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What not to plant with cucumbers?

10 Companion Plants You Should Grow Next To Cucumbers In Your Garden

Cucumber and nasturtium companion plants

Companion planting is a common technique that amateur and expert gardeners both use. Though it is not an exact science, it’s usually agreed that planting certain species of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit-bearing plants together will increase their production, speed up their growth, and make them grow healthier. This is because of each plant’s natural ability to repel harmful insects, attract pollinators, ward off feeding animals, or enrich the soil beneath them. Cucumbers have several friends in the garden. Some fend off weeds, insects, and disease, while others add nitrogen to the soil or simply break it up if it’s too dense.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t plant cucumbers and aromatic herbs together, as noted by West Virginia University Extension. However, herbs such as dill and oregano are just a couple of exceptions to this rule. Both extremely fragrant herbaceous plants help to deter destructive insects that are known to harm cucumber plants similarly to nasturtium and French marigolds. If you’re having trouble growing healthy cucumber plants, refer to our collection of ten companions with which your cucumbers will form beneficial relationships.

1. Nasturtium


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.) is commonly found growing in herb and vegetable gardens. This easy-to-care-for annual blooms from the spring to fall for wonderful color throughout the growing season, says Missouri Botanical Garden. When grown nearby vegetable plants, like cucumbers, the nasturtium plant repels many harmful insect species away from the produce. They may also help to keep nasty weeds from invading your garden as they sprawl across the soil.

Bloom Season: Spring to fall

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-draining

Size: 1 to 10 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

2. Chives

Chives flowering with purple blooms

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) can have a positive impact on your home garden when you plant them near your cucumbers. In addition to their great taste when paired with the vegetable in several dishes, chives can actually help you drive away pests and pesky animals due to their strong onion or garlic scent, as noted by RHS.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 4 to 8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Evenly moist and well-draining

Size: 4 to 20 inches tall and 4 inches wide

3. Peas

Peapod of a pea plant

Peas (Pisum sativum) are among the best companion plants for cucumbers due to their roots’ ability to nourish the soil by increasing its nitrogen content, as explained by North Carolina State Extension. More nitrogen in the soil allows cucumbers, and many plants nearby, to grow more quickly and produce healthy vegetables.

Bloom Season: Spring and fall

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Sandy and well-draining

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide

4. Sunflowers

Sunflowers growing tall and blooming

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are always a beautiful addition to any garden. However, these tall-growing flowers aren’t just grown for their beauty. Sunflowers attract a range of beneficial wildlife to your garden, so all of your plants can grow healthy and strong. According to the California Native Plant Society, these large flowers are attractive to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds as well as other beneficial predatory insects.

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Bloom Season: Summer to fall

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Rich, loose, and well-draining

Size: 5 to 10 feet tall and 2 feet wide

5. Corn

Corn plant bearing fresh corn

Corn (Zea mays) may seem like a strange addition to a home garden. These tall, leafy plants aren’t commonly grown in backyards in most regions. Yet, if you are serious about raising a productive summer and fall vegetable garden, planting corn is not a tough decision to make. As pointed out by North Carolina State Extension, corn grows straight, erect stems as it ages. These stems are used by cucumber plants as a natural trellis.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-draining

Size: 5 to 8 feet tall

6. Marigolds

French marigolds in a pot

Marigold flowers (Tagetes patula) act similarly to nasturtium flowers in a vegetable garden. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, they show off bright and fragrant flowers that many insects don’t enjoy, as told by Ohio State University. Because of this, they ward off destructive beetles and thrips wanting to eat your cucumber plants.

Bloom Season: Spring to fall

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Moist and well-draining

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 8 to 18 inches wide

7. Radishes

Radishes ready to harvest

Radishes (Raphanus sativus), which are root vegetables like carrots and onions, are an obvious choice for a vegetable garden. Not only do they taste great when roasted with garlic or mixed into a summer salad with thinly sliced cucumber, but they also grow very well nearby above-ground plants like cucumbers because of their growth habit. Missouri Botanical Garden suggests keeping these plants in direct sunlight for the best growth.

Bloom Season: Spring

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Sandy or loamy

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall

8. Dill

Dill flowering with yellow blooms

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a weedy culinary herb that has a fern-like growth habit. Its fine and branching leaves are fragrant and easily harvested in the summer. These leaves are typically dried or used fresh for pickling or seasoning a variety of dishes. As mentioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, dill plants grow well with other herbs and vegetables because their flowers and foliage attract aphid-eating hoverflies and black swallowtail butterflies.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Rich and well-draining

Size: 18 inches to 4 feet tall

9. Oregano

Bushy oregano foliage

As stated by Washington State University, oregano (Origanum vulgare), like dill, attracts a few different beneficial insects to the garden and wards off the ones that enjoy feasting on your hard work. This herb, which is filled with fragrant leaves used in the kitchen, is very easy to grow and a no-brainer when considering companion plants for your cucumbers.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full to partial sun

Soil Type: Well-draining

Size: 2 feet tall and wide

10. Bell pepper

Pepper plant with red fruit

Bell pepper plants (Capsicum annuum, Grossum Group) are well-known for their multi-colored fruit. These not-so-spicy peppers can be yellow, green, orange, purple, or red. Cucumbers and bell peppers won’t necessarily help each other, but they share the same growing conditions. If you have a small garden, plant the two together in a full sun location with evenly moist soil, and fertilize them in the spring, as recommended by North Carolina State Extension.

