Close up shot of tomatoes
ECO gardener

The beauty of growing tomatoes is that the plant could produce a lot of its fruits in a short amount of time. Unlike other crops, the tomato plant is so easy to grow. All it needs is the full sun and regular watering. But if you really want to boost your tomato yield then we highly suggest giving companion planting a try.

We’ve already covered the basics of companion planting here so if you need a refresher, it’s worth a read.

The great thing about tomatoes is it pairs so well with other crops! In some cases, the fruits of the tomato plant become sweeter or bigger when grown side by side the right companion plant. Of course, tomatoes do not work well with all crops so a bad combination might decrease your yield or affect the health of the plant itself. In this guide, we are outlining all the best and worst companion plants for tomatoes:

Best Companion Plants for Tomatoes


Borage makes a lovely companion plant for tomatoes because of its ability to repel different tomato pests, particularly hornworms. Used as an herb, this flowering plant could also boost the growth and flavor of the tomato fruits. Some growers say their tomatoes are much tastier when grown side-by-side borage. On the plus side, borage adds a refreshing cucumber-like flavor to salads and summer drinks!

vegetable garden greenhouse


Marigolds, with their cheerful golden yellow blossoms, never fail to add a dose of cheerful color to the garden. And when grown alongside tomatoes, you could expect a plentiful harvest! Research shows that marigolds protect tomatoes from pests including root-knot nematodes, tomato hornworms, whiteflies, and thrips. Some growers even say that marigolds protect tomato plants from rabbits and other large animals. Because the tomato plant and marigold thrive in a similar growing environment, it’s so easy to incorporate the latter into a vegetable patch.

Marigolds plant


Carrots and tomatoes go so well together because these crops complement each other in more ways than one. When grown side by side, carrots will improve the flavor of the tomatoes. Some growers are wary of growing these crops together as their roots will compete with one another but if you want sweet, flavorful, delectable tomatoes then there is no better companion plant to use than carrots. If you’re growing carrots and tomatoes, give them a little more space in between. This way, the tomato fruits will grow bigger, not stunted.


Bell Peppers

Bell peppers and tomatoes make good neighbors because both crops improve each other's flavors. In addition, bell peppers and tomatoes repel nibbling pests. Do note, however, that tomatoes grow tall, which may cast shadow to the shorter bell pepper plants. Be sure that both crops are getting ample sunlight when growing these together.

Bell Peppers

Leaf Lettuce

Leaf lettuce and tomatoes grow well together because both plants inhibit the spread of diseases caused by rot. Lettuce inhibits weed growth that could rob both crops of nutrients. On the other hand, tomatoes deter pests while saving space.

Basket with fresh lettuce

Worst Companion Plants for Tomatoes


Cabbage and tomato plants do not complement each other at all. Growing these crops side by side could lead to stunted growth. Tomatoes and cabbages tend to compete for space for root growth. Between the two, tomatoes have a harder time to spreading its roots and this leads to smaller fruits. In addition, tomato plants grow tall, blocking any plants that grow too close to the ground like cabbages.

Cabbage in backyard garden


Corn and tomato plants do not mix well because both plants share the same pests, which are the tomato fruit worm or the corn earworm (the cotton bollworm). If grown side by side, these crops would attract nibbling pests and the damage will be more extensive since the worms love corn and tomatoes. And once these nibbling pests get too comfortable, they might end up decimating the entire garden!

Corn plants


Eggplants and other plants that belong in the nightshade family are vulnerable to early and late blight. Certain diseases cause blight, which causes the death of plant tissues. This leads to browning, spotting, and withering of plant leaves. If grown side by side, eggplant, and tomato plants may end up sharing the same sickness, causing blight to build up in the soil and get worse every year. Worse, blight might end up spreading throughout the garden if these plants are grown together.

eggplant in the garden


When grown under a walnut tree, tomato plants will produce smaller fruits. That’s because walnuts produce the chemical juglone, which will cause stunted growth of tomatoes. Any plant from the nightshade family should not be grown near walnut trees. Tomatoes will also wilt quickly when grown near or under a walnut tree because the proximity increases the risk of walnut wilt.

Bowl of walnut


Just like walnut trees, fennel also produces a chemical that inhibits root and plant growth, causing stunted growth and smaller fruits in tomato plants. Fennel is not a great companion for a lot of plants because the chemical it produces affects so many garden plants. We highly suggest allotting a specific area of the garden for fennels. Keep the fennels as far away from other garden plants and crops as possible. The only plant that could withstand the effects of the chemical that fennel produces is dill.

The way that your garden has been laid out will affect the health of your plants, particularly your vegetable garden. That’s why it’s important to know what plants complement each other. Avoid growing vegetables in large groups because this will encourage pests and diseases to spread.

It’s equally important to mix flowering plants with herbs and vegetables so that the pests won’t be able to find your vegetables. The scent of the flowering plants and herbs will also deter or confuse some pests such as nibbling insects.

Some flowering plants have the uncanny ability to attract beneficial insects to the garden. Go ahead and do your research, find the right combinations of plants to grow to ensure a good yield!

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