Wondering about companion plants for peppers? These 25 plants help repel pests and keep chilies healthy. Plus, learn what NOT to plant with peppers to avoid problems. (You can also download the pepper companion planting chart for easy reference.)
As someone who’s dedicated a whole site to peppers, I can say chilies are worth growing! But, hot and sweet pepper plants can have complications: pests, few pollinators, limited space affecting pepper harvest, etc.
Fortunately, companion planting helps combat these issues and improves growth so that we get what we want – lots of tasty chili peppers! 🌶
Heads up: Although certain plants can improve your pepper harvest, some crops can cause trouble if planted nearby.
So, let’s get into the best (and worst) pepper companion plants.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a gardening practice that maximizes plant health, growth, and crop yield. How? Essentially, it creates communities of mutually beneficial plants or vegetables. It also keeps non-friendly crops separate so that all your plants thrive.
These beneficial plant combinations work whether you’re growing in a pot or ground. Here are some perks:
- Pest control
- Attracts pollinators
- Increased soil nutrients
- Increased crop yield
- Shade regulation for neighboring plants
- Wind barrier
- Natural trellising (support)
- Weed suppression
25 Best Companion Plants for Peppers
Pepper plants are targets for aphids, spider mites, thrips, flea beetle, tarnished plant bug, stink bugs, pepper maggots, and European corn borers. (To name a few.) And poor weather conditions like hot winds and drought can cause plants to abort flowers and small fruits.
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Rosemary is a low-care, hardy herb resistant to pests that thrives in garden beds or pots. As this plant grows, rosemary acts like a mulch, minimizing bare soil and keeping it hydrated longer.
Use this Mediterranean herb as a ground cover near your peppers. This herb grows fast — here’s how to dry rosemary to preserve your harvest.
Cucumbers are another excellent living mulch companion plant for peppers. It also makes the most of limited growing space.
Despite their sprawling vines, you can grow cucumbers in containers or garden beds. Place the support trellis behind the pepper plants and on the north side of your garden to ensure that plants still receive enough sun.
Thyme is an ideal partner for peppers, acting as a natural pest repellent. It deters armyworm moths, loopers, and cutworms that can damage your pepper plants.
You can also use creeping thyme as a ground cover at the base of your peppers.
Onions are the perfect companion for peppers, acting as a natural guard against harmful insects. They are also fairly easy to grow and take up minimal space.
As part of the allium family, onions repel pests like cabbage worms, aphids, and slugs.
Cilantro works well with peppers because it discourages common pests like aphids, lacewings, and pirate bugs. It’s also an easy-to-grow herb that you can plant in the garden or pots.
The only downside is that cilantro can be short-lived, bolting flowers within four weeks. Fortunately, it’s the flowers that attract pollinators and beneficial insects so worth the grow!
Besides adding a splash of beauty to your vegetable garden, marigolds are great companion plants for peppers. They repel unwanted bugs like cabbage worms, gnats, and mosquitoes.
Marigolds also deter nematodes (roundworms), parasites that destroy the roots of pepper plants. In addition, they attract pollinators and beneficial insects like bees, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs. (Here’s some home remedies for bee stings in case you need it!)
Garlic is a pungent allium and an excellent companion for common garden plants, including peppers. It also takes up limited garden space.
Garlic has natural antiseptic properties and helps prevent cabbage worms, aphids, slugs, Japanese beetles, and onion flies.
Dill is an easy-to-grow herb and a great companion plant for peppers because they attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and parasitic wasps. They also boot nasty pests like aphids and spider mites.
Marjoram is a Mediterranean herb that thrives in similar warm temperatures to peppers. It’s an excellent low-growing companion plant that won’t compete for space.
You can plant marjoram as a groundcover to protect your peppers against garden pests like cutworms, aphids, and mealybugs while attracting beneficial insects like butterflies and bees.
10. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum benefits pepper plants by attracting beneficial pollinators and parasitoids like bees, butterflies, wasps, and hoverflies.
You can also plant this natural pest control as a colorful blanket of tiny flowers that serve as a living mulch.
Nasturtiums are beautiful, edible flowers that help deter pepper pests like aphids, caterpillars, whiteflies, beetles, and squash bugs. They act as a trap crop, which means they become a decoy to pests so that your chili peppers are left alone.
Bonus: Nasturtium’s bright flowers also attract bees and hummingbirds to your vegetable garden.
Oregano is another suitable companion for peppers. It’s a low-growing, aromatic herb that acts as a ground cover for pepper plants.
In bloom, oregano attracts pollinators like bees, ladybugs, and butterflies. Oregano also contains carvacrol and thymol that help block pests like mosquitoes.
Basil is a delicious herb that thrives in similar conditions to peppers. It also acts as an excellent repellent for aphids, thrips, and spider mites.
Allow your basil plants to flower to attract pollinators like bees. It’s also said that basil boosts the taste of peppers.
Chives belong to the allium family, which is great for repelling aphids, flies, slugs, and cabbage worms.
These easy-to-grow plants produce gorgeous flowers that attract pollinators like bees, which helps boost the yield of pepper plants.
Growing beets is an ideal companion plant for peppers if you want to fill up unused garden space. This root vegetable is a low-footprint crop that helps prevent weeds and keeps the soil shaded and moist.
Beets generally thrive anywhere in the garden but they may interact poorly with sweet corn if you plant them too close.
Borage pairs well with peppers. It blooms over a long period and is an excellent attraction for pollinating and beneficial insects like bees and tiny wasps.
Even more, borage keeps pests away like aphids and cabbage worms that destroy peppers. When chopped and dropped, borage can act as a nutrient source for pepper plants.
