Table of Contents
- What Are Companion Plants?
- Zucchini Companion Plants
- Bad Companion Plants For Zucchini
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Before jumping into the list of what not to plant with zucchini plants and some of the best zucchini companion plants, let us introduce you to this nutrient-dense vegetable. Zucchini or squash plants (Cucurbita pepo) is a summer vining herbaceous plant that belongs to the Cucurbitae family. They are characterized by an elongated elliptical shape like a cucumber but with a spongy texture, resembling an eggplant.
They thrive in full sun on moist, fertile soil with high organic matter. Furthermore, it would help prepare a wide planting area because zucchini grows vines. A large area allows zucchini fruits to grow optimally without overlapping, which may lead to plant and fruit rot.
Moreover, some gardeners love to have companion plants for zucchini because these plants usually form an ideal symbiosis or relation that benefits both parties. On the other hand, you must know what not to plant with zucchini since not all plants or vegetables are suitable to grow close to each other.
What Are Companion Plants?
Companion plants are those plants or vegetables that can create a great symbiosis that shares benefits with one plant or both. However, in this case, one of these plants is not harmed; it just does not get particular advantages when planted next to each other—similar to the symbiotic concepts of commensalism and mutualism.
Additionally, the benefits you will get in applying companion planting are providing shade, sharing nutrients, inviting beneficial insects, and helping deal with pests. If you want to plant zucchini in your vegetable garden this summer, companion planting is an excellent method you can try.
Zucchini Companion Plants
After knowing what the companion plants are, it is time to determine the best zucchini companion plants you can grow next to them. These plants give advantages to zucchini, such as providing shade and groundcover, dealing with pests, attracting beneficial insects, and sharing nutrients to support their growth.
If you want to look for further information regarding this matter but do not know where to start, you have landed in the right place. We have compiled the 15 best zucchini companion plants for you below. Let’s take a look!
Ocimum basilicum or Basil is an annual herb harvested for its fragrant green leaves that enhance flavor and aroma in various cuisines worldwide. This pleasant scent is also why Basil is a perfect companion plant for zucchini.
While we love the aroma of Basil, whiteflies, gnats, mosquitos, and some other insects hate the herbaceous plant’s pungent odor. You can plant Basil surrounding your zucchini plants to protect them adequately from troublemakers.
2. Blue Hubbard Squash
Unlike pumpkin, which falls under the category of what not to plant with zucchini, Blue Hubbard Squash is one of the best companion plants for zucchini. It attracts squash bugs, squash vine borers, and cucumber beetles—the culprits’ trio commonly found in Cucurbita members. Hence, they will not infect your zucchini.
To effectively benefit from this companion planting scheme, plant this squash two weeks before planting your zucchini, provide 3 to 8 feet spacing from each other to prevent transfer pests, and the seedlings must be more significant than zucchini to act as a pest trapper.
Borage grows stunning blue-purple colors of flowers that will add some colorful vibes to your garden. These flowers can also be the best companion plant for your precious zucchini.
This plant usually grows on the opposite edges of zucchini under full sun to protect them from pest worms. Besides being a repellent plant, it also lures beneficial insects like bugs and honey bees to pollinate the zucchini flowers.
Catnip or catmint (Nepeta cataria) is a deciduous herbaceous perennial from the mint family that grows beautiful tiny purple flowers and produces a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical compound attracts cats to lick, sniff, chew, and rub their body on the leaves and flowers.
On the other hand, nepetalactone also acts ten times better than DEET as a repellent for pests and insects like squash bugs, aphids, ants, and mosquitos. Therefore, catnip is the best plant to grow together with your zucchini.
Since chives produce aromatic shoots and leaves that emit onion scent and flavor, it becomes a great companion plant for herbs and vegetables, including zucchini.
While the fragrance is inviting for humans, aphids and cucumber beetles find it bothersome. As a result, they tend to keep their distance if chives are growing around the zucchini. Moreover, the purple flowers also attract pollinators to have frequent visits.
