Growing cauliflower is fun, rewarding, and exciting, not to mention delicious! Aside from being super nutritious, you can grow this tasty vegetable twice yearly for both a generous spring and fall harvest. However, if you want to get the very best from your cauliflower crop with each planting, discover the best cauliflower companion plants to maximize growth and yield potential.
Some of the best vegetables, herbs, and flowers used as cauliflower companion plants are:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Legumes (Beans and Lentils)
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This article delves further into the best vegetables, herbs, and flowers you can grow in your garden to help produce a healthy, vibrant, and abundant cauliflower crop.
We’ll also discuss what you should avoid planting near your cauliflower plants which may draw unnecessary pests and create unneeded competition for vital soil nutrients. So without further ado, let’s get growing!
- Save time by discovering how more than 18 different vegetables, flowers, and herbs can launch your cauliflower patch into the stratosphere so you and your family can enjoy this tasty and nutritious vegetable!
- Unlock the benefits of companion planting AND why you need it for growing a plentiful cauliflower patch so you can grow stronger, more robust vegetables throughout the year.
- Design your garden the right way by knowing these 3 primary plants you should never grow near cauliflower – before your growing season – so you can keep your crop strong and vibrant.
What Is Companion Planting
Companion planting is an age-old gardening technique where certain vegetable plants grow and thrive together. Each plant plays a vital and particular role throughout the growing process, growing in harmony while benefiting its adjacent neighbors. In addition, companion planting controls pests, encourages pollinators, improves soil health, provides shade, and maximizes vegetable production within your growing space.
Companion planting means pairing certain plants next to one another to enhance your crops’ overall growth and productivity while wisely maximizing the capacity of your edible Eden. Companions also act as an excellent, natural pest deterrent, often attracting more beneficial insects to help create a better growing environment (also known as predator recruitment) by releasing certain pollen’s within your garden. 1
Why Do I Need Companion Plants For Growing Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family and therefore develops a deep and extensive root system. Therefore, lettuce, which grows shallow roots, is an excellent companion to cauliflower as it won’t compete for soil nutrients. Likewise, cabbage worms and aphids are common cauliflower pests. Companion crops such as dill and sweet alyssum attract predatory insects like lacewings and ladybugs, which will combat these harmful insects.
The perfect cauliflower companion plants share similar soil, light, water, and environmental requirements that provide non-competitive and balanced conditions ensuring all plants thrive accordingly.
Brassicas are heavy-feeders and require plenty of nutrients to grow. Therefore, incorporating nitrogen-fixing plants (plants that add nitrogen to the soil), like legumes, is a fantastic companion crop for cauliflower. The neighboring cauliflower loves this extra injection of nutrients these nitrogen-fixing plants provide and will flourish as a result. 2
What To Plant With Cauliflower
Many plants, vegetables, and herbs are suitable companion plants for cauliflower. Some options, like beans, add extra nutrient benefits to the soil, which cauliflower uses appropriately. Others, such as nasturtiums, act as trap crops and lure harmful pests away from your precious cauliflower.
Although not a complete list, I have included some of the most commonly used and beneficial cauliflower companion plants that are easy to add to your garden no matter what climate you reside. 3
Let’s look at each listed plant to discover why they make the perfect companion plant for cauliflowers.
Beets, also known as beetroot, are fantastic cauliflower companion plants. Beets are nutritious vegetables packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Beets are rich in iron, folate, and vitamin C and have a distinct earthy flavor.
Beets are a part of the Chenopodiaceae family which also includes popular favorites like spinach and chard. This family of vegetables is well-known for its edible leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits.
If you grow beets in your garden, you’ve come to the right spot! I wrote an entire article on the top 5 companion plants your beets enjoy keeping company with so you can save your hard-earned money AND grow a productive beet crop.
How Beets Benefit Cauliflower
Beets are a great companion plant for cauliflower, providing numerous benefits, especially to your garden’s soil. In addition, because both beets and cauliflower are members of the cabbage family, they have nearly identical maintenance requirements, creating an easier growing environment.
Both vegetables enjoy cooler temperatures. However, since both beets and cauliflower are frost tolerant, it’s best to plant them in your garden about three weeks before your region’s last average frost date. Likewise, both beets and cauliflower enjoy full sun but can tolerate some shade. Be sure to check the average frost dates in your neck of the woods by simply entering your zip code with this free tool offered by the National Gardener’s Association.
