Including cucumbers in your backyard vegetable garden is a brilliant idea! Use your perfectly ripe and crunch cucumbers to make smoothies, salads, a jar of homemade pickles, refreshing cucumber water, unique cocktails, crisp salads, and so much more! The only question is, how do you grow the best, most delicious cucumber vines? EASY—Include several cucumber companion plants to help the vines produce abundant and tasty cucumbers!
Also, take time to discover the perfect companion plants for tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, and onions. And, Remember to check out the introduction to this exciting series here and nab the printable companion plant chart + guide.
cucumbers diseases and pests
While cucumbers are not garden divas, there are quite a few challenges to a bountiful and healthy cucumber harvest. They are prone to suffer from powdery mildew, fusarium wilt and a variety of bacterial diseases, and attacks from pests like aphids, thrips, whiteflies, cabbage loopers, cucumber beetles, slugs, and squash bugs.
And something you might not have known, the nasty little aphid poses a triple threat to cukes and other plants! Not only do they feed on the sap of the planting, causing it to be less healthy, but they are known to transmit the Cucumber Mosaic Virus. And they excrete a substance that induces a black, spotty mold. So, aphids = No Bueno!!
improve your cucumber harvest
Organic gardening relies heavily on prevention. Some tips to improve the success rate of your cucumbers through prevention include :
- give the plants a good deal of space between them
- choose disease-resistant plants
- rotate your cucumber beds such that there is a two-year period between when the cukes are grown in a bed.
- keep beds free from weeds, which can harbor disease and pests
- attract beneficial insects for natural pest control
- employ companion planting.
all about companion planting with cucumbers
Be efficient with your space while growing the most healthy and delicious cucumbers in your home garden—that’s what companion planting will do for your cucumbers!
One approach to choosing the right cucumber companion plants is to grow other vegetables and fruits with similar care requirements. Tomatoes, squash, and zucchini plants need amounts of water, sun exposure, and soil quality almost identical to what the cucumber plant needs.
However, planting these fruits and veggies near cucumbers also comes with a risk of disease. Because they are so alike, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini may spread diseases to one another, including mosaic virus and blight.
Therefore, the best cucumber companion plants are the ones that repel destructive pests and provide excellent soil conditions. In contrast, plants competing for nutrients and water are bad neighbors for the cucumber plant.
ten cucumber companion plants
Dill is a common companion plant for many different species. This is because it draws in all kinds of beneficial insects that pollinate the garden and prey on unwanted pests. Suppose you have an ongoing problem with aphids and spider mites gnawing away at your precious cucumber vines. Plant dill nearby and watch as the ladybugs pour in, consuming the pesky aphids and mites! Dill also attracts tachnid flies, which will feast on harmful squash bugs.
As a bonus, some gardeners claim that planting dill alongside cucumbers even improves the flavor of their cucumber harvest! I’ve planted dill and calendula in the raised bed with my cucumber plants this year.
corn + sunflowers
Cucumber vines can quickly grow out of control without the proper aid. Typically, you would use a trellis to help contain your flourishing cucumber plant. But did you know you could also use towering plants like corn stalks and sunflowers? The key is to choose a cucumber variety that remains light and relatively small, such as pickling cucumbers. When the cucumbers are too heavy, both the corn or sunflower and the cucumbers will not grow to their full potential.
The best part about this cucumber companion plant relationship is that the corn benefits from the viney plant—the cucumber vines act like a ground cover or mulch for the tall corn stalks and sunflowers by retaining moisture and keeping weeds from sprouting.
Sunflowers also welcome bees and other pollinating insects to your garden. The more pollination in your at-home garden, the more your veggies, flowers, and fruits will thrive!
Beans are some of the best companion plants for various garden species, including crisp cucumbers. In fact, legumes of all kinds work similarly to make your garden as healthy as it can be. Snap peas, green beans, and more legumes improve the soil quality with nitrogen fixation. In other words, they pull nitrogen from the air and bring it into the soil, making for more rich and nutritious soil for the flowers, fruits, and veggies growing there.
Plant bush beans next to your cucumber vines. That way, the two plants won’t compete for sunlight and trellis space, as they might when you choose a vine variety of beans, such as pole beans. Then, you experience the benefits of soil-improving beans without putting your cucumbers at risk.
As much as cats are attracted to catnip, it repels quite a variety of pests. The list of nasties that avoid catnip includes aphids, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and Colorado potato beetles. And though all these bugs are repelled by catnip, honeybees find it attractive!
