The Best Companion Plants for Growing Broccoli: Timing and Tips


When it comes to growing broccoli, there are several factors to consider in order to ensure a successful harvest. One important aspect is choosing suitable companion plants that can help protect the broccoli from pests and diseases, as well as enhance its growth.

Aphids are one of the most common pests that can damage broccoli plants. However, there are several companion plants that can be used to deter aphids, such as garlic and onions. These plants emit a strong odor that aphids dislike, making them less likely to infest the broccoli plants.

In addition to deterring pests, certain companion plants can also provide valuable nutrients to the broccoli. For example, plants like beans can fix nitrogen in the soil, which is a vital nutrient for broccoli growth. By planting beans alongside broccoli, the soil is enriched with nitrogen, promoting healthier and larger broccoli heads.

Another useful method to enhance broccoli growth is through intercropping with fast-growing plants. For instance, planting lettuce or radishes in between the broccoli rows can help maximize space and increase overall productivity. These fast-growing plants can be harvested before the broccoli plants reach their full size, allowing for continuous harvest throughout the season.

Furthermore, using mulch can provide several benefits to the broccoli plants. Mulching helps conserve moisture in the soil, suppresses weed growth, and maintains a more consistent soil temperature. Moreover, mulch can act as a barrier, preventing soil-borne diseases from splashing onto the broccoli leaves.

In conclusion, choosing the right companion plants, utilizing intercropping methods, and incorporating mulch can greatly improve the health and productivity of broccoli plants. By creating a favorable environment for the broccoli to grow, gardeners can enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Companion Planting For Broccoli

When growing broccoli, it is important to consider companion planting for various reasons. By planting the right crops next to your broccoli, you can improve soil health, deter pests, and enhance overall growth. Here are some of the best companion plants for broccoli.

  • Weeds: Avoid planting broccoli near weeds, as they can compete for nutrients and resources.
  • Seeds: Instead of sowing broccoli seeds directly into the ground, it is recommended to start them in trays and then transplant the seedlings.
  • Diseases: Broccoli attracts certain diseases, so it is best to plant companions that can help deter them. Some good options include rosemary, which has natural anti-fungal properties, and dill, which can attract beneficial insects.
  • Pests: Companion planting can help reduce pest problems. For example, planting broccoli near squash can attract lacewings, which are natural predators of pests like aphids and caterpillars.
  • Nutritional benefits: Certain companion plants can help improve the nutritional quality of your broccoli crop. For instance, planting radishes nearby can help break up the soil, making it easier for the broccoli plants to access nutrients.
  • Space: When choosing companion plants for broccoli, consider their space requirements. Opt for plants that don’t compete heavily for sunlight, water, and nutrients.
  • Flowering plants: Including flowering plants in your companion planting scheme can attract pollinators, which are essential for broccoli to produce seeds. Some good options include herbs like rosemary and lavender.

By selecting the right companions for your broccoli crop, you can create a mutually beneficial garden environment that promotes healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. Remember to research your local climate and growing zone to ensure the best possible results.

Best Companion Plants For Broccoli

When growing broccoli, it is important to choose the best companion plants that will enhance its growth and protect it from pests and diseases. Here are some of the top companion plants for broccoli:

  • Lettuce: Planting lettuce alongside broccoli is a great idea because it fills in the space between the broccoli plants. Lettuce is fast-growing and can be harvested before the broccoli matures.
  • Onions: Onions are a good companion for broccoli because they deter pests like onion flies and moths. Planting onions near broccoli can help keep these pests away.
  • Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are a popular companion plant for broccoli because they are known to repel aphids and other pests that can damage the broccoli plants. They also add a splash of color to the garden.
  • Dill: Dill is a beneficial companion plant for broccoli because it attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps, which prey on pests that attack broccoli plants.
  • Beans: Beans are good companions for broccoli because they help to fix nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial for the growth of broccoli. They also provide shade to the broccoli plants during hot seasons.

When planting companion plants for broccoli, it is important to consider their space and sun requirements. Smaller plants like lettuce and dill can be planted closer to the broccoli plants, while larger plants like beans should be given more space.

It is also important to prepare the soil before planting companion plants. Broccoli needs a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Adding compost or aged manure to the soil can help meet these needs.

Starting broccoli from seeds is a common practice. Broccoli seeds can be started indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Once the seedlings have germinated, they can be transplanted into pots or directly into the garden.