Remember, both beets and cauliflower are heavy feeders, so it’s essential to feed them with a healthy, continual dose of organic material, like compost, to help them stay strong and healthy throughout their lifecycle.
If you’re curious about how much and how often to add fresh, homemade compost to your budding garden, hold up for just a minute. I wrote an entire article about how to add compost to your garden and the best times of the year to do it so you can boost your success by increasing garden yields.
Fortunately, beets produce natural compounds that help repel pests, reducing the chances of disease within your garden, and help promote healthier growth from your cauliflower crop.
Because beet leaves can grow rather tall, they also shade the soil in your garden. This resulting shade helps protect the cauliflower’s root system from excessive heat while allowing excess moisture to be retained within the ground as temperatures begin to climb during spring. 4
Finally, beets benefit your garden soil by adding core nutrients such as potassium, boosting your cauliflower plants’ vitality, taste, and growth speed.
Broccoli is a nutrient-packed vegetable with a mild, earthy flavor. Like cauliflower, broccoli is part of the brassica family. It is an excellent companion plant to cauliflower as brassicas are known to fix nitrogen in the soil through a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria. Therefore, when broccoli and cauliflower are grown together, they can help improve soil fertility for each other by providing access to extra nitrogen.
Broccoli and cauliflower also help each other by providing shade. As mentioned above, extra shade helps retain soil moisture and helps reduce the chances of weeds completely taking over your garden.
How Broccoli Can Benefit Cauliflower
Because broccoli and cauliflower are from the brassica family, both vegetables benefit from similar growing conditions. Therefore, simultaneously planting these vegetables together about 3 to 4 weeks before your last frost date is convenient. Likewise, adding rich, organic material to your soil every few weeks keeps these heavy feeders happy.
Broccoli also produces a compound called sulforaphane which helps repel pests and reduces the chance of disease that could otherwise affect your cauliflower crop. Brassicas generally have a strong smell that harmful pests generally cannot tolerate. The odor creates an environment far less attractive to these harmful insects by supplying an invisible barrier in keeping your garden a bit safer. 5
Brassicas also are nitrogen-fixing plants, creating a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria found in your garden’s soil. This environmental relationship means broccoli and cauliflower can help improve soil fertility for each other and any surrounding vegetable plants by providing extra nitrogen.
One possible downside is that broccoli attracts certain pests, such as flea beetles and cabbage loopers that enjoy feasting on cauliflower. One way to trick these pests is to plant a trap crop, such as calendula, which entices these creepy crawlies with a better-tasting and alluring meal than your cauliflower.
However, brassicas, such as cauliflower and broccoli, can be fine together if provided adequate nutrition through healthy, well-fertilized, frequently watered, and well-draining soil.
Brussels sprouts are another member of the brassica family and have small, edible heads attached to long stalks. Like other brassicas, sprouts thrive in cooler climates, requiring a healthy amount of sunshine and moist soil for optimal growth.
Like all brassicas, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower require similar growing conditions. Patience is needed with sprouts as they are slow-growing and are best planted twice per year. Like cauliflower, the best times to grow sprouts are in early spring and mid-summer as the small heads of sprouts develop in cooler temperatures.
How Brussels Sprouts Benefit Cauliflower
Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are nitrogen-fixing plants. With improved soil fertility and nutrients from this extra release of nitrogen into the soil, your sprouts and cauliflower can do very well together. Brussels sprouts also make efficient use of space in your garden. By intercropping your sprouts with cauliflower, you’ll effectively use all of the available space in your garden to its greatest potential.
As discussed above, there is debate as to whether planting brassicas together causes them to unnecessarily compete for valuable soil nutrients while attracting and sharing the same common garden pests.
Fortunately, you can solve this pesky pest problem by planting a border of strongly scented herbs or flowers known to repel or even trap these pests with many of these natural repellents listed in this article below.
One final benefit of using sprouts as a cauliflower companion plant is that the taller sprout stalks provide excellent shade from strong sunlight and wind. This extra layer of protection keeps garden soil cool and moist which benefits your cauliflower crop.
Celery is a popular vegetable many people enjoy and is often grown as a companion cauliflower plant because it can repel and attract harmful and beneficial insects. Celery can also be grown near cauliflower without competing for sunlight, water, or nutrients, making it a perfect cauliflower companion in the garden.
