Cucumber Plant Companions: Plants That Grow Well With Cucumbers
By: Amy Grant
Just as humans are social creatures and drawn to each other for a variety of reasons, many garden crops benefit from companion planting. Take cucumbers, for instance. Choosing the right cucumber plant companions will help the plant thrive much like human companionship. They may crowd the plant or hog water, sun and nutrients, so knowing the most suitable companions for cucumbers is important.
Why Cucumber Companion Planting?
Cucumber companion planting is beneficial for a number of reasons. Companion plants for cucumbers create diversity in the garden. Generally, we tend to plant tidy rows of just a few plant species, which isn’t how nature is designed. These groupings of similar plants are called monocultures.
Monocultures are far more susceptible to insect pests and disease. By increasing the diversity of the garden, you are mimicking nature’s way of minimizing disease and pest attacks. Utilizing cucumber plant companions will not only lessen potential attack, but also shelter beneficial insects.
Some plants that grow well with cucumbers, such as legumes, can also help enrich the soil. Legumes (such as peas, beans and clover) have root systems that colonize Rhizobium bacteria and fix atmospheric nitrogen, which is then turned into nitrates. Some of this goes towards nurturing the legume, and some is released into the surrounding soil as the plant decomposes and is available to any companion plants that are growing nearby.
Plants That Grow Well with Cucumbers
Plants that grow well with cucumbers include legumes, as mentioned, but also the following:
- Peas – legume
- Beans – legume
Other flowers, besides sunflowers, may also be beneficial planted near your cukes. Marigold deters beetles, while nasturtiums thwart aphids and other bugs. Tansy also discourages ants, beetles, flying insects and other bugs.
Two plants to avoid planting near cucumbers are melons and potatoes. Sage is not recommended as a companion plant near cucumbers either. While sage shouldn’t be planted near cucumbers, oregano is a popular pest control herb and will do well as a companion plant.
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Cucumber Companion Plants and Those to Avoid Planting Near
One of the best additions to any garden and one of the easiest to grow is cucumbers. However, it’s a good idea to determine ahead of time where you will plant them so you can also designate space for their companions.
Cucumbers love sun and heat, so as long as the danger of frost is passed and the soil and days are toasty, get those seeds going.
Companion planting can increase productivity and protect against crop-killing pests and diseases .
Likewise, you’ll want to keep bad cucumber neighbors well away. These are ones that can take too much moisture for themselves or hog the nutrients they need to thrive.
10 Companion Plants
Like people, some vegetables get along better with different varieties over others, promoting a happy and beneficial relationship.
Tomatoes belong in the Solanaceae family, commonly known as the nightshade family. Like other nightshades, tomatoes contain toxic alkaloids that are detrimental to the growth of various vegetables. However, cucumbers aren’t affected.
Tomatoes compliment cucumbers well because they both require the same cultural conditions and care for robust growth. Additionally, tomatoes produce vertical growth, usually supported by cages or trellises.
Cucumber vines crawling on the ground will benefit from the shade the tomato produces, especially during hot afternoons. If your cucumbers are being grown vertically, then the two can share the same supporting structure to grow vertically along.
Bush and Pole Beans
Whatever type of bean (Phaseolus spp.) suits your taste buds, they all make good companions. These garden workhorses improve soil conditions by fixing nitrogen, which helps promote healthy growth.
Whether growing bush beans or pole beans, sowing them interspersed among your cucumbers assures that everything will get a dose of beneficial nitrogen. Beans can also offer a bit of shade.
If growing pole beans, you can have the vines share the same climbing area. Just make sure you assemble a large enough structure where each plant’s vines have room to grow properly without interference from the other.
Corn is another vegetable to consider because they both offer benefits to each other’s growth. If you live in an area that experiences problems with raccoons foraging in the garden, cucumbers are known to repel the pest from a corn crop.
Cucumbers growing close to corn receive beneficial shade from the taller stalks. This is especially helpful if your area experiences hot weather. Additionally, if you seed them at the base of corn stalks, their vines the corn stalks as a structure to attach to and crawl up, keeping the plants off the ground. They also help reduce weed growth around the corn stalks.
Although most varieties of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) are cool-season crops and cucumbers are a warm-season crop, both grow well together. Sow your cool-season lettuce varieties along with cucumbers when the weather warms at the beginning of spring. You can also consider finding a lettuce that tolerates warmer temperatures to grow later in the season.
