Companion plants for cauliflower

11 Popular Companion Plants for Cauliflower + 3 Bad Companions to Avoid

Looking for a list of cauliflower companion plants? Look no further! This companion planting quick guide will help you determine the best companion plants for cauliflower for your garden beds this growing season! 

Growing brassica crops like cauliflower in your vegetable garden requires patience! These crops face many challenges, from insect pests to heat issues, making them seem almost impossible to grow at times. Companion planting can yield the best results, especially for organic gardeners. This post aims to share a list of companion plants for cauliflower and help you choose the best ones for your garden needs!

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Benefits of companion planting for Cauliflower

When it comes to growing cauliflower plants, teaming them up with other plants – aka companion planting – can do wonders for your garden. It’s like having your own little ecosystem that boosts productivity and keeps things healthy.

Here are just of a few of the benefits you can expect when companion planting:

  1. Attracts beneficial insects like honeybees, vital for pollination, ensuring successful plant reproduction and fruit-bearing.
  2. Draws other helpful insects such as parasitic wasps or ladybugs, which naturally regulate pest populations through organic pest management techniques, reducing reliance on chemical pesticides.
  3. Improves soil fertility and health by collaborating with plants that either fix nitrogen or have deep roots, enriching neighboring plants with essential nutrients.
  4. Deters or captures pests by strategically positioning plants that pests dislike or use as bait, deterring them from cauliflower crops.
  5. Suppresses weed growth by utilizing companion plants that cover the ground or compete with weeds for resources, thus decreasing the need for extensive weeding.
  6. Manages disease spread by enhancing air circulation around plants or incorporating disease-resistant companion plants, safeguarding plants from infections.

So, by putting a bit of thought into your garden lineup and embracing companion planting, you’re setting yourself up for a lush, productive garden that’s in sync with nature’s own pest control and fertilization tricks.

Common garden pests of Cauliflower plants

It is crucial that you understand what pests you are dealing with so that you can plan the proper way to manage them! Especially when it comes to companion planting! Brassica crops have some pretty gnarly pests which can wreak havoc on your crop yields quickly! During the cool temperatures of the spring Cauliflower plants are mostly left alone, but in the late spring and early summer pests are in full swing! Here are some of the pests that you should be on the look-out for:

  • Cabbage Loopers are the larval form of the Cabbage Looper Moth. They are light green in color with a white stripe running down their backs.
  • Cabbage worms are the larvae of the cabbage moth which are the white butterflies you often see flitting around your garden! They eat a lot and can quickly consume your entire crop!
  • Aphids are tiny, oval-shaped insects that can be found in a variety of colors like green, black, and yellow. They use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap, causing distortion and discoloration of leaves.
  • Cabbage maggots are the larvae of the cabbage root fly. They tunnel into the roots of your plants which causes wilting and eventual death.
  • Slugs/Snails can cause destruction to your cauliflower plants by eating holes in the leaves or even completely consuming young seedlings.
  • Flea beetles are tiny, jumping insects that feed on the leaves of cauliflower plants which results in small holes and defoliation.

It’s a good idea to keep records of your garden season so that you can make future companion planting plans easier as you will know which pests you want to plan against!

Best Companion plants for cauliflower

Now that you have an idea of why you should use cauliflower companion planting and how to choose good companion plants for cauliflower! As always, I want to remind you of our simple companion planting formula that includes a main crop and compatible plants from the aromatic herbs category and flower category of plants. 

Alliums

The strong odor of alliums like leeks, garlic, and onion help to repel garden pests like aphids, cabbage worms, and moths.

Legumes

Growing legumes like pole beans, sweet peas, and green beans can be a great way to help prepare your soil for heavy feeding crops like cauliflower. These crops are nitrogen fixers so they can add lots of nitrogen to the soil. This is especially beneficial to the growth of cauliflower plants if it is done to improve soil health before your cauliflower crop is planted in your garden bed. 

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums not only add a pop of color to your garden but their strong scent can help attract pests like aphids to themselves and keep them from attacking your cauliflower plants. During this process nasturtium acts as a trap crop and is sacrificial for your garden. 