Belonging to the same Apiaceae family as carrots and parsley, celery grows best in moist, cool climates and enjoys full sun. Therefore, it should be sown directly into the ground or even in an outdoor container after the last frost of spring and always harvested before temperatures drop below freezing.
How Celery Can Benefit Cauliflower
The good news is that celery is one of the most commonly used cauliflower companion plants. Celery provides an excellent source of potassium, essential for strong root development, and calcium and magnesium, critical for healthy leaf growth in your cauliflower crop.
Because celery roots dive deep into your garden soil, they help aerate, condition, and provide a better draining environment, making it easier for cauliflower to absorb its required nutrients.
Celery leaves also act as an excellent fertilizer when mulched or composted in the soil, releasing vital nutrients into the ground or within your compost pile.
Among other damaging insects, celery repels the notorious aphid, a common pest that looks upon your cauliflower plants with eyes as big as monster truck tires. Ironically, celery also lures the humble ladybug, one of the biggest predators of the dangerous aphid. In turn, these ladybugs will make short work of active and swelling aphid populations among your cauliflower.
Thankfully, by taking a little time and planning, it’s not difficult at all in creating an environment that not only lures ladybugs into your vegetable garden, but keeps them there as well. In fact, I wrote an entire article on how ladybugs eat spider mites so you can keep these harmful pests off your prized plants to provide a healthy and productive garden.
Cabbage is another cruciferous vegetable belonging to the brassica family. Like cauliflower, cabbage grows best in cooler temperatures with plenty of light and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Additionally, because cabbage matures earlier and is harvested before cauliflower, you’ll extend your growing season while benefiting from having more consistent yields.
How Cabbage Benefits Cauliflower
Cabbages, like most brassicas, can be planted near cauliflower and will happily share a patch of soil. However, cabbage and cauliflower require a lot of nitrogen throughout their lifecycle, as their deeper root systems help extract this vital nutrient from the ground. This way, cabbage helps improve soil fertility by absorbing nutrients and making them readily available to your cauliflower. 6
Another great benefit of growing cabbage and cauliflower together is that they can help deter pests specific to the brassica family. Cabbage loopers, for example, are a common pest that feeds on both cabbage and cauliflower, but planting the two together makes it more difficult for the pests to find their preferred food source.
Furthermore, cabbage is known to be an excellent trap crop for aphids, which can become a severe issue for cauliflower, making for easier maintenance and fewer problems in your garden.
Corn is a cereal grain belonging to the Poaceae family. Corn is a warm-season crop that requires plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures for optimal growth but can also tolerate some cooler weather. As the corn grows taller, its stalks and leaves provide vital shade for your cauliflower, helping to keep it cool and maintain the temperatures it enjoys.
Like the cabbage above, corn and cauliflower can be planted at different times, which helps extend the harvest season of your cauliflower crop, providing more consistent and reliable yields.
How Corn Can Benefit Cauliflower
Although not the best companion on this list, corn provides some decent cauliflower benefits. For example, it can deter pests specific to the brassica family, such as aphids and cabbage worms. In addition, planting corn and cauliflower together makes it more difficult for pests to locate and feed on your cauliflower crop.
Another benefit is that corn allows for better soil fertility by absorbing nutrients and making them available to your cauliflower. Because corn grows tall, its roots must run deep to anchor and stabilize the plant. This deeper root system helps break up and aerate compacted soil, making it easier for cauliflower roots to grow and spread out.
Because corn and cauliflower are both heavy feeders, it is vital to keep them happy by adding fresh, organic matter to your garden soil every few weeks. So, if you decide to grow both vegetables as companion plants within the same growing bed, you’ll want to ensure a fresh supply of nutrients or risk having these plants compete for whatever nutrients are available.
Finally, the tall stalks of the corn help to provide shade for the smaller cauliflower plants, which helps keep them from drying out too quickly. However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental in this case. If you plant your corn too close, it can provide too much shade and slow the growth of the cauliflower.
Garlic is a member of the Allium family and one of the most popular vegetables to grow for its fantastic taste and healthy attributes. In addition, garlic repels pests, provides sulfur to the soil, and can help prevent or lessen fungal diseases, to which cauliflower is susceptible. Garlic also improves moisture retention within your garden soil, making life much easier for moisture-hungry cauliflower plants to grow successfully.