Both of them have the same preference in cultural conditions, making them good companion plants. Also, cucumbers grown vertically up a structure like a trellis provide some shade to lettuce. This is helpful when temperatures start rising in late spring or early summer, especially during the afternoon hours when conditions are the hottest.
Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) and cucumbers belong in the same family Cucurbita and therefore, have the same requirements for good growth. In addition, they are both warm-season crops that require warmer temperatures to thrive. This is also the reason intercropping with winter squash is not ideal. Winter squash flourishes in cooler weathers, while cucumbers don’t.
When laying out your garden and determining what goes where, remember that summer squash and cucumbers produce large growth, particularly if you will not be growing vertically. Be sure to allow enough space between vegetables for proper air circulation to help prevent disease problems.
Although a cool-season crop, cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is another good companion. However, since cucumbers are a warm-season crop, it’s best to grow both together when the weather warms in springtime.
They have a beneficial relationship in that cucumbers grown vertically offer cabbage a bit of shade. This also helps conserve soil moisture around the vegetables, as both of them are thirsty plants and require frequent water applications.
If planting them next to each other, be sure to irrigate regularly, so one vegetable doesn’t rob the other of its much-needed water. You can consider watering with a water soaker to simplify the watering process and also to prevent water from getting on the foliage.
Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are one of the easiest and quickest vegetable crops to grow with harvesting happening in as little as three weeks after planting. Besides adding its sharp flavor to salads, radishes offer a huge benefit. They repel the dreaded cucumber beetle.
Planting four to six radishes spaced around each cucumber hill is sufficient. However, you don’t want to harvest these radishes. Instead, allow them to continue growing and going to seed. This allows you to receive the maximum benefit of the radish’s pest-control abilities.
Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) add a cheery appeal to gardens and are very beneficial. Tall varieties like Russian Mammoth or Skyscraper, both growing up to 12 feet tall, produce shade during the heat of the day. Also, the thick sunflower stalks are perfect for vines to attach.
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are another workhorse when it comes to intercropping. They tolerate various conditions. It’s thought the flower’s pungent smell helps in deterring different pests like cabbageworms and various beetles.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) not only make good companion plants, but the showy flowers and foliage are also edible. They also assist in repelling aphids, beetles, and various bugs.
Best Companion Plants To Grow With Cucumbers
Cucumis Sativus or more commonly known as cucumbers, can be harvested after 50-70 days. Even in this short duration of time, you get the real final product, which you can consume almost instantly. They are a popular choice among gardeners. Though some consider cucumber to be easy to grow plants, yet they can cause some hassle during the cold or wet season.
Cucumber can suffer a myriad of diseases such as powdery mildew, mosaic virus, bacterial wilt, or an attack from cucumber beetles. In such a case, cucumber companion planting can be a savior for your plant. Here are some reliable companion plants that can protect your cucumbers.
Beans belong to the legumes plant family. It provides nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is an essential element for healthy soil and healthy plant. Hence, for vibrant and healthier cucumber, planting beans as a companion plant is the right choice.
Also, you can keep a common trellis for beans and cucumbers. This way you can save a lot of space in your garden. These two plants support and favor each other.
Celery is commonly used as a companion plant for members of the cabbage family. Its strong scent successfully repels the cabbage moths. When it cucumbers, celery has a neutral relationship with it. Though there is no special reason to plant celery, this neutral pairing allows easier plantation planning. You can easily space out many kinds of vegetables in your garden.
Neutral companion plants are a necessity in every garden. More often, you will find neutral plants dominating a garden.
Like sunflowers, corn provides support to smaller varieties of cucumber. Make sure that the corn is sufficiently tall before planting the cucumber. They must be planted side by side to the cucumber plant. They act as a natural trellis for a smaller variety of cucumbers, such as pickling cucumbers. In return for its support, cucumber serves as natural mulch for corn plants. It also provides pest protection to corns.
Beets, when planted next to cucumbers, have a neutral influence. It has nutritious value and improves the soil quality. They don’t eat up many nutrients from the soil and promote better growth of cucumber. Like celery, they allow better plantation planning. Hence, if you have extra space left near your cucumbers and which to plant a vegetable, beets are a good option.
Marigolds repel all sorts of insects and beetles in your backyard garden. In the Hungarian language, marigolds are called budos, which means smelly in English. Their fragrance keeps away pests and insects from harming your cucumbers. They also repel aphids, a common pest that feeds on cucumber leaves.
