base, mint can also work well as a companion plant for tomatoes. (And why not top your favorite tomato bisque with mint?) Because of its strong fragrance, it helps keep out pests such as ants, mosquitoes, and fleas. Mint does grow prolifically, so you might want to prune it back or keep it in its own pot. 

What should you not plant next to tomatoes?

The list of plants that go well with tomatoes seems to go on and on, but there are some plants that you shouldn’t keep next to your tomato crops because they can spread disease or stunt growth. You should keep the following as far as possible from your tomatoes.

  • Other nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, and peppers): Tomatoes are nightshades, and other nightshades don’t make for the best neighbors with them. Nightshades tend to attract the same diseases (such as blight) and can spread quickly.
  • Brassicas: Members of the cabbage family (think cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale) can stunt tomato growth as they compete for space and nutrients.
  • Walnuts: Walnut trees produce juglone, a chemical that can stunt tomato growth. Avoid leaving tomato plants underneath walnut trees.

Tomatoes are summer staples that are easy to grow alongside many plants. You can keep your tomatoes next to complementing veggies, such as garlic, lettuce, and basil, as well as flowers, such as marigolds. With these companion plants in mind, enjoy a harvest of fresh, plump tomatoes in your warm-weather recipes.

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
The best (and worst) cucumber companion plants
Add these plants to your garden to make your cucumbers happy
Cucumbers and tomatoes growing together

Companion planting is the technique of pairing plants based on their similar needs and preferences, as well as potential benefits or aesthetic preferences. You might plant pest-repelling herbs next to your tomatoes, for example, or grow shade-loving plants in the shadow of a tree or shrub.

Every plant has companion plants that work well with it, as well as plants that should be avoided, and cucumbers are no exception. This is your guide to cucumber companion plants, so that you can plan a successful garden.

Read more
Do tomatoes need full sun to thrive? What you need to know
How different levels of light impact your tomato growth
A cluster of ripened tomatoes

Do tomatoes need full sun? How many hours of sun do tomatoes need? Well, tomatoes are one of many edible crops that have a wide range of varieties. Each one can vary in size and color, from the familiar cherry tomatoes on salads to the larger ones used for slices on burgers and sandwiches.

Some varieties, like Roma tomatoes, are much better for homemade sauces than for fresh consumption — but every tomato needs diligent care. The best thing you can do to ensure you get a flavorful, fruitful harvest is to provide your tomatoes with the proper care. Sunlight is especially important for this warmth-loving crop.

Read more
How and when do bananas reproduce? We have answers to all your questions
Everything you need to know about how bananas grow
Banana tree with ripe fruit

Bananas are delicious, versatile, and full of nutrients our bodies need. They're enjoyed by both people and animals, and although they may not be the first fruit you think of when planning your garden, you can in fact grow them at home. If you’ve ever eaten a banana, though, you may have noticed that they don’t have seeds like an apple or orange.

You may be left wondering about how bananas reproduce. Do they have seeds at all, and can you use them to grow your own banana tree? If not, how do bananas reproduce? This guide to banana reproduction will answer all your questions, so you can get started growing your own banana tree.

Read more