Garlic prefers growing areas with total sun exposure and well-draining soil. Because it’s a low-maintenance plant, garlic can be grown close to cauliflower without competing for sunlight, water, or nutrients, making them great BFF companions in the garden.
How Garlic Benefits Cauliflower
One of the main reasons why garlic makes a good companion plant for cauliflower is the strong scent it emits. The smell of garlic helps repel pests that feed on cauliflower, such as aphids and cabbage worms. In addition, garlic is believed to mask the scent of cauliflower, making it more difficult for pests to locate in your garden.
Garlic is also a great source of sulfur, which is essential for strong root development in plants. Additionally, garlic provides calcium, magnesium, and allicin, all raw minerals cauliflower can use for healthy leaf growth. 7
Additionally, garlic naturally improves water retention in the soil, helping ensure that moisture-hungry cauliflower plants get enough water to grow successfully.
Moreover, garlic is known to have favorable fungicidal properties. Damaging fungus, such as clubroot, often affects cauliflower crop leading to stunted growth and warped or expanded roots. Garlic can help combat these damaging affects by releasing compounds that inhibit the growth of this harmful fungus.
If you’re looking for the best ways to prevent harmful fungus from rooting and taking over your garden space, hang on for a second. I wrote an entire article about how to get rid of fungus in your garden in 5 easy steps so you can save money by knowing precisely what antifungal treatment you need.
Legumes such as beans and lentils are good cauliflower companion plants because they are nitrogen-fixing plants. Like several others on this list, these plants take nitrogen from the air and store it in nodules on their roots, which cauliflower can absorb and use to help it grow.
Legumes are most commonly grown in warm, sunny climates with well-drained soil. One of the best times to plant legumes is in the spring, when there is no chance of a frost, or roughly a month after you first plant your cauliflower.
How Legumes Can Benefit Cauliflower
Legumes have several benefits when planted with cauliflower, making them another excellent companion plant.
Some of the main benefits legumes provide for cauliflower are:
- They help improve soil fertility.
- Legumes attract beneficial insects such as bees and lady beetles that ward off pests that may otherwise affect cauliflower crops.
- Planting legumes can help prevent the spread of diseases since they act as a natural defense against pests that target cauliflower.
- Legumes can help keep weeds at bay, reducing competition with cauliflower for resources like water and nutrients from the soil.
- Legumes provide extra organic material for improving soil structure and health, which provides better water drainage and soil aeration to help your cauliflower plants thrive.
Like garlic, onions are a member of the Allium family. Similarly, onions produce a strong odor that helps repel harmful pests such as aphids, thrips, and maggots which tend to be attracted to cauliflower. The strong scent of onions also helps mask the smell of the cauliflower, making it more challenging and confusing for harmful pests to locate.
Onions form bulbs as the roots reach deep into the soil, searching for needed moisture and nutrients. The bulb then grows outward from the center of the plant and forms a dense, white center surrounded by clusters of long leaves. It’s a good garden practice to plant onions in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter and sunlight.
Like cauliflower, onions prefer cooler temperatures and do best when planted in early spring.
How Onions Benefit Cauliflower
Onions provide several good benefits for cauliflowers. The most noticeable use is the pungent smell onions emit which helps repel some of the same pests garlic protects against, such as aphids and cabbage worms.
Onions are another great vegetable for improving soil fertility. This is because onions add sulfur which improves overall soil health and structure. And because the root system of onions runs deep like cauliflower, this sulfur is readily available in the soil for your heavy-feeding cauliflower crops.
Below is a short video resource I found that helps explain how particular companion plants can help grow your cauliflower crop successfully and efficiently.
Because radishes are quick to grow and mature, they are excellent companion plants and wise use of garden space for slower-growing cauliflower. The deeper roots of radishes also dive deep into the soil, creating a better, more advantageous environment for your budding cauliflower as more water and air can penetrate and saturate your soil.
Radishes are another member of the brassica family and are best planted in early spring or late summer. Like cauliflower, they enjoy good light and well-draining soil.