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Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 9 to 11

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Moist and well-draining

Size: 6 to 60 inches tall

Why should you not plant cucumbers near tomatoes?

why not to plant cucumbers near tomatoes

Despite a few benefits to planting cucumbers near tomatoes, there is one significant danger in doing so: You should not plant cucumbers near tomatoes because of the possibility of shared diseases such as Cucumber Mosaic Virus and Phytophthora Blight. Both diseases quickly spread from one species to the other one both ways. Once a plant is infected, unfortunately, there is no cure. That is why you should avoid planting cucumbers and tomatoes close to each other in your garden. If you spot any symptoms of the two diseases on your plants, remove and destroy them immediately to minimize the damage and avoid further spreading.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus

The cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is a small RNA virus capable of infecting cucumbers and a wide variety of plant species. Typical symptoms of this virus include yellowing of leaves and turning them mosaic, appearing ring spots, growth stunting, and flower and fruit distortion. CMV can cause the cucumbers (fruit) to turn pale and bumpy. Usually, the overall growth of affected plants is stunted, and fewer flowers are produced. Aphids spread the virus. Within seconds a cucumber plant can be infected, and the disease can be distributed around a garden within a few hours. CMV is one of the broadest spread plant viruses all over the world. Apart from cucumbers and tomatoes, the disease also attacks spinach, lettuce and celery, and many different kinds of flowers. Unfortunately, the cucumber mosaic virus can’t be cured. It is best controlled through prevention of the infection and eradication. If you spot infected plants in your garden, remove them as soon as possible and use clean and sanitized tools to start over. Since there is no cure for CMV, prevention is key!

Phytophthora Blight

cucumber next to tomatoes

Phytophthora blight is caused by the water mold Phytophthora capsici. The disease causes root, crown, and fruit rot in cucumber and tomato plants. Other cucurbits, pepper, and eggplant can also be affected. The disease spreads either through direct contact with spores-infested soil or from splashing rain and irrigation. Initially, symptoms on cucumbers and tomatoes will appear as small water-soaked areas on the fruit. These quickly enlarge in high humidity conditions. The resulting lesions will have a yeast-like, grey to white appearance. The rot will develop rapidly until the fruit completely collapses. To avoid Phytophthora blight in your garden, never randomly dump culled fruit or plants in or around your garden beds. Ensure good water management, promote good drainage and use un-infested water. If you do spot infected plants in your garden, remove them immediately to minimize the damage and avoid further spreading.

Companion planting

Companion planting is officially defined as the close planting of different plants that enhance each other’s growth or protect each other from pests. The companion plants benefit each other through repelling insect pests, attracting beneficial insects, improving soil nutrients, encouraging faster growth and better taste, providing ground cover, or providing necessary shade. The ultimate goal of companion planting is to increase crop productivity effectively. The whole concept of companion planting is based on experience, and not every chart out there will give you the exact same ideal plant combinations. So, can you plant tomatoes and cucumbers next to each other? You might even find charts mentioning cucumbers as great companion plants for tomatoes. In fact, they can do well together in similar soil conditions and take around the same to grow and be ready for harvest. However, due to the possibility of shared diseases such as Cucumber Mosaic Virus and Phytophthora Blight, it is highly recommended NOT to plant cucumbers and tomatoes as companion plants. Instead, space them far apart in your garden and choose other, safe companions for your crops.

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Companion plants for cucumbers

Let’s have a look at what is good and safe to plant with cucumbers:

Corn and sunflowers

Corn stalks can serve as a natural trellis for vining cucumbers, which is a great way to save space and maximize garden efficiency.

Oregano and dill

Oregano perfectly repels insect pests, and dill attracts beneficial predatory insects to the garden, which helps rid it of pests.


Legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils have a root system that increases nitrogen in the soil and will significantly benefit your cucumbers. Other good vegetable companions include root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots, and onions.

Marigolds and nasturtiums

Marigolds are excellent companion plants for cucumbers. Their flowers will help repel beetles, and nasturtiums are distasteful to certain insects that feed on cucumbers


young cucumber plant growing leaves

Like corn stalks, you can use sunflower stalks as a natural trellis for vining cucumbers.

What not to plant with cucumbers

Apart from tomatoes, there are several other plants that you shouldn’t plant near your cucumbers:


Brassicas like brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi can disadvantage your cucumber’s growth. They are generally very water-thirsty plants and might compete for the water in the soil.


