12 Companion Plants to Grow Alongside Your Tomatoes

High angle close up of farmer holding bunch of fresh tomatoes.
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Companion gardening is a must-try technique for expanding your garden and helping your plants thrive. It involves growing plants together that complement one another. Compatible plants might have similar growing habits that make your garden more efficient, or they might aid each other's growth by deterring pests—which, in turn, can help you become a more productive and sustainable gardener.

Growing companion plants to go with tomatoes is a great way to try out this technique. Tomatoes are popular and easy for home gardeners to grow, and you can increase your chance of having a successful harvest by surrounding your tomatoes with other plants that provide multiple benefits. Below are the best tomato companion plants to boost your garden's success.

Warning

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

1
of 12

Borage (Borago officinalis)

Close-up image of Borage blue flowers - Borago officinalis, also known as a starflower with a bee
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Borage is a herb that many people have never heard of. It is easy to grow, has beautiful summer flowers, and offers a flavor similar to cucumber. Both its leaves and purple blooms are edible. Many gardeners grow borage as a companion to tomatoes because they believe it deters the pest tomato hornworm. It is also popular with bees and other insects, which means it helps ensure tomato plants are well pollinated.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual for most.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, medium moisture but can tolerate dry conditions.
2
of 12

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives
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Chives are part of the onion family, and they’re a great addition to any vegetable garden. Since these plants are considered cool-season crops, you'll often see them blooming white, pink, purple, or red flowers early in the spring, before other plants have emerged. You can use both the stems of chives and the flowers to add flavor to your favorite dishes. Gardeners grow them with tomatoes to enhance the fruit’s natural flavors.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy soil, medium moisture.
3
of 12

Marigolds (Targetes)

Salads and marigolds in a garden
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For years, gardeners have been planting tomatoes and marigolds together because they believed the flowers eliminated insect pests. Although this has been a popular belief for a while, it wasn't until 2019 that a study finally confirmed this to be true. In addition to controlling whiteflies, marigolds are great for adding color to your garden, and the flowers are edible. Plant a row all around your tomatoes to maximize benefits.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual for most.
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun.
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy soil, medium moisture.
4
of 12

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)

Tropaeolum (nasturtium)
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Nasturtiums are one of the most popular edible flowers—they have a slightly peppery flavor and can be easily pinched off and thrown into salads or another dish. Nasturtiums attract bees and butterflies, as well. Gardeners plant these flowers in veggie gardens because they have a reputation for drawing aphids and other pests away from other plants. 

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual or 10 to 11.
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun.
  • Soil Needs: Sandy soil, medium moisture.
5
of 12

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Full Frame Of Basil Leaves
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Basil is one of those herbs that offers many different varieties, such as sweet, lemon, and Thai basil. Make sure to check the label for specific info about what you select. Basil and tomatoes grow well together because they have very similar growing conditions. They both like a lot of sun, heat, and regular watering. Some gardeners also believe the basil companion plant enhances the flavor of their tomatoes. Regardless of whether this is true, they do make a great pair of ingredients.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual for most.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, medium moisture.
6
of 12

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Beautiful orange calendula officinalis on stem
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Calendula, also called pot marigold, thrives in sunny conditions and is bright and daisy-like. It has a reputation for deterring pests while attracting good pollinators.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual for most.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, medium moisture.
7
of 12

Carrots (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)

Carrot growing in vegetable garden
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Carrots can be tucked in and planted wherever you have extra space, which makes them a convenient companion to tomatoes. Carrots help aerate the soil, which improves the process of watering, and they can be planted in waves, every few weeks apart. As companion plants, they also receive help from tomatoes; when planted nearby, carrots will naturally benefit from a little bit of shade as the tomato plants get taller.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, sandy soil, medium moisture.
8
of 12

Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

Ripe bell pepper in a greenhouse
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Peppers and tomatoes actually stem from the same family, and they are great to grow together because they have a lot of the same growing requirements. By grouping plants with similar needs, you’ll be able to get them all on the same watering and care schedule.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy soil, medium moisture.
9
of 12

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Growing sage
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It’s common to see sage growing in both perennial and annual beds. This popular kitchen herb has beautiful pink and purple flowers, and it is quite popular among bees and butterflies. Sage is known for keeping annoying insects away from tomatoes, like spider mites.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy soil, medium moisture.
10
of 12

Onions (Allium cepa)

Close up man holding bunch onions in community garden
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Onion is another cool-season crop; if you wanted to, you could plan ahead your plantings and have both a spring and fall crop. There are a lot of variations and options for planting onions, so be sure to shop around to find one you know you’ll enjoy. This vegetable works well with tomatoes because the smell can deter aphids, a common tomato pest.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun 
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy soil, medium moisture.
11
of 12

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Sprouted garlic in raised garden beds grown as winter crop
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Garlic is in the same family as onions and chives, making it another great plant to grow with tomatoes. It’s another one that is known to help keep away spider mites. Gardeners mostly plant garlic in the fall so it can get established over cooler months. It’s an easy veggie to grow, and once you get it going, you’ll likely want to grow it year after year.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual or 3 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy soil, medium moisture.
12
of 12

Leaf Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

Rows of chicory growing in vegetable garden
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Lettuce is a great companion plant for almost all gardens. A cool-season crop that doesn’t love hot temperatures, it should be planted for spring and fall harvests. You can tuck lettuce just about anywhere to make the most out of your growing space. As your tomatoes start to peak in summer, add some lettuce underneath the plants. This little trick is a great way to extend your vegetable garden’s season.

Plant Care Tips

  • USDA Growing Zones: Annual.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade 
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy soil, medium moisture.

To check if a plant is considered invasive in your area, go to the National Invasive Species Information Center or speak with your regional extension office or local gardening center.

View Article Sources
  1. Conboy, Niall J. A. et al. "Companion Planting With French Marigolds Protects Tomato Plants From Glasshouse Whiteflies Through The Emission Of Airborne Limonene." PLOS ONE, vol. 14, no. 3, 2019, p. e0213071., doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0213071