How Radishes Can Benefit Cauliflower
Radishes are a great companion plant for cauliflowers, and aside from improving soil fertility and breaking up compacted soil, they also ward off harmful insects. Like celery, radishes have the unique quality to repel harmful pests, like aphids, while luring beneficial ones, such as pollinators and ladybugs, that help to control pest populations in your garden. 8
Finally, because radishes are quick growers, they will take up available space in your garden in just a few short weeks. With this rapid growth, radishes will help crowd out weeds, making it difficult for them to grow and compete for light and nutrients within your garden.
Spinach is a tremendous all-around cauliflower companion plant because it can be used as a trap plant for insects, like aphids. Spinach also has a shallow root structure, which won’t profoundly penetrate and compete with cauliflower for nutrients and moisture. Spinach also attracts beneficial predatory ladybugs into your garden, which helps control aphid populations.
Spinach grows best in cool temperatures, like cauliflower, and both vegetables can be planted as early as your garden soil can be worked. Also, like cauliflower, spinach requires regular watering and enjoys the same amount of light, making them an ideal garden partner.
How Spinach Benefits Cauliflower
The large leaves of spinach create a safe and shaded haven for cauliflower by shielding it from extreme heat and bright sunshine as temperatures rise, heading into early summer. Additionally, because spinach has broad foliage, it helps provide a moderate soil temperature which shields the root system of cauliflower.
Spinach also aerates the soil around the plant and helps with nutrient sharing, providing calcium and magnesium to the soil around your cauliflower plants when grown together.
Dill is a great companion to cauliflower due to its aromatic ability to attract beneficial insects, like lacewings and ladybugs, which will help control the more destructive cabbage worms and aphids. Dill is also quite tall, growing upwards of two to three feet, effectively keeping your soil cool and moisture-retentive benefiting cauliflower.
Dill is an aromatic herb usually used as a flavoring in cooking. It has a slightly spicy taste and is commonly used in pickles and other specialty dishes.
Dill thrives in warm climates but will tolerate cooler temperatures. When grown from seed, it takes about 60 days for cool-weather dill to reach maturity, while needing just over half that time to harvest in warmer weather.
How Dill Can Benefit Cauliflower
When planted nearby, dill offers various benefits as a companion plant to cauliflower, such as repelling pests that are attracted to the smell of its cauliflower foliage and attracting beneficial insects which help protect the crop from damaging pests.
It is also commonly thought that pairing dill with cauliflower enhances the overall flavor of cauliflower. Although I have not noticed this in my garden, it is widely discussed among other experienced gardeners who swear by this method to enhance flavor.
Lastly, besides supporting healthy growth, the presence of dill can help prevent certain plant diseases like fungus and mildews from forming and spreading in your garden’s soil.
Growing fennel helps deter insects that attract cauliflower, like aphids and slugs. Fennel also helps attract ladybugs and parasitic wasps into your garden to help restrict and limit the damage of these harmful pests. Fennel also provides an excellent nitrogen source to your soil which your heavy-feeding cauliflower crop enjoy.
Fennel is an aromatic herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It has a semi-sweet flavor similar to licorice and is often used in Italian and Indian cuisines.
Fennel prefers full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering, especially during hot spells or within warmer climates. Fennel does best in climates where temperatures do not drop below 10°F (-12°C).
How Fennel Benefits Cauliflower
Fennel’s licorice-like aroma helps repel pests from your cauliflower crop, and its tall stature serves as both a wind and shade barrier to protect and keep the soil moist.
Like most aromatic herbs, fennel is a good companion plant for cauliflower because it attracts beneficial insects like bees and hoverflies, which help pollinate other vegetables in the garden while improving the overall health and structure of your garden. 9
Although it’s commonly grown as an annual plant within cooler regions, depending on your climate, fennel may not need to be replanted every season. However, for best results, fennel plants will generally need to be replaced every 3 to 4 years, making this practice a more eco-friendly gardening application.
Hyssop is a good companion plant for cauliflower because it repels certain pests, like aphids and whiteflies, that damage cauliflower plants. Hyssop also emits an aroma that is believed to attract beneficial insects that can help bring beneficial pollinators into your garden while protecting your cauliflower crop from unfavorable insects.
Hyssop is an aromatic perennial herb that originates in the Mediterranean. It features leaves with a strong minty aroma and colorful blooms of brilliant blues and purples. Sowing hyssop seeds in spring is best, and while this plant enjoys plenty of sunlight, it also prefers warmer temperatures.