Similar to tomatoes, melon plants suffer from many of the same pests as cucumbers. Planting the two next to one another can attract those pests even more.


Potatoes are heavy feeders and take up a lot of water, so they will compete immensely for the same nutrients if planted next to your cucumbers. In addition, potatoes can also quickly become diseased with phytophthora blight.


Apart from oregano and dill, many aromatic herbs interfere with cucumber plants in the garden—and sage is perhaps the worst offender. It may actually affect the flavor profile of your cucumbers.


cucumber and tomato near each other

While fennel can attract beneficial insects, it can serve as an inhibitor to the growth of your cucumbers. Related questions

Can peppers and cucumbers be planted together?

Even though peppers and cucumbers enjoy similar growing conditions and seem like great companion plants, it is not recommended to plant them near each other. The main reason is the high possibility of shared diseases such as phytophthora blight. Instead, space them apart in your garden and choose different, safe companion plants for each species.

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Can zucchini and cucumbers be planted together?

It is not recommended to plant zucchini near cucumbers due to the high possibility of shared diseases such as phytophthora blight. If you want to grow both in your garden, space them far apart and choose other companion plants in between them.

What not to plant next to tomatoes?

Likewise, you shouldn’t plant tomatoes and zucchini together for the same reasons.

Can you plant potatoes and tomatoes together?

Potatoes are also at high risk of becoming diseased with Phytophthora Blight and therefore shouldn’t be planted together with tomatoes. Besides, potatoes are heavy feeders and will compete with the tomatoes for the same nutrients in the soil.

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Growing cucumbers in home gardens

Green harvested cucumbers on a table

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are common garden vegetables in all regions of Minnesota. You can eat them pickled, or raw in salads.

Like other vine crops such as squash, melons and pumpkins, cucumbers grow best in warm weather. Some varieties form long vines that may need a trellis. Others are bush-types that fit better in a small garden.

Soil pH and fertility

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Soil testing and fertilizer

  • Have your soil tested.
  • For best yield and quality, the soil pH should be between 6.0 and 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
  • The soil should be moisture retentive yet well drained.
  • Forming raised beds will ensure good drainage, which these crops need.
  • Improve your soil by adding well-rotted manure or compost in spring or fall. Do not use fresh manure as it may contain harmful bacteria and may increase weed problems.
  • Do not use “Weed and Feed” type fertilizers on vegetables. They contain weed killers that will kill vegetable plants.

Selecting plants

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Male and female plants

Cucumber plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers usually appear first, each attached to the plant by a slender pedicel, or stem. Female flowers grow close to the main vine. Between the flower and the vine is a small round ovary, the unfertilized fruit.

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An insect must move the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. Bees are common cucumber pollinators. Some newer varieties of cucumber will set fruit that develops normally, even if there is no pollination of the female flowers. These fruits will be seedless or nearly so.

Other varieties have only female flowers, each of which can produce a fruit. These varieties can have high yields. You must grow the all-female varieties with another cucumber variety having traditional flowering habit to provide pollen.

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Disease resistant varieties

  • If you have previously identified disease issues in the garden, choosing a resistant or tolerant variety is a good way of preventing the disease in the future.
  • A resistant variety will not become diseased.
  • A tolerant variety will become diseased, but the spread of disease will be slower and the infection will be less serious
  • Seed catalogs use codes to note which varieties of cucumbers are resistant or tolerant to different diseases.
  • Some garden centers and big box stores include this information in their signage.
  • For a full list of varieties, see the Cornell University Disease Resistant Vegetable Varieties page.


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The best way to start cucumbers is direct seeding. Use a soil thermometer and sow seeds after the last frost date, once the soil is at least 70° F at the one-inch depth. In most of Minnesota, this will be sometime in late May.

Earlier planting is possible with the use of black plastic mulch, which raises soil temperature. Apply black plastic mulch to the soil once you prepare it in the spring. Cut holes or slits in the mulch, and plant the seeds.

Sow seeds about one-half inch deep. For vining types that will spread out in the garden, sow seeds two inches apart. Allow about two or three feet of space on either side of the row for the vines to spread.

A «hill» of three or four seeds sown close together is another way to plant cucumbers in the garden. Allow five to six feet between hills. You can plant bush types, with very short vines, in closely spaced rows or hills, with only two to three feet between rows or hills.

After emergence, thin seedlings to stand 8 to 12 inches apart. You may also train the vines to climb a three- to four-foot trellis, allowing you to space garden rows more closely, and producing perfectly straight fruit.

After the seedlings have emerged, position the row covers over the plants, securing the edges with soil or staples. Spun row covers raise air temperature around the plants and protect them from cold nights. Row covers prevent both pests and beneficial insects needed for pollination from the plants, so you must remove them from the plants once flowering begins, unless the variety is seedless.

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