You can strategically plant petunias between peppers to bring in pollinators and help boot pests. Petunias’ secret weapon — sticky stamens — traps harmful insects like aphids, leafhoppers, hornworms, and asparagus beetles.
And if you’re growing in a smaller space, here are some ways to use complimentary plants like petunias in an apartment patio spring refresh!
Parsley is an excellent companion herb for pepper plants because it helps prevent pests like aphids, spider mites, beetles, armyworms, and earworms.
Another bonus is that parsley attracts beneficial bees and ladybugs. And parsley is a crop that’s thought to encourage better-tasting peppers!
Despite some debate, tomatoes and peppers are good companion plants if given enough space. (More on that below.)
Tomato and pepper plants enjoy the same conditions and are prone to similar soil-borne diseases. Therefore, keeping them together simplifies rotation each year to prevent root-based pathogens.
Common yarrow is a hardy and versatile herb with showy flower heads that attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, hoverflies, and wasps.
These good guys help pollinate peppers while discouraging aphids, cabbage worms, spider mites, Japanese beetles, and squash bugs.
Leeks are another one of the best companion plants for peppers because they repel harmful insects with their strong allium scent. Specifically, aphids, whitefly, cabbage looper, beetles, and carrot fly find them stinky.
Carrots work well with pepper plants because they act as a living mulch and help deter weeds.
The good guys, such as parasitic wasps and ladybugs, love carrots, so they’ll feast on pests like aphids, cabbage worms, caterpillars, white flies, and spider mites.
Sunflowers are the perfect companion plants for peppers to attract pollinators and serve as a wind barrier.
Even young sunflower plants that aren’t flowering secrete nectar on their leaves’ undersides, attracting wasps and other beneficial pest-eating insects.
24. Pak Choi
You can plant pak choi next to peppers as a trap crop. These leafy greens become more attractive to pests like flea beetles, which lure them away from your chile plants.
Pak choi also helps reduce weeds and maximize growing space.
Radishes are another good companion plant for peppers because they distract pests like flea beetles and rust flies.
Plant them around your peppers to maximize growing space, reduce weeds, and discourage pests.
Are Tomatoes and Peppers Good Companion Plants?
Tomato plants and peppers can thrive as companion plants in one garden bed, but they need to be planted correctly for this to work [source].
First, tomatoes and peppers belong to the same Solanaceae (nightshade) family, which means they need similar nutrients and are typically vulnerable to the same pests and diseases. (For example, bacterial leaf spot, blight, cutworms, tomato hornworms, and blister beetles.) In this situation, crop rotation helps prevent soil depletion and keeps pests and pathogens in check.
Tomatoes and peppers also have related growing needs – fertile, moist soil, full sun, and warm temperatures. This means they flower, produce fruit, and are ready to harvest at approximately the same time.
The good news is that the flowers of tomatoes and peppers attract similar beneficial insects and pollinators. Their leaves work together, creating a canopy to protect the fruits from sunscald. These similarities make them easy to grow together and simplify crop rotation.
Bottom line: It’s important to provide the right space for tomato and pepper plants so they can thrive together. Follow these rules when planting them in the same area:
- Use a three-year crop rotation before replanting peppers and tomatoes in the same spot to reduce the likelihood of diseases and soil depletion.
- Space tomatoes and peppers at least 2 feet apart to prevent them from competing for water and nutrients.
- Trellis both plants and prune the lower leaves to ensure airflow and maximize yield.
- Consider adding additional companion herbs and flowers between tomatoes and peppers to help ward off pests.
What Not To Plant With Peppers
Chiles have more friends than foes, but some crops make the worst companion plants for peppers. Don’t plant the following crops with your chiles to avoid nutrient competition and pests.
Fennel: Although fennel attracts a variety of beneficial insects and repels pests, it, unfortunately stunts the growth of nightshades, including pepper plants.
Brassicas: While the brassica family – kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower – won’t particularly damage your pepper plants, they have different soil preferences. Brassicas prefer neutral soil to acidic soil, like peppers. In addition, kohlrabi robs peppers of essential nutrients and attracts cabbage worms and beetles.
Beans: Beans and pepper plants have incompatible soil needs. Beans thrive in nitrogen-rich soil, which will stunt the growth of pepper pods. In addition, the beans’ vines can pose a choking threat to pepper plants.
Apricots: Avoid planting your pepper plants near apricot trees. The two plants share a common fungal disease. Planting apricots and peppers nearby can increase the risk of spreading the disease.
Chart: Best and Worst Companion Plants for Peppers
Here’s a summary of the best and worst pepper companions.You can also download the companion planting chart for peppers.
Can You Plant Companion Plants With Peppers In The Same Pot?
Container size determines whether you can successfully grow companion plants with peppers in one pot.
Some pepper varieties can look like small trees when fully mature. So, overcrowding peppers and companions impact the health and yield of both plants. (Think poor air circulation, disease, insect pests, competition for nutrients, etc.)
Also, don’t grow peppers with companion plants that have aggressive root systems. Cramped roots stunt plants, so grow beneficial plants in nearby containers instead.
On the plus side, planting peppers with their companions can maximize growing space and reduce weeds. Make sure you use a large container – like 10-gallon or bigger – to keep all your plants happy. The bigger the container, the better.
Finally, stick to co-planting peppers with shallow-rooted herbs and vegetables. This way, there’s no competition for water and soil nutrients. Good examples include dill, green onions, chives, and basil.
Pepper Companion Plant FAQs
I hope you enjoyed this list of companion plants for peppers. Check out my ultimate pepper growing guide if you want all the steps for growing peppers from seed to harvest.
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