companion plants for eggplants

Top 10 Companion Plants for Eggplants + 4 Crops to Avoid

Try these companion plants for eggplants in your vegetable garden this growing season for mutual benefits and bountiful harvest. 

Are you growing eggplants this year in your garden space? Are you looking for ways to combat the pressure of unwanted pests on your eggplant crop. Then considering planning your garden using companion plantings is a great idea!

Companion planting has been used for centuries as a gardening method to improve crop yield and control pests. By strategically planting certain plants together, gardeners can create a mutually beneficial relationship between the different vegetables. 

In this post, we’ll share some excellent companion plants for eggplants and tips for using this method of growing crops in your garden space.

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Benefits of companion planting

Companion planting is a great way to improve your garden’s health and productivity without using harmful chemicals. It involves planting symbiotic or beneficial plants together, which can help deter pests, attract pollinators, provide nutrients, and improve soil quality.

For eggplants specifically, companion planting can help control common pests like flea beetles and soil nematodes. Additionally, certain companion plants can boost yields and improve the flavor of eggplants.

Here are several additional benefits of incorporating eggplant companion planting:

  1. Attraction of Beneficial Insects, such as honeybees, which are essential for pollination.
  2. Pest Repellent or Trap Crops – Some plants serve as sacrificial bait, drawing pests away and attracting beneficial insects like parasitoid wasps.
  3. Disease Prevention – Strategic crop placement can reduce disease transmission.
  4. Soil Fertility Enhancement – Legumes like beans enrich the soil with nitrogen, while cover crops, such as turnips, alleviate soil compaction. 
  5. Efficient Use of Space – By combining taller and shorter plants, or utilizing sturdy plants like corn and sunflowers as natural trellises for climbing beans, garden space is maximized.
  6. Weed Control – Ground-covering plants minimize weed seed exposure to soil, thus reducing germination.
  7. Environmental Modification – Taller plants can provide shade for heat-sensitive varieties, prolonging the growing season.

Companion planting contributes to a sustainable, chemical-free garden and is a great way to manage unwanted pests and diseases!

Common Garden pests of Eggplants

Pest control is a significant reason why many gardeners turn to companion planting. It’s crucial to identify which pests pose a threat to our crops to select the most suitable companion plants. Understanding the common pests can help in creating a more resilient garden.

Eggplants, in particular, are vulnerable to a variety of pests that plague many gardens, especially those pests that commonly target members of the nightshade family, to which eggplants belong. These pests can cause significant damage if not managed properly. The most common pests include:

  • Aphids, which can weaken plants by sucking sap and spreading diseases.
  • Spider mites, tiny pests that can cause discoloration and damage to the leaves by feeding on the undersides.
  • Tomato Hornworms, large caterpillars that can quickly defoliate plants if left unchecked.
  • Slugs and snails, which are known for eating holes in leaves, stems, and fruits, often during the night.

When choosing companion plants for your garden, it’s beneficial to consider which pests you have encountered in the past or are currently dealing with. This information can guide you to select companions that either repel these pests or attract beneficial insects that prey on them. For example, marigolds can deter nematodes and other pests, while herbs like basil can repel flies and mosquitoes, which may indirectly benefit your eggplants.

Companion planting not only helps in managing pests but can also improve pollination and enhance the overall biodiversity in your garden. By carefully selecting companion plants based on the pests you’re dealing with, you can create a more balanced and productive garden ecosystem.

Best companion plants for Eggplants

Once you understand the benefits of companion planting with eggplants, it’s time to look at some of the good companion plants for eggplants. I’d also like to remind you of the simple companion planting formula I use to plan my garden beds. 

That formula is to plant each main crop with a flower and an herb. This allows you to easily to implement companion planting into your garden plans.

Onions

Onions as well as other crops in the allium family are great companions to most crops in our garden due to their strong aroma which can mask the scent of your more vulnerable crops! It’s a great idea to line your garden beds with onions as a barrier to your eggplants in the garden!

Nasturtium

Nasturtium is another great companion plant for eggplant plants!  It is known to act as a trap crop for pests like aphids! As a trap crop it is the preferred meal to pests in the garden! This has two purposes. On one end it’s a way to attract beneficial insects like predatory wasps into the garden, on the other end, it’s a way to localize the pests to a single plant that can then be sacrificed! 

Basil

Basil plants make excellent companions for eggplants as they help repel pests like thrips and whiteflies while also enhancing the flavor of your eggplants! Planting basil near eggplants can result in larger and more flavorful eggplants!

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum is a beautiful low growing flower and a great addition to your raised bed that acts as a living mulch and ground cover which can help you manage weed growth in your garden.

Legumes

Another great idea for companions when growing eggplants is to plant them alongside nitrogen-fixing legumes like bush beans, pole beans, and peas! These crops help to improve the fertility of eggplants through a process called nitrogen fixation! 

Carrots

Carrots are a cool weather crop that often are planted in the spring and ready to harvest in the late spring when the weather can make the taste less sweet! You can plant eggplants near your carrots to keep the soil cool in the heat of the summer!

Marigold

Marigolds are not only beautiful and colorful additions to your garden, but they also have a strong scent that repels many pests! Planting marigolds around your eggplants can help protect them from pest damage while adding a pop of color to your garden!

Remember if you are planting marigolds for companion planting purposes make sure you are planting a variety of French Marigolds.

Lettuce

Eggplants are a great companion plants for lettuce because they grow tall and provide shade for the lettuce plants during hot summer days. Additionally, smaller plants like lettuce can act as a living mulch to help retain moisture in the soil around eggplants.

I really like the Marvel of Four Seasons Butterhead lettuce from Botanical Interests.

Spinach

Spinach is another cool weather crop that benefits from being planted in the shade of eggplants  during the summer months. This can help prevent bolting and prolong the harvest period for both crops.

Members of the Nightshade Family

Peppers and tomato plants are from the same family as eggplants, so they make great companions in the garden. They also have similar growing requirements, making it easy to care for them together.

Bad Companion Plants for Eggplants

Companion planting doesn’t only include crops that are beneficial to each other, but also those that can hinder growth or attract harmful pests. Some plants that are not good companions for eggplants include the following.

Fennel

Fennel is not a great companion for many plants, as it can inhibit the growth of your eggplants. It can be a good companion by planting fennel it in close proximity in a container.

Cabbage

Cabbage and other brassicas like brussels sprouts and broccoli can attract pests that also affect eggplants. Brassicas are also very heavy feeders and can reduce available nutrients for nightshade crops.

Corn

Corn is a crop that grows very tall and can create too much shade for eggplants, inhibiting their growth.

Members of the nightshade family

Many people caution planting nightshade plants in the same space because of the tendency to attract similar pests.  However, if you are rotating crops in your garden and practicing good pest management, this may not be as much of a concern. Ultimately, it’s important to observe the health and growth of all plants in your garden when determining companion planting. Adjustments may need to be made based on individual needs and conditions. 

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!

companion plants for eggplants

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