Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers (And the 5 Worst)

What are the best companion plants for cucumbers? If you’ve got them in your repertoire f yf you are anything like me and you plant cukes every summer, you know they have long sprawling vines. They can be very fruitful too, no pun intended. SO whatever else you’re growing in addition, don’t start your plot without determining what you will choose to be the neighbors.

Cucumbers have a high water content and some plants could alter their taste or smother them out entirely. Choose crop types that have compatible needs and won’t vye for resources. 

If you’ve been following my original post about this subject you know that companion planting has a whole host of benefits. This “buddy system” can minimize obnoxious pests, keep weeds at bay, and help neighbor crops in the vicinity to thrive too. 

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Best Companion Plants for Cucumbers

And now a deep dive into what you should be planting with cucurbits (the family name) Beginning with….

Corn

First on the list is corn. Corn is a great “soil mate” for various reasons. Its height provides a natural trellis for cuke vines to wind up and around. And it also provides shade as well when the two are together. Cucumber vines offer a natural”living mulch” that makes weeds more difficult to flourish, .

Cucumber varieties that don’t get very big, like the gherkins, are the best for vining around corn stalks, as the weight of the fruits won’t drag it down.

Beans and Peas

Both of these are good to have in the vicinity of cucumber plants . Beans, being “nitrogen fixers” will improve the condition of the soil surrounding it. If you can, focus more on planting bush beans when next to cukes, as they are much shorter you won’t have a problem with two different plants with vines climbing and entangling one another.

Peas are good to plant in the “succession” strategy….as they tend to keep producing in the fall, once cucumbers start to produce less it will benefit the pea plants more, so it’s a good use of space.

Dill

I don’t recommend you put herbs too close to cucumbers (more on that later) but one exception is dill, as it is a wonderful support plant to have around (after all, everybody loves dill pickles, right?) so can’t go wrong there. But it also has the benefit of being appealing to prdatory insects that can help you out with some of those pesky garden pests (e.g. the cucumber beetle) Ladybugs will stick around, and so will others like the green lacewing.

Sunflowers

These tall beauties will be great to have as an organic trellis for vines to crawl up and around, and plus as fall approaches, they will retain their seeds after the spring floral have ceased blooming, so it will encourage natural pollinators like bees to hang around.

Peppers

Peppers are a-ok with cucumber plants. I planted them next to ours and although some of them were chili peppers they seemed to do well together. Some of the mild peppers had “hot” flavor due to this, however. Bell peppers get kind of tall and that can be a good source of shade. They have similar requirements (soil, amount of sun, etc. ) so they will compliment each other instead of competing for nutrients.

cucumber companion plants

Marigolds and Calendula

These yellow-orange ornamental lovelies should be part of your landscape around the bed as they are aromatic to be repellent to certain pests. Not to mention they’ll add a nice pop of color and instant visual appeal too. 

The Worst Plants to Go With Cucumbers

And now here are 5 bad companions…so plant these guys in different parts of the bed or separate ones altogether. Either because of spacing issues, or too much competition for nutrients, these are not good neighbors for your cukes. Just like with tomatoes, it is a good idea to practice polyculture as the inclusion of vegetables and fruits in the same family close together means they will all be vulnerable to the same pests and diseases, without a barrier or trap crop to stave them off, so diversifying is always important.

Potatoes

Do not plant potatoes too close to cucumbers as they will compete for nutrients in the soil, and plus they are both prone to similar fungal diseases. Potatoes could get blight and if they do it will spread.

All the Melons

Melons are close cousins of cucumbers, so it’s too much of a monoculture here, plus watermelons, honeydews, etc., all spread out waaaay too much and will just crowd them out. Not a good gambit.

Squash

Also, not a good choice either as they too are related, and this includes the fall and summer squashes, pumpkins too, They are susceptible to the same pests and they spread out too much (obviously, with such big fruits , by their very nature. So for cucumbers, any types of squashes, and I should add zucchini as well as it spreads out pretty wide….it’s a no bueno.

I did have one or two squashes in that same bed, but they were at the opposite end of the cucumbers. The squashes didn’t produce much, but it could have been for other reasons.

The Brassicas (most of them)

Anything in the brassica family that includes cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower,are poor contenders due to how large and wide they grow, as they will steal away nutrients from your cuke plants. One exception is the radish – these are small adn don’t use up much in resources.

Aromatic Herbs

And what do I mean by aromatic herbs? Some of them have a distinctive flavor that could change the taste of the resulting cucumber fruits. These include mint, basil, sage, savory and oregano. In fact, when I made homemade pickles last, I only used two well known herbs – dill and coriander. So a good rule of thumb is if it wouldn’t work with a pickle recipe, I would not plant it too close in your cucumber bed.

Well that’s the nitty-gritty of choosing good buddies for cucumbers. Did anything on this list surprise you?

 

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