companion plants for tomatoes

13 Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes + 4 to Avoid

Looking for organic pest control options for your tomato plants? Try these companion plants for tomatoes in your vegetable garden this growing season for mutual benefits and bountiful harvest. 

Tomatoes are one of the hallmark crops in the vegetable garden! They just remind you of summer with their tangy freshness! But they can be plagued by pest damage and disease! So how are we successful in growing a bountiful tomato crop as organic home gardeners? Companion Planting! 

Companion planting is a great way to combat the pressure of unwanted pests and enjoy those juicy tomatoes pest free! 

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 tomatoes and tips for using this method of growing crops in your garden space.

This post contains affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You can read our entire affiliate disclosure and privacy notice here.

Benefits of companion planting

Companion planting, particularly for pepper crops, offers a multitude of benefits that can significantly enhance the productivity and health of your garden. By understanding these benefits and identifying which ones align with your gardening priorities, you can simplify the companion planting process and maximize its advantages.

Here are several key benefits of integrating companion planting into your garden space:

  1. Attracts beneficial insects such as honeybees, which are crucial for pollination. This ensures your plants can reproduce and bear fruit.
  2. Lures other beneficial insects like parasitic wasps or ladybugs, which naturally control pest populations through organic pest management strategies, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.
  3. Enhances soil fertility and health by partnering with plants that either fix nitrogen in the soil or have deep roots that bring up nutrients from below the surface layer, benefiting neighboring plants.
  4. Repels or traps pests through the strategic placement of plants that pests find unattractive or that serve as bait, keeping them away from your tomatoes.
  5. Suppresses weed growth by using companion plants that provide ground cover or outcompete weeds for resources, thus reducing the labor and time spent on weeding.
  6. Controls the spread of diseases by improving air circulation around plants or by employing disease-resistant companion plants that help shield tomatoes from being infected.

Choosing the right companion plants for your tomatoes is crucial; it can significantly boost your garden’s productivity and lead to a more fruitful pepper crop. For example, basil not only repels pests but can also enhance the flavor of your tomatoes, while marigolds attract beneficial insects and deter nematodes and other pests from attacking your pepper plants.

By investing a little time in planning and incorporating companion planting into your gardening strategy, you can enjoy a healthier, more vibrant, and productive garden that is in harmony with nature’s own pest management and fertilization systems.

Common Garden pests of Tomatoes

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.

Tomatoes, 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 tomatoes 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.
  • Flea Beetles, which create small holes in leaves and can stunt plant growth.
  • Nematodes, microscopic worms that can cause stunted growth and reduced yield.

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 tomatoes.

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 Tomatoes

Once you understand the benefits of companion planting with tomatoes, it’s time to look at some of the good companion plants for tomatoes. 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.


Asparagus and tomatoes have a mutually beneficial relationship! Planting asparagus alongside your tomatoes can help repel nematodes which are known to attack tomato roots. 


Onions as well as other crops in the onion family (garlic, chives, leeks) 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 tomatoes in the garden!


Nasturtium is another great companion plant for successful tomato growth!  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 plants make excellent companions for tomatoes as they help repel pests like thrips and whiteflies while also enhancing the flavor of your tomato plants! Planting basil near tomatoes can result in larger and more flavorful tomatoes!


Parsley is a great herb to companion plants because it can attract parasitic wasps and other beneficial insects especially as it flowers.

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.


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


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 tomatoes near your carrots to keep the soil cool in the heat of the summer!


Calendula is a beautiful medicinal flower that also can be planted as a companion to many annual crops in the garden! Calendula can repel tomato hornworms and nematodes. This Pink Sunset is one of my favorites


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 tomatoes 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.


Tomatoes 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 tomatoes.


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


Borage is a beautiful flowering herb that attracts beneficial insects and pollinators that help improve fruit set of your tomato plants. Borage also deters pests that affect tomatoes like hornworms. 

Members of the Nightshade Family

Eggplants and Pepper plants are from the same family as tomatoes, 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 Tomatoes

Companion planting doesn’t only include crops that are beneficial to each other, but also those that can hinder growth or attract harmful pests. Let’s take a look at some of the worst tomato companion plants! 


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


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


Corn is a crop that grows very tall and can create too much shade for tomatoes, inhibiting their growth. Additionally, corn and tomatoes attract the same pests as they can both be affected by the corn earworm. Both crops are also very heavy feeders and can compete for nutrients in the soil. 

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. 

Tips for growing healthy tomato plants

Everyone loves a fresh from the garden tomato and new gardeners  often prioritize growing this tasty fruit in their gardens. Here are a few tips for successful tomato growth:

  • Choose the right varieties for your climate and space.
  • Provide plenty of sunlight and water, but not too much.
  • Use well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
  • Fertilize properly with a balanced fertilizer or compost tea.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, and address them promptly using natural methods such as companion planting, neem oil, or hand-picking.
  • Prune regularly to improve air circulation and reduce pest attraction.
  • Support plants with cages, stakes, or trellises to prevent disease spread and make harvesting easier.

Overall, growing tomatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience when paired with the right companion plants and proper care. 

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!

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.