Hyssop can also improve the flavor of neighboring vegetables, like cauliflower, and acts as a natural fertilizer that amends your garden by adding essential nutrients like nitrogen and potassium to your soil.
How Hyssop Can Benefit Cauliflower
Hyssop not only adds color and texture to the cauliflower patch but also repels a wide range of pests that can potentially harm or stunt the growth of your cauliflower plants.
As mentioned above, hyssop also has beneficial and positive effects on the soil around cauliflower plants. For example, the hyssop plant’s roots can help break up compacted soil and improve drainage, benefiting heavy feeders, like cauliflower, by providing them with better access to water, air, and nutrients.
Hyssop can also be grown alongside cauliflower as a trap crop. Pest species such as aphids and whiteflies are attracted to the scent of hyssop, leaving your cauliflower plants unharmed.
Another aromatic herb, mint, is a fast-growing perennial that can spread quickly and provide many benefits to cauliflowers. Because of its strong aroma, mint repels pests away from cauliflower, concealing the scent of your cauliflower. In addition to its pest-repelling benefits, mint is a natural fertilizer providing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium back into your soil.
Once mint establishes itself within your garden, expect a hardy, fast-growing, and aggressive plant, which may start to overreach itself to other areas of your growing space. However, so long as you keep it contained, mint makes an excellent companion with cauliflower.
How Mint Benefits Cauliflower
Mint works as a natural pest repellent and creates an unfavorable and undesirable environment for insects such as aphids, cabbage worms, and moths.
The fragrance of mint also attracts beneficial insects, such as lacewings and hoverflies, which will dutifully guard your territory and protect your cauliflower. Mint’s fast-growing nature may also provide welcome shade around your cauliflower when planted nearby.
Finally, mint produces particular compounds that can inhibit the growth of certain types of fungi and bacteria within your garden soil. These compounds help prevent any unnecessary disease within your garden and also your cauliflower crop.
Although not an herb or vegetable, marigolds never-the-less add vibrant color and pest-repelling properties to your cauliflower patch. Marigolds produce a chemical called pyrethrum, which is considered toxic and acts as a natural insecticide for many insects like nematodes, whiteflies, and aphids.
Over the past few years, I’ve incorporated more and more marigolds into my garden, not only for their insect-controlling properties but because they make an excellent, creative, and beautiful addition with lively pops of color.
How Marigolds Can Benefit Cauliflower
The spirited yellow-orange petals of marigolds are also known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps, which further help control harmful pest populations from getting out of hand within your garden.
The strong scent of marigolds also helps to repel many common garden pests, making them an ideal companion plant for cauliflower. These important flowers also contain natural soil-enhancing properties that help improve soil fertility that happens primarily through their decomposition.
Marigolds are easy to grow, inexpensive to purchase, and germinate quickly in warm soil. Aside from watering and deadheading, they require little maintenance, making these potent flowers a practical and excellent choice for planting alongside cauliflowers in the garden.
Nasturtiums make great companion plants for cauliflower due to their ability to repel pests. Aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage loopers are all discouraged by the strong aroma nasturtiums emit and help conceal your cauliflower crop.
Not only that, but nasturtiums are edible flowering plants that produce vibrantly-colored blossoms and peppery-tasting leaves throughout your garden.
Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed and prefer well-drained, fertile soil. When sowing the seeds, it is best to space them about 8 to 10 inches apart to allow air circulation and provide room for the vines and roots to spread out appropriately.
Nasturtiums can tolerate light frosts but, for best results, should be planted after the last frost of the season for your growing zone.
How Nasturtiums Benefit Cauliflower
The great thing about nasturtiums is that they act as a valuable and effective trap crop. Harmful pests like aphids and caterpillars will flock to nasturtiums as they favor this plant over your nearby cauliflower. Nasturtiums also have an allelopathic effect, meaning they release compounds into the soil that can inhibit the growth of some other plants, including weeds.
Like many choices of this long list, nasturtiums can improve cauliflower soil health. Their roots help break up compacted soil, improve drainage, and provide the root systems with better access to water and nutrients. And, like marigolds, nasturtiums also improve soil fertility by adding organic matter through their decomposition.
Oregano is another aromatic, culinary herb and medicinal plant that belongs to the mint family. Like mint, oregano is a hardy and fast-growing plant that offends and helps prevent spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies from entering your garden and causing damage.