As a traditional three-sisters gardening plant with beans, corn will be best grown close to your zucchini. With its sturdy stem structure, this Cerealia plant provides a propagation medium for zucchini and beans.
Meanwhile, zucchini’s giant leaves offer shade for the beans while the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for corn and zucchini supply.
Belonging to the celery family, Dill is an aromatic, annual herbaceous plant whose leaves are green, delicate and have a fiber-like texture. It grows stiff and erect stems that can reach up to three to four feet tall.
As a companion plant, Dill emits a fragrance that invites pollinators, such as ladybugs, butterflies, bees, lacewings, hoverflies, and wasps, to perform zucchini pollination. Moreover, the lovely scent also deters pests like flea and squash beetles from infecting your veggie.
8. French Marigold
With vibrant colors that will brighten your garden, you may not wonder that these flowers can help zucchini deal with its foes. Tagetes erecta or French Marigold secrete can repel harmful nematodes from invading your crops.
In addition, it attracts favorable insects like ladybugs, wasps, and lacewings that act as natural predators for zucchini pests. This flowering plant also invites bees and butterflies, excellent pollinators, to pollinate zucchini plants.
Garlic is a bulbous flowering plant that is still closely related to chives, as evidenced by the similar shape and structure of the leaves. Its bulbs are often used as a food flavor enhancer because it has strong aromatic oils with a savory taste.
With this intense fragrance, garlic repels aphids and other pests that might infect susceptible young zucchini. Although garlic is harvested earlier than zucchini, it protects this vegetable at a critical point early in its growth.
We all find lavender an exquisite flowering plant, bringing stunning purple flowers that emit pleasant scents while blooming. This fragrant lures bees to perch and pollinate the flowers.
The bees can pollinate zucchini blooms by planting lavender nearby zucchini plants. In contrast, the smell of lavender flowers is unfavorable for some pests like whiteflies and aphids—two foes that cause issues in crops.
Growing nasturtium next to your zucchini may be the best decision you have ever made in vegetable gardening. This plant is a favorite food source for stubborn pests, like aphids, whiteflies, and squash beetles, turning them away from your vegetables, especially zucchini.
Besides, nasturtium also produces funnel-shaped, striking orange and yellow flowers that invite pollinators to your garden. Amazingly, all parts of this plant are edible—usually added to salads.
Similar to other beans, peas are here to improve nitrogen in the soil where your zucchini is growing. Nitrogen is crucial to making amino acids and protein, two nutrients for plants to thrive. It is also a component of chlorophyll to conduct photosynthesis.
Moreover, you can plant your peas when the zucchini are still young to give them some time to produce ready nitrogen for spring and summer.
Radish is a vegetable harvested for its roots, just like carrots and potatoes. This veggie is one of the best companion plants for zucchini because it produces intense scents that can deter pests, such as aphids, squash beetles, squash bugs, and squash vine borers.
Additionally, it can attract natural predators to those pests and be beneficial pollinators for your zucchini to help them pollinate—for example, wasps and lacewing hoverflies. Plant radish on the edge of your garden beds to obtain the greatest advantages from this veggie.
Some gardeners love to grow sunflowers next to their zucchini plants as they grow for the same period. Apart from the beautiful color contrast created by the two, sunflowers can help zucchini pollination by attracting pollinators to the garden.
Not only that, but their stems also provide a growing medium for zucchini to propagate and safely share the stakes that gardeners set up in windy areas.
The relationship between zucchini and tomatoes can impact each other positively. They like the same growing conditions: full sun with moist, fertile soil.
In addition, zucchini and tomatoes have flowers that attract pollinators, eventually pollinating them both. Moreover, zucchini features giant leaves that provide ground cover for tomatoes, protecting the soil from excessive evaporation.
Bad Companion Plants For Zucchini
Contrary to the best companion plants for zucchini, we will now discuss what not to plant with zucchini. Instead of sharing benefits with zucchini, these plants may harm the veggie because they can compete with each other for nutrients and water in the soil and attract pests that can damage your zucchini plants.