Sweet alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is a low-growing plant that has a strong aroma that repels cauliflower loving harmful insects so it is a great addition to your cauliflower patch. It also acts as a living mulch and ground cover in your garden. 

Sage

Sage is a great companion plant for cauliflower as it can repel pests like cabbage loopers and slugs. It also adds flavor to dishes in the kitchen.

Dill

Dill is an excellent companion plant for cauliflower as it attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings which feed on the pests that harm your cabbage plants.

Rosemary

In addition to being a flavorful herb, rosemary can also repel pests like cabbage loopers and slugs which makes it a good companion crop. Its strong scent confuses pests and keeps them away from your cauliflower plants.

Thyme

Similar to rosemary, thyme also has a strong scent that can repel pests and keep them from damaging your cauliflower plants. Plus, it’s a great herb to have in the kitchen for cooking.

Celery

Celery is another great crop to plant alongside your cauliflower plants as it can help repel cabbage moths and minimize the damage of the cabbage worms.  Plus, it’s a delicious and nutritious vegetable to have in your garden. This pink variety is gorgeous and adds a pop of color to the garden!

Beets

Beet leaves can add magnesium to the soil as they break down which can help cauliflower grow! If you plant a fall crop of beets and then a spring crop of cauliflower this succession can help improve the soil for your cabbage crop. 

Marigolds

Marigolds make a good companion plant for most crops in the garden with numerous benefits! Their strong scent help repel cabbage moths and other pests that can cause major damage to your cauliflower plants! Now, Marigolds are a warmer weather crop, and by the time they go into the garden, pests are already present around your brassicas. Consider using insect netting, and starting marigolds from seed so that they can get a head start in your garden.

As you can see there are many different types of plants that can be used as companions for your cauliflower crop! And many of these will be similar for other members of the cabbage family like bok choy, brussels sprouts, and kale. 

Bad Cauliflower Companion Plants

Companion planting also includes incompatible plants that you want to avoid planting together to minimize nutrient loss, avoid spread of disease and decrease attracting pests! Here are a few crops that you should avoid planting near your cauliflower plants. 

Members of the Nightshade Family

Crops that are members of the nightshade family such as peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are very heavy feeders like brassicas! It is recommended to avoid planting these crops near each other for this reason! Consider instead succession sowing these crops after amending the soil. 

Strawberries

Strawberries and brassicas like cauliflower share some of the same pests and have similar needs as far as soil nutrients go.  Planting them together can lead to competition for nutrients and water which can decrease the overall health of the plants. Additionally if they attract similar pests, this can destroy both crops!

Other Brassicas*

This is a controversial pairing at best, and one I will caution you with the caveat of, I plant them in close proximity! Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family and these crops all share the same pests. Planting them near each other can cause significant issues where once they get infested, your entire crop can quickly get destroyed! 

If you choose to plant these together, consider using insect netting to decrease the pest issues. 

Additional Companion Planting Resources

Successful companion planting doesn’t have to be hard especially when you understand why you are doing it, but I do understand that as a beginner it can be quite confusing! That is why we created the Companion Planting series on our Podcast: Garden Things with Friends! 

In this series, instead of simply learning lists of crops you can plant together, you’ll get a better understanding of why certain plants work well together and others do not in this gardening technique. You’ll also learn about other factors that can affect companion planting, such as soil quality and garden layout. You can check out each of the videos in this three part series below:

Ep. 11 – What is Companion Planting + FREE Printable Companion Planting Chart

Ep. 12 – 12 Best Herbs for Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Ep 13 – 10 Best Flowers for Companion Planting with Your Vegetables

Don’t be afraid to experiment with companion planting in your garden. It’s a fascinating way to enhance plant growth and overall garden health. Remember, research is key! By studying which plants complement each other, you can create a harmonious garden ecosystem. With the right information and a bit of trial and error, you’ll discover the perfect companions for your onion plants and all the main crops in your garden. Happy planting!

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