How Oregano Can Benefit Cauliflower
Like other herbs in this list, oregano’s strong aroma helps turn away many pests that are detrimental to cauliflowers. Oregano also lures beneficial insects, like lacewings, into your garden to further rid your space of harmful pests.
Oregano also has antimicrobial properties, which may help prevent fungal and bacterial issues within your garden and protect your cauliflower plants.
The deep roots of oregano can help break up compacted soil and improve drainage, which always benefits the heavy-feeding cauliflower by providing them with better access to water and nutrients.
As with any herb or flower, you can grow sage, thyme, and calendulas in pots and move them around your garden where they are needed most.
What Not To Plant With Cauliflower
While some companion plants are beneficial for cauliflower, others are best left to grow elsewhere in your garden. For example, plants that are a bit more sensitive, like tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers, are not the best companions for cauliflower as they will compete for soil nutrients, space, and water.
Although most vegetables are compatible with cauliflowers, as we’ve discussed, several plants are considered detrimental and should be kept away from your cauliflower patch where possible.
Strawberries are extremely attractive to garden pests like slugs, who also happen to love the foliage of brassicas, including cauliflower. Problem pests like slugs are challenging to keep at bay, especially when moisture is abundant. So, it’s best not to entice and encourage these slimy critters to spot your cauliflower by luring them into your garden with strawberries.
Strawberries and cauliflower also share common diseases like clubroot and powdery mildew. If growing both together and one plant develops a disease, it’s likely to spread quickly to the other, stunting growth and possibly killing both crops if not swiftly and adequately addressed. 10
Lastly, strawberries are a perennial crop, meaning the plants live more than two years. Conversely, cauliflower is an annual crop that must be planted or sowed each season. As the perennial strawberry crop spreads, its roots advance under the soil as the foliage and wiry shoots (also called runners) do the same above ground creating a scenario where your strawberries compete with your cauliflower for soil space, nutrients, and water.
Like strawberries, tomatoes are susceptible to similar diseases that affect cauliflower, attract loads of pests, and are substantial nutrient hogs in the garden. Therefore, planting tomatoes and cauliflower in separate areas of your garden is best.
Although growing herbs and trap crops may limit some pest issues, growing tomatoes too close to cauliflower often stunts the growth of your cauliflower crop, so it’s best to keep them separated and well away from each other within your growing area.
Tomatoes and cauliflower also require different growing conditions. Tomatoes enjoy warm temperatures and tons of sunlight. Cauliflower does best in cooler temperatures and, although it enjoys sun, can tolerate and do quite well in partial shade.
Peppers are great for all kinds of reasons. They taste great, provide a boatload of health benefits, and grow quickly under the right conditions. But growing peppers near cauliflower should be avoided. The main reason is that peppers are sensitive to high nitrogen levels in the soil, a mineral that cauliflower enjoys.
While higher nitrogen is welcome by cauliflower, in peppers, elevated nitrogen levels may cause them to produce more leafy foliage than fruit, affecting both yield quantity and quality of your pepper crop.
Additionally, peppers thrive in warmer temperatures, while cauliflower loves cooler weather, making them a tough companion match within the same vegetable bed. If growing both plants in your garden, keep them apart for optimal performance and sanity.
Choosing companion plants, herbs, and flowers that encourage and welcome beneficial insects and pollinators into your garden are all top priorities in achieving a healthy cauliflower harvest.
Herbs are recommended companion plants for cauliflowers, offering some of the best benefits due to their pest-repelling qualities. For the same reason, many herbs also provide the double duty of attracting insects such as ladybugs and honey bees, which are excellent pest predators and aid in the pollination of your garden.
Similarly, many vegetables like beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, and radish pair well with cauliflower because they share and enjoy similar growing conditions. While some growers believe this may cause competition over vital soil nutrients and moisture, it’s only the case if you don’t supplement your garden with frequent additions of organic material or, when necessary, fertilization.
The truth is that planting companion plants with similar needs and growing conditions make monitoring your soil properties and nutrient density far more manageable. If you consistently spread a healthy layer of organic compost atop your soil every few weeks, you’ll make your garden life far more productive as you’ll appease these heavy-feeding vegetables, like cauliflower.
What companion plants have you grown with cauliflower to help it prosper? Meet me in the comments below and let’s discuss.