Now, the question is: what not to plant with zucchini? Some bad companion plants for zucchini are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, pumpkin, and potatoes.
Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family whose large flower heads are harvested as vegetables. It loves full sun and thrives on fertile, moist, well-drained soil high in organic matter. And for this reason, broccoli falls on the list of what not to plant with zucchini.
If you grow broccoli and zucchini next to each other, they will compete to absorb water and nutrients that can inhibit the growth of one or both.
Like broccoli, planting cabbage near zucchini plants will adversely affect zucchini growth. It is because cabbage requires a large proportion of nutrients to grow, leading to competition with zucchini which also needs it to thrive.
In addition, zucchini is a favorite prey for insects. Therefore, planting this vine veggie near cabbage which is also prone to pests, will harm your zucchini.
Though it looks similar to Dill, both plants are not the same. Fennel has longer leaves stalks than Dill, with an entirely different taste.
Unlike Dill, which benefits zucchini when planted closely, Fennel will cause stunt growth in your precious vegetables, reducing their yield. For this reason, Fennel is not a friendly plant to be close with for many vegetables and herbs.
Zucchini and cucumber are members of the Cucurbita family—plants that climb. They also have the same favorable growing conditions: moist soil with dense organic matter. Hence, cucumbers are not the right choice for planting near zucchini because they will compete for nutrients.
Additionally, they also have the same types of pests. When planted next to each other, there may be a transfer of pests that can damage both plants.
Kale is still a relative with cabbage and broccoli. They need a lot of nutrients for growth and survival.
As was the case with two family members of Brassica, kale and zucchini would compete for nutrients. It can interfere with the growth and development of zucchini and may lead to dead plants or be susceptible to pests.
Heavy feeder plants require loaded nutrients to grow and develop; potatoes and zucchini are one of those. And so, they are not going well if planted close to each other.
If you insist on growing them together, you will notice reduced yield and stunt growth in your zucchini plants due to nutritional deficiencies.
Even though pumpkin is not a heavy feeder plant, it does not mean this fruit can grow together with zucchini. Unfortunately, it is one of the plants belonging to the “what not plant with zucchini” list.
Pumpkin and zucchini are both vine plants, and so they share the same species of pests. If you plant them next to one another, the pests can travel to your zucchini, damaging them before you can even taste their delicious flavor.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can zucchini and tomatoes be planted together?
Of course, you can! Zucchini plants are one of the best companion plants for tomatoes since the leaves of zucchini provide ground cover for tomatoes, protecting the soil from excessive evaporation.
Besides, both zucchini and tomatoes share the same growing conditions, such as full sun, high organic matter, and moist soil.
Can peppers and zucchini be planted together?
Even though peppers do not give any particular benefit to zucchini, you can still plant them together. Zucchini provides shade to peppers, preventing scorching on the “fruits” and leaves.
Can zucchini and cucumbers be planted together?
As they belong to the same Cucurbitae family, it is not recommended to plant zucchini and cucumber together. They will compete for water and nutrients because they share the same growing conditions, spaces, and nutritional needs.
Other than that, pests are also a threat if you plant plants in one family because the culprits will easily infect one another.
How far apart should you plant zucchini?
It is best to plant your Zucchini seeds in the soil 1-2 inches deep, 3-4 apart, and in rows that are at least two to three apart or around 60 cm to grow appropriately.
Avoid planting zucchini too close to each other as the plants can rot because they grow too dense and pile up.
What happens if you plant zucchini too close together?
If you plant zucchini too close together without proper spacing, you will have rotting plants because they grow too dense and overlap.
Bear in mind that each zucchini fruit weighs approximately 12-20 pounds. Therefore, you have to think about good spacing so that the fruits can develop well and not end up being wasted.
Can you plant Basil with zucchini?
Fortunately, you can! Aromatic herbs like Basil can provide nectars for squash bugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and other pests to zucchini plants. Thus, they will not infect the zucchini.
You can grow the herb surrounding your zucchini for the best protection. But, please do not harvest the herbs in the early summer as it will give them some time to produce nectar.