During the growing season, it is important to provide broccoli with adequate water and nutrients. Regular watering, especially during dry spells, is necessary to prevent the plants from drying out. Mulching around the plants can help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Harvesting broccoli is a rewarding process. Broccoli heads should be harvested when they are firm and tightly packed. To harvest, cut the head from the plant, leaving about an inch of stem. After the main head is harvested, smaller side shoots will develop and can be harvested as well.

In conclusion, choosing the best companion plants for broccoli can help enhance its growth, deter pests, and improve flavor. Planting lettuce, onions, nasturtiums, dill, and beans alongside broccoli can be beneficial for both plants. By following these tips, gardeners can enjoy a bountiful broccoli harvest without the worry of pests and diseases.

Unfriendly Neighbors For Broccoli

When growing broccoli, it’s important to consider its companions and avoid certain plant neighbors that can negatively affect its growth. Here are some unfriendly neighbors for broccoli:

1. Basil: While basil has many beneficial properties and is a great companion for many vegetables, it is not recommended to plant it near broccoli. Basil can attract pests like aphids and caterpillars, which are known to damage broccoli plants.

2. Potatoes: Broccoli and potatoes do not make good neighbors as they both grow in different parts of the plant. While potatoes grow underground, broccoli grows above the ground. Planting them near each other can compete for space and nutrients, resulting in poor growth for both plants.

3. Marigolds: Marigolds are often considered good companions for many vegetables due to their pest-repellent properties. However, when it comes to broccoli, marigolds may not be the best choice. Some studies suggest that marigolds can affect the flavor and health of broccoli, making it less flavorful and nutritious.

4. Lettuce: While lettuce and broccoli can be compatible in terms of their growth habits, planting lettuce near broccoli can attract pests like aphids. Aphids are common pests that can infest both plants and cause damage to their leaves.

5. Garlic: Garlic is generally considered a good companion for many vegetables, but it’s not the best choice for broccoli. Garlic can compete with broccoli for nutrients and space, leading to stunted growth for both plants.

Overall, when growing broccoli, it’s important to choose its companions wisely to maintain a healthy and productive garden. While there are some unfriendly neighbors, there are also beneficial companions like marigolds, hoverflies, and others that can help balance the ecosystem and protect broccoli from pests and diseases.

Preparing The Soil For Broccoli

When growing broccoli, it is important to prepare the soil properly to ensure a healthy and productive vegetable garden. Broccoli plants require well-drained soil with a pH level between 6-7. Before planting, make sure to test the soil and adjust its pH level if necessary.

Around 1-4 weeks before planting, work the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches. This will help loosen compacted soil and improve drainage. Broccoli plants have deep roots, so it is important to prepare the soil to an appropriate depth.

Broccoli plants are heavy feeders and require nutrient-rich soil. Prior to planting, supplement the soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will provide essential nutrients for the plants to grow and thrive.

When selecting the location for your broccoli garden, consider its neighbors. Some plants are good companions for broccoli, while others can hinder its growth. Common companion plants for broccoli are onions, potatoes, and marigolds. These companions help repel pests and provide a good balance of nutrients in the soil.

It is important to avoid planting broccoli near other members of the cabbage family, such as cauliflower, as they can compete for space and resources. Additionally, growing broccoli near beans and strawberries can lead to disease and pest problems.

Broccoli plants are susceptible to certain pests and diseases, including aphids, caterpillars, and flea beetles. To deter these pests, interplant your broccoli with companion plants such as garlic and nasturtiums. These plants help repel pests and create a more balanced ecosystem in your garden.

Proper soil management is key to ensuring healthy and productive broccoli plants. Avoid excessive watering, as this can lead to root rot and other soil-borne diseases. Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry periods, to support optimal growth.

When planting your broccoli, space the plants 18-24 inches apart to allow for their larger heads to grow. Mulching around the plants can help regulate soil temperature and moisture levels. Mulch also helps suppress weeds, which can compete with the broccoli for nutrients.

Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that thrives in temperatures between 60-70°F. It can be grown in spring or fall, depending on your climate. Be sure to select a variety that is suitable for your growing season.

By preparing the soil properly and selecting the right companions, you can ensure healthy broccoli plants without the presence of diseases and pests. Enjoy the process of growing your own broccoli and reap the benefits of fresh, homegrown vegetables!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.