They are used by many gardeners and farmers as a companion to a myriad of other plants. You do not have to worry about pests with them on guard.
Another flower that is an ideal companion plant to cucumber is Nasturtium. Nasturtium as a plant itself has multiple benefits. They are edible and are used in herbal-infused vinegar. They are also used as a natural antibiotic tincture.
When planted near cucumber, they work as a repellant to insects. These companions have similar growing habits as cucumber. The insects repled by them include thrips, aphids, and other cucumber leaves feeding bugs.
7. Root vegetables
Cucumbers only have one primary taproot. The rest of their roots are thin and shallow. Its root system does not extend beyond six to twelve inches. This makes root vegetable plantation near cucumbers possible. A root vegetable plant near cucumber can grow without any hindrance. You can use them to cover more space in the garden. These companion plants for cucumbers benefit the growth and well-being of cucumbers. For example, Radish repels cucumber beetles which are considered to be the worst enemy of cucumber patches.
Root vegetables that you can plant with cucumbers include carrots, turnip, parsnips, and radish.
Just like corn, Sunflowers provide support to cucumbers. Cucumber vines climb up sunflower and use them as a natural trellis. This allows you to save up on a lot of space in your garden, which in turn enables you to increase your garden’s efficiency. Make sure to use a small variety of cucumbers like pickling cucumbers. Heavier and bigger ones will damage the sunflowers as they cannot handle too much weight.
Peas belong to legumes family like green beans. They also provide nitrogen to the soil. Nitrogen is an essential requirement for cucumber growth. Though you cannot depend completely on legumes plants ,you will have to use fertilizers to improve the content of soil nutrients.
Peas compliment and look well next to cucumbers. These two combinations add a great aesthetic to your garden. Peas can be harvested before cucumber. This way, cucumbers can get more space to thrive before their harvest.
Lettuce is another neutral plant that can be ideal companions to the cucumber plant. They are also good companions for a strawberry crop, radish, or carrots. There is no special reason for using them as a companion. However, they do not bull cucumbers or hinder their growth. This is enough reason to make lettuce a compatible cucumber companion plant.
These popular aromatic herbs are commonly grown by most gardeners. This spice crop provides green leaves, seeds, and flowers for use. They attract useful insects to improve the rate of the pollination process. Dill improves the taste of the cucumber crop. Hence, planting dill near your cucumbers is a wise decision.
Other aromatic herbs like mint and sage can alter the taste and flavor of cucumbers. Therefore, keep in mind not to plant them.
Borage is an herbaceous plant that is easy to grow and an ideal companion plant for cucumbers. Its star-shaped flowers are beautiful, and the plant is highly beneficial for the health of cucumbers. the flower adds a refreshing flavor to the cucumbers. They add all the required nutrients to the soil for better health. They can be used for salads as well. Beyond companions, they are edible and tasty.
Some years are simply worse to help this, useful companions for the cucumber vine are tall vegetation like corn or sunflowers. Companion planting permits you to choose vegetation that profit one another in totally different ways. Squash and cucumbers profit from being planted with icicle radishes, which deter.
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…Cucumber Companion Vegetation: What to Plant and What not to … from yardsurfer.com
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Apart from adding beauty to your garden, the chamomile plant is strongly scented and this helps to keep pests like aphids away from your cucumbers.
Chamomile scent also attracts beneficial insects like hoverflies and ladybugs which feed on aphids thus protecting your cucumbers from such pests.
Moreover, growing chamomiles as cucumber companions will improve the growth, vigor, as well as flavor of your cucumbers. Chamomiles also attract parasitic wasps which feed on caterpillars hence protects your cucumbers from caterpillar damage.
Before planting any plant or crop along with their companions, growing through a companion planting guide is a necessity. You must search and browse all required information before planning the layout of your garden. As a backyard gardener, there are chances that you miss some vital information that can alter the health of your plants.
Hence, research always comes foremost. You must plant your cucumber crop and its companions as per the guidelines. Choosing the right companions for plants will make your garden healthy. Your garden beds will flourish with vibrant greens and vegetables if you plan before planting them.
For a gardener, cucumbers are easy plants to grow. However, for any plant, the right conditions and environment must be established for their optimum well-being. You cannot enjoy a good cucumber salad if it is stunted or wilted.
In the end, make sure to search well and learn more about the crop. Gardening is a pleasure in itself from which you can yield great results. Now it is your turn to let cucumber vines grow and thrive in your garden.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.
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