But catnip can be invasive, so consider planting it in a pot that you then put in or on the ground near your cukes.
Borage and cucumbers also make a beautiful pair in your garden. The edible blooms taste like cucumbers, and borage leaves can be steamed and eaten just like you would with spinach. Pollinators, like bees and wasps, love borage blooms. Watch as they buzz over the borage flowers and make their way to the other plants in the garden, sipping nectar and spreading pollen throughout.
Even better, borage plants deter pests like hornworms and add to soil nutrients, providing a healthy space for your cucumber plants to flourish. Cucumbers and borage work very well when planted in containers together because their care requirements are similar, needing full sun and soil that retains little water. The key to thriving cucumber and borage is to ensure you give each plant enough space to spread its roots and collect the nutrition they need to grow strong and abundantly.
Below the surface, cucumber plants don’t require too much space to grow. That means there is plenty of room for root vegetables, like sweet and tasty carrots. These two delicious veggies work well together in a salad and enjoy similar soil conditions, making them great neighbors in the garden.
Carrots, turnips, and other plants with tap roots aerate the soil to improve drainage, add oxygen, and improve root health.
The bright sunset-colored calendula flowers are a stunning addition to your veggie or flower garden. Not only do humans enjoy the vibrant hue of these blooms, but so do many beneficial insects. Calendula is a great cucumber companion plant because it welcomes pollinating and predator insects. Invite butterflies and bees to spread the pollen of your cucumber plants, wasps, and ladybugs to eliminate some of the most troublesome garden pests.
The calendula also benefits from the company of a cucumber plant. These flowers grow best in filtered sunlight. A flourishing cucumber plant offers just enough shade to make the yellow-orange blooms happy and healthy!
Chives repel cucumber beetles and aphids, AND their flowers attract bees.
Like catnip, the list of pests that really avoid garlic is long! It includes fungus gnats, spider mites, cabbage loopers, Japanese beetles, aphids, ants, and snails. Those are all bugs we like to repel, so that’s a huge plus. But garlic is also a considerate neighbor, requiring little space to set up and grow. And, as garlic grows, it puts sulfur in the soil, which helps keep certain harmful fungi at bay.
It is also believed that garlic actually improves soil by increasing certain nutrients and good bacteria.
To the untrained eye, marigolds are almost identical to calendulas. But don’t be fooled—these are two different plant varieties. Still, marigolds serve a very similar purpose when planted near your cucumber vines. The bright yellow blooms draw in pollinating insects and repel pests, like aphids, which are notorious for destroying cucumber plants, leaf by leaf.
what NOT to plant with cucumbers
Knowing what to avoid planting with your precious cucumbers is just as essential as knowing what should be near them. Cucumbers are at more risk when placed next to certain plants, like tomatoes and potatoes. Planting vulnerable cucumbers with varieties that attract pests, including melons, is also dangerous.
Perhaps the most fascinating interaction with cucumber companion plants is how strong-tasting or fragrant herbs negatively impact their flavor. For example, plant mint among your cucumber vines, and you may end up with minty veggies—EWE!
If you don’t believe me, try it yourself! Plant these two foes near one another in a separate container or a blank space in the garden. When it’s time to harvest your cucumbers, take a bite, and you’ll catch minty notes.
The following veggies and herbs should not be grown near cucumber plants:
Sage, mint, and other aromatic herbs may influence the taste of your cukes.
Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are thirsty plants competing heavily for water.
melons + cucumbers
Melons and cucumbers both vie for the same space on the ground of your garden. And they attract the same pests. Cucumbers are bad potato companion plants. The two will compete for water, and cucumbers encourage potato blight.
We’ve talked about fennel before. It is believed to secrete a substance that kills plants around it, especially tomatoes and peppers. But then I’ve read many anecdotes of gardeners who have successfully interplanted fennel with other plants. I do know that it will attract a variety of beneficial insects. So, what are your experiences with fennel and other plants?
more information about companion planting
what’s next for your companion planting guide?
Grow strong, healthy, and delicious cucumbers by surrounding these viney plants with flowers, herbs, and veggies to help them thrive! All it takes is some planning, thought, and my handy-dandy Companion Planting Guide and Chart. Trust me, with this informative resource, you’ll be on your way to effectively working in the garden and harvesting the tastiest produce.
Until next time, Happy Gardening
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